Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I know very little about American politics, but the Madoff Affair has certainly transfixed me! We watched a fascinating TV program about it the other night and the thing that struck me is that the gentleman in question isn't the only criminal! He started with petty crime and then got in so deeply that he just had to carry on. But where was the Government Body, the so-called Watchdog all this time? Mimicking the poor old creature above if you ask me!


I'm getting rid of my Guard Dog. Guard Dogs are too slow.
They just can't see what's beneath their noses! Guard Dogs have to go!
They do a lot of barking and make a sort of stand,
But when real danger rears it's head they bury theirs' in the sand!
I thought of a very good swear word to get rid of them today!
I'll just shout 'Mad Off!' in their ears and watch them run away!

He Madoff with our money!

A rather more common crime here:

The Descent


It's a hilly old place, our town.
Here's a view from the top looking down,
Through the shopping streets way below
To where Hunter's waters flow..
Climbing up to the top is a feat,
Hence the railings they've put by the street,
But it's always worth the climb
For the view to my rear is sublime.
Imagine you turn around,
And this is what you'll have found....
The Pacific Ocean wide,
Spreading on every side.
It's a watery place our city,
The Hunter River is pretty;
The ocean is wide and blue
And we're between the two.

Another view of the Hunter River here:

The Red Rose

He was such an artist! The Mime, Marcel Marceaux!
I once saw a performance, many, many years ago.
I was in Rhodesia then, Zimbabwe it's now spelt,
In a town called Bulawayo, in the middle of the veld.
Our entertainment was limited, it was 1960 then,
And Marcel was , I remember, one of the most famous men.
Performers from overseas were rare, amateurs were rife,
So an international person brought some glamour to our life.
The theatre was crowded (with only 'whites' I fear)
And the excitement mounted as his entrance time drew near.
He walked on, almost humble, in his plain, unpatterned clothes,
Wearing on his head a hat and, on the hat, a rose!
Just one great rose of a brilliant hue; it nodded as he came.
And, since that time, red roses have never seemed the same.
For he was a master of his craft; he kept us all enthralled,
Without one word he entertained. Master of Mime so-called.
With his lithe and liquid body he drew pictures in our minds!
He told stories, in the silence, of many, many kinds.
And all the while the bright red rose bobbed gaily overhead,
And we were laughing noisily though not one word was said.
Marcel Marceaux no longer lives; we miss him, goodness knows.
But he has a memorial in every bright red rose.

Another lost world here:

Monday, June 29, 2009




Just a corner of a junk-shop.
And a picture on display.
The quirky laws of idle chance
Made them match this way.
Surely it was hung there
Without a second thought.
'Let's sling this one on this wall.
I hope it soon gets bought!'
And yet the colour of the wall
Matches to a tee
The background of the painting!

Luck can be good or bad here:

Watered by Tears

displays a painting and the word

In this folk tale a godsend sprouts from a disaster.


A Hawaiian Folk Tale.

The greatest storm since the world began, 
Frightening every mortal man, 
Reached Hawaii one dreadful night. 
Lightning had never been so bright. 
There had never been such loud thunder! 
All Hawaiians were filled with wonder. 
The storm erupted, long and loud 
From a great enveloping purple cloud. 
And when it was over, the great god Ku, 
Was walking among them, and no-one knew. 
He had come from the skies in the mighty storm 
And now he would take on human form. 
When people saw a stranger there, 
With a tall tanned body and thick black hair, 
They realised he was  very fine 
But they never guessed he was divine. 
With his big strong hands he planted crops; 
He easily climbed the mountain tops, 
He worked all day with the strength of ten. 
He was certainly not like other men. 
The girls of Hawaii lost their hearts 
To this stranger who'd come from distant parts. 
But Ku had chosen his future wife 
And, together, they started their married life. 
Years passed and a terrible famine arrived! 
Scarcely one single Hawaiian survived. 
People were starving out in the street, 
For the crops had failed; there was nothing to eat. 
Ku's own children were thin and weak; 
They could hardly move, they could hardly speak. 
Now Ku was unable to tell his wife, 
The one who had loved him more than life, 
That he was a god from up on high, 
So he looked in her eyes and just said 'Goodbye' 
Do not cry for me, do not grieve. 
I can only say that I have to leave.
 To save our people I must go 
Way way down in the earth below!' 
And she replied 'You have my trust. 
You will only go if you really must.' 
Then, right there, before her eyes, 
Her husband, a great god in disguise, 
Sank through the ground and was suddenly gone, 
Nothing remained to gaze upon.  
His wife then knew that he had a plan 
And he never had been a mortal man. 
She sat and wept  with a mournful sound 
And her tears soon soaked the soil around. 
And, as she wept, a bright shoot grew 
Sprouting up all green and new. 
And, bit by bit, a breadfruit tree 
Grew up and up for all to see. 
And the people cried 'A breadfruit's growing! 
See how all the shoots are showing!'  
And they grabbed the shoots take away 
But they heard a voice from the ether say 
'If you plunder this breadfruit tree 
The way you act will anger me. 
I'll disappear, in the blink of an eye 
And you will all be left to die! 
But, if you wait till I'm fully grown, 
You can all have shoots of your very own.' 
And the people knew that a god was speaking, 
Bringing the food they had been seeking. 
They fell down and showed him their gratitude 
For all the abundance of breadfruit food. 
And the one tree prospered, and more beside, 
And breadfruit spread over the countryside. 
And the people were happy because they knew 
That this was the gift from the great god Ku.
A different sort of gardening magic here:

Neglected Hero

The name of David Unaipon was scarcely known it's true.

For he was Aboriginal and accolades were few.

But, in recent years, he's been recognised as someone to respect,
And Australia's endeavoured to make-up for its neglect.
In fact, he's thought so highly of that his portrait can be seen
Gracing our fifty-dollar notes! Almost like the Queen!
Born at a Christian mission, in eighteen seventy-two,
David grew up a writer, and an inventor too.
He studied his peoples' famous tool and the way it moved in flight.
This was, of course, the boomerang, which, when thrown exactly right,
Could whirl around and then return to precisely the selfsame place.
He pictured a type of flying machine for flying back to base.
He studied aerodynamics to better understand
How a simple tool could spin around and return to a waiting hand.
He soon designed a helicopter, and a patent was requested,
But he was Aboriginal; his claim was soon contested.
But undeterred he continued on, inventing day by day,
A radial wheel, and shearing tools to cut in a brand new way.
In all there were ten inventions, with patents asked for all,
But racism was rife back then; he just hit a brick wall.
Others stole his great ideas and he was left behind,
But history tells us he plowed on and didn't seem to mind.
He died in his nineties, very poor, and people were appalled.
The 'Australian Leonardo', now, he is often called!
He looks out from the bank notes with a very genial smile.
A very special gentleman who lived his life in style.

The Curse of Uluru

suggests the topic

Here is a typically Australian 'take' on the subject!

Imagine a pebble, one solid rock,
But enormous and gaunt and bare.
Imagine the wonderment that we feel
When we see it lying there!
In the morning sun and the evening glow
This 'pebble' shines brilliant red,
As the sky of central Australia
Burns bright blue overhead.
No wonder the tourists stand wide-eyed
At the vision that they see!
No wonder that some of them foolishly think
'I'll take a bit home with me!'
They chip off a piece and stow it away
Though they know, in their heart of hearts,
That legend forbids desecration!
And that's when the trouble starts!
For Uluru is sacred
To the tribes that live in that place
And climbing the Rock or stealing
Can bring about disgrace.
And, certainly, many tourists
Have felt the weight of the curse,
Suffering loss or illness
Or some things even worse.
And parcels are often arriving
From travellers feeling remorse
Returning the stolen pieces
To negate the powerful force.
And many's the uncanny story
Written-up in the local press,
Of tourists who've been afflicted
With pain and unappiness
All because they have flouted
The rules of this powerful place
And ignored the pleas of the Owners,
A proud and ancient race.
Who knows whether curses have power,
Who knows what is false and true,
But you're well-advised to play safe my friends
When you visit Uluru!
Another part of the Aboriginal story here:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Limits of Love!


The red rose whispers of passion
And the white rose breathes of love.
( Now I'll start the rhyming........
Above, dove, glove, and shove!)
You see how the English language
Limits romantic thought!
Let me turn to another language,
Of a truly poetic sort.
The red rose whispers of passion
And the white rose says 'amour.'
The French are certainly people
Who know what words are for!
So, continuing in this fashion let me tell you 'Je t'adore!'
You thrill me to my marrow!You thrill me to the core!
Loving you night and day, dear, would never be a chore!
I thought I loved Miranda but I love you so much more!
Let me whisper in your ear, love, and tell you what's in store.
You're sweeter than every sweetheart that ever came before!
I knew you were the answer when you first came through the door!
Every time we kiss, my love, I'm shouting out 'Encore!'
Now I finally realise what I was waiting for!
With your love to enrich my life I never would feel poor!
My heart beats fast because you're here and I know our love is sure.

(Oh dear! I heard the girl respond 'Get lost, Jacques! You're a bore!')

Snow Daughter

A Folk Tale from


Once upon a time there was a husband and his wife;
They loved each other dearly and they had a happy life,
But, sometimes, they felt rather sad and doleful and alone
For they didn't have a little son or daughter of their own.
Their neighbours all had families to cosset, love and hold;
Friends said 'You'll be so lonely when the two of you are old!'
They kept their secret sorrow buried deep down way inside,
But many times, at eventide, they just broke down and cried.
And then, one day, the snow came down and settled all around
And, all at once, they had a thought as they saw it on the ground!
'Since life's unkind' the husband said 'Let's make a child from snow!
At least we can pretend, my dear, and only we will know'.
They scooped the snow and built it high as a young child might be tall;
And then they fashioned arms and legs, and a body neat and small.
They made a face, sweet as can be, and even fashioned hair.
And the wife was heard to murmur 'Never child has been more fair!'
When she was done they lifted her and carried her indoors.
Where she stood in all her glory on the cottage's stone floors.
And, suddenly, oh joy of joys, the girl began to stir,
They heard a sweet voice murmuring and knew that it was her!
She stretched, she yawned, she sighed, she coughed, and, finally, she smiled!
Their little daughter from the snow had become a living child!
The neighbours' children welcomed her when they all came around,
For she was a delightful girl as everybody found.
No weather was too cold for her; she revelled in the snow,
Although her cheeks remained so white when theirs' began to glow.
They skated, went toboganning, built snowmen round and fat,
And the girl ran round in flimsy clothes, without a scarf or hat!
Then came the day when soil showed through where icy wastes had been,
And on the leafless trees appeared the smallest tinge of green.
The skies grew blue, the breeze grew warm, the sun shone every day
And everyone rejoiced because the Spring was on its way.
All except one certain child who bowed her head and cried.
Her parents said 'Poor little one! Something inside her's died!'
Then, one Spring night, some soldiers marched along the village track
A troop of snow-white soldiers! 'We have come to take her back!
We are the Snowflake Army! She dare not disobey!
Come little Daughter of the Snow, we must carry you away!'
They swept her up and carried her far into the mountain tops,
Where the snow is deep and bountiful and winter never stops.
Summer came to the valley and the fields were bathed in light,
And every living soul rejoiced because the sun was bright.
But in one house such anguish reigned, such bitter grief and woe,
Because, forever, they had lost their Daughter from the Snow.
But summers end as summers do, the air grew harsh and chill
And one wild night the couple heard a scratch at their window-sill.
'I have returned!' their daughter cried ' I love you, never fear!
And I will winter here with you during this and every year!
But when the air grows warmer and the flowers begin to grow
Then you must say a fond farewell to your Daughter from the Snow.'
And so they lived throughout their lives, unhappy in the sun,
But their winters were a time of bliss until their lives were done.

Australian snow here:

Blue Rain

suggests this title.

The photograph suggests a haiku.


The heaviness of beauty
Falling down
Liquid petals; blue-lit magic.

More garden magic here:

Sunday Diary

June 28th

This week has been dominated by World News, chiefly by the continuing problems in Iran, and by the death of Michael Jackson. Regarding the former tragedy, I am reminded of the era when the Shah was deposed, the big difference being that the eyes of the world are on such siuations these days. As for Michael Jackson, he always seemed like a child in some ways (though amazingly mature in his talent.) Since he never had a normal childhood, I think he was more to be pitied than blamed for his bizarre behaviour and the world has lost an enormous talent.

The Australian news was dominated by a row in Parliament over a forged email. The subject of this was the possibility that the Treasurer had arranged special favours for a 'mate', but the email proved to be false and insults have been hurled backwards and forwards all week. Locally, we have had the sad case of a seven year old autistic girl being starved to death by her parents. I can't understand how the authorities and the neighbours allowed such a dreadful thing to happen!

I have had a busy week. Last Sunday I took part in a classical concert at Morpeth, a little country town in the Valley. It was almost entirely instrumental and I think I was asked along as light relief. Even so I toned-down my program and included some serious items. I presented my poems from the lectern, which felt a little odd. My father would be turning in his grave! Here we are taking our bows and receiving our gifts.
We had our monthly Probus meeting on Monday. The Guest Speaker was a Lecturer in Photography from the University. He's had several books published and his talk was about taking photographs in Mexico. No doubt his shots are very artistic, but a lot of them were intentionally blurred or misty to add a sense of urgency and I must say I would have preferred something a little more conventional. I'm showing my Happy Snaps next month and they'll be very different! In the afternoon we had Choir Practice and Lois and Pam agreed to our using folders in future so that was a small victory!

On Tuesday I had yet another brush with religion when I did an hour's Poetry Reading for the Cathedral Social Group. We were in the Vestry too. I included some solemn items once again, but the members were all very relaxed. The refreshments were a disappointment as we'd had a delightful home-cooked party on Sunday and this was a cardboard-cup affair which I didn't expect!

On Wednesday we went by train to Woy Woy on the Central Coast, to visit old friends, Fran and John. John has been ill for months so we were pleased to see him looking improved in health. We went early so I could take some photographs of the area. The weather had looked dreary on our way but it absolutely sparkled when we got there! 
Malcolm took the photo of me below while we were there. Note the red jacket. It's my new winter warmer. It makes me feel very cheerful and I'll probably wear it in every photo for the next three months!
On Thursday I spent the day with Rebecca and Max as usual, but this time Brian came along as he was off-duty. Max calls him 'Bum' which sounds a little odd when we're speaking to him in public because we've all latched-on to the name! 'Bum' and Max had a great time throwing stones into the water.
Also on Thursday I received an unusual parcel from my friend Margaret. She has saved letters from friends over the years and she decided to send mine to me, knowing that they would interest my family more than hers. Mine date from 1948, when I was still at school so I'm going to enjoy reading them bit by bit. As you can see, the parcel is quite bulky!
The melodrama rehearsal on Friday was a bit of a fizzer. There were several people away again  (on Grandmother duty mostly) and I'm more and more coming round to the idea that I need to simplify my plays for this group, since the logistics seem to trip us up.

Saturday was a working day. I did my Sunday chores because I'll be busy preparing Greg's birthday lunch tomorrow. I did a Big Shop and I took this photo at one of the fruit shops because I'm interested to know how prices compare. I think we'll find ours are rather high.

I also had to write my Secretary's report for the Speaker's AGM and re-write the melodrama we're rehearsing next week, adding in suggestions from the other 'girls'!!!

So ends another week.


Desert Demons

He was strolling through the desert as intrepid as can be,
When he was attacked by Monoliths as you can plainly see.
They may look rather featureless and harmless from their backs,
But if they turned around I'm sure they'd stop you in your tracks!
Great gaping mouths, and jagged teeth, with lots of fresh  blood dripping.
I tell you, in a horror film you'd find them simply gripping!
But Malcolm is so fearless that he didn't turn a hair
When one of them came up to him he said to it 'Stop there!'
With just one powerful hand he held the ghastly brute at bay,
He stood right in it's shadow and merely shouted 'Stay!'
(He'd tried it out on dogs before so he knew the technique worked!)
The Monolith was so surprised it quivered and it jerked.
So that is how we got away! No Demon could catch us!
We found the other tourists and just got back on the bus!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Champion Knitter

drew my attention to her piece about her mother.

It was so charming I had to 'versify' it.


See the gentle lady sitting,
Knitting, knitting, knitting, knitting.
Making Nino a dress I think
It's very pretty in blue and pink.
Starting as a young girl bride
She took knitting in her stride.
In sixty years she's made them all....
Dress and bonnet, coat and shawl.
Knitting really lovely pieces
For husbands, cousins, friends and nieces.
Wool that's chunky, wool that's fine;
Everything to her own design.
More great-grandchildren on the way?
A layette started that very day!
Slip-stitch-over, plain and pearl;
She made a dress for this little girl.
For sure she stood-out in a crowd
And made her Mother very proud.
How very lucky the children are
To have a knitter just like Ma!
Years may pass but the memory lingers
Of such hard-working knitting fingers!

A memory of my own mother here:

Death by Drowning


The illustration on
inspired me to find an 'Ophelia' illustration.

This it.


In every picture that I've seen
Ophelia looks neat and clean
Laid out in a tidy way
Unruffled by the river spray.
Always clutching to her heart
A bunch of flowers, works of art.
Nothing ugly, nothing crude,
Nothing of a morbid mood.
She's always floating with her face,
Still alight with warmth and grace,
Pointing upward to the sky,
Like Dresden China, smooth and dry.
But I have found this little gem
Showing the green weeds round her hem,
Showing her face all pale and wan
As it would be when life had gone.
Her hair is streaming out behind,
Her gown falls loose, all unconfined.
She is drifting on the tide
Like a corpse and not a bride.
The picture's morbid, but, for me,
There's a powerful sense of reality.

An interesting fact about Ophelia here:

Acrostic Elegy

I have returned to a recent topic inspired by the Acrostic suggestion from


Musical to the very enth degree!
Idolised by the people of his age.
Charismatic? Very certainly!
His albums were, undoubtedly, the rage!
As a child he suffered and it left him scarred.
Each beating somehow seared upon his brain.
Love came, but much of it was marred
Joy never lingered quite as long as pain.
Although we saw him moon-walk in our dreams
Cold morning showed a strangely mask-like face.
Kindness and sweetness, nothing more, it seems,
Soon ended in the dock and deep disgrace.
Only his picture for us to recall
Now that the music's ended for us all.

Deprived Childhood!

suggests an item about a

This is about one I never had!


I never had a Shirley Temple Doll!
That's why I'm such a crazy mixed-up pensioner!
Shirley Temple was the icon to extol.
I still go weak if anyone should mention her!
For she was such a perfect little girl,
With her dimples and her pretty curly hair!
She could tap-dance, she could curtsy, she could twirl!
All in all I felt that life was hardly fair!
But if I had had a Shirley Temple toy,
Some of the magic might have come my way.
And so I tried out every female ploy
Nagging my parents each and every day!
'All the other little girls I know have one! It's true!
I'm the only one without one that's for sure!
If I don't get one I don't know what I'll do!'
On and on I'd go with many an encore!
So my Mother bought a 'Shirley Temple' dress!
It said it on the label at the store.
So, in a way, I had a small success.
Though it never really evened up the score.
My life has been deprived, as you can see,
And I very nearly turned to alcohol!
Are there any others out there just like me
Who were denied a Shirley Temple Doll?

Here I am in my consolation dress!

Another doll-centred piece here:




We were driving through the country-side
When 'Stop here!' everybody cried.
And that was when we parked beside
A London Bus!
Not bright and shiny, startling red,
But battered and pale green instead.
'Wish it could talk' somebody said;
'That London Bus.'
Did it once ply those London streets,
Passing Bobbies on their beats,
Carrying pimps and thieves and cheats,
That London Bus?
Then, did it grow a little old,
So it was left out in the cold,
And, finally, tragically, it was sold,
That London Bus?
Then, did a slouch-hat business-man,
Come with a quite convenient plan,
To lengthen the life with a further span
For that London Bus?
'I'll take it to old Sydney Town,
Where it can still run up and down!
Maybe I'll even paint it brown!
That London Bus!'
And did they put it on a ship,
For a very long and arduous trip,
With many a rise and deep-wave dip,
That London Bus?
Did it traverse another city
Where people thought it very pretty,
Though not bright red, and more's the pity,
That London Bus.
Then, I suppose, came Farmer Giles,
When it had driven a million miles;
'I'll take it on' he said with smiles;
That London Bus.
'What a good hen-house it will make!
Though the Australian sun will bake,
And it may meet the occasional snake!
That London Bus.
But soon there came insidious rust.
The Farmer stomped his foot and cussed.
'I'll let it rot, because I must,
That London Bus.'
That's how we saw it, high and dry,
Mocked by the people passing by,
What a slow old, terrible way to die
For a London Bus.
But sometimes I'm sure its windows gleam
When, in reverie it starts to dream
Of London streets where people teem,
That London Bus.

Some old things are treasured here:

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Journey!

Brittany Hawkins

A Fellow Blogger
created this jolly elephant.

I felt he deserved to have his story told.


Major was an elephant with ideas above his station.
To see the world from up above, that was his inclination.
He padded round his zoo enclosure looking at the sky,
Thinking sadly ' Why is it that elephants don't fly?'
He asked his Keeper one fine day and earned this sharp retort...
' Take it from me, old Major, you're just not the flying sort!'
His friend, Giraffe, spoke kindly, and said 'Your trunk is great!
Many another creature would like to share your fate!
Like my long neck, you have a gift that sets you quite apart!
Many a bird would like a trunk but doesn't break its heart!
It just accepts that elephants have trunks and birds have wings,
And lots of other animals have lots of other things.
Look to the earth, dear Major, and see the glories there.'
But Major kept on brooding, gazing up into the air.
He really pined, he hung his head, he went right off his food,
And thoughts of flying in the sky would constantly intrude.
He started wobbling on his legs and looking really sick,
Till his Keeper said 'To the Hospital! And make it double quick!
The traffic's heavy on the roads! I doubt if we'd get by!
Oh what an awful pity that an elephant can't fly!'
'I know' cried Danny, the young boy who worked around the yard,
'Let's tie him to a big balloon! It wont be very hard!'
So they rang up a Balloon Man, who came there very quickly,
When they told him that an elephant was looking very sickly.
They harnessed Major carefully, as the people gathered there,
And very soon that elephant was sailing through the air.
They even supplied a telescope for looking at the view,
And he held it in his trunk as only elephants can do!
He saw the sea, he saw the ground, he saw the earth below,
But the big balloon, blown by the wind, started drifting to and fro!
It twirled around, it bounced a bit, it didn't miss a trick
And soon poor Major bellowed out 'I'm getting travel sick!'
So they brought him back down to the zoo, and he stood there looking shaken!
He said 'I always longed to fly but I was much mistaken!
I wont be silly any more; I'll eat and I'll get strong!
I know now I'm an elephant and I know where I belong!
I belong with four feet on the ground, with the members of my herd.
I'm glad that I'm an elephant and not a little bird!'

Another account gleaned from another Blogger here:

Goodbye Little Michael.


He's making a sign saying 'It's O.K.'
But that is not our mood today.
We say 'farewell' to a talented boy
Who brought the whole world very much joy.
However his future came to pass
He was a performer with style and class.
Without a doubt he was too young to die.
Michael Jackson, we say 'Goodbye'.

Another short, blemished life here:

Leon Day!

(How could you!)


I hear it's just been 'LEON DAY'!
What will they think of next?
The concept gets me in a spin
And feeling rather vexed!
LEON spelled backwards says 'NOEL'
And Noel's the Christmas season.
Leon Day marks halfway there!
So now I know the reason.
I'm not yet over last year!
Is this year on its way?
Is now the time to start the stress
Of another Christmas Day!
I'll like it when I get there
But at least let me relax
Into the middle of the year
Without the panic attacks!
Should I start packing presents?
Should I write a Christmas card?
Should I start to string the pretty lights
All round about the yard?
Dickens has much to answer for!
Tiny Tim sealed our fate!
Just for now let nothing happen!
I'm going to hibernate!

The mood continues here:

Perfect Palette



The trees stand up like brushes
Against the morning sky.
We can almost hear them thinking
Which colour shall I try?'
The palette is so varied,
It must make them all rejoice.
Count the colours if you can.
You'll see they're spoilt for choice.

Beauty of a more subtle kind here:


suggests this word


Curmudgeon! You couldn't be ruder!
Aiming a gun at each intruder!
Never saying a pleasant word!
Totally, nastily absurd!
Always looking out for fights!
Never forgetting about your rights!
Kicking down doors and throwing stones!
Each day full of snarls and moans.
Rudeness never wins the day;
Old man! We're going on our way!
Useless to shout your silly threats!
Stop your angry epithets!

A different sort of anger here: