b2ap3_thumbnail_fe0d74a12dc58d433946f7d31396c5ac.jpgA segment wrapping up the week on talk back radio got me thinking. The discussion was about the right for same-sex couples to marry.

As of May 2015, nineteen countries have laws that give same-sex couples the freedom to marry - Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, France, Brazil, Uruguay, New Zealand, Britain, Luxembourg, Finland and most recently and resoundingly, Ireland. Mexico and the United States have regional or court-directed provisions that give that freedom to marry while the Slovenian parliament approved a marriage bill in March 2015.

Same-sex marriage isn’t legal in Australia and campaigns and protests are ongoing. Australian Marriage Equality is working to win marriage equality Australia-wide and is organising a rally for a free vote for marriage equality this coming Saturday in Melbourne.

Previous Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, asked for parliament to hold a conscience vote on same-sex marriage in 2013. The then opposition leader wouldn’t allow party members to participate and subsequently, the whole of Australia remained locked.

It’s outrageous that one person in politics had that much power in a supposed liberated and democratic society. It’s embarrassing.

Sadly, that then Opposition Leader is now Prime Minister of Australia. Thankfully, party members are breaking rank.

Gender is irrelevant when it comes to love and even as I say that, I don’t understand why it’s necessary for me to say that. Gender isn’t a concern to other animals and we humans are animals after all. It’s not uncommon to see domestic dogs of the same gender form strong bonds and simulate sex. In fact research studies on animal homosexuality show that more than 450 species of animals in the wild and in captivity take part in acts of homosexuality. Same-sex animal coupling can be just as life-long as they are in humans (Bagemihl: 2000). Homosexual acts have been widely documented across a range of mammal species that include apes and monkeys, with only about three per cent monogamous and cohabitating.

So why should humans be any different.

Care, commitment and enjoying the company of another are what matter, regardless of gender. When that first thunderbolt in a stirring storm, that unexpected flicker of the quickest flash that catches your eye just long enough to wonder what has struck your heart’s core ... or that provocative glance that builds in warmth, the soft nurture that hops your heart to send a rush of natural high and extremes of intensity. A glance becomes a gaze that zaps, a touch becomes an explosion of internal fireworks as lust dawns as early morning sun bursting over a cloud-streaked sky without the propulsion of a skerrick of breeze. Fresh, boundless energy of infinite potential, excitement and lust that build in internal feeling of comfortability, that something that resonates between two people on an inexplicable plane, the connectedness two people feel right to the core of their heart ... Love.

Shouldn’t that be all that matters, of happiness, giving and receiving, of loving and living? Regardless of gender.

A law that allows two people in a committed, loving relationship to marry, same-sex or otherwise, provides an accountable law to protect families, the rights of both people in that committed relationship. It can add to a couple’s and family’s health and well-being.

Sure, civil unions and domestic partnerships exist but they’re considered second-class. They allow people to take on commitments and responsibilities akin to marriage but they’re no substitute for the full measure of respect, clarity, security and responsibilities of marriage.

To be clear here, I’m not advocating marriage. I’m advocating the right for two people in love and in a relationship to legalise their union for life through the legal and ceremonial sanction of marriage.

And that’s the key – the choice to marry.

All humans are worthy of that right, the choice to marry and not be discriminated against on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender. No right exists for people to inflict personal values, views and prejudices, particularly those that sully the love and union between two people.

And yet, we’ve let that happen.


For more information on marriage equality, go to:

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
Over the past couple of days writer Jeanette Winterson has tweeted pictures of her wedding to Susie Orbach. I find it very touchin... Read More
Wednesday, 10 June 2015 21:59
Monika Schott PhD
It's beautiful to see two people in love. I often see it in their eyes and when I see it I think how lucky they are. They glow and... Read More
Friday, 12 June 2015 07:14
2854 Hits

Love like no other


Trillions of tiny slivers of tenderness, billions of smatterings of care and affection, the number is endless. Infinity minus one some may say. And in equal abundance are joy, worry and respect, and an ease of the easiest of friendships.

All swirl free in a bottomless vessel of emotion and adoration, sometimes erupting without restrain and sometimes fighting uncontrollable and unreasonable and spiked with splintering shards that inflict lashings of pain. It’s the kind of pain that can’t be touched or pinpointed to a source, an ache that comes from the deepest of cores to transcend all other aches and that stretch into forever.

But oh the joy … oozing in shine and comfort, the greatest sprouting, boundless, endless, lasting, enriching, joy of joys. It comes with sacrifice and compromise, of tears that are often invisible and can turn red to bleed and weep from that same core buried in a secret garden.

And then there’s the toughest of all, of watching one’s own endure their personal challenges and pain, children that once were dependant babies are now individuals with their own battles.

Watching one of mine struggle these last weeks has spurred that ache to sting sharp from the pits of that secret garden. The study and assessments as he prepares to take on university grind him hard, as the old draught horse pulling a stone wheel to crush rocks in search of gold.

He lugs his wheel against the pull of needing to lead a balanced life with playing football and seeing friends. He struggles in the tumult of guilt where every second should be spent working and even on the rare occasion of being out with friends, he’s thinking about his studies and what he should be working on next.

And so has begun his foray into adulthood, of pressure that mounts, of stress and balancing his sea-saw life.

This is on top of losing his dear grandmother to a terminal illness and me dealing with my cancer scare. His grief and worry and coping with all that, and then playing catch up from falling behind.

My mettle is being tested watching him, but my own six-foot little guy is emerging with his own mettle tested and toughened. I can see already, his maturity soaring. My draught horse will find his gold as his wheel grinds, drawing on that same courage, inner strength and motivation horses represent.

Life’s tough. No news flash there. Watching our own children toughen it out, I don’t know a word to describe that. Perhaps it’s a mother’s love, a father’s love too I imagine.




Recent Comments
Beautiful read Mon...I like the analogy of the draught horse round and round to grind to find a sparkle of precious...xx
Wednesday, 03 June 2015 04:37
Monika Schott PhD
Thanks, Diane. ... Read More
Friday, 05 June 2015 00:36
Rosy Cole
A great metaphor that conjures all the angst and triumph of survival. That's life! I hope your cancer scare is well and truly beh... Read More
Thursday, 04 June 2015 19:24
3056 Hits

The wedding ring


After the drain and sometimes despair of the past weeks, I just want to lie here forever, cuddled into son two’s doona, in feet dangling off the bed's edge. He sits at his desk scattered in books. Son three squats on the floor opposite, clasping his knees and leaning into the wall. Son one balances on the edge of the bed strumming a few chords of a Spanish study on the guitar. His slender fingers pluck with such agility, their dexterity evident after playing piano for more than twelve years. The three of us have crashed son two’s study time on the way to our bedrooms. Son one hits a twang in his tune.

Son two takes the guitar. ‘You’re hopeless,’ he says, and starts playing Don McLean's, American Pie. 

Son one falls back onto the bed beside me. I scooch my head into his side and begin moving my foot to the tune. Son one sings.

So, bye-bye, Miss American Pie

Drove my chevy to the levee

But the levee was dry

And them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye

Singin' this'll be the day that I die

This'll be the day that I die

His baritone lows vibrate into the room and my heart. Extraordinary tones.

Did you write the Book of Love

And do you have faith in God above ...

Die and Love. Such power in those words. Such peace in the comfort that surrounds me is priceless. 

Die and love. I’m living in the reverberation of an abundance of love that extends beyond this room, circles and circles of it that echo and intersect. Pat’s circle of love began when Vince slipped that eternal ring on her finger to signify their unity in endless love. She became the centre of concentric and overlapping circles. 

It was only a few weeks ago that Pat asked me to fix her wedding, engagement and eternity rings. Her doctor snipped them from her fluid-swelled finger as they had begun to cut into her circulation. Creating jewellery and bigger sculptural metal pieces was a career from a life gone by for me, but I couldn’t say no to Pat when she asked. The need in her tone at wanting the rings back on her finger echoed strong.

The weekend after he request, I spent hours on them. I soldered an extra piece into the wedding ring and hammered the other two to slowly stretch the gold to widen the bands. As they were over seventy years old, I couldn’t risk damaging the collapsing settings and diamonds of the engagement and eternity rings with heat if I added a piece to enlarge them. Slow hammering was the best option. I filed and used various abrasives and polishes on the metal until the rings shone to become the desire of any bower bird. 

When I gave the rings to Pat that weekend, she thanked me with such heartfelt hugs and when I slipped them back onto her finger, she sat there smiling in the proudest of proud. A perfect fit they were.

To everyone’s surprise, the rings fell off Pat’s finger days later. It was thought that Pat must’ve lost body fluid and the swelling in her fingers had reduced. I felt such sadness for Pat that she’d lost something so dear to her.

The wedding ring was found days later and immediately put onto a gold chain to hang around Pat’s neck. No-one could find the other two rings. I was pleased that at least she had the ring most important to her and that it sat close to her heart. 

The wedding ring has a long history that signifies never-ending and immortal love. It’s believed that the ancient Egyptians exchanged the first wedding rings about 4800 years ago. Back then, they were made by twisting and braiding sedges, rushes, reeds and papyrus into rings for fingers. The circle was the symbol of eternity, with no beginning or end and the hole in the centre of the ring was the gateway or door to something new. 

Days later, Pat passed away, with her circle of love around her neck and close to her heart, surrounded by her circle of family that filled her room in circles of love that spread to homes of vigil. 

Pat may not be here physically today, however the power and influence of her and her battered and thinning circle of love extends in a force and energy way beyond understanding. It remains emblazoned onto all touched by her, including me here tonight and every night, with those concentric and overlapping circles that these three pookies are also part of as descendants of Pat, these pookies that always seem to be near, in shadow or light.

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
A wonderful and unusual story of how our investment in Life has far-reaching consequences that roll on and on... Thanks, Moni!... Read More
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 18:38
Monika Schott PhD
Thanks, Rosy. Investment in life is a perfect term. It is life! ... Read More
Thursday, 14 May 2015 10:45
Katherine Gregor
What a magical story, Moni. It gives a sense of Bigger Things. Thank you.
Thursday, 14 May 2015 18:45
3048 Hits

The Surly Bonds




'Go West, young man.'

He had read Westward Ho! as a child. But he'd never been one to ply with the tide, since being caned for scrumping in the vicar's orchard when his brother was the culprit.

There were dark rumblings in Europe, though Mr Chamberlain had assured everyone that war had been averted. Samuel watched his old school companions go, one by one; Horniman, his rival in Latin class, Tom Osborne, the baker's boy who had not a care in the world beyond the equilibrium of the breadbasket strapped to his handlebars. They all went, conscripts mostly; some volunteering.

Then his brother signed up to the RAF and started soaring the ether. Edward, who had let Samuel take the rap for stealing pears, was suddenly a hero and their father's pride.

The old man had been gassed in the trenches at Ypres and decorated for bravery. His belly still suffered the sting of sulphur when he consumed any but the blandest food. He'd seen terrible things, heard blasts that drowned out the Munch scream for the whole of Eternity. He was buttoned up about that, didn't say much, but when the miasma of depression filled his nostrils, he would retreat for a while. A slovenly sock, an untied shoelace, rhubarb crumble laced with too little sweetener, could trigger a tirade. They watched their mother choke on humility. 

Sam could see no sense in mindless violence, with the aftermath ricocheting from one generation to the next. Besides, the teachings of the New Testament, which he had taken to heart, were on his side. His father might bleat about sacrifice and the defence of the homeland, but where was the victory in violence and bloodshed and endlessly spinning grief? While it might be possible to hold polar opposite views with integrity, they couldn't be found in one and same person. Yet it was a shameful thing to have a 'conchy' in the family. That Sam was summoned to a tribunal and called upon to defend his beliefs stoutly did not mend matters at home.

With a brilliant, though incomplete, academic record, Sam took himself off to seek sanctuary with an aunt some miles away, while he found work congenial to his engineer's brain in a local office. Within a year, the chance came for promotion to the firm's outpost in the Midlands and, upon warm recommendation, Sam applied and was transferred. Here was the chance of a fresh start. A whole new horizon!



One sun-shy September afternoon, with the leaves flickering down, he left his ancestral pastures behind and the quiet village in ochre Ham Stone, with hollyhocks and rose trellises and a big Elizabethan mansion, and boarded a train bound for the Midlands, wheels turning punctually and familiar scenes slipping backwards into the past.



He knew he had to make good. If his peers were ready to die for the nation, Sam had to offer something doubly constructive.

It wasn't difficult to prove himself in his chosen career, but the war dragged on and soldiers were dying in their thousands. When Edward was captured and imprisoned in Stalag Luft III, Sam's conviction intensified that 'keeping the home fires burning' wasn't enough.

Soon, he had fallen in with a crowd of young people at a church in town. Among them was Zinnie, everyone's idea of Prosper Mérimée's Carmen. She was a recent convert, still flushed with an evangelical zeal Sam could only admire. How pale his own witness seemed beside it! She was the antithesis of little Constance, the demure damsel who went into service at Tintinhull, his abandoned sweetheart back home.

With Sam's own handsome looks in the Latin style, he caught Zinnie's eye. He wasn't local and had a touch of the exotic with his regional burr. She thought she should enlist him in her campaign for the Lord.

Zinnie was scathing of the rampant evil in the world, to which she was unduly sensitive, and scornful of moral frailty, but mellowed after a session of raucous choruses when she felt part of the human race. It took Sam a long while to figure out that he had formed a connection with her which onlookers in those days regarded as courting. It behoved him to do the honourable thing that her reputation (and his own) should not be compromised. He was a man with a strong sense of duty and rigorously stuck to his word throughout his life. The turn of events must have been the hand of God.

Within weeks of this epiphany, he applied for a special licence and stood at the altar beside Zinnie and said: 'I do' and 'I will' and meant it. This was his mission in life. No one promised it would be easy. The war had ended and New Jerusalem was in focus again. Everywhere couples were marrying and setting out to establish a peaceful and prosperous future.

It turned out that Zinnie's passion was more about Zinnie than anyone else and that her hotline to God was no joke. She knew what ought to be thought, said, felt and acted in the service of Zinnie. It was her due. Those who fell short were on their way to Hell, they could be sure of that. Ailments of body and mind kept her in control and secluded her from an accusing community. She was blessed with a generous quota of domestic skills which she struggled to apply in unspoken penance. When their daughter was born it seemed that a more equable disposition might prevail. But motherhood soon became a new weapon in her arsenal for gaining ascendancy over father and child.

Sam was so bound into the illusion of her martyrdom, that he often blamed himself for failing to promote her happiness, despite a long working day and an hour of cycling each way to spare the budget. The nation was all but bankrupt and no one in the village had a vehicle, except Hare at the post office who ran a taxi service to the better off on high days and holidays.

Sam's toughest assignment was their daughter's wedding. Guests remarked how miserable he looked in the photos. They didn't know he was going to have to tame the tiger alone, maybe for another thirty or forty years. There would be no tacit ally. He never saw his daughter alone after that, lest there be jealous reprisals and fearsome scenes that might wreak irreversible havoc. Those who have never endured this kind of tyranny should not imagine there's an option to walk away. Mortals like Zinnie have a genius for wringing pity from those around them since they find it impossible to reveal their inner landscape and contain its torments alone.

Sam bore it all until his health began seriously to break down. At this point, by some strange quirk of fate, Constance had traced him and they started writing to one another. Then her letters ceased. The day he heard that she had died was devastating. "You could be looking at another ten years with any luck," said his doctor, "if you have a bypass." Sam had lived long enough to know that for him there was no bypassing grief and anguish and loss of the Promised Land in this life. 

One frosty January morning, just before his seventy-fifth birthday and four months short of their Golden Wedding, Sam drove his car to the dealership for a service. It was a major inspection and would take a couple of hours or so. He was some distance from home and, instead of returning, ambled down to the old railway station where steam trains had been brought back into commission by enthusiasts who had formed a Trust.

It was just as it had been in the days long ago, when he had forsaken the groves of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table to carve out his destiny. He could admire those engines, fully restored to pristine glory and running again. He knew all about wheels turning, pistons and gauges and machinery running on prescribed lines. He hadn't fought on the battlefield, or on the sea, or in the air, but he had stuck to his guns and had held the fort for society. By the grace of God, he had contained the tide of consequences and held it all together. He had expected no one else to shoulder his responsibilities. 

It was a nostalgic interlude. He was hardly aware of the cold seeping into his bones. When he got back to the garage, he was in high spirits, laughing and joking with the salespeople as he took possession of the keys and walked out to his car. He engaged reverse gear, moved backwards, but the vehicle didn't stop... till it crashed. A customer of the garage, who happened to be a doctor, ran out on to the forecourt. "There's no sign of life," he said. "He would have died before impact. He was actually smiling, as though he'd run into a long lost friend."

Sam had hit a stone wall. His last. Only this time, he had demolished it.




High Flight


Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, 

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; 

Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds - 

and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of - 

wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence. 

Hovering there I've chased the shouting wind along 

and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious burning blue 

I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace, 

where never lark, or even eagle, flew; 

and, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod 

the high untrespassed sanctity of space, 

put out my hand and touched the face of God.


John Gillespie Magee, Jr


© Copyright Rosy Cole 2009 and 2015

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
What a heartbreaking story! Have you just written it or is it from an existing collection?
Sunday, 10 May 2015 17:01
Rosy Cole
I've had this knocking around in my old files for about six years, Katia. I don't generally write stories, never having been sure,... Read More
Monday, 11 May 2015 14:28
Stephen Evans
One of the local TV stations used to us that poem as a nightly signoff, back when stations signed off. Both pieces are evocative.... Read More
Sunday, 10 May 2015 20:03
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