‘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

Mother’s Day Stories & Poems Wanted

Valentine's Day 11

Exactly what we need in these days of social-distancing!

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

positivewordsmagazine

I’m looking for story and poetry submissions for the May issue. A nice way to honour a special person at a time when we might not be able to visit…

Mothers, grandmothers, daughters who have children of their own, special aunts and friends…send them in 🙂

Positive Words magazine

PO Box 798

Heathcote 3523 Victoria

View original post

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

‘Share Your Story’ Writing Competition and Anthology

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LEGENDARY BULLOCK TEAM leaving Jondaryan Woolshed, west of Toowoomba, Queensland, loaded with bales of wool. In his heyday 1858-1862 manager James White employed 88 blade shearers in this huge T-shaped woolshed. Illustration hand-printed 1985 by H. Sperring.

Submissions are open for ‘Bedtime Yarns and Ballads from the Australian Bush’ in 2020 Share Your Story.

Here’s what coordinator, author and literary entrepreneur, Michelle Worthington has to say in her newsletter:  ‘This year’s theme ‘Bedtime Yarns and Ballads from the Australian Bush’ will have judges looking for creative, engaging short stories or poems inspired by life in Australia, Australian animals, the Outback or overcoming adversity which will appeal to children aged 0 to 12 years to be read at bedtime.’

Map of Australia 06A ‘yarn’ is a rambling story, particularly one that is implausible, and poetry must be in traditional Australian ballad format.  Michelle encourages writers to think of a modern version of Blinky Bill, Banjo Patterson, Dorothea Mackellar, ‘Wombat Stew’ (I add my own personal favourite ‘Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’) for a new generation of readers.

Michelle Worthington goes on to say ‘We would love aspiring authors of all ages to have the chance to be published in our next Anthology to raise money for Aussie’s doing it tough, with proceeds donated to the NSW Rural Fire Service’.

NOTE:  ‘The winning entries will be included in an Anthology to be launched in October 2020, and all successful authors and illustrators will be invited as VIP Guests to the Pyjama Party Book Launch at the Queensland Children’s Hospital and locations around Australia during the launch month.’

Entries open 1 Feb 2020 and close 9pm 30 April 2020

Poetry Clipart 08For competition guidelines and entry requirements, visit the website to sign up for Share Your Story newsletter

https://shareyourstorypublishing.com/

Michelle Worthington is an international award-winning author and business woman.  As Founder of Share Your Story Australia, she waves her wand to coach aspiring authors and illustrators all over the world to achieve their dreams of publication.  Michelle is also available for speaking engagements, book signings and school visits.  She runs diverse workshops, and if you are thinking of becoming a writer, check out Share Your Story or visit Facebook or contact Michelle for further information.


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Maybe you could rework the legend of NED KELLY (December 1854 – November 1880) an Australian bushranger best known for wearing a suit of bulletproof armour during his final shootout with the police.

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

Birdbath IMG_20200123_125042 (12)
‘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

Review ‘In My Father’s House’ by Indrani Ganguly

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When I first picked up Indrani Ganguly’s memoir-style book, I dipped into a couple of stories.  It soon became apparent the pages contained a thoughtful mixture of poetry, artwork, travellers’ tales, photographs and fiction stories in a layout designed to gently lead the reader though Indrani’s world.

Chapters are grouped under different headings, the kind of book which anyone can read and everyone will find something that touches them.

The content captivated me with a mix of fact, fantasy and deep emotions initially triggered by Indrani’s return visit to her father’s house and her old room which had been left untouched since she moved out.  This is where her thoughts begin to unfold, first with artwork and poems then a retrospective short story about her family titled ‘Menagerie Manor’.

Jewellery Gold 04As luck would have it, being a fan of crime novels, the first short story I read was ‘A Candle for Bob Carter’ in which plain-clothed Chief Inspector Bob Carter is on jewel-guarding duty at a swanky fancy dress Christmas party during a hot Australian summer.  ‘We’ll turn the air-conditioning up dear,” says Leila as the sound system booms the obligatory yet incongruous ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’.  Such a fun twist at the end.

Indian Goddess Maa Durga Devi 03Under the tribute heading Women Worldwide, I read in awe as determined elderly ladies went ‘Walking in the Land of the Gods’.  Later I laughed out loud after reading ‘Durga Down Under’ a rather irreverent look at Durga, the Supreme Hindu Mother Goddess.  The accompanying poems resonated with me, particularly ‘A Woman’s Solitude’ a brief respite before a hectic day.  Under the title Travel Tales, Indrani writes with clarity and insight, transporting me to spectacular locations around the world.  My favourite is Shimla in the Himalayas which also has a lovely photo of Indrani and her daughter Gitanjali on rugged little ponies.

In this deceptively compact hardback volume there is a lot to read and think about.  ‘In My Father’s House’ is more than a treasury of family memories, Indrani’s words entertained and enlightened me.  She is in tune with diverse levels of society and human nature as well as comfortable within herself and her writing.

IMG_20190805_153244In her foreword, Indrani says ‘I continue to look both backwards and forwards for ideas and inspiration’.  I have already read and blogged her historical novel ‘The Rose and The Thorn’ and look forward to more literary adventures.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward


AUTHOR PROFILE

IMG_20191122_183130Indrani Ganguly was born into a Bengali family in Lucknow and now lives in Brisbane with her husband, son and daughter.  She travels extensively around Australia, India and other countries.

She studied English Honours in Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University, has a masters in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, and a PhD on the impact of British occupation on revolution and reform in Burdwan, now in West Bengal.

‘In My Father’s House’ was published 2015 by Unique Publications Delhi, and her novel ‘The Rose and The Thorn’ was published 2019 by Boolarong Press Brisbane.
Indrani’s website: https://indraniganguly139.wordpress.com/blog/

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

Quotation from Cesare Pavese

Cesare Pavese was an Italian novelist, poet and translator, and an outspoken literary and political critic.

Not well-known outside Italy, Pavese is numbered highly among the important 20th century authors in his home country.

Born in rural Santo Stefano Belbo, he often returned to the area, enjoying the solitude away from his turbulent career and heartbroken love life.  Pavese was not destined to live long, he died just before his 42 birthday.

Cesare_Pavese_Italian_Novelist_Poet_1930
Cesare Pavese (1930) rocking his Harry Potter glasses.

✨ Website Biography and Book Review

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/cesare-pavese
https://1streading.wordpress.com/2018/06/24/the-beautiful-summer/

✨ Cesare Pavese Poems

  1. The Cats Will Know
  2. Ancestors
  3. Habits
  4. You Have A Face Of Carved Stone
  5. Death Will Come With Your Eyes
  6. In The Morning You Always Come Backmy favourite
  7. Passion For Solitude from ‘Disaffections: Complete Poems 1930-1950’.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Three Things #5

Bookshelf for ABC Radio 04

One post with three acts READING LOOKING THINKING based on the format started by innovative blogger Paula Bardell-Hedley of Book Jotter.  

Her invitation to participate offers a change from THINKING to DOING if that suits your purpose but my TBR is backing up and I need to list seven of the books I desperately WANT TO READ—which, er, goes over the Three Things limit.  I just want to blab about these great books 😃 GBW.


These two books are side-by-side because they involve food and drink.

Todd Alexander

has written a humorous memoir of his escape to the country.  I did hear him at an author talk but he didn’t divulge the full story.  ‘Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga’ is sometimes sad, sometimes gruesome but I’m hoping it’s an uplifting story of the joys of living on the land.
http://www.toddalexander.com.au/

Maria Donovan

set her novel ‘The Chicken Soup Murder’ against the backdrop of real events in 2012, a time in Michael’s life when everything is turned upside down.  Cricket, football and the seaside are woven through the story as he strives to make sense of the changes involving death, suspicious neighbours and a school bully.
https://mariadonovan.com/


This is a mixed bag of goodies sharing the same photographic background.

Sally Piper

has golden wattle on her bookcover (I’m allergic to pollen) but the inside of ‘The Geography of Friendship’ greatly appeals to me.  The blurb reads ‘We can’t ever go back, but some journeys require walking the same path again’.  I won this novel at UQP behind-the-scenes publishing event.
http://www.sallypiper.com/

David Malouf

is an Australian icon.  I couldn’t begin to details his many and varied works here but his poetry is brilliant.  The ‘An Open Book’ flyleaf reads ‘Malouf reminds us of the ways poetry, music and creativity enrich our lives . . . about the dynamics of what escapes and what remains’.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Malouf

Simon Cleary

lives in my city of Brisbane.  He has written two novels about war and its devastation.  ‘The War Artist’ . . . ‘tackles the legacy of the Afghanistan war and the crippling psychological damage of PTSD’ and follows the shattered life of Brigadier James Phelan when he returns to Australia.
http://www.simoncleary.com/

Katherine Battersby

writes the most adorable children’s picture books.  I have been a fan of Squish Rabbit since his first appearance and assisted Katherine at one of her library book launches.  Forty children were expected and 140 turned up!  ‘Squish Rabbit’s Pet’ is my favourite so far; profound and endearing.
https://katherinebattersby.com/


I love bold bookcovers which alone tell a tiny bit of the story.

Hank Green

was recommended to me by a librarian with hair dyed pink, orange and green.  A reader of quirky books like me (although my hairstyle is more conservative) she advised that this book is a bit different.  And, yes, he’s the brother of John.

I have to say I have no idea what is in store for me with ‘An Absolutely Remarkable Thing’ so I will just leave you with the quote ‘In Hank Green’s sweeping, cinematic debut novel, a young woman becomes an overnight celebrity when her YouTube video goes viral . . . but there’s something bigger and stranger going on’.
https://www.hankgreen.com/


printable-times-new-roman-alphabet-stencilRight, that’s it, the seven books I’m going to read—not counting those on my ereader—now comes the wait until I post my book reviews.
Ciao for now!

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Poetry Journey of Kate O’Neil

The personal experiences of poet Kate O’Neil offer a diverse and interesting look into the creative world of poetry.

After chatting to Kate over our shared memories of the old poem ‘Wynken, Blynken and Nod’ she kindly showed me her ‘waking up’ version (excerpt below) which fits beautifully with the original.  Kate then agreed to answer some tricky questions for me and her responses are both thoughtful and revealing.


Welcome, Kate!

Kate-ONeil-2001

Thank you so much for your time.
My favourite poem of yours is short and sweet; ‘Paragliders Bald Hill Lookout’ invokes in my mind’s eye vivid colour, movement and summer days at the beach.
Talking of short and sweet, I recall asking you which would you choose ‘Lollipop or Cake?’ and you immediately said ‘Cake’, supplying a recipe with almonds smothered on top.  I can identify with that!
I had read your work on Australian Children’s Poetry under Kate O’Neil and recently discovered your real name is Dianne Cook.  You explain why in our Q&A, and give readers a peek behind the scenes of your poetry life.

Okay, let’s get those thoughts into words…


What highlights stand out in your poetry journey?

I’ve been hanging out with poetry for most of my life, so there have been lots of decades for highlights to happen in.

Highlights of poetry reading still happen with amazing frequency.  They began when I first realised what magical particles words and sounds are, and what selection, arrangement, combination – even omission, can play in shaping and delivering meaning.  There were the ‘greats’ I studied at school – some fantastic stuff there, and I’ve stored many riches from them.  But the thing is – poetry keeps on coming.  There are poets all over the world publishing collections, submitting to competitions and anthologies and magazines – and sharing a way of seeing.  Some poems have knocked me flat, left me breathless.  Some have lifted me to heaven; it’s a great ride.

There have been highlights of poetry writing, too.  For years the only public airing of my poems was in eisteddfod performances by drama students for whom I had written them (but who did not know this – hence my use of a pen-name).  There have been lovely moments hearing something performed well.

A major ‘highlight’ was having my submission to the inaugural (and only) Manchester Writing for Children prize short-listed.  This competition was set up by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s team at Manchester Uni.

There have been some wonderful outcomes from this.  These poems were published in Let in the Stars, the competition anthology, and one of them has since been chosen for inclusion by Roger McGough in his anthology Happy PoemsAND I have kept in touch with several other poets in the book.  I love the book.  I love so many of the poems in it, and the illustrations (by Manchester art students) are wonderful.

Since then I’ve made successful submissions to several magazines and anthologies – for adults and children.  See ‘Cool Poems’ information further down.  And I keep on submitting – (loads of rejections, of course).

Kate O'Neil Bookcovers 2019
See OOPS! at the end of Q&A for more book details.

Is there a significant thread through your creativity?

I would say not.  If anyone ever notices one I‘d like to be told.  At the Manchester Prize event, Mandy Coe (one of the judges) commented that I write in a variety of voices / styles.  She suggested it might be the influence of drama teaching.  I don’t know if that was praise or not.  Aren’t we writers meant to ‘find our voice’?

What challenges do you face when beginning a poem?

Nothing like the challenges of finishing it.  If a beginning (or middle) pops into my head at an inconvenient moment, I fear it will vanish if I don’t get it down on paper or in the notes on my phone.  This makes my amount of ‘screen time’ look dangerous.

Are you inspired or influenced by another poet?

Inevitably, and I could never know how many.  I’ve done some online workshops recently with UK poet Wendy Pratt, whose work I admire.  She, and others in the group, have helped me tighten my writing.  Lots of deleting went on.

Can you name just one of your favourite poems?

James Carter UK Children's Poet
James Carter UK Children’s Poet

You are asking this of someone whose word files are loaded with favourites!  If they are in the cloud, it will rain my favourite poems one day.  What if I narrow this to ‘favourite poem for children’?  Or better still, ‘favourite concrete / shape poem for children’?  I can do that.  It’s ‘The Moon Speaks!’ by James Carter.  It’s on his website:

http://www.jamescarterpoet.co.uk/poems.html

What is your definition of a successful poem?

This is getting difficult.  There are so many ways in which a poem can succeed (or fail).  I think I’d rate a poem’s success (for me) by the state I’m in after reading it.

How did you feel about poetry when growing up?

I’ve probably answered this in the first question.  I had no discrimination, but anything with rhyme, rhythm, sound patterns, imagery caught my attention.  Hymns, advertising jingles, greeting cards, bush ballads…

Do you draw on your own childhood memories?

Yes, at times, but much of that grist is still very much in the mill.

Kate O'Neil Poetry Cool Poems 04
Excerpt from Kate O’Neil verse expanding on the traditional children’s poem.

Have you experienced an awkward poetry moment?

Mostly private ones. (‘What? Did I really write that?’)

Are you a day dreamer or do you plan significant goals?

Genetically inclined to dreaming, but I try to impose goals to counter this.  (Hence the Wendy Pratt courses which involved writing on a prompt a day for four of the past six months).

Can you give us a hint about your work-in-progress?

‘Progress’ plays tricks on me? I have drafts of picture books, a chapter book, jottings for poems – ALL OVER THE SHOP!  Sometimes something gets finished, usually unexpectedly, usually when I think I am working on something else – and I send it somewhere.  Results are mixed.  This morning, for instance, I learned I have TWO poems long-listed in a comp (adult) and they will be published in an anthology.  Last week I sent off a poem I quite liked to The School Magazine just before I left for Sydney.  By the time I got there it had been rejected.

Do you have some guiding words for emerging poets?

I think it better to share another poet’s words that have guided me.  The main one is READ.

Jo Bell web image credit Lee Allen
Jo Bell web image credit Lee Allen

Jo Bell quote:  “If there is one thing I want you to take from this book, it is this: Nobody writes good poetry without reading good poetry.  Those who don’t take this seriously invariably write cliched, derivative and unoriginal work – just what we all want to avoid – because they aren’t aware of the context in which they are writing.”

‘52: A Year of Poetry Writing Prompts’  p11.  Jo Bell   Nine Arches Press 2015

Poetry Clipart 04

OOPS!  I haven’t mentioned the publication last year of my ‘Cool Poems’.  This was a major highlight!  The book belongs in a series published by Triple D Press, Wagga Wagga NSW.  It was a nail-biting thing to have a book which would sit alongside collections by Australians Bill Scott, Anne Bell, Colin Thiele, Christobel Mattingley and Max Fatchen.  Many thanks to Zita Denholm (Triple D) and Christina Booth (illustrator) for helping it happen.

Di Bates, editor of Buzz Words Magazine, wrote a lovely review on 23 December 2018 ‘Buzz Words: Cool Poems’.

The book Cool Poems’ can be ordered through my website www.kateoneil.com.au or by messaging me through Facebook.

Front-Cover-for-web
‘Cool Poems’ The Kate O’Neil Reciter, illustrations Christina Booth, publisher Triple D Books.

Thank you, Kate!

It has been delightful making your acquaintance and learning more about the workings behind your poetry.  I look forward to reading many more of your beautiful poems.  Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Poetry Clipart 09

‘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

‘Strength without wisdom’ counsels Milton

gears and cogs 14
What is strength without a double share of wisdom? Strength’s not made to rule, but to subserve, where wisdom bears command.


John Milton (December 1608 – November 1674) was an English poet of the late Renaissance period. He is particularly noted for his epic poem on the fall of Satan and Adam and Eve’s ejection from the Garden of Eden ‘Paradise Lost’ which he composed in blank verse after going blind.

Allow yourself plenty of time to read this legendary poem!

 

Poem of the Week: Paradise Lost by John Milton’ a unique viewpoint from of The Guardian who says ‘The muscular blank verse of this great classic reveals a visionary amalgam of the biblical and the classical.’
https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2019/jan/07/poem-of-the-week-from-paradise-lost-by-john-milton

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

 

john milton english poet

Remembering Those Who Fought

Today 11/11/2018 is the Centenary of Armistice and Remembrance Day in Australia.
We remember those who fought and those who died––

James Alexander Tonge WWI 002
My grandfather heading off to war.

At 11am on 11 November 1918 the armistice treaty, which Germany had signed earlier that morning, came into effect.  The Great War, the ‘war to end all wars’ which had begun on 28 July 1914 was finally over.

Like millions of other Australians, I’ll follow tradition and observe a two-minute silence at 11am (no matter where I am) to honour the 420,000 men who enlisted and the 62,000 who didn’t return.


Remembrance Day Poppies in Field

In Flanders Fields

Poem by Dr John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


ANZAC Day Poppy


Lest We Forget.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

2018.11.11 Lest We Forget