online gazette 193 May 2020
Tasmanian Europa Poets Gazette No 193 May 2020
Some of the earlier poets outside Café Europa, Burnie
In order of appearance
June Maureen Hitchcock
Artwork by Joe Lake
Supplie by Mary Kille
Reprinted during Spanish flu pandemic, 1919
And people stayed at home
And read books
And did exercises
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped and listened
Someone meditated, someone prayed
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed
And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
The Earth also began to heal
And when the danger ended and
People found themselves,
They grieved for the dead
And made new choices
And dreamed of new visions
And created new ways of living
And completely healed the Earth
Just as they were healed.
(Kathleen O’Mara, 1869)
The Benison Of Books
(Or keeping sane in a time of stress)
Browsing through beloved books
Of history and mystery,
I made without apology
My personal anthology.
And even anthropology.
This was an opportunity
Presented with impunity,
To venture into unity,
With friends in my community.
For books have the capacity
Especially in audacity,
To nurture our sagacity,
When read with perspicacity.
I studied works poetical,
Polemical and ethical,
And even hypothetical,
And physical and quizzical.
I disregard pomposity,
And hate excess verbosity
And overt grandiosity,
But value virtuosity.
I cherish works of clarity,
Eschewing all vulgarity,
Love charity, hilarity,
And joyous jocularity.
To save me from senility,
And cerebral fragility,
My books are the facility
To give me the ability
To face up to the future
With a measure of tranquillity.
Little things in life really count
An unexpected gift
A small flower from a small child.
The thought that counts.
Something makes us happy
Beauty of life
We all are grateful for something
Something is there to make us happy.
Sound Of Shadows
The sound of shadows echoes in dapple sunlight
Brushes very coloured petal.
Resonates on every yielding leaf.
Dances on every blade of cushion grass.
Living rhythm now and eternal,
Protecting, nurturing, cooling, hiding,
A refuge in the flickering.
Feel those sweet shadows under blue.
Hear them kiss every gentle, stout bough.
Solitude in sublime frenzy of silence.
Michael Garrad March 2020
In the sorrow land, we weep,
This place between,
The now and the beyond,
Where grief thrives on every regret,
That late time out of each,
When eyes could touch jewel moment,
And a word belonged, not spoken,
Tears are death’s torment,
For nothing exists in the breathing, except us,
How we beg for ourselves, selfish,
To be the being of,
To snatch at the passing,
To hold captive against eternity,
To indulge when other soul cries freedom.
Michael Garrad February 2020
Miss her voice,
Missed her last breath,
Miss her faint smile,
Missed her final heartbeat,
Miss her glance,
Missed the tremor of her passing.
Miss her touch,
Missed the thought I could read,
Miss the dream,
Missed the pained goodbye,
Miss being there,
Missed time that froze,
Miss her eyes,
Missed the hope that begged,
Miss her each day,
Missed the chance that slipped,
Miss quiet two of us.
Missed those years in flight,
Miss the haven that is her,
Missed what could have been,
Michael Garrad June 2019
The sky fills with wonder, of vapour and crystals…
And visible shapes that amaze,
They form in the air for their own entertainment,
Contorting…distorting with phase.
Cumulonimbs, the mother of clouds
Diversely now padding the sky,
In 3D and 4D, these thunderhead storms
Are rebels that come from high.
Synergy, clouds with their moisture built in
Washing the planet with rain
From their palette above to the painting below
As the billow mutate, yet again.
A rainbow develops, as though signing its art.
The frame becomes wider with view.
The final scene can never repeat,
As all things develop anew.
From my high rocky ledge,
I can look up
Towards a stairway to the stars –
Or down, and see my whole life
Laid out before me –
Like a distant dream.
June Maureen Hitchcock
When mum cooked silverside
She would soak it overnight.
Dad said if you soak it,
It tasted ‘just right’.
When my brother saw the meat,
He thought it was clothes in soak,
So he added a spoon of salt
And a cup of powdered soap.
Mum was in a panic
She didn’t know what to do.
‘Who could have done this,
Was it your brother or was it you?’
Dad had endured the Depression
And mum had survived the Blitz.
So dad took the hunk of meat
And hosed off the soapy bits.
So, later mum cooked the silverside
And we had it for tea that night.
Despite the added salt and powdered soap,
It tasted, ‘just right’.
She doesn’t remember,
The aggression, the desperation, the beatings.
Which, he said, were brought on by her?
Because he couldn’t bear to be challenged,
In the war he used her as a shield, later he played dead,
Although, sometimes, she remembers the good times,
Then she closes her eyes and holds this image
For a moment.
The Apple Tree (A sonnet)
It’s time for apple trees to go to sleep
When varied colours change their leaves to die
From weary branches that have lost their grip
The tree stands naked, reaching for the sky.
My life has fallen too, it’s drained away
As autumn now has fallen on my grief
And slowly creeps the cold on shortened day,
A blessing that the time of pain seems brief.
As I expect my life to drain away
Towards the soil that needs its nourishment
As turning Earth draws me and makes me pay,
Dismembered by creation’s banishment.
Then I may contemplate this precious time –
To love – and make my final days diving.
Another ANCAC day has been and gone
Businessmen are busy thinking ways to make a dollar.
Tills ring on once enemy land
As Australian tourists walk among the nameless headstones.
Youth of today has little knowledge of
The Kokoda Trail
Or the day when Curtin defied Churchill’s demands
And helped to defend this great nation.
Some say, no need to dwell on events of the past
But the reality is that veterans’ relationships
Are doomed to failure
For the war robs the man of himself
And left him with a deceptive, dual personality.
Óne of happiness
And one of sadness reveals itself,
Sometimes the dark of the night
Or during stress drives loved ones away
These veterans have no need for a diary,
For their war experience has been deeply engraved in their minds.
And movie makers smile as they count their dollars
From another horror war movie,
Even though the movie may be rated ‘R’.
To a veteran it is kid’s stuff,
For the true horror of war
Could never be revealed on the movie screen.
Simple folk and politicians say
That veterans get too much,
Although they may not be right, money compensation
Won’t rid the mind of monsters that dwell within
Or remove the grief that is felt for buddies
Who were deprived of manhood.
And to prove our respect for the ANZACs,
And while the veterans live in the horror of the past,
And stand in queue line for their pensions.
We allowed flags to be flown half-mast on Australian soil
In 1989 to honour the death of Emperor Hirohito-
The man who was in power at the time of the slaughter of
Australian soldiers during World War 2.
ANZAC day will always come and go.
(first published in 1989)
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