Your Precious Life

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Photo Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2020 — Quote from poem The Summer Day by Mary Oliver https://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/133.html

The Summer Day

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver (1935-2019) author and Pulitzer Prize winning poet.
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/mary-oliver

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Poetry Clipart 09

Your inner light still shines

This poem touched a chord within me . . .

Multi-talented storyteller, author and freelancer Chris Hall of luna’s on line says “Basically, I love writing in all its forms.  I tell stories – short fiction pieces, even poetry – maybe from a writing prompt or a piece of artwork I’ve seen, or maybe something topical which I’ve read.  For the past few months I’ve been writing serials on my blog e.g. Sinead’s Final Quest and Alys and Sparky.”

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Read on . . .

luna's on line

The image shows face of a woman. It is painted with luminous glitter paint and the features are highlighted with bright yellow lines, ending in a question mark on the forehead.Imprisoned inside a fragile façade

yet your inner light still glimmers

hope leaks out from every pore

and your smile still shines from deep within.

Confined within the corporeal

plagued by withering pain

yet the force that the fans your flame

is fuelled by a sharper source.

Your spark will not be extinguished

your spirit will not be crushed

not yet, while there’s hope

for another, better day.


Written in response to Sadjes What Do You See #42 photo prompt.
Image credit: Lucas Pezetaon Pexels

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‘Trophy’ Poem

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Long forgotten heroes … or maybe not …

TROPHY

1st place

Legitimate

The first time I’ve won a

Trophy

In my entire life

And you weren’t there.

I was so excited

My body

SHOOK!

I never expected to win anything

At all

And

When I told you, I got

“Good job”

You encourage me to do this

Begged

Pleaded

Anything you could do

To make me join you in it

And then

I got

Everything

But not

Your joy

Poem by Alice Julia Miller
October 2013
https://hellopoetry.com/poem/497020/trophy/

Poetry Clipart 09 Gretchen Bernet-Ward

‘Ode to the Cat’ by Pablo Neruda

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Rescue cat JoJo does not want to sleep © Gretchen Bernet-Ward

EXTRACT FROM ‘ODE TO THE CAT’

by Pablo Neruda

… Oh independent wild beast

of the house

arrogant

vestige of the night,

lazy, gymnastic

and alien,

very deep cat,

secret policeman

of bedrooms,

insignia

of a

disappeared velvet,

surely there is no

enigma

in your manner,

perhaps you are not a mystery,

everyone knows of you

and you belong

to the least mysterious inhabitant,

perhaps everyone believes it,

everyone believes himself the owner,

proprietor,

uncle

of a cat,

companion,

colleague,

disciple

or friend

of his cat …

READ THE FULL POEM

https://www.librarything.com/topic/26410
Listed Number 8 originally from ‘Odes to Common Things’ by poet Pablo Neruda 

There are several different translations from Chilean Spanish to English:
https://leonarddurso.com/2013/07/22/from-ode-to-a-cat-by-pablo-neruda/
http://unmasking.tripod.com/poemless/pn20.htm
https://amiracarluccio.com/2017/10/19/long-poems-ode-to-a-cat-by-pablo-neruda-oda-al-gato/
https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/ode-to-the-cat/

Poetry Clipart 14PROFILE

Pablo Neruda (1904–1973) born Parral, Chile.
Attended Chile University and became a poet, politician, activist, diplomat.
National Prize for Literature Chile (1945)
International Peace Prize (1950)
Lenin Peace Prize (1953)
American Academy of Arts and Letters (Foreign Honorary ∙ Literature ∙ 1968)
Nobel Prize in Literature (1971)
Golden Wreath (1972)

He was perhaps the most important Latin American poet of the 20th century and for a deeper look at his intriguing life I recommend https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Pablo_Neruda

‘AS EVERY CAT OWNER KNOWS, NOBODY OWNS A CAT’ — Ellen Perry Berkeley

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Laugh in the Bath

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Aussie Koala bath toy 2020 © Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Bath Laugh 3

Sitting in my bath I heard a great big glug

Followed by a bubble followed by the plug

I must have pulled it out but I didn’t know

The water in my bath it began to go

It was getting lower way below my knees

I was getting colder and I began to freeze

I put a towel round me to try and get some heat

There I saw the plug lying at my feet

Then I picked it up off the bathroom floor

Put it back into the bath and filled it up once more.

Poem
by
William Worthless

“I like writing poems for everyone and try to bring enjoyment and make people feel happy after reading.”

March 2010 © William Worthless

More poems https://hellopoetry.com/william-worthless/

Raindrop

Bush Ballad ‘The Banks of the Condamine’

The Banks of the Condamine

 

Oh, hark the dogs are barking, love,

I can no longer stay,

The men are all gone mustering

And it is nearly day.

And I must be off by the morning light,

Before the sun doth shine,

To meet the Roma shearers,

On the banks of the Condamine.

 

Oh Willie, dearest Willie,

I’ll go along with you,

I’ll cut off all my auburn fringe

And be a shearer, too.

I’ll cook, and count your tally, love,

While ringer-o you shine,

And I’ll wash your greasy moleskins

On the banks of the Condamine.

 

Oh, Nancy, dearest Nancy,

With me you cannot go,

The squatters gave us orders, love,

No woman should do so;

Your delicate constitution

Is not equal unto mine,

To withstand the constant tigering

On the banks of the Condamine.

 

Oh Willy, dearest Willy,

Then stay back home with me,

We’ll take up a selection,

And a farmer’s wife I’ll be.

I’ll help you husk the corn, love,

And cook your meals so fine.

You’ll forget the ram-stag mutton

On the banks of the Condamine.

 

Oh, Nancy, dearest Nancy,

Please do not hold me back,

Down there the boys are waiting,

And I must be on the track.

So here’s a goodbye kiss, love,

Back home here I’ll incline

When we’ve shorn the last of the jumbucks

On the banks of the Condamine.

 

Anonymous.

 

 

From ‘Bush Songs, Ballads and Other Verse’ selected by Douglas Stewart and Nancy Keesing and published 1967 by Angus & Robertson Ltd, printed by Discovery Press.

The following information from—
https://music.stevetowson.com/track/the-banks-of-the-condamine-2

Poetry Clipart 08

Australian traditional music has a dearth of love songs, but here is one from our home state of Queensland.  The English folk singer and collector A.L. Lloyd wrote about this song—

“Throughout the fifty years from 1820 to 1870, broadside printers in London, Newcastle, Dublin and elsewhere did a good trade with the stall-ballad called ‘Banks of the Nile’, a song from the Napoleonic Wars.  The song spread to America and Australia, and in Queensland it became parodied as ‘The Banks of the Condamine’, with the hero no longer a soldier but a horse-breaker or a shearer.  It has turned up in sundry shapes, to various tunes, many times over, mostly in Queensland.”

FOOTNOTE:

  1. This bush ballad was first published under another name in The Queenslander, the literary edition of the Brisbane Courier in 1894.
  2. The Condamine River in southeast Queensland is 657 kilometres long and starts below Cons Plain and ends at the Balonne River.
  3. It was named in honour of Lieut. Thomas De La Condamine (1797-1873) the A.D.C. to Governor Ralph Darling who also has a river named after him.  But the Darling River has been known as the Baaka by the Barkindji people for thousands of years.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condamine_River

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Condamine River Sheep Shearer Demo

Fire and Rain from Poet Kate Llewellyn

Kate Llewellyn is a hidden treasure.  I had not read any of her works before today but she is reaching the age of legend status and should be acknowledged for her beautiful poetry now rather than in retrospect.

In ‘Blue Mountains Christmas’ Kate Llewellyn explores the particular delight of summer rain which breaks a dry spell:

Yesterday, smoke from the valley-–

I thought it was mist

until I smelt it-–

and today, each leaf holds water drops,

shining – it rained in the night.

Kate Llewellyn expresses wonder in the capacity of nature for regeneration in the face of disaster, and nature’s opportunism.  In ‘Magpies’ she defines the summer heat and leaving a garden sprinkler on while a bushfire rages:

It had been hot for days,

the garden sprawled-–

hit like a cricketer.

I left a hose on,

hanging in the apple tree,

and went indoors and slept.

Magpies found this fountain

and stalked around.

They made a midsummer opera

and gargled water-–

it became their song.

They sang as if to praise

the fountain in the tree.

While all this was happening

a hundred fires swept the State.

Great trees exploded,

birds and animals caught fire.

People died and houses burnt,

yet still these magpies sang

around the fountain in the tree.

Poet Kate Llewellyn Playing With Water book
‘Playing with Water’ (Pymble NSW HarperCollins 2005) creates a meditation on nature, on community, on the cycle of life. A lyrical memoir that is a celebration of the senses and the seasons.

Australia is the driest inhabited continent on the planet.  It is natural that drought and the regeneration which comes from bushfires and drought-breaking rains are timeless subjects in our poetry and evocatively captured by Kate Llewellyn.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

PROFILE

Kate Llewellyn is an award-winning Australian poet, author, diarist and travel writer.  She is the author of twenty-four books comprising eight of poetry, five of travel, journals, memoir ‘The Dressmaker’s Daughter’, letters and essays.  “Kate Llewellyn is naturally poetic, naturally personal, and uniquely generous with it.” writes Australian Book Review’s South Australian State Editor Peter Goldsworthy.  Further reading Poetry Library.

ABC Radio National transcript:
https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/saturdayextra/kate-llewellyn/3288742

Poetry ‘Deep Into the Heart of Wales’

Sunday 1st March 2020 the Wales Readathon and Dewithon20 begins!  To get fired up, read Gareth Evans emotive poem, one of many he penned on a trek across Wales.

“In the summer of 2003, Gareth Evans walked the length of Wales from Cardiff to Holyhead, taking 28 days to cover over 500km and 18000m of ascent.  Twenty-eight poems were inspired by the journey.  Some are humorous, some are philosophical, some are descriptive and all are the product of quiet, solitary observation.  Join Welshman Gareth as he probes deep into the heart of Wales.”

Here is one of his poems—

“The Dragon’s Back”

Turned to motionless stone by a great Welsh wizard

His red scaly back turned to a silvery grey

The most powerful dragon that ever lived

Is harnessed by a mysterious, magical spell

His elongated head peers down on the Llanberis lakes

His massive body full of spikes is a fearsome sight

His rock-studded spine slumped high above Ogwen

Gashes line his steep sides like old war wounds shooting down to Idwal

Gullies and arêtes form the webs of his folded wings

A bristly tail drops down suddenly, decorated by spectacular pinnacles

Before flicking up again with one last majestic sweep

To its triple-pronged tip soaring towards the heavens

The roar that once filled the valleys preserved forever

In the howl of the wind and the scream of the jets in Nant Ffrancon

His beauty is held in the eagles that now circle above him

He lives on in the spirit of the people of Wales

Courage and passion are mirrored in their eyes

And his fire still burns in the depths of their hearts

By Gareth L Evans 2003

Poetry from “Deep Into the Heart of Wales”
http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewPoetry.asp?AuthorID=8106

Wales Readathon 2020
https://bookjotter.com/2020/02/03/are-you-ready-for-wales-readathon-2020/

My Dewithon20 post
https://thoughtsbecomewords.com/2020/02/21/are-you-ready-for-wales-readathon-2020/

‘One Moonlit Night’ by Caradog Prichard is currently winging its way to me via Booktopia.  It is the book chosen by Dewithon20 as a group read.  Or pick your own book and join us!

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Welsh Flag

Dewithon Logo Daffs

 

‘Ebb’ Poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay

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‘Ebb’ by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in Rockland, Maine USA, on 22 February 1892.  Edna’s poetry and playwright collections include The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver (Flying Cloud Press 1922) winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and Renascence and Other Poems (Harper 1917)

Edna St Vincent Millay Poet 02

Edna won a scholarship to Vassar College and became famous during her lifetime for her poetry with its passionate, formal lyrics, her flame-red hair, outspoken political views and unconventional lifestyle.  She died on 18 October, 1950, in Austerlitz, New York.

Poets https://poets.org/poem/ebb
Poetry Foundation https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/55993/renascence

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

‘Peach’ by D. H. Lawrence

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Peach

 

Would you like to throw a stone at me?

Here, take all that’s left of my peach.

 

Blood-red, deep:

Heaven knows how it came to pass.

Somebody’s pound of flesh rendered up.

 

Wrinkled with secrets

And hard with the intention to keep them.

 

Why, from silvery peach-bloom,

From that shallow-silvery wine-glass on a short stem

This rolling, dropping, heavy globule?

 

I am thinking, of course, of the peach before I ate it.

 

Why so velvety, why so voluptuous heavy?

Why hanging with such inordinate weight?

Why so indented?

 

Why the groove?

Why the lovely, bivalve roundnesses?

Why the ripple down the sphere?

Why the suggestion of incision?

 

Why was not my peach round and finished like a billiard ball?

It would have been if man had made it.

Though I’ve eaten it now.

 

But it wasn’t round and finished like a billiard ball;

And because I say so, you would like to throw something at me.

 

Here, you can have my peach stone.

 

San Gervasio  D. H. Lawrence (1923)

 

     *   *   *   *   *  

   

David Herbert Lawrence, English author, poet, literary critic (1885–1930) is regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century.

Lawrence’s hard working-class upbringing shaped his life, and he wrote extensively about the experience of growing up in the poor mining town of Eastwood, Nottinghamshire.  “Whatever I forget,” he said, “I shall not forget the Haggs, a tiny red brick farm on the edge of the wood, where I got my first incentive to write.”

A prolific writer and traveller, Lawrence earned fame for his earthy novels (some banned) and short stories, and subsequently received acclaim for his personal letters in which he detailed a range of emotions, from exhilaration to depression to ruminating on life and death.

The story of his ashes and final resting place makes intriguing reading on Poets’ Graves
https://www.poetsgraves.co.uk/lawrence.htm

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

To Sleep or Not To Sleep said William…

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… Wordsworth as he tossed and turned and counted sheep, perhaps after a rollicking New Year’s Eve party.  Hope you got some sleep once the brand new decade had dawned.  Maybe reciting William’s poem can give you “fresh thoughts and joyous health!” in 2020.

To Sleep

 

William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

 

A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by

One after one; the sound of rain, and bees

Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,

Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky;—

 

I’ve thought of all by turns, and still I lie

Sleepless; and soon the small birds’ melodies

Must hear, first utter’d from my orchard trees,

And the first cuckoo’s melancholy cry.

 

Even thus last night, and two nights more I lay,

And could not win thee, Sleep! by any stealth:

So do not let me wear to-night away:

 

Without Thee what is all the morning’s wealth?

Come, blessed barrier between day and day,

Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health!

 

°°°°°°°°°°°°∇°°°°°°°°°°°°

 

William Wordsworth, born April 7, 1770, Cockermouth, Cumberland, England—died April 23, 1850, Rydal Mount, Westmorland, English poet whose Lyrical Ballads (1798), written with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped launch the English Romantic movement.

Encyclopædia Britannica an absorbing article written by Stephen Maxfield Parrish

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Rain for Christmas Day!

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After months of drought-like conditions it actually rained on Christmas Day!

THE BIRD BATH

by Stephen Whiteside

I’m just a humble bird bath.  I have no tap or drain.

I only ever fill up if we have a fall of rain.

I never have a bar of soap, or bottle of shampoo,

Or sachet of those clever salts that soak you through and through.

I’m never cleaned.  I’m never scrubbed.  There’s lichen on my lip.

I’m gritty and I’m earthy.  I provide a proper grip,

And those that use my services don’t mind that I am old,

Though my water might be cloudy, and its temp’rature quite cold.

They leap.  They splash.  They frolic, throwing spumes high in the air.

They play with great abandon, like they’ve not a single care.

They use me as a wash tub, yes, but choose to drink as well

Of my cool, refreshing water.  They are happy, I can tell.

I’m just a simple bird bath, standing silent in the yard;

Abandoned, half forgotten, but I do not find life hard.

I’m frequently replenished by refreshing falls of rain,

And all my good friends visit me…again…again…again.

© Stephen Whiteside  11.09.2012

Website https://www.stephenwhiteside.com.au/

Poems https://australianchildrenspoetry.com.au/australianpoets/u-z-2/stephen-whiteside/

Photographs Gretchen Bernet-Ward  26.12.2019

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Audre Lorde, Poet

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Audre Geraldine Lorde was born on February 1934 in New York City, and went on to become a leading African-American poet and essayist who gave voice to issues of race, gender and sexuality.

Lorde’s love of poetry started at a young age, and she began writing as a teenager.  She attended Hunter College, working to support herself through school.  After graduating in 1959, she went on to get a master’s degree in library science from Columbia University in 1961 and was head librarian at Town School Library in New York City.

‘The Black Unicorn’ (1978), a volume in which Lorde explored her African heritage, is considered one of her greatest works by many critics.  In addition to poetry, Lorde was a powerful essayist and writer.

In terms of her nonfiction work, Lorde is best remembered for ‘The Cancer Journals’ (1980) in which she documents her own struggle with breast cancer.  She died November 1992 on the US island of St. Croix.

Information from The Biography.com website  https://www.biography.com/scholar/audre-lorde

Citation Information

Article Title
Audre Lorde Biography

Author
Biography.com Editors

Website Name
The Biography.com website

Access Date
November 27, 2019

Publisher
A&E Television Networks

Last Updated
April 16, 2019

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

‘September in Australia’ Poem by Henry Kendall

‘September in Australia’ by Henry Kendall

Grey Winter hath gone, like a wearisome guest,
And, behold, for repayment,
September comes in with the wind of the West
And the Spring in her raiment!
The ways of the frost have been filled of the flowers,
While the forest discovers
Wild wings, with the halo of hyaline hours,
And the music of lovers.

September, the maid with the swift, silver feet!
She glides, and she graces
The valleys of coolness, the slopes of the heat,
With her blossomy traces;
Sweet month, with a mouth that is made of a rose,
She lightens and lingers
In spots where the harp of the evening glows,
Attuned by her fingers.

The stream from its home in the hollow hill slips
In a darling old fashion;
And the day goeth down with a song on its lips,
Whose key-note is passion.
Far out in the fierce, bitter front of the sea
I stand, and remember
Dead things that were brothers and sisters of thee,
Resplendent September.

The West, when it blows at the fall of the noon
And beats on the beaches,
Is filled with a tender and tremulous tune
That touches and teaches;
The stories of Youth, of the burden of Time,
And the death of Devotion,
Come back with the wind, and are themes of the rhyme
In the waves of the ocean.

We, having a secret to others unknown,
In the cool mountain-mosses,
May whisper together, September, alone
Of our loves and our losses.
One word for her beauty, and one for the grace
She gave to the hours;
And then we may kiss her, and suffer her face
To sleep with the flowers.

High places that knew of the gold and the white
On the forehead of Morning
Now darken and quake, and the steps of the
Night Are heavy with warning!
Her voice in the distance is lofty and loud
Through the echoing gorges;
She hath hidden her eyes in a mantle of cloud,
And her feet in the surges!

On the tops of the hills, on the turreted cones –
Chief temples of thunder –
The gale, like a ghost, in the middle watch moans,
Gliding over and under.
The sea, flying white through the rack and the rain,
Leapeth wild at the forelands;
And the plover, whose cry is like passion with pain,
Complains in the moorlands.

Oh, season of changes – of shadow and shine –
September the splendid!
My song hath no music to mingle with thine,
And its burden is ended;
But thou, being born of the winds and the sun,
By mountain, by river,
Mayst lighten and listen, and loiter and run,
With thy voices for ever.

Henry Kendall (1839 – 1882)

‘Leaves from Australian Forests’
Poems of Henry Kendall – with Prefatory Sonnets.
Third poem – Page 7 of original book.
Pages 163 – with Dedication.
Published 1869 by George Robertson, Melbourne, Australia.
Printed by Walker, May & Co, Melbourne, Australia.

Leaves from the Australia Bush Henry Kendall 02
Poet Henry Kendall – painting ‘Bush Burial’ by Frederick McCubbin (1890)

Website https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Leaves_from_Australian_Forests.html?id=D5UuAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

‘Undrought’ Poem by Casey Williams

Undrought

The year has barely started,
The ringers still on leave,
The wet is running late this year,
Lord, bring us our reprieve.

The North is bloody thirsty
The cows are calving down
The grass is getting sparser
And the ground is turning brown

It’s been this way a while now
Too long, in fact, for some
The dry is taking over
When will the rain please come?

At last the clouds are building
And the frogs are crying out
I wonder if they know at all,
What’s due to come about?

A couple inches, you bloody beaut!
What a blessed sight,
The sound of raindrops on the roof,
I’ll listen up all night.

Another night, and then again,
She’s getting fairly damp,
The river’s running beautifully,
She’s really set up camp.

Again and again, it hammers down,
In drowning, vicious waves,
We hate to sound ungrateful
But rain, please go away.

At last the drought is broken
But so are all our hearts
Homes are under water
Lives are ripped apart

No warning of the enormity
No chance to get ahead
Just paralysed by water
And what we will find dead

The land has gone from Barron
To an ocean, vast and brown
The calves are drowned or frozen
Their mothers, bogging down.

The rain has finished finally
The world turned upside down
There’s cattle stuck in trees
Dead wildlife on the ground.

The North just copped a big one
We’re hurting far and wide
Our community’s a strong one
But we need you on our side

Don’t kick us while we’re down
Don’t say we have no shame
You want to see compassion
Drive up here, see our pain.

I for one, could not be prouder
Of the industry up here
It’s one of strength and courage,
Through drought, through flood and fear

I say this to all affected
To those who’ve lost so much
You’re the backbone of this country
Keep talking, stay in touch

You’ve got your mates behind you
To help with all your doubts
We can rebuild together
The sunshine has come out.

by Casey Williams

Saturday 16 Feb 2019 ABC Brisbane Queensland Australia
Also blog post Drought
Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Queensland Map

Australia Day 2019

aussie icon australia day 2019

Long weekend

Hot weather

Stretch and yawn

Shorts and t-shirt

Bushells cuppa

Vegemite on toast

Barbecue smoke

Burned sausages

Tomato sauce drips

Potato salad

Paper plates sag

Pavlova sweetness

Dry lamingtons

Lemonade spiders

Cricket match

Afternoon sleep

Bonfire crackling

Eucalyptus spits

Singalong

Mosquitoes bite

Humid night

Ceiling fan

Beach tomorrow

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

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HOMEMADE AUSSIE PAVLOVA is a baked crusty meringue with a soft fluffy centre, topped with whipped cream and sweet tangy seasonal fruits. Melts in your mouth!

‘Going to School’ Poem by C J Dennis

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Published by Random House Australia, November 2011 https://www.penguin.com.au/books/classic-australian-poems-9781742753621

Going to School

C J Dennis

 

Did you see them pass today, Billy, Kate and Robin,
All astride upon the back of old grey Dobbin?
Jigging, jogging off to school, down the dusty track––
What must Dobbin think of it––three upon his back?
Robin at the bridle-rein, in the middle Kate,
Billy holding on behind, his legs out straight.

Now they’re coming back from school, jig, jog, jig.
See them at the corner where the gums grow big;
Dobbin flicking off the flies and blinking at the sun––
Having three upon his back he thinks is splendid fun:
Robin at the bridle-rein, in the middle Kate,
Little Billy up behind, his legs out straight.

Poem originally published in ‘A Book for Kids’ 1921

 

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Poem by Clarence Michael James Dennis, better known as Australian poet C J Dennis (Sept 1876 – June 1938) who had a variety of jobs, from bar tender, secretary to a senator, to publisher and editor. He is fondly remembered for the humorous stories and verse he wrote for big city newspapers and was dubbed ‘laureate of the larrikin’ which means he penned prose about boisterous, unruly people. GBW.

Ever get poetry nostalgia?  Australian school children learn poems by C J Dennis, Henry Lawson, Banjo Paterson and many more.  Often a particular poet’s verse follows them through life, even though their lives are nothing like the rough and tumble era in which these pioneer poets wrote.

Changes were afoot in Australia in late nineteenth/early twentieth century and were reflected in the country’s poetry.  In the evening, after dinner, someone would recite a poem or two.  Years later, I grew up with Banjo Paterson’s ‘The Man From Snowy River’, a rollicking ode to bush men, stock riders, the dangerously rugged land and the great value of horses.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

‘Family Photo’ by Stephanie Boase

I just love the reality and happiness of this poem!

Australian Children’s Poetry Website

Family photo

Brush your teeth

Comb your hair

Dress up smart

To look the part

Gather together

Re-arrange

Bunch up tight 

Now, move apart

Pick up the children

Brush off the dirt

Everyone still…

This won’t hurt.

Oh no,

Here comes a sneeze!

Look at the camera

‘Smiling please.’

Camera 

Flash 

Toilet dash

‘Dinner time!’

Adults chime.

Just one more

CLICK

“That’s a take!”

All the children celebrate.

Lolly bribes have worked a treat.

Now,

Let’s all go out to eat!

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‘My Dragon Reads Books’ Rhyme

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My Dragon Reads Books

My dragon gives me dirty looks,

When I borrow his favourite books.

I settle down in cosy nooks,

Or rest beside babbling brooks,

To read about pirates with curvy hooks,

And wildly passionate celebrity cooks,

And scattered flocks of noisy rooks,

And a veggie patch of scratching chooks.

There’s even a dungeon full of crooks,

Trying to hide from shimmering spooks.

My dear dragon sulks and sooks,

He folds his wings and mutters ‘zooks’,

Then joins with me to read his books.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Dragon Computer Gretchen