Sunday, October 31, 2010




The rain has pelted down this year,
Allaying all our fears.
The water in Queensland's dams, they say,
Will last for twenty years!
But before that came ten years of drought;
The grass grew sparse and brown,
And little 'Japanese' gardens
Sprouted all over town.
At first I found them 'clinical',
For lush green lawns I was craving;
They seemed to say, too blatantly,
'Look! We're water-saving!'
But I have grown to like them;
They look so calm and neat.
And the shadows cast by rocks and plants
Make the picture quite complete.
We're making a 'Japanese' garden
In our little courtyard space.
Even with rain pouring down
They ameliorate the place.



This-morning I had to run a session
For sinners needing a confession.
In my parish there's so much sin
I can scarcely fit them in!
A double-windowed booth is needed,
So two at a time can be acceded!
The village is rife with lust and crime
So listening takes up all my time!
An elderly gentleman came in first
Whispering something about his thirst!
It seems he'd been drinking to excess;
It relieved his spirit to confess.
He comes in often with this old story,
Hoping that he will 'go to glory'
If he admits he's out of line.
Then off he goes to drink more wine!
As he droned on with the same old list....
Brandy, whiskey, nothing missed....
I sensed a movement to my right
There, in the shadows, out of sight.
A pretty girl, all swathed in black
Came close and whispered in the crack.
And, my! That was a revelation!
She was in a tricky situation,
Involving the local Mayor no less!
She'd disgusting items to confess!
Also involved was the Mayor's son!
I can't tell you the terrible things she'd done!
Of course, I'm innocent as the day
But I had to take note of the things she'd say.
I frequently asked for repetition,
To reinforce the girl's contrition.
And, if I required an explanation,
I'd delve into her motivation.
'That's not quite clear' I'd whisper low;
'There's so much more I need to know.'
Other parishioners, there, were waiting,
And the poor young girl kept hesitating.
'Don't be afraid' I gently said;
Then 'Did you defile the marriage bed?'
Confession's normally over soon,
But we lingered until afternoon!
(The man admitting inebriation,
Gave-up, on viewing the situation.)
She went home cleansed, a holier soul,
Innocent, unblemished, whole.
But I said, for I know the ways of men,

'Come back, dear, if it happens again!'



The words in blue are the first words of Daphne du Maurier's 'Rebecca' *


'Last night I dreamt......' now there's a phrase
That I use very rarely.
You see, I hardly ever dream
So Life's treated me unfairly!
Of course, I dream or so I'm told,
But I just have no recall.
Where others see a mural,
I have a blank black wall!
Friends tell me of romantic nights
In the arms of famous stars!
Or they drive to exotic places
In expensive motor-cars!
Or they're six again, or ten, or three,
Or even twenty-one!
Or, in their dreams, they play tennis,
Or swim, or vault or run!
As soon as my head hits the pillow
The velvet curtain falls.
No time to even read a book
Or gaze at my four walls.
In a second it's tomorrow
And the sun is shining brightly!
This is the story of my life
And it's repeated nightly!
So I have no adventures,
And nothing at all that's mystic!
All is terribly here and now
And utterly realistic!
I've had a couple of nightmares
The result of indigestion!
But I didn't care for those at all!
Utterly out of the question!
Am I grateful for my dreamless sleep?
In a way it's quite a boon,
But I have to say that morning
Often arrives too soon!
And I have to say I feel cheated
Out of all the sounds and sights
That inhabit the dreams of the dreamers
During wild and colourful nights!
What if I wrote a novel
And the opening line should be
'Last night I never dreamt at all.....
Not even of Manderley!'
*Note: this book is the reason I have a daughter called Rebecca! It was only later I realised I'd given her the name of the villain!



Oh the romance of it! I could weep
When I see this gorgeous Lover's Leap!
Weep with joy that such emotion
Such desire and such devotion
Could lead to gymnastics such as this;
All, maybe, for one brief kiss!
I never inspired a man or boy
To demonstrate this; a jump for joy.
I was lucky if they shuffled,
If their romantic words were muffled,
If they seemed a bit half-hearted
When romance (with a small 'r') started.
I was grateful for a peck,
Though I hoped for pearls around my neck!
But dangerous thoughts stopped me from sleeping;
Dreams of young men wildly leaping!
They never did, but I'm consoled
By the fact that not all this tale is told.....
When she's frowsty, lined and plump,
Will he still jump when she says 'Jump!'

Blue Barrier


Something's going on behind the barrier
But I've no idea what I must confess!
I peered to see construction,
Or a difficult obstruction,
But I could only make a stab and guess.
Was it put there to delight a passing artist
Who desired a 'colour-wash' to set a scene?
Did it protect the tree,
Which, as far as I could see,
Was wonderfully sturdy and quite green.
Ah well, I'll just accept it as peculiar,
And move off again just wandering on my way.
But my Blog will benefit
From the colour scheme of it,
I needed something blue for my Blue Day.



Coca-Cola is something that most of us have seen,
But did you know that, in the past, it was coloured green!
Mohammed is the favourite name for little boys at birth;
There are more Mohammeds that anyone else on earth!
You've used it when you've chattered; you've used it when you've sung;
The strongest muscle that you've got is the one we call the tongue.
Butterflies taste nectar with the bottoms of their feet;
That's why the insides of their shoes always taste so sweet!
It's been proved that elephants don't know how to jump!
If they could it's certain that they wouldn't be so plump!
So stop looking as puzzled as the fellow at the top!
You can look relieved instead for this is where I

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Just In Case

                                    Margaret Gosden



A friend of mine
Whose work is fine
Published this shot one day.
An invisible breeze
Meant that pegs like these
Had to stop things flying away!
You can feel the blow,
Bustling to and fro,
Umbrellas taking the strain,
While the pegs take a trip
Keeping up their grip
And hoping it doesn't rain.
I hope this proves
A still photo moves
When shot in a certain way.
How dull it would be
If the scene we see
Were shot on a still, clear day!

See more of Margaret's photography at



View the lake when on the land;
Sameness spreads on every hand.
A brilliant hue but almost bland,
So unrevealing.
View the lake from up on high!
See reflections of the sky,
Even clouds that are passing by!
Much more appealing!

How many colours can you see
From this aloft reality?
Three? Or maybe fifty-three?
All hidden treasure!
Ancient man never saw this sight;
Only birds in their soaring flight,
Saw the shallows picked-out, bright.
What a modern pleasure!

Deep in Thought



The thoughts of another are unfathomable.
The brilliant garden is unseen
As the mind wanders private pathways.



Marlene gazed at Wesley, looking him up and down;
They'd just returned from a night out at a restaurant in the town.
They'd met their friends and wined and dined; and now the hour was late;
Thought Wesley 'Marlene's in the mood! And I can hardly wait!'
Marlene moved up to Wesley in a rather sultry way.
And Wesley thought 'Well, now we come to the end of a perfect day!'
'Darling' murmured Marlene 'Has anyone ever said
That you're God's gift to women?'....(That's exactly what she said!)
Wesley laughed 'No!!!!'  And Marlene spat, with more than a hint of spite,
'Then why did you act as though you were when we were out tonight?'

Friday, October 29, 2010




'She looks back over her shoulder';
Oh what a chilling phrase!
For it's not the things we see in front
That haunt our nights and days.
It's always the 'thing' that slyly creeps
Behind us that we fear;
The footstep stopping when we stop,
Yet moving ever near.
The hairs on our neck tell the story;
They rise as the 'thing' draws nigh;
We turn, but we cannot see it.
It is clever, it is sly.
We don't fear the road we're treading,
Or whatever may lie ahead;
It's that which lurks behind us
That fills us all with dread.
'She looks back over her shoulder';
I wonder what she will find....
A fiend? A ghost? A killer?
Or her own over-fevered mind?


The 'Dawn Comes Up Like Thunder' as Kipling used to say.
And I can almost hear it roar at the breaking of the day.
The artificial lamps of night are still up there, aglow,
But the rising sun is putting on a more magnificent show!
The puny artifacts of man are dwarfed by the great sphere!
We must accept the adjective..... compared to the sun we're........'mere'.

Country Station


Destination, homecoming.
Welcoming, calming, mellow.
Someone to meet me.

A Re-enactment 


They called it 'Tootle Rock' for the words slipped off the tongue,
But it was known as Toot Hill in the days when the world was young.
A flat rock jutted out above the valley far below,
In a way that urged me to take a stone and give it a mighty throw!
I listened for the falling, and, finally came the thud,
As it landed far below me, 'plop!', down in the river's mud.
I pretended I was Icarus, though I didn't dare to fly!
I felt so poised, so elevated, free and young and high.
They told me of the legend that added to its charms;
How Oliver Cromwell came there in the days when he took up arms.
How the Roundheads perched their canon exactly where I sat,
Above the river on a rock that was firm and table-flat.
Someone showed me indentations that, surely, the canon made,
And I felt I heard the warlike cries and I saw a flash of blade!
What a way to learn of history! Even if the tale were false?
It was the 'feel' that mattered, more than any history course
The View from Tootle Rock

Thursday, October 28, 2010




Emma and Annie Wilson...... as alike as two little peas.
People would say 'Which one is which? Can you tell us please?'
When they were born the midwife said 'It's utterly uncanny!
There isn't the slightest difference between little Emma and Annie!'
Both with dimples and red hair, both with bouncing curls;
People would often marvel at the two identical girls.
At school they had a lot of fun, playing silly games;
Getting the other girls to guess which were their right names!
They grew into very gorgeous girls, tall and slim and charming,
With a lovely way about them, which people found disarming.
Frederick Mason certainly found the two of them entrancing;
He met them at a local ball where everyone watched them dancing.
Indeed, they were so graceful, so lissom and so sweet
That Frederick Mason found that he was swept right off his feet!
But which twin should he aim for, when both were so divine?
'Which twin' thought Frederick Mason, 'Is the one I shall make mine?'
As luck would have it he'd noticed a small mole behind Emma's ear!
'I'll make a play for Emma and make my intentions clear.'
Now Emma and Annie were so alike that their affections were the same;
Both had fallen for Frederick and longed to make a claim.
Annie was heartbroken when Frederick favoured Emma;
In fact I'd have to say she was on the horns of a dilemma.
One night, in their double bed, planning the wedding day
Emma and Annie lay side by side, in their normal friendly way.
When, suddenly, Annie could take no more! It hadn't been contemplated!
But she suddenly grabbed a pillow and poor Emma was suffocated!
When Annie looked at her lifeless twin her heart broke right in two!
'Emma! Emma!' she wept and wailed; 'I can't live without you!
You've been my other half so long I can't go on alone!'
And she began to tear her hair, and scream and cry and moan.
The window was propped open. With one last hopeless shout,
Annie staggered to the window and then threw herself out!
When the servants came in the morning, this is what they found.....
Emma lifeless in her bed; Annie lifeless on the ground.
The funeral of the lovely twins was the talk of all the town.
As for Frederick Mason....he married Sarah Brown!



The book-years were so full of 'stuff',
Never, never time enough,
Children, work, and some duress,
Always wanting to progress.
Those years seem rather dog-eared now,
Condensed versions anyhow.
Some are tattered, best unread,
Some live on inside my head.
Well-thumbed pages, part-torn covers,
Remembered friends, forgotten lovers....
All a sort of jumble, really
That I can't remember clearly.

But, oh the BOOKENDS! They're what counts!
Life, in glorious amounts.
On the left there is the child,
Laughing free and running wild.
A girl with all the world before her;
Expecting people to adore her.
Sure and certain life would be
A great and glorious fantasy.
And, on the right, the end result,
Which often makes my heart exult.
To near the end a child again
Almost as I was back then!
Free from all those careworn pages
That seemed to mark my 'middle-ages'!
Second-childhood? Here's a child
Still 'laughing free and running wild'!
Freed from rules and obligations,
Surrounded by my dear relations,
Yes, my friends, it seems to me
A 'Bookend' is the thing to be!

Green Battle


Fragile. rampant. tremor.


We take miracles for granted in this technological age;
Something's a Nine Days' Wonder then ho-hum.
We forget that we are privileged to see the things we see;
We accept that there are greater things to come.
Of all the generations that have lived upon this earth,
Only ours has seen the wonders that we see;
Plants in the act of growing! Flowers opening-up!
Made possible by slow photography!
Before this time we would pass a hedge and see climbers that had climbed;
They were so still and fragile  and benign;
Maybe there'd be a tremor as a little breeze passed by
But of 'tooth and claw' there wasn't any sign.
But now we know they're rampant, quite determined as they climb,
Trampling over each other in the fight,
Pushing other plants away, strangling them, indeed,
Determined they'll be first to reach the light!
We see these miracles on our screens, and miracles they are;
We yawn and say 'I've seen all that before.'
But sometimes we should pause and think how wonderful it is
That we're the first to study Nature's war!



A Preacher, on his day off, went hunting for wild boar
Little knowing what a dreadful fate was waiting there, in store.
Suddenly a bear loomed up; its jaws were open wide!
'Make this bear a Christian!' the luckless Preacher cried!
He cast his eyes to Heaven! He fell down on his knees!
'Put Christian thoughts in this great bear's mind, Lord, I ask you, please!'
And the Lord saw fit to grant his wish, responding to his prayer....
'For what we are about to receive may the Lord...........
(That was the bear!)

The Elements


Tumbling waves and churning clouds vying with each other
Ships sailing steadily, slowly passing through.
A lonely surfer pits his strength against the boiling elements,
Rejoicing to be elemental too.



As I sat drinking iced coffee I watched the passers-by,
With a critical and, shall we say, a sharp sardonic eye.
Malcolm was stuck in a man-style shop, seeking a 'crimping' tool,
And he takes his time about such things, I can tell you, as a rule!
So I thought I'd play a private game, related to 'I Spy.'
As I watched the throng of variegated people passing by.
'Would I swap with you....or you....or you....or you?' I pondered,
As they scuttled, drifted, hung-around or just, without aim, wandered.
Here was one so old and bent by comparison I felt youthful!
And here was one all angular; I like 'plump', to be truthful!
Here was one weighed down with cares, her mouth a downward arc.
Here was one who probably earned her living after dark!
Here was a schoolgirl, blithe and gay, with all her life before her;
With all those examinations; I was certain they would bore her.
Here was a mother and screaming kids! I couldn't live that again!
And here was a suffering creature, hobbling in great pain.
I'm an ordinary woman, approaching the end of life;
An ordinary mother and an ordinary wife.
And I sometimes feel downhearted when I think I've been deceived,
Reaching this stage and finding very little's been achieved.
But a little self-analysis works wonders, I have found.
So, if you ever get the blues, simply look around.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bank on It!



The Yarra isn't bountiful, the Yarra isn't wide;
It's really quite industrial, with buildings on each side,
But, as it flows through Melbourne, it allows a breathing space,
A quiet little corner, a pleasant slower pace.
It's here the rowers come each day, all feathering their oars,
Sometimes in crews quite numerous, and, sometimes, only fours.
The river's lined with boat-sheds, attractive buildings too,
Each of them assigned, it seems, to one particular crew.
The Yarra isn't bountiful, the Yarra isn't large,
But it is very pleasant to sit there and re-charge.
The citizens of Melbourne are happy and give thanks
Because the Yarra River has such very pleasant banks.
Melbourne University boat-shed.


The Bogey Hole. Newcastle. 


Today we'd call this man a jerk!
A really nasty piece of work!
A soldier with a very cruel mentality.
His victims came here on a cruise
(Without the parties and the booze)
And all they found was dastardly brutality.

His name was Major Morisset,
A name remembered even yet,
And they were Convicts mired up in his jails.
In Newcastle he had his way.
Cursed were those who had to stay
Under his thumb in old-time New South Wales.

One day, while strolling by the sea
He thought 'It would be good for me
To have a private pool that I could use.
These waves are rather high and rough
They're just not quiet and calm enough.
A pool cut in the rocks, that's what I'd choose.'

So he chose a platform made of stone
Where he could bathe and swim alone,
And the convicts came with axes and with picks.
In a line he made them stand,
With implements that came to hand,
Some made for hoeing ground or cutting bricks.

The rocks were hard, the men were weak,
And feeble was their whole technique;
But Major Morisset brooked no denial.
He had men whipped when they were slow;
The hole began to spread and grow,
He saw that he would soon relax in style.

And now we see this crystal pool
Looking inviting, deep and cool,
And we view it as a touristy attraction.
Forgetting that men toiled and bled,
And many of them dropped down dead,
Just to give one tyrant satisfaction.

It's known now as The Bogey Hole
Memorial to many a soul
Who suffered under Major Morisset.
Those convicts live in memory
Here, in our city by the sea.
We owe them all a deep and lasting debt.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Orphrey Nice


Centuries old, this chasuble displays an orphrey cross.
The meaning wasn't clear at first; I was really at a loss.
But now I know that orphrey is religious decoration
It's embroidery of a certain type, as in the illustration.
Think of the Parish women, working night and day
To make sure that the local Priest was dressed a certain way!
Think of the gold and silver, and all that warp and weft!
Think of the needles flashing; those old hands swift and deft!
What was the purpose of it ? I think I understand......
Expensive ornamentation made the cleric appear more grand.
Was it all 'For the Glory of God' or for something far, far less,
Something nearer humanity.....something far from holiness?
I speak of self-aggrandisemen. I speak of human pride.
I speak of human-nature, which cannot be denied.
No doubt the Church gave rise to beauty which we cherish now;
Glorious Cathedrals..... that I will allow.
But I think of the embroiderers, the stone-masons, the poor,
Who had such lives of poverty, and brevity, what's more.
Read the description which follows...... the lavishness will amaze!
And ask yourself, when you've read it 'Were they really  
The Good Old Days?'

Description of the above work.
"Orphrey Cross: linen, plain weave; embroidered with silk floss and gilt- and-silvered-animal-substrate-wrapped linen in bullion, outline, satin, and split stitches; laid work, couching and padded couching; orphrey braid: silk and silver-gilt strip wound around silk fiber core, plain weave, open work with weft deviations; fringe: silk and gold-gilt-strip wound around silk fiber core, warp-faced plain weave with extended ground weft and supplementary patterning weft uncut fringe off one edge."



I'm glad I'm not a Pollywog!
A tadpole's insecure
From day to day
It can never say
How it's going to look, for sure.

It starts off as a roundish blob,
But then it grows a tail!
When it looks around
The tail is found
And it says 'Wow! I'm a whale!'

Very soon two arms are sprouting.
He's amazed by what he's seeing!
He holds them there
Up in the air
Shouting 'I'm a human being!'

But the two legs prove that that's not right
And he sees them sprout, brand new,
Double-jointed, long
And very strong'
So he says 'I'm a kangaroo!'

But the worst is yet to happen!
His tail begins to itch,
Then it starts to ache
And finally break
And he leaves it in a ditch.

Feeling really puzzled,
He climbs up on a log.
Then he starts to croak
And sees the joke;
'I get it! I'm a frog!'

Monday, October 25, 2010

Amazing Grace

The lissom, young and elegant,
Who move with easy grace;
Whose bodies follow music
To a light, unwordly place,
Fill us with joy and tenderness;
They flutter and they rise,
But there's another sort of grace
That fills us with surprise.
It's the grace of the stout lady
When she decides to sway,
With her roly-poly rippling
And her personal ballet!
She looks 'stately a galleon'*
As she moves around the floor,
With an amazing amplitude
And affinity with the score.
African ladies have it,
That billowing-bosomed pleasure
In unselfconscious glory,
Treating plumpness as a treasure. 
Their gracefulness does not depend
On dieting and rigour
Much of it wells up from within;
An almost holy vigour.
I love to see fat ladies dance;
They put a smile upon my face!
May they forever move and sway
With their own delicious grace!
* A phrase from Joyce Grenfell, one of my favourite poets and entertainers.



Today, a visiting beautician
Came to our club on a mighty mission;
To improve the looks of the elderly!
And the make-over model they chose was me!
Now I feel slightly over-done
But the whole experience was fun,
And you must agree the result was magic!
My everyday face looks rather tragic!




Aim: to tell a story in fewer than 140 characters.

We had a reunion in the park
And drowned old Lawrence for a lark!
Now we're regretting his decease!
Don't look now! Here come the Police!



Tom worked at the grocery check-out to earn some extra cash.
And he found some customers difficult, boorish, morose or brash.
He was used to being tactful and letting such matters pass,
Though he sometimes found situations tended to verge on farce.
But he wasn't prepared for Elvira, who stood in the line one day!
For one thing she had no manners, pushing others out of the way.
Her voice was harsh and screeching, expletives she kept bawling,
Her language was from the gutter and her manners were appalling.
Two little boys were with her, one was six and one was nine;
They were squabbling and pushing and fighting in the line.
Elvira slapped them round the ears, and shouted 'Shut your face!'
All in all the family was an absolute disgrace.
At last they reached the check-out and Tom had had enough;
He knew this certain customer would make his job more tough.
'Get on with it!' Elvira cried 'I can't stand here all day!'
And that's when Tom decided on exactly what he'd say,
For he knew he must say something to even up the score.....
And so he said ' You have two boys. They must be twins for sure!'
'Twins!' yelled Elvira, spluttering, 'Are you right off your head!
Can't you see one's older! You're an idiot!' she said.
'What made you say a thing like that! You're talking stupid rot!
Can't you see Brad's nine years old and Damien is not!'
Then came Tom's very pointed remark; (all right, it isn't nice!)
'I just can't believe that anyone could ever make love to you twice!'

A Red Rag!


Like a red rag to a bull is the suggestion
That Spain relinquish it's most famous sport!
But is it entertainment? That's the question.
And is it justified? There is the thought.
Most of us eat meat and that means killing,
We hope it's done humanely, that's for sure.
But there are some who find it really thrilling
To see the scarlet life-blood on the floor.
Look at the creature's eyes in my illustration;
There's panic and there's anguish in that gaze!
While the audience, agog with fascination,
Just showers the matador with fulsome praise!
The Romans were past-masters of the gory;
An Amphitheatre held a yelling throng.
They considered killing part of Roman glory
And no-one thought that anything was wrong.
But still, for all our bold civilization,
Animal Welfare groups are well-aware
That, unchecked, people have a cruel fixation,
To taunt two fighting-cocks or tease a bear.
That's why it pleases me that Spain has voted
(Well, sadly it is only just a part)
To have the sport of bull-fighting demoted
(Not everyone agrees but it's a start.)
There are other ways for men to prove virility!
There are other ways to call-forth the applause.
Let's show the animals civilized civility!
Let's support the Anti Bull-fight cause!

(To the melody of 'Thank Heaven for Little Girls.')

Thank Heaven for little boys!
They grow up in a disappointing way.
Thank Heaven for little boys!
They turn out to be wrinkled old and grey.
Their eyes of baby blue were so disarming,
But now they're kind of pink instead and not so charming.
Thank Heaven for little boys!
Though their physique has gone to pot,
And though their blood's no longer hot,
Without them what would little girls do?
Thank Heaven for little boys!
They have a bit of trouble with their knees!
Thank Heaven for little boys!
Their heavy breathing comes out as a wheeze!
Their hair was once so curly and seductive,
But when you stroke a balding bloke it's unproductive!
Thank heaven for little boys!
Though their passion, you will find,
Is often only in their mind,
Without them what would little girls do?
Thank Heaven for little boys!
They haven't aged as well as vintage wine!
Thank Heaven for little boys!
Are these the boys that said we were divine?
Their teeth once flashed the way to mad adventures,
But now they lack a certain knack without their dentures!
Thank heaven for little boys!
As the years pass, it appears,
They grow long whiskers in their ears!
But without them what would little girls do?
Thank heaven for little boys!
How fortunate that we've not changed a bit!
Thank heaven for little boys!
We're still so slender, beautiful and fit.
We have no need of hair-dye or of make-up:
We look so absolutely perfect when we wake up.
Thank heaven for little boys!
For all of us agree
That we still love your company,
For, without you, what would little girls do?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

No Ifs or Buts

The words in blue are the first words of Rupert Brooke's War poem 'The Soldier.'



'IF I should die........!'
Change that first word to 'When',
Unless, of course, you're not like other men!
There's no point having a little chortle,
Laughing and saying 'Hang on! I'm immortal!'
It's pretty certain you'll turn up your toes
And go the way that everybody goes!
If Einstein, with a brain excelling yours,
With cleverness oozing out of all his pores,
Couldn't work out a way to stay alive,
What makes you think that you will still survive?
No, the word is 'When'; accept the fact
And do not dream that you will stay intact!
'Think ONLY this of me......'.
 Why just one thought?
I want the world to be unhinged, distraught!
I want my closest friends to meditate
Daily upon my death and mark the date
With solemn thoughts and pleasant reveries,
A hundred thousand lovely memories!
Of course, I understand that wont occur;
They'll simply pause and then respond 'Oh....her!'
They'll carry-on as though I never was
And that thought really angers me, because
Why should anything at all, on earth, go on
If the reason for its being...... me...... has gone?
Rupert had a reason for his lines;
He was off to battle....bullets, tanks and mines.
He was going to an awful living hell,
Where death could come with any passing shell.
His poem was intensely patriotic;
Whereas, for us, such words are idiotic.
There is no 'If'; my death is 'When' and certain.
It's 'coming, ready or not', that final curtain.
Why should I quibble, live on hope or doubt it?
The only thing to do is laugh about it!


I wrote this poem nearly sixty years ago and it still has the power to recreate for me a scene I came to love well. Brighton, on the South Coast of England, is noted for 'fresh air and fun', candy floss, funny hats, all that the word 'seaside' denotes. But I lived there, in an old Regency building right on the sea-front, for two years, while I was training to be a teacher. Because of this I came to love the Winter Brighton. I would sit on my tiny balcony and listen to the sea lisping on the pebbles. And this is what I wrote. I hope you can see it too.


Now has the sea no ending;
It was light and it now is dark.
And the sea with the sky is blending
With a smooth and seamless mark.
And a bird is into the darkness tossed.
The mist comes down and the bird is lost.

Smooth are the lamp's reflections
From the street lights far below.
They are whirligig-bound confections
In a misty cellophane glow.
But their lights reflect on the turning sea,
Like barmaids lost in a reverie.

Now is the night air folding
It's chill wings round the world.
And the sea is gently scolding
As the waves are backward furled.
Like moths that glide under darkened trees
Are the tufted waves on the cold black seas.

Golden Ceiling


'No photography!' came the call in the theatre one night!
But I'd already clicked this shot, so I was quite all right.
This ceiling, at The Civic has a little tale to tell,
For it isn't the original, although it mimics well.
The decoration first placed there ninety years ago
Was admired by everyone who came to watch a show.
An example of Art Deco, it was put away in store
When a Japanese invasion threatened in the War.
After the War when everything was chosen for repair,
The lovely Art Deco ceiling simply wasn't there!
And, to this day, nobody knows exactly where it went!
So in due course a replica was made to represent
The artistry of a bygone age on which disaster fell.
And looking up at it I felt it's done it's job quite well.
I once wrote a childrens' musical play called 'Cicada Circus'. In it the children dressed as well-known Australian cicadas and formed a circus on-stage. Here is one of the 'characters'.


Loud bangs frighten babies!
Well, they never frightened me!
And I loved to hear a thunder-storm
When I was two or three!
I liked to hear the saucepan lids
When they were clashed together.
I liked to hear the front door slam
When there was windy weather.
I liked to hide beneath my bed
And jump out shouting Boo!
And when my Dad bought me a drum
I yelled and screamed for two!
I've heard the loudest sounds there are
And never even cried!
But I've never heard a canon roar
From way down deep INSIDE!
Please put me in a canon
And shoot me in the air!
The noise will make the people scream
But I'm certain I wont care.
The audience will love it,
Though they cover up their ears
And, as for me, I'll be so thrilled
When I hear them give Three Cheers!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dream Come True

Harry and Max celebrating Blake's twelfth birthday


I am very thankful
For I had a dream come true!
Well, let me pretend I'm young again,
Say, about twenty-two.
I'm feeling a little dismal;
Things aren't going my way.
My love-life's non-existent;
My homeland's rather grey.
I dream a dream that's so wonderful
That I feel I'm wasting my time.
'I want to live till I'm very old
And to write lots of things in rhyme.
I want to have a son and daughter;
I want to live in the sun;
I want to have many, many friends
And delight in every one.
I want to have three grandchildren
Who live very near to me.
And I want to be able to walk when I want
Down to the rolling sea.'
I'd have laughed at myself at twenty-two;
I was asking a terrible lot!
But now, at eighty, good gracious me!
That's exactly what I've got!



I'm proud of my mitochondria! It's my most important feature!
You pronounce it MY-TOE-CON-DREA! (I used to be a teacher!)
They are cells inside each nucleus, with a very special history,
And, until only recently, their function was a mystery.
Males have mitochondria, but for the shortest term;
In fact they only have them to energise the sperm.
They're not part of the embryo; they simply fade away;
There's simply nothing left at all to fight another day!
Whereas their female counterpart, in the egg that 'we' supply,
Lives on and on and on and on! In fact it will never die!
Our female mitochondria (so scientists believe)
Has remained unchanged in humanity since the time of the first Eve!
Yes, girls, inside our bodies lie 'fossils', living still,
Something quite intriguing, not in Jack, but just in Jill!
One hundred and forty thousand years ago the first 'Eve' showed her face;
Her remains were found in Africa, in a wild deserted place.
And scientists discovered, (and didn't they exclaim!),
That her mitrochondria and ours were practically the same!
I come from a line of women! Like all my sister-kind!
Though I must admit that with male-type genes we've always been combined!
How do I complete 'I come from……'? Well, I seriously believe
That I come from a certain lady
Known as the African Eve!




Waking was painful.
Sleep had been such a boon
And I wished it could go on
For ever.
My fat, sluggish body
Had become repulsive to me.
I saw my reflection in a dewdrop
And wished that I could die.
Unable to help myself,
I spun.
I withdrew from the world.
I laboured mightily,
Spinning, spinning, spinning.
I was obsessed.
All that mattered
Was that I should hide away,
Reject a world of beauty.
I was unworthy.
I created my own prison.
But it was more than a prison;
It was a shelter, a haven, a cell,
Where I could play dead.
I lay, enclosed.
Outside were
Lovely blossoms,
Brilliantly feathered birds,
Trees weighed down with magnificence.
What right had I to compete?
Call it an inferiority complex
If you like.
I only know that I sought sleep
As an escape.
At last, I slept,
Unknowing, uncaring, unthinking.
Then I woke.
And oh the pain!
Every part of me ached!
I felt sticky, constricted, spiky, odd.
It was a nightmare.
I had hated myself,
But not this much!
What was happening to me?
I had to escape!
This was a living hell!
I stretched, pushed, crumbled, splintered,  yawned
And emerged.
I blinked in the sunlight,
Still shaken.
It was later that I discovered
That I was one of the most beautiful things on earth!


(An Acrostic)

Cruelty surrounds you as you wait
Impatiently there alone by the sooty grate
Not for you the excitement of the ball!
Denied to you the magnificence of it all.
Even the Ugly Sisters feel the thrill!
Rejection they've achieved; they wish you ill.
Evil is going to win! There's no way out!
Loneliness is your lot, there is no doubt.
Listen! There comes a tapping at the door!
A Fairy Godmother's here! Find out what for!

Spice of Life!


If variety's the Spice of Life
You certainly have it here!
A display in a little shop window,
Each picture a perfect sphere!
And there am I, with my shopping-bag,
Repeated again and again,
Sometimes recognisable
And sometimes not so plain.
I find it fascinating
That each picture that we see
Is just a little bit different
From the next, but not totally.
And over it all looms the shapeless ghost
Of the lady going 'Click!'.
Now here's a little question.....
Which 'me' would you pick?

Now Ma Liang was a kindly boy; he helped his fellow-man.
He said 'If anyone's in need I'll do the best I can.
I'll tend your goats; I'll plant your rice; I'll sow your springtime seeds.
For I love helping people and tending to their needs.'
The people clapped and cheered Ma Liang; they thought he was a gem,
And, sure enough, he did his best to bring good cheer to them.
One night he had the strangest dream, that was hard to understand;
He dreamed a ghost came up to him with a paintbrush in his hand
Saying 'Take this brush and paint with it! Try it and you will see
That you have been rewarded for your generosity'.
When Ma Liang woke he found the brush was lying by his side.
He looked at it in terror; his eyes were opened wide.
That very day a neighbour came; he was carrying a cup
He'd come to borrow water for his wells had all dried up.
Ma Liang took his magic brush, and painted him a stream!
It tumbled over the dusty ground like the paintings in his dream!
The neighbour was delighted as his stream ran through the ground
And all the other villagers came up and stood around.
'I need a cow' a man cried out; 'Please paint a cow for me!'
And straightaway a cow appeared as fast as one, two, three.
'My child needs food' another said ' He's in a feeble state!'
And Ma Liang painted dinner, in a moment, on a plate.
The villagers were happy; they had all that they desired
And Ma Liang painted for them till his painting hand was tired.
Now a certain wealthy merchant heard about the magic trick
And he sent a band of robbers to Ma Liang's house double-quick.
They stole away the paint brush and gave it to their master,
Who set about him with a will, painting faster, ever faster.
He painted this, he painted that, he hoped that things would thrive
But though he painted madly nothing ever came alive!
He stormed across to Ma Liang's house and cried 'Why should I fail?
You're nothing but a trickster and I'll have you thrown in jail!'
He went to Ma Liang's prison and said 'Now! Paint for me!
I promise if you do your trick I'll see that you're set free!'
'Very well' said Ma Liang, though he recognised a liar,
'I'll paint the pictures you request, whatever you desire.'
'I want a Golden Mountain' the wealthy merchant cried.
'Paint me a Golden Mountain filled with gold inside!'
To his surprise Ma Liang agreed , with some alacrity,
But he didn't paint a mountain; he painted a bright blue sea!
The sea was wide, the sea was deep, it stretched far, far away.
The merchant then was furious, shouting 'I will make you pay!
I'll have you clapped in jail again, where you were once before!'
But then he saw the magic brush was painting something more!
On the far horizon, a glory to behold,
Ma Liang painted a mountain, a mountain of solid gold!
A mighty stretch of water, Ma Liang's painted sea,
Lay between the merchant and the mountain he could see.
'Paint me a boat!' he ordered 'And then I can set sail!
If I don't reach my mountain you'll be back again in jail!'
So Ma Liang painted a sailing ship and the merchant leapt aboard,
Heading for his mountain and its precious golden hoard.
When he had sailed a certain way Ma Liang took up his brush
And painted a quite enormous wave that rose up with a rush!
The wave engulfed the merchant; he very quickly drowned
And not one trace of the wicked man was ever to be found.
Ma Liang went back to helping folk, which is what he liked to do,
And if you ask him nicely I'm sure he'll paint for you!