Tasmanian Europa Poets Gazette
No 198 October 2020
In The Hearts Of Men
On this night, a violent wind roars,
Slashing the branches,
Ripping roofs from homes
And hurling loose timber -
Like so many matchsticks into the air.
In the distance, the thunderous sea
Pounds and whips the shore,
Venting its anger in protest at those
who would control its moods -
Or hold it back from its mission of destruction.
The night is iron hard and coal black,
Just like the hearts of some men in this world
Who use force to control and silence
All that is good and right.
June Maureen Hitchcock
I invited positive thoughts into my mind
And with optimism they bounced in
Then collapsed to the ground
As they were assaulted by fear
What is wrong, what is happening here?
As the breath was seized from their lungs
And they had an insane urge to run
Tranquility stirred in her long-forgotten place
I am over here, she softly hummed
But you have to slow down and breathe
For I am a part of fear
It’s just that he is louder than me.
A small man
from a small and unknown place,
Yet his ideas would spin around the world.
A man who loved the drama and the music
of great words,
sharing, in recitations,
stories, ballads, Shakespeare,
with the sweating men who mined Mt Bishoff’s tin,
potato growers in the local pubs,
or parlour folk at parties in the towns.
Or on the stages of the famous theatres
of the cities of Australia,
Alexander used the power and passion of his speech
to move an audience to laughter, tears, or joy;
he loved to be the focus of all eyes.
But blighted with a problem with his voice,
his whole career at hazard,
he hit upon a system of control,
mind over body;
this restored his shattered confidence
and gave him back command.
Travelling to Europe and to the States,
as teacher, actor, confidant and friend,
he gained celebrity,
and some success.
His acolytes and pupils
spread his teachings and techniques.
But, as a prophet, he was truly without honour,
obscure in his own home.
Now, here we see the man
in process of transforming power
to the young attentive woman in his chair.
A double-furled bow tie,
carnation in his button hole;
he seems, perhaps, a dandy, or a charlatan:
But, look again.
Observe that strange, electric gap
between her body and his hands,
she’s almost on her own,
his pupil’s almost fledged.
Now she can face the world
with confidence and grace,
and share the learning,
the compassion and the skill,
of this small man,
who came from such a small and unknown place.
Dr Mary Kille
Oh Poor, Poor Me
Oh poor, poor me
No one has the flu like me.
I’m unique, my throat is on fire.
Someone has used a rasp on my throat
Whilst asleep – I can barely talk.
My stomach feels as if it is twisted,
My limbs feel as if wrenched from my body.
My nose is stuffed, my lungs constricted.
My head is pounding,
I am drowning in wet tissues.
I try antiquated remedies like chilli,
Sugar with kerosene – nothing.
The garlic wreath around my neck
Didn’t help with this dreaded flu.
Oh poor, poor me.
But then I read that flu was rampant
Amongst soldiers in the trenches
of World War 1.
No warm bed or antibiotics for them.
But then I saw an article
on the Spanish flu
And I pulled the sheets over my eyes
For I am sure that
I have the cursed Spanish flu.
Oh poor, poor me.
They are in there carefully put away
Perhaps they are already out to play
Or will rise again one day
Those insidious little beasts
That so love their feasts
On all of our good intention
They are the things we don’t like to mention
Like the one layered in lust
That can easily turn love to dust
The one who is such a glutton
Triggered by some unseen button
The one driven by greed
What a sad and sorry seed
Or that very sleepy sloth
A would-be butterfly choosing to be a moth
Then there’s the one who rains down wrath
Like they have the only existing path
There is one that only knows envy
That can also be very deadly
Let us not forget the one
Filled with false pride
What a tiring fake ride
All of these reside
We learn from one or all
Many times, they may see us fall
Once each is seen in its true colour
We can make them so much smaller
But always know they live on in there
Waiting for a chance of more fresh air.
|Abstract, Joe Lake, acrylic on canvas, 30/40|
I was wrong to love you just for me,
To be the who of you, as far as I could see,
I needed you for needy’s sake,
Could only morsel give in appetite to take,
Wallowed in such savagery of grief,
Uncomprehending, ignorant, of your death’s relief,
Regret weighs heavy on weary shoulder,
Unforgiving, reminding, as I grow older,
Memories sharp and still they chafe,
Nowhere to rest, to hide, nowhere is safe,
In cacophony troubled years have grown,
Since, in isolated silence, you died alone,
And so I missed the measured beat of rhyme,
Unaware, in my departing, it was for you, your time.
I should have stayed!
Michael Garrad September 2020
Upon A Bed
I saw myself, I thought, upon a bed,
Wondered: Is this a trick inside my head?
Was looking on with ever-rising dread,
I saw people, sombre, many tears they shed,
Oh, how broken hearts bled and bled,
Swollen eyes in waterfall, red and red,
Grief all-consuming - on itself it fed,
Just fearful sobbing and nothing said,
Their forever dreams in tatters, shred,
To all this wracking sorrow, they were wed.
At your call, I had followed, you had led,
Now I am watching on with you, beyond,
Michael Garrad August 2020
The Cry Of The Plovers
What sound is that?
No! It’s not automatic gun fire
But a sound that raises my ire.
It’s just plovers protecting their territory
From other birds and ME!
The carolling of the magpies
Or the raucous laugh of the kookaburra
But the cry of the plover
Have A Happy Winter
Hot soup or lovely warm stews.
A mother’s love warms a home.
Outside a thick coat and umbrella.
Joy of beautiful rain,
Filling tanks and necessary to drink.
Beautiful scented flowers
Juicy fruit and vegies.
A mother’s love warms a home.
Tyres bite on wet road,
Waves of water,
Like the mind in turmoil,
Waves engulf, jumbled
voices in distress,
Like the screech of
rubber under braking,
Burning dry on sodden bitumen,
Waves of water, fierce,
Like the burst of twisted words,
Disharmony in crescendo,
Waves of disaster,
Torn emotion exploding,
Michael Garrad September 2020
Henry Hellyer (a novel) by Joe Lake
Previously: Four convicts had started to build the road to Hampshire into the bush against the will of the company. The two dogs had killed a native cat and Hellyer had sketched it. Hellyer is lying down in his tent when Harley calls out to him.
‘Mr Hellyer, Mr Hellyer, wake up! He’s here. He’s here, Just come in a whaleboat. He’s standing at the bow in his uniform, a sword by his side. Mr Hellyer!’
Hellyer, who has been asleep on a bed of bark, slowly moves to open the tent flap. ‘What, what, Harley! Who’s here?’
‘Lieutenant Barnard, sir, your opposite
surveyor from Circular Head. He’s come.’
‘Alright, Harley, put that gun you hold into my tent. He doesn’t have to see that.’
‘But Mr Hellyer, sir, he means you harm. Barnard does. I’ll shoot him, Mr Hellyer, shoot him.’
‘You can’t shoot him. Have you been drinking? Put the gun in here then bring Barnard here to my tent and put a pot of tea on the fire.’
‘Yes, sir, Mr Hellyer, but I’d love to shoot him. I could go into the trees and n one would ever know who shot him.’
‘Don’t talk nonsense, Harley, give me the gun. Now go.’ Hellyer puts on his dress coat and his official surveyor’s hat, dusts himself off and steps outside the tent onto the sand of the Emu Bay beach. He watches as Barnard alights from the whale boat that is rowed by convicts. Harley leads Lieutenant Barnard over to Hellyer, who now stands by the fire.
The moment Barnard has approached, he speaks: ‘Hellyer, Henry, I’ve come all this way and the sea isn’t calm either today. Mr Curr thinks it is a great mistake to build the road from here. It’s too hilly and too overgrown. We would like to withdraw and begin again from Table Cape to the Hampshire Hills.’
Hellyer folds his arms across his chest and nods.
Harley approaches Hellyer from behind and whispers, ‘Shoot him, let me shoot him, please, please.’ Hellyer pushes Harley away.
Hellyer shakes hands with his guest. ‘Lieutenant, good of you to come. Let’s have a good old cup of British tea.’
(To be continued next month)
Swirling movements, rushing feet, screams.
Professionals, when beating up people,
use excessive force.
My fellow demonstrator,
with his mouth open, screams, unheard,
above the noise of the crowd.
He looks at me,
like a steer, intuitively realising his imminent slaughter.
His eyes are half-shut - pleading.
His face is distorted with horror and fear,
like that of a woman violated.
I step back, hold my breath.
This could be me!
They know their job.
Badges flash brightly on their upper arms.
One, with his visor down,
He has his stiff, black baton, erect; ready to come.
Under the visor he grins with the joy of brutality,
like a cat who has caught a bird,
or someone who is beating a woman into submission.
A sun-glassed man has no helmet.
He looks at the scene with disgust:
Napoleon, overlooking a battlefield.
His chin is raised, as if to say, ‘Try it, suckers!’
Another has his visor up and a determined look on his face,
his right hand, from behind, is around my friend’s throat,
whose right hand, which was to ward off the attack,
has been grabbed by the wrist.
These school-yard bullies,
like poofter bashers (closet gays),
are ever advancing.
They are prodding with their dildo batons.
Dogs kill sheep.
A thunder cloud has blocked the light.
The bare trees, all around, are raising their limbs in protest.