John B Tabb was Ahead of His Time…

Image © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2021

… or have we gone backwards?

The small green book nearest the candle is simply titled “Poems”, a volume of verse by John B Tabb. Each poem is on a single page and has been written in similar length to Twitter and Instagram. All the way from 1894—I had to share it with you!

There are 172 pages, one short poem per page, extolling nature, love, life and death. I guess Tabb wanted only his poetry to shine because there is nothing personal inside.

The first page has an important red logo with lilies and Latin written on it, not for the poet but the company insignia of Copeland and Day, Boston, MDCCCXCIV (1894)

The second page states “Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1894, by Copeland and Day, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.”

The back page reads “This first edition of poems by John B. Tabb is limited to five hundred copies, which have been printed during the autumn of 1894 by John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, Massachusetts.”

A slim volume which appears to have been well handled over many years, and the pale deckle parchment is showing its age—see below.

The big question is “How did this volume arrive at a book fair in Brisbane Australia 127 years later?”

GBW 2021

After the formality of the front pages comes a seven page index (in tiny print) which has intriguing titles listed under headings. I guess the first are general rhymes, the next Quatrains and then Sonnets.

Here are some of my favourites—

The Phonograph

Hark! What his fellow-warblers heard
And uttered in the light,
Their phonograph, the mocking-bird,
Repeats to them at night.

Imagination

Here Fancy far outdoes the deed;
So hath Eternity the need
Of telling more than Time has taught
To fill the boundaries of Thought.

The Dandelion

With locks of gold to-day;
To-morrow, silver gray;
Then blossom bald. Behold,
O man, thy fortune told!

Evolution

Out of the dusk a shadow,
Then, a spark;
Out of the cloud a silence,
Then, a lark;
Out of the heart a rapture,
Then, a pain;
Out of the dead, cold ashes,
Life again.

Compensation

How many an acorn falls to die
For one that makes a tree!
How many a heart must pass me by
For one that cleaves to me!

“We may use different words but emotions are eternal”

Who was this man John B Tabb? Well, his full name and title was Father John Banister Tabb (22 March 1845 – 19 November 1909) and he was an American poet, Roman Catholic priest, and professor of English Contents. He was born into a wealthy family in Amelia County, Virginia, was a blockade runner for the Confederacy during the Civil War, converted to the Roman Catholic Church in 1872, taught Greek and English at Saint Charles College (Ellicott City, Maryland) and was ordained as a priest in 1884. Among his other works, Father Tabb published eight poetry books and was widely published in prestigious magazines of the day including Harper’s Monthly and The Cosmopolitan. The Tabb Monument in Amelia County, Virginia, is dedicated to his memory.
Source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_B._Tabb

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

——oooOOOooo——

Image © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2021

‘The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls’ Longfellow

Tidal flats of Wynnum Manly foreshore Moreton Bay, Queensland © Dot Bernet 2021

The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The tide rises, the tide falls,

The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;

Along the sea-sands damp and brown

The traveller hastens toward the town,

      And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Darkness settles on roofs and walls,

But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;

The little waves, with their soft, white hands,

Efface the footprints in the sands,

      And the tide rises, the tide falls.

The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls

Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;

The day returns, but nevermore

Returns the traveller to the shore,

      And the tide rises, the tide falls.

* * * * *

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet (1807-1882)

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44651/the-tide-rises-the-tide-falls

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Twilight falls on Wynnum Manly foreshore Moreton Bay, Queensland © Dot Bernet 2021

Highway Thrills with Bukowski

“Bright Red Car” from The Last Night of the Earth Poems by Charles Bukowski, author poet (Black Sparrow Press 1992) and yes, I know the car illustration is yellow but this car jousting is, well… just read it…

I try to avoid speed duels on the freeway but the most curious thing

is

that all my speeding tickets are when I am quietly driving

along on

my

own.

when I am in a high speed duel, darting in and out of lane

at near 100 m.p.h.

the police are never

about.

when I get tagged for speeding it is for cruising along,

day-dreaming, at a mere 70

m.p.h.

I received 3 such nonsensical tickets in 3 weeks so

I laid low for some time — 2 years, in fact, but today

out there

there was a fellow in a bright red car, I have no idea what

model or kind

and I have no idea of how it all started but I believe that

I started it:

I was in the fast lane going about 70

and I caught the flash of bright red in my rear view and

as he swung out to pass me on the right

he was doing 75

and there was time for him to pass

then cut into the fast lane ahead of me

but something made me hit the throttle and cut him

off

locking him in behind an old lady with a CHRIST

SAVES bumper sticker.

this seemed to piss him no end

and next I knew he had swung over on my bumper,

so close that his windshield and my taillights

seemed one.

this pissed me no end and I was being blocked by a

green Volks directly ahead

but I cut right through an opening and shot

ahead.

bright red went wild, spotted the far lane open,

roared over and gunned it

along.

after that, it was just me and bright red

jockeying for spots.

he would garner a lead, then with a crazy gamble

of lane change I would regain the

lead.

during this duel my destination was forgotten and I’m

sure his was

too.

watching him, I couldn’t help but admire his driving

skill; he took a few more chances than I

but I had a little bit the better machine

so it

just about evened out.

then

suddenly

we were alone: a freak break in the traffic

had set us free together

and we really opened

up.

he had a short lead but my machine slowly gained; I

inched up near him,

then I was at his side and I couldn’t help but

look over.

he was a young Japanese-American, maybe 18, 19

and I looked at him and

laughed.

I saw him check me out.

he saw a 70 year old white man

with a face like

Frankenstein.

the young man took his foot off the throttle and

dropped back

I let him go.

I turned the radio

on.

I was 18 miles past my destination but it

didn’t matter.

it was a beautiful sunny day.

* * * * *

Charles Bukowski (August 1920 – March 1994) a German American author, an influential, prolific and transgressive 20th century poet, short story writer, and novelist. 

Reference https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/charles-bukowski

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

bAYLY’S bEDAZZLED mOTH

Dazzled Moth © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2021

“Fly away, pretty moth, to the shade

Of the leaf where you slumbered all day;

Be content with the moon and the stars, pretty moth,

And make use of your wings while you may. . .

But tho’ dreams of delight may have dazzled you quite,

They at last found it dangerous play;

Many things in this world that look bright, pretty moth,

Only dazzle to lead us astray”.

By Thomas Haynes Bayly


“Songs, Ballads, and Other Poems” by Thomas Haynes Bayly (October 1797 – April 1839) an English poet, songwriter, playwright, and novelist https://pennyspoetry.fandom.com/wiki/Thomas_Haynes_Bayly

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Take A Detour…

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Take a detour © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2021

“The Road Not Taken” is a narrative poem by Robert Frost, published in 1916 as the first poem in the collection Mountain Interval.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves, no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

By American poet Robert Lee Frost (March 1874 – January 1963)

Condamine River Sheep Shearers on the Track

Condamine River sheep shearers on the Track 1800s Queensland Australia

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

‘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 but 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.


IMG_20200315_105328
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