Tasmanian Europa Poets Gazette
No 189 January 202
|Hermione, Joe Lake, acrylic on canvas|
The World Between
Between life and death is the clinging -
Unless the end is instant.
A desperately ill person clings
With all the tenacity and strength within,
Knowing probably the end is inevitable.
No one wants to leave loved ones home -
And the possibility of a miracle - the gift of time,
Unless, of course, a personal choice is
to leave, willingly,
With no care for the pain left behind -
Though in some cases, there might be
no one left to care,
No family or home to treasure.
When someone clings to life,
Knowing full well the eventual outcome -
Do they imagine a clash between angels
and the devil
Until arriving in ‘the great unknown’?
Who can dare to assume?
My friend is far away, clinging to life,
I am told.
There are many to care, many who will grieve
When he finally leaves - I am one of them.
He is deemed a ‘foreigner’ in the Asian country
He has called home for twenty-five years,
So does he wish to be part of its soil
Or to be returned to the country of his birth?
Does he hope to be in angels’ care
In view of his intriguing, shadowy past?
I will never know now how my friend
feels and thinks,
Or the thoughts of anyone clinging to life -
Until I am faced with the same dark dilemma.
June Maureen Hitchcock
|Follies, Judy Brumby-Lake|
Seasons seem to accelerate their returns
as we move through the cycles of life.
Summertime is a time to shred our winter cloaks
And dispense with modesty
By allowing nature to embrace our skin.
Summertime to self-indulge,
Immersing the body in water
And also for frolicking and rollicking
In amongst nature’s natural flora
For summer’s freebies are a recompense
For all those bleak winter seasons.
The Line Markers
We had been doing the lines for twenty years.
Persevering through blood, sweat and tears.
Pushing the machine in the driving rain.
Just for the love of our Rugby game.
In sun, wind, sleet and snow.
We measure where the lines must go.
With string and a marlin’s pike.
4 km of lines. Now that’s a hike!
5, 10 and 22.
We picked up sticks and dog poo.
Paint on our shoes and our jeans.
Easy task by no means!
We filled in the holes, nuts and skids.
Ambushed by dogs and quizzed by kids.
Any crooked lines were blamed on Robbie
Even though painting is my hobby.
Sometimes the machine got bogged
And other times the jets would get clogged.
Cleaned the jets with a toothbrush.
Then the machine was ready to push.
The cops were called by a lady
Who thought that we were being shady.
The council guys would bring us the gear.
When the plovers swooped we knew
we were too near.
We are tired now but the lines will be done.
We hope someone will have as much fun.
Sunrise again, on time for the season,
Today, tangerine starts it all for no reason
Except it must choose its colourful hues
And wade through the choices with colour chart blues!
Light grey and mushroom, spawning to pink,
Then flashes of ruby, rose and red ink,
Burnt ochre, tiger and wild wicked honey,
Magenta and amber peel off like blood money.
Oh that our days were filled with such vibrancy
Of colour that daily becomes mental influence.
So, at sunset’s recall of the painting that day
We sit back in awe of the master-class play.
|June Maureen Hitchcock|
A Letter To Mother
You’ve been long gone from this Earth -
But I’ve been thinking about you.
When, as a girl, you came with your parents
on a ship from America -
A perilous journey while World War I raged around you.
It seemed that instead of a new beginning in Australia,
Life here ended for you.
I look at your photograph and weep
For the sad, unhappy woman you became -
But if you’d stayed in America - where would I be -
And more than that - who would I be?
Many times, you planned to return to the place of your birth -But sadly, your dream was never fulfilled.
As an adult I went, on one of my sojourns,
To your home in ‘Fruitvale’, a suburb of your beloved city
In Oakland, California -
A place where ladies, wearing elegant gowns
and buttoned boots,
(Bought from the smart fashion houses of San Francisco -
A ferry trip across the bay), strolled on the arms
Of their gentlemen companions, along the lovely avenues
Lined each side with fruit trees.
I took a photograph of your old street corner
And showed you the image when I returned
And you cried for your lost happy childhood -
But what I didn’t tell you was how ugly your city had become
The fruit trees had disappeared
And on those bare avenues,
Throngs of poor black people shuffled along -
Aimless, as if they had nowhere in particular to go.
What once was your magic city was now a ghetto.
You asked me whether Oakland was still lovely -
I lied when I said, ‘Yes.’
I was with you when that uninvited guest, death,
Waiting to take you from me, hovered just above your head -
And then in a second - you were gone.
It’s a comfort to me now that your soul rests
In the place of your memories -
A place that was once just perfect for you.
June Maureen Hitchcock
In The Name Of The End
When death’s stare is fixed,
Jesting, callous, in the name of the end,
The pause in a breath and a dead dream,
It becomes the judgment
that stifles air’s sweet elixir,
That snuffs a rose scent,
This stale perfume lingering a lifetime,
And that blinds sight as witness to high green,
That deafens nature’s ornate chorus,
That takes all that lives
in one powerful movement of time,
Brings to equilibrium mortality’s sober reign.
Michael Garrad November 2019
This valley, green, ’neath temperate mist,
This singing river in the midst
of wooded cheeks,
snakes in joyous recognition over pebbles, kissed,
That human hand, ever eager, missed
such verdant pasture with a cruel and crushing fist,
While all around tin gods in secret tryst
despoiled for riches on unwritten hunter’s list,
But fate, in sweet and generous twist,
froze precious stroke of time on Nature’s wrist,
And boldly, with emblazoned wand, did nought but to insist
this collage of living lush be veiled in glorious, temperate mist.
Michael Garrad December 2019
Not This Day
She didn’t choose this day,
The day chose her,
Before the sun rose,
In the loneliest dark,
Had been her wish to die,
Not this day,
Could have wakened to dawn’s call,
Death stalked in sleep,
Act of subterfuge.
She never missed him again,
He missed her, stunned in solitude,
In the torrent of raw grief,
He sensed her from beyond,
Never a touch,
Jigsaw of extraordinary perfumes,
At a moment,
As one, in silence,
She could have lived,
He died inside,
Hides behind a necessary smile.
Michael Garrad November 2019
The warm air inside the ten-seater
Made me feel sleepy, dreamy and content
I raised my face up towards the heater
Giving myself to creative portent.
With eyes closed, I meditated gently.
The current of heavenly warmth stroked me
And made me sleep as life hesitated
I flew through turbulence I couldn’t see.
Then the bus hit a bump as if so fated
From meditation into wakefulness
As peaceful landscapes passed the window screen
To hypnotise within my helplessness.
Keeps moving, floating past, eternal greens,
To drift away towards my weariness.
|Lovers, Joe Lake, acrylic on canvas|
What I call home.
It is a friendly, relaxing dome.
No need to roam.
It is a lived-in place.
It is not a running race.
Nor is it just like a sterile instrument
That reminds me of hospitals and basements.
It can be big or small.
But it must have a welcome call.
Animals - maybe a couple of cats.
Or maybe a couple of dogs.
At least that is much better than frogs.
Some flowers have fragrance.
It isn’t extravagance.
A herb garden is pleasant to have near
When making a stew or casserole, so do not fear.
Home is one man’s castle
Where you do not have to be put on a pedestal.
There is no need to put on airs.
People accept you no matter what you wear.
If in a tent, you are content.
Home is where the heart is not bent.
Magnificent houses do not make a home.
You might as well be in Rome.