Tasmanian Europa Poets Gazette No 201 January 2021
|Emily With Ducks, Paper sculpture by Pam Thorne and Ruth Rees|
Emily With Ducks
(A timeless encounter, or a lesson in trust.)
Show gentleness and patience,
and take care with what you do,
make no sudden noise or movement,
as the ducklings come to you;
hold your hand out, firm and steady,
whisper soft, they’ll understand
that they can trust you freely,
soon they’re eating from your hand.
But there’s still another lesson:
you’ll find in truth you must
be even gentler, kinder,
to earn their mother’s trust.
(Published in Proving Flight)
Gaia, Gaia, the lady who gave birth to the Earth,
Was a woman, like many others
Who have suffered the loss of children.
Oh, Gaia, oh Gaia, seldom do we hear your name,
Yet we hear people frequently mentioning your son,
Your partner, Uranus, who brought carnage
And chaos upon your mind
By annihilating his children and yours.
How many men have given birth?
The Man In Japan And A Simple Plan
“Where have all the flowers gone?”
A sixty-five-year-old Japanese retiree
Was listening to the song,
Thinking of Hiroshima, Nagasaki,
Remembering and wondering -
what has gone wrong?
He asked, what is next?
He stated, no more political ideologies,
These must cease.
Be not a capitalist or socialist.
Be a realist.
All I want is that my children may live in peace.
Nations to fight one and other no more - no war.
A straightforward simple plan.
Basically learnt, from a man in Japan.
Philip Harper December 2020
Into my life like summer rain
Gently falling with no pain
But then, as day turned to night,
Forgot the magic and began to fight.
Before we knew it, autumn had been
We faced the biggest storm to be seen
Winter in all its wrath was here
Destroying everything we held dear
Spring, not something we would see
As we both turned to flee
Love comes and goes like the seasons
Within it ever so many reasons
Best to remember the summer rain
Then hold onto storms and all that pain.
Fabulous, she said decisively,
I can never quite tire of that view
It’s the light, you see how it changes
Turns everyday into something quite new.
Can you see that far distant horizon?
Just look how it rises and falls,
It’s our height, you see, makes all the difference
One minute it’s so far and so faint,
The next so bright, yet so tall.
We might, she said, one day even aspire
To something further down on the coast
But all the trouble that that would require
Is not time, or even the post.
And anyway my one and only desire
Is to be buried here, under that tree
Like life, it’s best seen from a distance,
Though I am not sure that you would agree.
See that light way out on the horizon?
Look how it changes hourly like clouds in a breeze
I will go on loving it all my remaining days
Until it grows too faint for me to see.
‘There is a goldfinch in your tree,
Please come and see,
Mrs Math-e-son, a ‘dole-finch’ ’,
A child’s laughter and language is a treasure,
A little child looks above at the bird,
The bird looks below at the child on the ground
In the back garden with the sun rays
On the green trees, sits the golden bird with the magical voice,
For many, many, many days the king of the garden stayed,
The delightful bird sang a sweet melody
To let people know of its presence,
Children paint in their minds of their many finds,
No cage for this beautiful bird,
Even after the bird flew again,
A radiant smile spread over the child’s face.
Reflection On These Times
Hello mind, let’s write a verse,
...something swift but in reverse.
In these times we need a smile,
We haven’t felt that...for a while.
Let’s use words that throw a calm
On waters like a fragrant balm,
It comes about by standing still
Which emanates a soothing chill.
The tranquil peace of soundless water,
Silent, undisturbed transporter.
Gentle breeze of wind through chimes…
...Helps to make the constant rhymes.
Hushed, untroubled content easing,
In a peaceful mind, that’s pleasing.
Composed and over time, serene,
Now its master sets the scene.
Happy New Year! Happy New Year!
But if I may be so bold,
Why not wish for happiness right on
Until the year is old?
Let’s foster all our Christmas wishes
For peace and happiness, my friends
For goodwill, joy and love
Until this New Year ends!
Then, on and on!
† Vi Woodhouse
Squandered in the half moon,
Pale of light,
Redemption of this sinner,
In darkest fold of night,
Idle thought had creased
this virgin page,
And soured the yearned-for hope
with advance of age,
Such was enormity
of creeping shadow cast,
That salvation, fleeting,
stuttered and fell upon the past,
’Twas false denial,
In truth a wilful sham,
And real intent,
as with the sacrificial lamb,
had been offered, eager,
on the altar of pretence,
Ever coned and silent,
And to suffer now and hence.
Michael Garrad November 2020
Strength through tears,
This rage of years,
And linger fears,
And grief that sears,
With platitudes, sneers,
In ascendancy, leers,
Loss cuts, spears,
As the black horse rears,
The sum of fears,
For the tumult nears.
In a raindrop, clears,
And the listener hears,
On straining ears,
Cascade of fearsome, torrent tears.
Michael Garrad November 2020
This endless sky,
Where teardrops dry,
On thermals, high,
On whisper sigh,
Soothes sorrow cry,
On earth, to lie,
And with naked eye,
To soar, to fly,
To rejoice and die.
Michael Garrad December 2020
We are all at sea
Declared the bumble bee
Grey clouds sweep by
No rain you see
Dust storms lay waste
Arid acres in place
And where are the trout
With their shiny splashed snouts
Deprived of fresh water
By devices upstream
Where some on this fair land
May live their dream?
Angry orange-red flares
Rage through the trees
Devouring all before them
Koalas and wild bees
Loved dwellings of the town folk
Hay barns and kine
And ravaging the fruits
On the purple grape vine
Place their lives on the line
For mothers and brothers
And country’s mankind
Cruel pandemic surges on
The frail aged who may succumb
Until research and time
Ensure the demon’s decline.
Soft weeping rain
From grey clouds will fall
And grant healing-cool waters
Maybe, a balm for all.
The Cradle Mountain, rugged, blue and green;
The air up there is smooth and clear, and clean.
In winter, storms and sleet, and driving snow
Becomes the weary walker’s pain and woe.
The mountain wears its glossy coat of ice;
And then, the skating can be very nice.
You like to climb the hill and then to slide;
Or even catch a toboggan’s gliding ride.
And there, in spring, the grass turns brilliant green;
The most luscious sight you’ve ever seen.
The mountain flora blushes in the shade.
We’ll have a picnic on the sloping glade.
The Cradle rests there, on the mountain high.
Its monument cuts out against the sky.
Niko Roberts (9)
Henry Hellyer (a novel)
Previously: Hellyer: the VDL surveyor, with some convicts, had begun to build the road to Surrey Hills into the bush from Emu Bay, against the will of the company. Lieutenant Barnard, who is ex-navy and also a surveyor, has come to take everyone back to Table Cape. Hellyer told him of some of his surveying for the company.
Hellyer nodded as he sipped on his whiskey and continued, ‘Regardless of the hardships, I have always kept a positive attitude, maybe too much so. Edward told me that ‘All my geese were swans’, well, not all but I wish they were.’
Barnard opened the tent flap to look out towards the ocean. ‘The whaleboat is here. I must go.’
Hellyer calls after him, ‘Let my servant, Sandy, carry your luggage.’ But the lieutenant had gone. Hellyer stepped out of the tent and looked up into the sky and then towards the sea that was as smooth as glass. He called out to Sandy, who was stirring a stew cooking over the open fire on the beach. ‘The men should be back soon from their work in the bush,’ Hellyer said.
‘They’ll be here soon, sir, Mr Hellyer. I went up to see them. They’re building the huts for the provisions to be stored at Cascade Creek. We went there yesterday, with Fred, the dog, remember? And you chose the spot and left a marker where the huts are to be built.’
‘Just keep stirring that stew,’ Hellyer said. ‘They’ll be hungry when they get back. Make sure you feed the dogs, Paddy and Rattler, and don’t forget, Fred. And tell the men to sleep in the supply tent and no one is stealing any whiskey, especially not Harley or I’ll put him in iron.’
Sandy nodded eagerly. ‘I’ll watch them, Mr Hellyer. We’ll look after you.’
‘I’m going to lie down now, so make sure that there isn’t too much noise from the gang.’ Hellyer withdrew into the tent and closed the flap and sat down with his maps on a table, lit by a candle.’
The next morning was freezing cold. It was July and the middle of winter in Tasmania but as soon as the sun climbed into the sky, it warmed the air. Hellyer was served his tea and toast inside his tent while the gang of convicts readied themselves to walk back to Cascade Creek to finish building the little huts that were to store supply so that they wouldn’t have to walk all the way back to Emu Bay Beach each day while building the road. They would be sleeping beneath slabs of bark put on end and on logs to keep off the wet ground, room enough for two men with a fire blazing nearby. After the men left, Richard and Sandy, the servants, were splitting logs for the open fire as a large mouse ran out from inside one of the logs. Hellyer decided to sketch it.
(To be continued next month.)