gazette 188

Tasmanian Europa Poets Gazette No 188 December 2019


Model, Joe Lake, acrylic on canvas 94/94cm

Tewkesbury Gold

Though the mountains tower old
And the rivers run cold,
I’ll never stop searching
For Tewkesbury gold.
               Gold in the bright eyes of
The people that live there,
Gold in their smiles and
Gentle hands that give care,
               Gold in the harmony and
Peace that surrounds men,
Gold in the fat cattle and
Pastures that sustain them,
               Gold in the daffodils
Singing up to the sun,
Gold in the purest air
Breathed by everyone
               Though the mountains tower old
And the rivers run cold,
I’ll never stop yearning
For Tewkesbury gold.

Catherina Burton

Lights Up!
(Burnie High School’s Hansel & Gretel)

What a show!
What a crowd!
Excited parents so very proud
Great music, large and loud
               The score was batonned with precision
Never a note of indecision
               Brilliant costumes
Goblins, butterflies, clowns
And sparkling diamante gowns
               Jocose remarks projecting well
The audience is pleased and laughter swells
               Little dancers stepping heel to toe
Movements rhythmic ebb and flow
With skirts aswirling gymnasts twirling
And flooding down lights all aglow.
Skilled changes by the backstage crew
Grant the stage a lowering hue
For where had been a forest dark (and) green
Appears by magic, a village scene
               The chorus, in rousing solos, is ringing
Bodies swinging, atmosphere zinging
And painted girls with much vivacity
Leap, tumbling and splitting with superb elasticity
               Artful, wily witch is vanquished
Those lost have been found
The village rejoices royal romance abounds
               When the last footfall has departed
And images are but transient dreams
Faint remnants of song with liltings of laughter
Are echoing still through those lofty beams.

Kathleen O'Donnell


White spirit of the phantom waves
Who lives in the twilight of zone.
She walks in the room with a mask and a wine
And waits there to meet her own clone.
               Her head held high in her own belief
But her losses are low in her heart.
She sidles up to another like-soul
And waits for the mind games to start.
               We just don’t know those, who are passing us by
As we can’t walk a mile in their stride.
We can only observe what she wants us to know
And to trust that…she wholeheartedly tried.
               They say the devil is in the detail
(or perhaps in the deepest blue sea)
But Jennifer smiles to herself, just once more,
As she looks in the mirror…at me.

Kathryn Conlin

We Have Blood On Our Hands

We have blood on our hands!
We have blood on our hands like Lady Macbeth!

A reminder of what we have done to our planet,
To fauna, flora and to each other.

We are supposed to be stewards of God’s creation
But we wanted to be demigods,
Do our own thing
Go our own way
Only care about ourselves.

 If humankind keeps going this way, what will remain?

Dianne Woods

Robbie Taylor, Survival


Mum’s Poem

Echoes of the past. September 15,1940.
Like graceful birds across the sky,
Flashing silver as they fly.
There they go, the people cry.
Winging in an endless flight,
Keeping guard by day and night,
Swooping low or gaining height,
               Our fighters.
Battle of Britain waged and won,
Valiant men, their duty done
This above all and second to none.
               Our pilots.
Heroes all, so brave and true,
Eternal thanks are due to you.
We all owe so much to ‘the few’
In Hurricanes, Blenheims -
Mechanics and crew.
               We salute you.

(I found this poem written on an envelope by my mother,
in an old book. I am unable to find out as to who wrote it. )

 Robbie Taylor

Tap On The Shoulder…

Death: Morning!
Me: Morning!
Death: I’m Death..
Me: I beg your pardon!
Death: I’m Death. Boat 13, come in, please!
Me: I’ve only just got here.
Death: All over, Red Rover! I’m sorry if it puts you out.
Me: Well, it does put me out. I’m just having a coffee. And I’ve got a scone coming.
Death: Should’ve thought about that earlier.
Me: Do I get another chance?
Death: Not in this life! Not in this death either!
Me: I’m not ready yet.
Death: No one ever is but I am!
Me: I haven’t had a shag today.
Death: Should’ve done that sooner. Morning glory! Know what I mean?
Me: I just didn’t think. And I’m not even sick. Fit as a raging bull! Who wakes up in the morning thinking oh what a beautiful day, I’m going to die? Can I borrow some time? I can give you cash. Just between us, nudge, wink, say no more, eh, eh?
Death: Money can’t buy you love - or anything else! You’re toast or, depending on where you end up, burnt toast! Three score year and ten plus five! No more bonuses, no more borrowing. Wealth counts for nothing. Lucky old family, I say. And the lawyers!
Me: What about my mate here? He’s older.
Death: And wiser! He’s got a few long black and whites to go yet. No queue-jumping for him. You’re next cab off the rank, old son. One-way trip. Flag fall, dollar down and a dollar a week for eternity. And the best balcony seat in the auditorium! Looking down and never up!  Death’s a great leveller!
Me: I still need a shag. And who’s going to feed my cats? And do the washing-up? And make my bed?
Death: You’re on the list, my list! And not Schindler’s list either! Besides, there’s no such thing as a shag in the after-life. No primal urges! No nothing really.
Me: Can I have a last cigarette?
Death: Smoking will kill you. And it probably has!
Me: I need to say goodbyes.
Death: You already have.
Me: Here’s the lovely lady with my scone.
Death: Your mate can eat it. You couldn’t now, even if you wanted to. See? You’re not there anymore. Welcome to my world - if you can call it that.
Me: Do I get to go back?
Death: Sorry, mate. The best peas went to Farrow’s…when they made peas like Farrow’s did. When you were barely podded!
Me: Where to now?
Death: Nowhere. On with the show! Who’s next?

 Michael Garrad

Joe Lake, Ulverstone, acrylic on canvas


A human has the right to be human.
And still, some steal this right from others.

We think ourselves the epitome of nature
Yet born out of wedlock, you are of lesser value.

We believe males and first-borns to be superior
We value widows but not  the abused.

We persecute and feel sorry when it is too late.
We worship fashionable pretenders.

We hate changes and differences
And we don’t feel appreciated enough.

The Declaration of Rights is a new path
Of love and wisdom and has no bias nor dogma.

Our future could be without prejudice
No matter what other humans believe.

People, born free and equal,
prejudice themselves and others.

 Joe Lake

Hunchback Of The Street

Crouched on the pavement
Near the entrance to the railway station tunnel,
A distorted hump-backed form
Caped in black rags appears to be cradling a child.
She holds out her mitten, her hand dirty and covered with mucous.
She piteously cries out for money, revealing her
Distorted black and holed teeth.
From beneath the cape came the wailing cry of a baby.

The beggar woman coughed and splattered,
               as she wailed.
Even though this cry alerted passersby,
Her gasping, rasping  splattering, wheezing,
kept people from getting too close
They threw coins into the beggar’s bowl
               And then hastened on.
A lone, well dressed man,
               with tailored blue jeans and jacket,
brazenly got too close to her
And hisses, ‘Get a job, get a job, you vermin.’

At dusk, this pathetic form draped in black -
with red-tipped shoes, like a cockroach,
scurries and disappears into a tunnel.
No one seemed to care were she would sleep.

At the end of the tunnel some ten minutes away,
A petite well-groomed woman with a backpack
And red-tipped shoes appears
And goes into the units nearby
Where she dances around to tango music
and says aloud, ‘I’ll go out and dance tonight.’
She empties a beggar’s bowl of its contents.
Then says, ‘Oops, before I go, I better
Take out those awful teeth and remove the
make- up,
Especially from my hands,
And I shall hide the doll.

 Judy Brumby-Lake

Confectionery Days

I have a bad habit - I’m a secret compulsive eater
And often snack on sweet treats at all odd times
Of the day and night.
Today, on a perfect winter’s day that felt like summer,
I found something much more satisfying than fudge and Mars Bars!
I drove into the north-west Tasmanian countryside,
Got out of my car and lay on sweet-smelling grass ‘
               ’til sunset.
Mesmerised by marshmallow clouds
Drifting along in a bright lollipop sky.
Warmed by a large penny sun,
(Like those chocolate discs in gold wrappers
               I know so well).
And with the upturned ice cream cone of
               Valentine’s Peak in the distance.
I decided that no comfort food I’d ever consume
Could match nature’s delicious confectionery -
I must indulge more often!

 June Maureen Hitchcock



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