Leunig, Michael

poet, cartoonist
  • "Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and as difficult as that. "
    MICHAEL LEUNIG
  • "For me, spirit is the impulse towards life, the Eros in a person leaping forward, whereas soul refers to something possibly long.. suffering, where meanings are made, where there is a sense of this gathering of perceptions, that our death is not the most important thing, nor our life."
    MICHAEL LEUNIG
  • "I didn't mind my own company as a child; I was happy playing alone in the sandpit."
    MICHAEL LEUNIG
  • "There was all this loneliness in my cartoons and people would say, "Gee, these characters are so lonely, disconnected, depressed." And I’d say, ‘Yeah well, that’s not me. I’m just interested in that because I think it makes a funny drawing.’ But later I understood it was me in many respects; my hand was doing it ahead of the head's understanding."
    MICHAEL LEUNIG
  • "I saw the Bird of Paradox perching in a tree. "Nothing much," it said and that meant nothing much to me."
    MICHAEL LEUNIG
  • "This life is actually very exhausting. It doesn't give humans much time to contemplate anything. We are not resting ourselves and there is the feeling we have got to keep working and pushing really hard. So I draw the person running and running and running-for no apparent reason. And suddenly I find that I have touched on something that is perhaps universal."
    MICHAEL LEUNIG
  • "Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, and must be plucked where it is found, and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration."
    MICHAEL LEUNIG
  • "At the very simplest, I think as Van Gogh said and St Francis would have said, we must find nature. Just to be in the presence of nature your feelings and 'little seedlings' start to awake. So if we disassociate ourselves from God we cut nature out, too. More and more we turn nature into a commodity, into eco-tourism. But we must integrate it into the way people live every day. "
    MICHAEL LEUNIG
  • "Yet out in the countryside, beyond the harsh gravity of the material world, far from Father Christmas and closer to Mother Nature, a wondrous child may behold the miracles of the bush and know that new life and great beauty are abundant and eternal. There is no monumental religious event in this infinity of detail and diversity; it is all part of a broader ancient miracle.
    Huge clouds of brown butterflies swirl up into the dazzling light, parrots swoop to grassy earth, honeyeaters ravish the sweet flowers of the bottlebrush, echidnas trundle steadily in search of each other, lizards dart among ants and ancient rocks, the fine branchlets of manna gums quiver to the mating growls of koalas, ibises stroll and feast on grasshoppers and gleaming Christmas beetles hang from eucalyptus leaves like small green baubles. The birds sing gloriously and not a wrong note is heard. This is Christmas in the bush..."
    MICHAEL LEUNIG, Bush Christmas with butterflies and child, The Saturday Age 24 December 2011
  • "If European symbols and traditions have grown tired, perfunctory and oppressively banal in Australia, or been drained of spirit and meaning by the dreary dictates of materialism and secularity, then the raw spirit truth of our native land is alive and radiant by comparison. For joy and meaning we might well turn to our natural country and witness miracles of vitality and new life, of inspiration and profound beauty; all in some humble, quiet and improbable place."
    MICHAEL LEUNIG, Bush Christmas with butterflies and child, The Saturday Age 24 December 2011
  • "In the silence let us listen to our heart. "
    MICHAEL LEUNIG, Common Prayer Collection
  • "Australian identity? Who knows. Who cares? And does it matter that such a complex and elusive concept about nationhood be enshrined in words?... Pronouncements about the national psyche, the bitter and the sweet, are foisted upon the citizens from above and bandied about for all sorts of purposes, but deep in their hearts people understand that there is no such thing as an average Australian. Thanks be."
    MICHAEL LEUNIG, Sleep on Country, The Age 26 January 2012
  • "While Australians may have uncertainties about the authenticity of their man-made culture, there can be no doubt that the land beneath their feet that stretches into the unknown beyond their horizons is utterly real and natural. It has identity and integrity. It has soul. Yet all too easily a nation that is predominantly urban in character may lose sight of its natural setting and spirit of country - and be all the poorer, sadder and less vital for such loss of connection; it may suffer some deadening loss of imagination, joyous humility and visionary innocence. A nation may turn its back on its greatest source of wisdom and underestimate how much it needs the natural world."
    MICHAEL LEUNIG, Sleep on Country, The Age 26 January 2012
  • "Yet there is a nation of individuals who occupy a common ground - of which they are the custodians, whether they realise it or not. Arrayed with a huge variety of creatures, plants and land forms, in spite of its use and misuse at the hands of settlers and occupiers, it is a unique natural estate of great beauty, spirit and strength."
    MICHAEL LEUNIG, Sleep on Country, The Age 26 January 2012
  • "It seems I have this search to find my people, to find my culture, to find a place where there is some common agreement; to find a common ground, my people, my society, my village, my parish, my culture… I feel we live in a time when these things are shattered and cast all over the place in a great mess, and I want to keep tying it up together a bit and linking it and seeing to what extent I’m like you and to what extent you can feel as I feel. "
    MICHAEL LEUNIG, The Search for Meaning: Conversations with Caroline Jones
  • "I think from the time I could open my eyes I was aware that there seemed to be something else going on amongst those around me which was not talked about… there was another truth… "
    MICHAEL LEUNIG, The Search for Meaning: Conversations with Caroline Jones
  • "Cacocracy - Governmental rule by the worst, the least able, the most unsuitable, despicable and incompetent people. EG: The two tramps sat on the park bench and agreed that if they were in government they would make a hash of it and cause the country to fall into despair, dysfunction, stupidity and a squalid quagmire of petty conflict. 'Lucky we're not in charge of the country mate' said one of the tramps as he swigged from his bottle, 'the system would end up being a bloody cacocracy.'"
    MICHAEL LEUNIG, Word of the Day