SA Harvest near Two Wells, Nov 2014


As a boy I used to watch the Whistling Eagles flapping desperately, unable to escape from the tiny Willy-wag-tails furiously attacking them.  It's a picture of a man facing his angry partner.  Graceful in so many ways, he is lumbering and bemused by her emotional darting.  With his great beak or talons he could terrify her into submission- some men do.  But most fly as far away as they can from the tight twists of her anger.  They retreat to the pub, or the shed, hoping it will blow over.

When she speaks out her pain or anger with the vast vocabulary of the human emotional landscape, he stands as helpless as when he watched his children born. He is almost an emotional cripple- barely able to fly at all- inarticulate, if not dumb. Blind to her moods and their warning signs.

Should he be desperate enough to haltingly verbalise his feelings, she will often tell him what he feels and needs with an assurance that allows no denial- omniscient mother putting her little boy right again.

He lurches from humiliation to despair to anger.  And sadly, sometimes to contempt for emotion, and brooding resentment for his partner which can ferment for years.

There is a potent prejudice which flows from many women about male emotional skills, leaving men defensive about their feelings - and their difficulty in expressing them.  This may fertilise his brooding against his partner. 

Or perhaps his anger and frustration are short lived.  But there will remain a grief, a resignation, even a despair at the distance he lives from her.  Unable to see and hear... wanting to care... aware that he more often hurts her... suspecting that from  her perspective he is clumsy and insensitive... uncaring... hurtful... and even willfully so.  And indeed, so he becomes at times.  "And yet I willed nothing of the kind... but I did this!  How could I not see?  Why was I so stupid?  Why did I become so angry?"

June 25 2001

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