Poetry

My poetry is special to me as it bares my soul  (as does my art). Above all else, art and writing must be original and honest – and uncensored. My first published collection was titled, ‘Struth’.

The most important messages relate to life and love – and sacrifice.

‘swar

The Red Carpet

Our Prime Minister is to be greeted with a red carpet from his aircraft to the waiting dignitaries. A rare privilege indeed and appropriate for ‘mates’.

But let’s consider how our Prime Minister who represents all Australians, came to be granted such regal treatment.

The red carpet – full of meaning – the colour of Flanders’ poppies – dyed with the blood of diggers and doughboys who fought and died together from the battlefields of Europe to the Pacific, to Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East, over 100 years of international warfare, fighting to retain the freedoms and comforts that we enjoy today.

The red carpet is a symbol of mateship – the mateship between the men and the women, the soldiers, sailors and airmen, male and female, of allied nations, bonded in the theatres of deadly combat.

The Red Carpet – how appropriate. When you tread upon that red carpet, Prime Minister, tread gently, it was dyed with the blood of heroes.

 

The ‘Few’

15 September 1940

They etched their names

onto the vast blue canvas

of the English summer sky

and on that momentous day,

wrote their names into history.

They flew their painted machines

on curving paths

to intercept intruders

who sought to change our way of life.

But despite the panoramic beauty

and romantic imagery of Spitfire skies,

this was no aerial ballet,

no sport, no operatic tragedy.

This was one-on-one gladiatorial combat

as ruthless as that of the coliseum

– merciless, kill or be killed, unforgiving.

Their orchestra was

the scream of their Merlin engines,

their oratorio the quaint lyrics

of ‘able’, ‘baker’,‘roger’, ‘wilco’,

‘bandits’ and ‘bogeys’,

the final crescendo was the sound

of cannon and machine-gun fire and

the final curtain was

the fiery death of a pilot or crew.

These young men

were rushed into combat

before being fully prepared

sometimes hot,

sometimes freezing

in cramped cockpits

filled with the smells

of sweat, of pain and of fear.

Their bodies were crushed by the

forces of tumultuous flight.

Bravely they flew day after day;

they and their plotters and ground crews

worked to the point of collapse.

Churchill named them, ‘the few’

But we who live

must ask and continue to ask,

‘why so few’?

The legacy we bear

is to never again

allow our country

to be so ill-equipped

and ill-prepared to defend our values

nor to risk the freedoms

and democracies we enjoy

and which by their sacrifice,

fighter pilots had to defend

against all odds – often to their death.

This day, 15 September,

is their memorial day.

Let us never forget them.

 

‘slove

 

‘salms

what the world needs now

is an alms race.

 

‘swings

beauty is difficult to grasp.

it is as flitting, fleeting

and fragile as a butterfly’s wing.

beauty should be breathed

enjoyed, perceived

but it takes a tuned and grateful eye,

an open heart and a gentle mind.

beauty may be touched gently,

but only with great care,

respect and appreciation.

it should be treasured

while we have the chance to enjoy it

for neither it, nor we,

will last.

‘swomen

a fortunate man has

three significant women in his life:

a mother (essential);

a wife (desirable); and

a daughter (adorable).

what is a mother but

love, pain and sacrifice?

what is a wife but

love, duty and care?

what is a daughter but

love, joy and respect?

a man’s contract should say:

to my mother – i owe you care,

love and adulation – for the whole of your life;

to my wife – i owe you honesty,

integrity and shelter for the

whole of our life together; and

to my daughter

I owe you protection, comfort,

education, and wisdom

until I die.

 

 

PUBERTY

Puberty is about ‘otions –

motions,

notions,

potions,

lotions,

and

oceans of

emotions.

 

Woman is Tidal

Woman is tidal

ebbs and flows

gushes and flushes

fluids and flavours

yesses and noes

sweets and savours

cycles and seasons

phases and moods

rhymes and reasons

and, above all,

periods:

periods of calm

periods of pain

periods of passion, fashion, desire

periods of calm

periods of doubt

periods of tears, fears and fire

periods of blood

periods of grief

periods of longing

periods of love

strength with tenderness

always reliable, always there

always waiting and worrying

and hoping for care.

 

 

 

‘smates

Is ‘mate’ the most important word?

I try to be:

a good mate;

a mate’s mate;

a partner’s mate;

a lover’s mate;

a bed mate;

a soul mate;

intimate; and

consummate.

 

‘smiling

beauty is doubled

and ugliness halved

– by a smile

maturity

The maturity

and morality

of any man,

cleric, culture, creed,

society or race,

is measured,

simply and directly, 

by the way

it treats

women.

 

 

‘scultural health

The health

of a culture

is reflected in its

bookshops.

 

 

Downloads

Without

artists, writers and musicians

there’d be nothing to download.

 

 

 

MAY YOUR JOURNEY BE LONG

May your journey be long,

may you have an uphill path,

may you have a rocky road,

may you have a wind in your face,

may you have many obstacles, struggles and setbacks

– but

may you have occasional rests and rewards

– and, despite all opposition,

may you help your fellow traveller.

You’ll be a better person.

 

 

‘spervs

a woman cannot walk past a mirror

– without looking

a man cannot walk past a window

………

 

‘slight

you are the light in my life

the warm glow of my morning

the radiant sunset of my evening

the hope on my horizon

the strength in my daily toil

the fire in my belly

the peace in my soul

 

 

WALK THE WALK

I am woman I am man

I am nation I am clan

no matter where or who I am

I have the right to be

the best I can

or at least to try

to make my dreams reality

to be the man

to which the child aspires

                                                                         

never bullied

never crushed

never silenced

never quashed

never fearing

to speak my mind

my right to say

what I believe

and believe in

what I wish

not intimidated

by the crowd

I may not change

the world of men

but I can resist

the change they try

to make to me

I am mother

I am son

I am planet

I am sun

I won’t live in fear nor shame

I won’t live in slum nor glum

I am soldier

I am pilot

I am priest

I am doctor

I am care

I was given the strength to share

I accept the duty of care

to protect those of us

less than able

less than free

no matter colour

no matter creed

despite the threats   

despite the greed

it is my right

it is my need

to walk with you

side by side

walk with dignity

walk with pride

walk with kindness

by your side

stride for stride

 

‘show good (I wish)

I can prove

immediately,

how good

I can be

but

I can only prove

retrospectively,

how good

I was.

Nowadays

reflectively,

I think

how good

I might have been.

 

 

 

MEASURE OF SUCCESS

The measure of success

of art, poetry, writing or music

is the depth and breadth

of the emotional response

that it elicits

in the individual,

(not the critic).

 

‘soffing

Life is in the ‘offing:

weaning off

warning off

moving off

telling off

turning off

signing off

writing off

seeing off

pissing off

pushing off

pulling off

jerking off

sucking off

fucking off

getting off

leaving off

lifting off

holding off

keeping off

and, finally,

choofing off.

 

‘sinventions

if necessity is

the mother of invention,

laziness is the father.

 

‘swine

if bread is

the staff of life,

wine is

the crutch.

 

‘sad

planet earth is our humidicrib

 

‘slife

It was once called the Mighty Murray, darling.

Even had paddle steamers, they reckon.

Pity, it’s all gone now.

 

Our old man river

what does he think

of we that turned away

and let him choke

on yellow/green

a death to him

and all he bore

within his watery mantle.

He couldn’t cry out

and who’d have heard

his pleas for help

his choking voice

he died a slow and painful death

of those ignored

by those who took

all they could

for short-term gain

and saw no need

to stem their greed.

‘It’s all okay

we know best

the rains will come

just you wait’

with false grins

and hidden greed

they claimed that

all’d be well

you’ll see

the drought’s the cause

the problem’s left

in nature’s court

it’s not our fault

no-one’s to blame

we bear no guilt

we bear no shame

we’ll walk away

with blinkered gaze

belatedly

we’ll focus on the

‘economay’

and what of we

who let it be

who stood aside

and let it go

so far beyond

recovery.

 

The Home Front

What would they think?

what would they say?

They can’t of course.

They’re six foot under

Gallipoli, Flanders fields,

Normandy beaches, North Africa,

Kokoda, Pacific islands,

Maryang San, Long Tan,

What would they think

if they could see

the state we’re in,

what we’ve become:

the Murray dead or dying,

lack of water infrastructure,

a million children poor,

children and women abused,

banks run by cheats,

bureaucracies bogged by inertia,

judges playing God,

politics run by self-interest;

society ruled by litigation;

unconstrained bullying;

increased suicides among teens,

farmers and veterans;

inefficient public transport;

the debacle of the nbn;

unsafe cities; and

playgrounds with no climbing kids.

Shouldn’t we

who were not lost

bear a responsibility

to honour their memory

to treasure their legacy

to preserve and build

our country and our society

the way they would have

wanted it to be?

 

Question Tme – the state we’re in

Dear Prime Minister,

I write to express my deep concerns. The Aussie spirit is famous and, while your people are renowned for their resilience and positive attitude (she’ll be right, mate), this charming feature is dying a slow and painful death.

We are disillusioned by:

speech-reading politicians

who plan their own short-term futures

but disregard our longer-term hopes;

bickering and lack of purpose and unity

between state and federal governments;

unions who control not represent;

chiefs-of-staff with distorted truths;

executives who bully, cheat and lie;

leaders who use their position to abuse children;

dishonest institutions – banks, internet providers, postal services, insurance companies,

advertisers who sway us from the truth;

manufacturers who skimp on quality;

the media who bend the truth;

the legal profession who plays God; and

sportsmen and women who demonstrate childish and offensive behaviour. (They used to be shining examples to our children).

Our trust is broken; our respect is shattered.

The most important words in our vocabulary are bandied around by your writers and chiefs of staff: integrity, trust, honesty and reliability – the real values that we hold dear have become hollow words. The most popular word now seems to be, ‘corruption’. In this great country, a hand-shake used to be as good as your word. Now we need a contract or legal permission to even breathe – or for our children to climb a tree. Prisoners are better treated than pensioners – and this is held up to be, our duty-of-care?

Our rivers are dying, our water supplies are limited in storage and distribution, our energy supplies are unreliable, our public transport is unreliable and unsafe, our elderly are intimidated, our education standards have fallen, our pensioners are struggling, we have over one million children living in poverty, we have thousands of homeless and abused people, suicide rates are increasing, our assets are being sold overseas, our product design, innovation and manufacturing capability has been allowed to die – and we are the ‘lucky’ country?????

We will continue as we do, workers will work,  volunteers will work, servicemen and women will work, life-savers will work, nurses will work, farmers will work, teachers will teach, and despite all of the upper level, the so-called managerial level of our society, being corrupt, selfish or unreliable, Australia will hang in there – but not for much longer. We are needing change in leadership at all levels in all facets.

We are pulling our weight, but are you?

I am not sure if there is such a thing as national morale but there is certainly a national malaise creeping through the decent levels of the community.

Australia, do not ask, ‘for whom doth the bell toll?’ It tolls for thee and we – and we cannot see a clear and positive path for our future. To where are we being led – or not?

 

What price, wealth?

There is a word

that cannot be

a part of our

democracy.

‘there’ll always be

a few,’ they say,

unavoidably.

we’ll do our best

when there’s time

and we can spare,

resourcefully.

some crumbs

to ease the stress

of seeing children

live and die

with hunger’s endless pain,

importantly.

we’ll set it straight

one of these days

so at least in Oz

there’ll never be

forever more.

the word we’ll lose is,

‘poverty’.

one day, some day?

 

 

 

 

A Tribute to a Particular President

(from a fellow, left-handed fighter pilot)

 

A fighter pilot died today

the world will mourn his loss

he had survived

a flaming dive

and saved by precious silk,

embarked on higher missions

in the service of mankind.

how remembered will he be

and what will be his legacy?

others talk of world affairs

– the Berlin wall et al

for me, such power does not absolve

nor estrange the qualities

of officer, gentleman and gentle man –

honesty, respect, politeness,

dignity, integrity,

life-long love and loyalty.

By all accounts he showed

the highest qualities of man

why so important?

because today they’re rare in men of power.

no matter the import

of his decisions as head of state

he will be remembered for his legacy of

‘points of light’, care for the handicapped

and accepting the apology of Japan

(how appropriate for a pilot

shot down by Japanese guns).

He now rests in God-blessed sleep

with Sully, aptly named,

dutifully at his feet

(a dog knows the quality of man).

Your job now truly done

rest in peace

and thanks you,

fighter pilot forty-one.

 

‘twas

‘twas only

later in my life

that I realized

time was

not a constant

and that it

accelerates us

towards

the black end.

We came from a black hole

and the end appears

to be the same.

‘twas Olsen who said,

‘Life is a short holiday from eternity’.

(eternity being unconsciousness).

Life is all we have

our brief, conscious existence.

 

‘shacks

I’d rather live in a happy shack

than an unhappy palace.

 

‘sinhumanity

man’s inhumanity

to man

is only exceeded by

man’s inhumanity

to woman

 

‘sevilution

When the younger generation

inherits the hatred and prejudice

of the previous,

is this evilution?

 

 

 

‘sage advice

there is no dignity in getting old

despite what they say.

they say you have the option

of ageing grecefully,

not so.

ageing gratefully is

the only positive alternative

and the only alternative

to this alternative,

is not attractive.

But are we invisible

irrelevant, obsolete,

unwanted?

I cannot have my time again

but I could pass on

some of the lessons I learnt

but who will listen?

what would I know??

 

‘sageing

once upon a time

I would wake

with a strirring in my loins

now I wake

with a stirring in my bladder.

 

 

‘sageing too

I dread the thought

of ageing

– of having only

the option of looking back

into my personal rear-view mirror

with a blank windscreen

reflecting no potential for

future happiness.

 

Teacher, teacher

To teach is sublime,

selfless,

a gift

of knowledge

of skills

of attitudes

– to give another being

a better chance

to succeed

in life and love.

What a gift.

 

‘swords

If a war is fought

with words

a woman

will always win

 

‘swishes

As I look into the

rear-vision mirror

of my life,

I see rights,

I see wrongs,

I see decisions made,

paths chosen

and hesitations, intimidations

and trepidations.

There are many things

I wish I’d done

and some

I wish I hadn’t.

But I am here, now

and now is the only now I’ll ever have

I do not know

what the future may hold

nor indeed

if there is a future

but I do know that

if I dwell in the past or worry

overly about the future

my present will be miserable

and will be wasted.

‘snails trail

The artist said

that all we could hope to do

was to leave behind

a ‘snail’s trail’

something that says

we actually existed

even if only for

a blink of an eye

within the cosmic calendar

 

 

the artist’s plight

an artist is born with a gift

and a curse –

a gift to create

the curse of the imagination

to release a muse within

which if left unsated,

becomes a cause of grief, misery and depression.

whatever we achieve,

is, in our own eyes,

imperfect

but nevertheless

must be expressed.

 

 

 

‘slife

Life goes by

in the blink of an eye

and can’t be changed.

Nor is there a ‘pause’

nor ‘rewind’ button.

The poet said,’the moving finger writes and having writ, moves on

and ...not a single word can be changed nor erased’.

We cannot erase nor change the past.

We cannot control the future.

What can we do?

We can be our best selves

and be the best friends

and best neighbours,

here and now.

The current instant

immediately becomes the past.

The future instant becomes the present

and we watch them pass into memory.

Grab them with both hands while you can

– but don’t rush.

Take the time to smell the flowers,

hear the birds, see the trees and taste the teas

– and don’t forget to share

a bowl of rice,

a cheerful smile

and a glass of wine.

 

‘struth

the mystery

of history

will always be

‘what actually and factually, happened?’

the victor writes the history books

the vanquished disappear

Who knows the truth?

 

‘skeys – the keys to the kingdom (of happiness)

the bronze key – the essential key – your network of family & friends or in many cases, village, tribe or religious group.

the silver key – the bonus key – a calling or mission in life which gives professional and personal purpose and satisfaction and which could also be charitable.

the golden key – the blessed key – the perfect partner/soulmate/companion.

 

sadly,

it is easier

and less risky

to critique

than to create

 

‘slitigation

where there’s a will

there’s a lawyer.

 

 

The War Poems

For this 100th anniversary of the WW I armistice I would like to add my respect and affection for all who served in uniform in peace and war and in any war, before and since WW I. My way of doing this is through my poems and paintings. Here are some:

 

‘Spoils of War

the ‘spoils’ of war.

what a name!

young men are spoiled

women are spoiled

girls are spoiled

art collections and museums are spoiled

churches, icons and images are spoiled

the environement is spoiled.

the spoils go to the victors

but what’s left is spoiled forever.

t’was ever thus

but why does it have to be so?

 

‘scocked

A military force is

a collection of weapons.

They are loaded, cocked,

aimed and fired

by politicians.

They can be used to protect or destroy.

note: a weapon is ‘cocked’

– how appropriate.

 

a veteran’s farewell to his soulmate/lifemate

The years are slipping by, my love

in life’s unending tide

and ‘though I have fond memories

my tears I cannot hide.

I tried to live my life as well

as any life could be

A kind and gentle man was I

but firm when needed be.

I treated women with respect

children I’d protect

mates and friends I’d always help, unreservedly.

I shared their love, their grief and tried

to quell their fears and pains.

I strived to change the things I could

the wrongs I could not bide.

I raised my hand

sometimes with fear

when I had to make a stand

opposed to those

who’d try to take

my freedom or my land.

I cleaned dishes, wounds and toilets

performed my duties willingly.

I hope I’ll be remembered

as one who did his best,

proudly served when duty called

– well and truly too,

walked gently upon the earth,

shared what he could spare,

(and sometimes what he couldn’t)

gave more than he took,

saved more than he consumed,

and planted more than he reaped.

Fare thee well, my dearest.

 

It is always the children who suffer in war. This is Vanh at the Ba Ria orphanage.

 

A veteran’s observations after the war

They were young

but wise, farsighted,

clear in their view of life

and future career.

They dreamt of wings

not the war-weary wings

that we had worn,

but lifting, climbing, gliding wings

that could span the earth

with a mantle of care,

peace and purpose,

that could break the barriers

of sound and light,

ignorance, poverty and prejudice

and in so doing, keep the war-torn wings

on which we’d been borne,

shrouded and grounded – for good.

 

Bluey’s Prayer

‘scuse me, lord

I’d like a word (if I may)

in your magnanimous shell pink ear.

The word’s about that something’s wrong

– or it seems to me, at least not right.

As a rule, I’m quite content (as content as a bloke can be)

to leave things as they are

but I’m not sure they’re the way they’re supposed to be.

I’m not inclined to cause a fuss

but things are out of hand

they claim you’re theirs these terrorists

and claim exclusivity

and what about Iraq?

both sides say you’re on their side how can that possibly be?

and this bloke Pell is he for real?

he claims to speak from you to me telepathically

is this right? (does he?)

he reckons gays should leave this place

says they don’t deserve your grace, your grace (they seem okay to me)

and after all, aren’t we each yours equally?

Then there’s this bloke, ‘turk’, we call ‘im, (good naturedly).

You should see his gorgeous wife

she makes great coffee mind

(and you should see her belly dance – the rest of her’s not far behind).

I know we fought and yelled abuse but those were different times

I kinda like this bloke now he’s an Aussie too.

It seems to me we’ve reached a stage in Aussie history

where much of what you taught

should be is coming good

too right it should we’ve got it good

and share we must

as best we can.

What we have, what we’ve learnt and what we all aspire,

we’ve more than earnt

we’re not bad sports

(and not bad shots if circumstance requires)

and now a chance has come for us

to take a leading tack

so I thought I’d trouble you a bit

to make sure we are on the right track.

Thank you, sir, for sparing me your precious time

I feel I’m right so I’ll just get on

and see if we can’t make it work, Aussie style.

WWI Pilots – Australian Flying Corps.

‘swar

The first casualty of war is youth:

(truth dies long before the war).

 

‘scold

He was wearing his scarf

his talisman

for luck and for love

blessed by his girl.

he was flying alone

with his kite and his god.

Then they appeared – 

puffs of pitch-black death

flak, looking for his kite.

he knew he’d been found

as he spun to the ground

his shattered kite afire.

it was hard to believe

as we watched in awe.

He died in the wreck

of his dismembered ‘kite’.

(they wore no parachutes

in those times).

What will they say

when all’s said and done?

‘he was a good lad,

second to none’

we’ll miss him for sure

for what he has done.’

 

(The average life of a fighter pilot over the Western Front was three weeks).

SE.5a Cockpit

Fighting Scouts

they gave us three weeks

that’s all they’d allow

to fly o’er the Front

‘twas risky and how.

It was called ‘no-man’s land’

for very good cause.

To fly the gauntlet

of flak and the hun

was a challenge, not fun.

It was cold up here, bitterly

but at least we were clear

of the stench of the trench.

we pitied the soldiers

walled in the mud, the blood

and the wire;

we had the sun and the clouds

of the waking sky

and the wind in our hair.

Each day was taken

as best it would come

as the specks in the sun

turned into the hun.

we rolled, tumbled and spun

in our deadly dance.

we’d fire short bursts, turn full hard

and check for more of the schwarm below.

The guns of the hun

cracked in our ears

as we tried to evade their

stinging barbs.

Our greatest fear was fire in the air:

there was no such thing

as bailing-out then.

 

 

A Jade FAC controls F-100 Super Sabres and Bushranger helicopter gunships in support of 5 RAR – Phuoc Tuy 1969.

Forward Air Controllers (FACs) – Vietnam

They flew alone and unarmed.

They knew that they,

in their little grey planes

could cover their troops

with a mantle of care

their presence alone enough to deter

even the worst of what was there.

They did their duty,

their duty of care

eyes in the sky,

ears of the air.

Neither painted for war

nor painted for show

uncamouflaged ringmasters of the greatest show on earth

small, grey, guardians

alone, and unarmed

with unlimited power

aerial shields, aerial swords, accurate, immediate, fatal.

How do they count

those analysts of war

account, amount, and total the score,

compile and record their statistical war?

BDA, KIA, MIA, KBA. What does it mean?

What does it matter?

What matters above all

is the unknown number of unknown soldiers

who didn’t fall and who, decades later,

still enjoy the love of their families,

the pleasure of friends, the smell of spring

and the song of the wind

purely because those little grey planes

were there

whenever, and wherever, they were needed.

God bless them.

Captain Chris Neale USAF Jade 08 Vung Tau 1969 – FAC in support of the First Australian Task Force.

(Chris was made an honorary Aussie).

 

 

 

 

Vietnam – the lunar landing

we watched in awe

on the black-and-white telly

in a timber hooch in Vung Tau

In silence and wonder

we saw a man named Armstrong

step onto the surface of the moon

and claim the gesture as

‘a giant leap for mankind’

it was incredulous

to hear such a wonderful line.

After this news I walked outside

and looked at the sky

I even waved – a token of respect and hope

for a safe return and a safe future

for our planet and our families.

Next day in Nui Dat

while seated on the seven holer,

we chatted about the unreal spectacle

a man on the moon!

yet we were here

in mud and fear

breathing the the mossie spray,

souls stirring and earth shaking,

trembling from the beating and throbbing

of the ‘choppers’.

agent orange decimated the trees

that concealed the ‘cong.

we were fighting a war that we

were told was in a good cause

but later learnt was corrupted

and destined for failure,

from the very start.

what deception and what a waste

of all those young lives.

War was ever thus but why

in this enlightened time,

do we still send our boys and girls

to a pointless death.

(to this day a Vietnam vet will shudder at the sound of the semi-articulated blades of the Iroquois helicopter).

The Jade FAC radio jeep deployed to Fire Support Base (FSB) Barbara – 1969.

 

R & R

we climbed the stairs

in disbelief

was this a dream?

it had to be

the Qantas plane

gleamed in Saigon’s midday sun

a welcome sight but

our joy was short-lived

the colonel boarded and stood up front

he looked forlorn

and quietly spoke,

paternally

‘sorry men I have to say

that Oz is not the same

they’re throwing paint and spitting

we suggest you don’t wear uniform

– and keep a low profile’.

(until that moment, I had been proud

to wear my uniform

now we had to return home in shame?)

We were deflated

but not defeated

we did our duty

we were ‘service’men and women

serving the Australian people

we would enjoy our country,

despite the unearned shame

we would have to bear.

so, up the old red rooster

and let’s get out of here!

 

The Old Red Rooster

 

Christmas Eve 1969

The eve was just

another day in Phuoc Tuy –

I flew a visual reconnaissance mission

and later directed an airstrike

with Magpie and Possum

another day at the ‘office’

On Christmas morn

we woke with child-like anticipation

but the tree was bare

the gifts from home weren’t there

not even the Red Cross parcels

we didn’t understand.

we were told that

the wharfies had refused

to load the supply ship, the ‘Jeparit’

in protest against the war

we were shocked.

Christmas night I flew a night-owl air strike,

two F-100s, call-sign ‘Bobcat’

– and a Shadow flareship

a beautiful night

but it was hard to think about santa.

in February I received

my Christmas parcel from mum

a home-made apple pie and a large can of VB

the pie was growing mould

but the beer was pure gold

‘cheers, mum.’

Note: there was also a union stoppage at Kraft foods but Vegemite production was allowed to continue. Thanks to you, Kraft foods.

 

 

After the War – Reflections on Vietnam

we did what we did

as best we could

we thought we were right

to do what we did

we took our fight

to stop the threat

we sought to preserve

our way of life

our values

and peace for our kids

we did what we did

so you could do

what you now do

but how could we know

you’d do what you did

turn on us

and treat us with hate,

disgust and disdain

we shied in despair

what did we do

that caused so much hate?

what can we do

to be welcomed home?

PATRIOTICA

‘Pride’s a special word

that should be used sparingly

as befits our style and Aussie modesty

It used to be

one didn’t speak of pride aloud

it was something felt best left unsaid

fuss was not allowed

(like mateship and its unwritten code)

but there comes a time, a place, a scene

when one must raise a hand

be seen, and be counted.

Rich or poor native born,

settler free or migrant torn by war

or refugee borne by air or borne by sea

to this our island sanctuary

each can be Aussie through and through

and all deserve to be, ultimately.

In conflict, sport, feast or flood

famine, drought or tragedy

the unique Aussie spirit of strength

with care and kindness grows inside, eventually.

It shines and parts the veils of grief

and lifts the tragic shrouds of memory.

So count me in

my hand is raised

my glass is filled

in solemn salutation of our flag and team

to declare allegiance Aussie true and blue

not fanatic just proud as punch and rightly so.

As I now look at the landscapes

spread before me dry, desert, hills or beach

I think of where I was and what I have

and humbly say without undue ceremony,

‘Australia, thanks for having me’.

Am I Aussie? too bloody right I am!

PS: I don’t know the name of our first prime minister. (I don’t really give a shit).

All I know is my friends (mates) are here,

my children have a future

and I can live in peace, comfort, safety and freedom – and practice my personal religion.

PPS: I must learn the words to Advance Australia Fair.

PPPS: By the way, what is ‘sledging’? Where do I learn?

 

‘Snot Cricket

(Good Sports Play the Ball not the Man)

In by-gone days

they were the heroes

important to the morale of our troops

idols of our children.

Bradman, Kazaly,

legends of their game

deserving of the name

they played the game

with fair play and

decency to the fore.

we heard the click of willow on leather

cleverly mimed by commentators

on the ABC.

we cringed at the sight of bodyline

where short-pitched balls

were directed at the head of the batsman.

‘play the ball – never the man’

directed our coach for school footy.

now the culture has changed:

short-pitched balls to

intimidate or take out the batsman,

rugby tackles to flatten the best players

are now the norm.

(‘enforcer’) – what a name!

we are revolted by the sledging

and the influence it will have.

and the spoilt-child-like temper tantrums

shouts of abuse, broken rackets and

crude phallic gestures

of the tennis players

gestures which means ‘up you & yours’.

women too, seeking equality

emulate the pathetic,

immature gestures of the men.

how refreshing to see

the Invictus Games’ players;

they are the real heroes.

let’s tell our children

these are the values to adopt

these are the true

sportsmen and sportswomen

– in the true spirit of the game.

 

One last word, or four:

 

‘Cheers’

(and farewell, Chris).

 

 

 

 

Love Poems

 

God-Blessed Sleep

And so I welcome

god blessed sleep.

I must confess

I’ll sadly miss

a chosen few

chosen yes

especially you

close to me

close to you

and close you were

close indeed

but close no more

we cannot be

as I must pass

from here

from thee

to where I’ll be

eternally.

 

THOUGHTS ON DRIVING LONG DISTANCE

– AND WISHING WE WERE ALREADY THERE

Life is a journey.

we are who we are

we are where we are

we have what we have

my colour is what it is

my beauty is what it is

my intelligence is what it is

my sex is what it is

my race is what it is

my religion is what it is (though I could change)

my health is what it is

my addiction is what it is (though I could seek help)

my strengths are what they are

my weaknesses are what they are

this place is where I am

this time is when I am

these posessions are what I own

what I have is what I have

what I have done I have done

what I didn’t do I didn’t do

what I should have done I should have done

the time I wasted I have wasted

the money I squandered I squandered

the opportunities I missed I missed

the loves and friendships I wasted I wasted

the talents I didn’t use I didn’t use

the strangers I didn’t meet I didn’t meet

I had the luck and the opportunities I had

I had the sadness and the tragedies I had

the time is what it is

the temperature is what it is

I am the age I am

I am the weight and appearance I am

I have the confidence, ego or lack of confidence that I

have

I have the health and wealth I have

I have the beauty, skills and talents that I have

I now have to decide what to do with whatever

talent, resources, strength, resolve,

love, passion, health, wealth and

above all, time, that I may have left

if I have arrived, my journey is over

I am not yet ready to arrive.

 

PRIDE MARCH

To stand erect

to walk with pride

– dignified

with you my partner

by my side

stride for stride

whether female

male

hearty

hale

whether adult

child

maimed

defiled

whether praised

chastised

diseased

despised

whether homo

lesbo

hetero

metro

285

we have the right

to have our say

to make our world

a place where we

can be

ourselves,

to do and say

as we may wish and will

our mortal lives to be.

perhaps in time

we’ll wait and see

patiently

perhaps we’ll find

a little love

(deservedly),

liberty

and true

equality.

 

Life Goes By