Sunday, November 09, 2014


Poet Judith Wright in her younger years
A more mature Judith Wright

A Tamborine Mountain Local

The Bee Gees had a way with words.  Often I’ve warbled and croaked along with Barry and the boys mostly under the shower out of the earshot of others!

John Denver, Jimmy Webb and Kris Kristofferson are just three of many brilliant wordsmiths whose lyrical poetry has kept us enthralled for years.

There are many so-called “songwriters” who write garbage. Thankfully, however, there are those who are the poets; creative exponents of expressive, expansive, emotional and, at times, whimsical thoughts; magically marrying their words to music, stirring within myriad sensations.

Late August every year the Queensland Poetry Festival is held at the Judith Wright Centre.  Now there’s a lady who had a genuine fondness for words! 

Generously, the late highly-revered poet, environmentalist, social activist Judith Wright...(31st May 1915 – 25th June 2000) shared her love of words with the rest of us.  

Born in Armidale, New South Wales, Judith Wright and her partner, philosopher Jack McKinney moved here to Tamborine Mountain in 1950.  Their only child, a daughter was born shortly thereafter. Deciding to make things legal they finally tied the knot in 1962. McKinney died in 1966. Wright stayed on the mountain for another nine years following his death.  Wright began losing her hearing when she was in her 20s, by 1992 she was completely deaf – but she still heard the words. Nothing would take that away from her.  Words remained within; they were a part, a major part of who she was.

Is poetry still a part of today’s education agendas?  Poetry played a large part when I was growing up, not only at school, but at home as well. 

I hope today’s children are encouraged to read poetry; taught to appreciate it, and in turn, become inspired by the power and beauty of verse.

Where does one start? The question in itself is enticing! The poetry world is vast, varied, versatile and abundant.

I hope the young are encouraged to experiment with pen on paper or fingers on keyboards. No better way to while away a rainy day – or a dry day! It matters not if it’s raining, mid-drought or cloudy.

One morning one of my young staff on Hinchinbrook Island hovered annoyingly at my office door while I was busy trying to sort out the day’s agenda. 

On her four-day break Bronnie had made the decision to spend her four days break on the island rather than on the mainland. My staff worked 14 days on – 4 days off.  The staff chose their work roster. I’d left it to them to choose what they felt suited them.  Having four days off allowed them ample opportunity to spend their time off on the mainland; and the majority of times they chose the mainland as the place for their “play time”.

Shuffling her feet, twiddling her thumbs, Bronnie, leaning against my door frame, whimpered and whined, “I’ve got nothing to do! I’m bored! What can I do?”

“Oh, for heaven’s sake, Bronwyn!” I growled back at her. “I’m busy! Go for a swim! Get out of my hair! Stop annoying me!  Go! Write me a poem or something!”

 “A poem! I can’t write poetry!” She grumbled, shuffling from one foot to the other. 

Sighing heavily, I asked if she’d ever tried to write a poem.

 “No…” She replied grudgingly.

“Well, don’t say you can’t do something until you’ve tried! Scoot! Skedaddle! I don’t want to see you again until you’ve written two poems for me! Bye! Bye!” I barked back at her in an effort to reclaim my office and my peace.

With a look querying my sanity, Bronnie skulked away in a sulk as if I’d confiscated her last lollipop!

Hours later, around 4 pm, excitedly she bounded up to me; a proud, eager smile upon her face, and in her hands, two poems – two original, quirky, pensive odes.   

How sweet my victory was!  I remain the custodian of the poems!

Mint Humbugs: Combine 350g sugar and 5tbls liquid glucose in saucepan; add 250ml water; heat gently, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Add 1/2tsp cream of tartar; bring to boil; boil gently until the mixture registers 140C on a sugar thermometer, the small crack stage. Remove from heat; add 1/2tsp oil of peppermint; pour onto lightly oiled slab; divide into two portions; add a few drops green food colouring to one portion; cool until workable; then pull each portion separately; using oiled scissors, cut into 1cm pieces, turning the rope at each cut; cool; wrap individually in waxed paper.

Fruit Jellies: Prepare 6-inch pan by wetting it lightly. Place 4tbls gelatin in 4tbls water to soften. Place 2/3c strained fruit juice of choice, 6tbs sugar and 4tbls corn syrup in med-saucepan over med-heat; stir until sugar dissolves; stir in gelatin; stir until dissolved. Add food colouring, if desired; pour into prepared pan; set completely; then cut with sharp knife into shapes. Roll in caster sugar or serve plain.

Cherry Marshmallow Fudge: Place 1tbl water, 90g butter and 250g pink and white marshmallows in saucepan; heat over very, very low heat; stir often until marshmallows melt. Break up 200g dark cooking chocolate; add to pan; remove from heat; stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir through 1/4c chopped red glace cherries; pour into lined 16cm square pan; cool; refrigerate until set.

Treacle Toffee: Put 450g brown sugar and 150ml water in large, heavy-based saucepan; heat gently until sugar dissolves; add 1/4tsp cream of tartar, 75g butter, 100g treacle or molasses and 100g Golden syrup; boil; brush insides of pan with water just above syrup level; boil to 149C; pour into lightly-oiled shallow tin; cool 5mins; mark into squares with oiled knife.   

Birds twitter dancing from branch to branch on high
Blossom to honey-scented blossom butterflies flutter
A gentle spring breeze wafts as if it were a lover’s sigh
Foaming cumulus hover over the horizon like a comforter
Seasons change while in silence I long for your embrace
The warmth of the day reminds me of your magic touch
Loving memories of moments spent with you I cannot erase
Your luminous presence remains and I still care too much


Lost in a dismal murky mire of immeasurable despondency
callously cast aside a counterfeit caricature of ship’s ballast
wretched descent to the dank pits of hell having no buoyancy
eclipsed by life’s engulfing twilight
my existence I lambaste

Forthwith summarily ‘twas vividly visible I was invisible
words unheard emotions shattered into severed fitful pieces
how could it not be known my fragile heart was breakable
desolate days tormented nights envelop
my heartache increases

Becoming in essence a nihility a soon forgotten evanescence
misplaced bittersweet gaiety fraught with invasive dreams
silent solitude dejected spirit crying a faded luminescence
an alabaster moon shrouded by dank darkness
my heart screams 

Plunging further deeper into a bottomless quagmire of oblivion 
like autumn leaves blown in the wind my quintessence strewn  
impenetrable suffering a feverish addiction life a fictitious illusion
unrelenting oppressive incubus reckless incursion
my life in ruin  

MOMENTS IN LIFE                                       
Along the way we say foolish words we regret
With moments we pray to become invisible
Puerile silly misunderstandings on which we fret
Our battered tainted emotions no longer concealable
Endless angry silences their reasons we soon forget

Progressing to games of cat and mouse hide and seek
Hearts and minds held by ransom emotional blackmail
Hours pass slowly sad nights dim days turn into a week
Frail sensibilities in disturbance as if buffeted by a gale
An eternity time wasted…over something so oblique
Poetry written by Me....

I wrote this post in the interim....I'm in the midst of writing my story of Sasha and my other furry, four-legged rascal....their tales shall follow....


  1. I am so very, very grateful that both of my parents passed on their love of words.
    I have a tin ear, but words have been a haven and delight all my life.

  2. Hi Lee,

    Just popping in to wish you a very happy birthday tomorrow. I hope you wake up to a beautiful day and you enjoy everything it brings. You will be in my thoughts.
    Carol x

  3. " better way to while away a rainy day..."
    well now, that depends on your point of view doesn't it? Yes, I'm being persnickety. Poetry and me do not get along.Simple rhyming lines are okay as long as I understand what they're about, but more complex stuff is beyond me, my brain just shuts down.
    For me the perfect way to spend a rainy day is reading or baking. With a heavy inclination towards reading.
    I've never heard of Jimmy Webb, but I also warble (screech) along with the Bee Gees, John Denver, Air Supply and Boney M.

  4. Hi a child I, too, was encouraged to read. Books played a very important part in my growing years. They still do.

    Thanks for coming by. :)

  5. Hey there Carol...thanks very much for your good wishes. I appreciate your thoughts. :)

  6. Hi River, You would've heard of Jimmy just don't realise you have. :)

    Below is a list of just a few of the songs he wrote. And the sites below the list gives you a more wider picture of just how prolific a songwriter he was/is.

    01. MacArthur Park – Donna Summer, 1978
    02. Wichita Lineman – Glen Campbell, 1969
    03. MacArthur Park – Richard Harris, 1968
    04. Worst That Could Happen – Brooklyn Bridge, 1969
    05. Galveston – Glen Campbell, 1969
    06. Up, Up And Away – The Fifth Dimension, 1967
    07. All I Know – Art Garfunkel, 1973
    08. Honey Come Back – Glen Campbell, 1970
    09. By The Time I Get To Phoenix – Glen Campbell, 1967
    10. Where's The Playground Susie – Glen Campbell, 1969

    You enjoy your music...I know you've enjoyed so many of Webb's music. Thanks for coming by. :)

  7. If you don't shake the bottle non'll come and then a lottl....

  8. I hope you've not been hitting the bottle, Mr. Ad-Man! :)

    Thanks for popping in. Cheers! :)

  9. Poetry is a live and well in my grandson's school. He has to memorize it. He has to write poems. He also has to dissect poems.

    I am not sure I appreciate it as much as you do.

    Once Kelly in high school had to write a paper on a poem Emily Dickerson wrote. So I helped her.

    We got an F! I always wondered how we could get on F - how did the teacher know for sure her interpretation of it was correct - she didn't ever talk to her!

  10. G'day pleases me to hear poetry is still taken seriously in schools. I hope similar applies here in our school system.

    Interpretations vary from person to person...and are so difficult to mark, I would imagine. Ignore the F...and mark yourselves an A!

    Thanks for coming by. :)

  11. Aha! A song writer, that's why. I only ever know the singer. Even then I often get them wrong.

  12. Happy 21st again missy!!!

  13. Hi again, River...yes Jimmy Webb has written many, many songs and he has put out a lot of his own CDs, too, singing and playing his own material. I have a couple of his CDs. Of course, much of his music was made extremely popular by other more well-known singers. He certainly has a way with words.

    Thanks for coming by again. :)

  14. Thank you, Mr. Ad-Man. It's wonderful to be 21 again...even though I've been here a few times! lol

    Thanks. :)

  15. Happy Birthday Lee. Hope you had a nice day.
    Haven't tried my hand at poetry writing since I left high school but I rather fancied myself as a poet back then !

  16. I love the Beegees! And words. Lots of them.

  17. Thank you, Helsie for your birthday wishes. :)

    I had a quiet day -purposely - just doing my own thing my way, which is my way of doing things. I had myself a pile of fresh prawns and some Moreton Bay Bugs and just cruised through the day.

    Friends are taking me out to lunch today.

    Thanks for coming by. :)

  18. Hey there RK. I love the Bee Gees, too...they had such a unique sound. I remember when they first started off here in Aus when they were still little kids...and they rose to the dizzy heights of fame.

    Words...I have a few favourites that suit the appropriate moments!!

    Thanks for coming by. :)

  19. So amazing that you kept those poems and that you steered her in that direction in the first place. I don't think I would have thought of that. Amazing.

    I'm the only one in my family who had a nose in a book all the time - it's still the same way, but I'm working on the little ones. :)

  20. Hi Lynn...I wrote these poems posted here.

    I still have the one Bronnie wrote, an album with others written by my staff at the time...a few of them wanted to jump on the bandwagon after I'd stirred Bronnie into action.

    I encourage kiddies to read, too...books...I think books are so important in a child's growing up.

    Thanks for popping in. :)

  21. Methinks you do quite well with your words.

  22. Hi there Jerry...sometimes I'm lost for words at the behaviour of some others - if you know what I mean!

    Thanks for popping in. :)

  23. For a moment I thought that "Mint Humbugs" and "Fruit Jellies" were the titles of Bronnie's poems. I hope you post her two poems some time Lee, As for your own poems thanks for posting them. I felt a connection with the last poem in particular - "Moments in Life". Secretly, most of us harbour regrets about little things we have said and we replay those scenes regularly. It can be a torment. "Moving on" and "Leaving the past behind" are more easily said than done.
    As an English teacher, I often got children writing poetry but as the years went on examination and inspection demands meant that there was less time for the creativity I relished. It was becoming mechanistic - picking poems apart like scientists with a shared critical vocabulary. I wanted to show the children pictures of angry seas or to sit and listen to some Sibelius and then to say - "Now shhh! You have ten silent minutes of writing time". Earlier I did those things and many times I saw the glow of achievement in the eyes of my budding poets.

  24. G'day Yorky....I wasn't aware that you're an English teacher.

    I can imagine you also got a glow from the children's reactions; from their joy and their pride at what they'd created. Good on you. I think that is great. :)

    I will find Bronnie's poem. I do have them.

    Unfortunately, sadly Bronnie passed away two years ago...far too the age of 47...from cancer. She left behind three wonderful children and a loving husband.

    Bronnie turned 21 during the two years she worked for me on the island.

    I wrote a tribute to Bronwyn on my blog when she passed away. Her passing was/is very sad; and just so unfair and not right, in my opinion.

    Thanks for dropping, Yorky. :)

  25. Oh. you are a poet! How talented you are! I love your poems!
    I also love poetry, but mine are more along the lines of what you might find in a greeting card!

    I have written a bit about poetry for children before, and I have a post in the works now...look out for it! :-)

  26. St. Pauli Girl loves the BeeGees and we both love Jimmy Webb songs although I always find it hard to believe he wrote "MacArthur Park" which is absolutely dreadful. But St. Pauli and a million others like it, so what do I know?

  27. My dad is a voracious reader. I am glad that I inherited that from him :)

  28. Hi Kay....greeting card writing can be very rewarding. Have you looked into submitting yours to any of the card companies?

    I definitely will keep my eye out for your post...I look forward to reading it.

    Thank you for your kind words and for dropping in. :)

  29. Hey Dexter...I've always loved "MacArthur Park" - I still have the LP here somewhere of Richard Harris which has his version on it. I must dig it out.

    Webb is a genius with the "pen".

    Thanks for coming by. :)

  30. G'day Optimistic Existentialist...I believe every child should be encouraged to brother and I were as children. and I love giving books as gifts.

    Thanks for dropping in. :)

  31. I have a plant habit and you my girl have a word habit. I worry about the youth not using words properly and I have no idea if poetry lives in classrooms anymore. There were times long ago when boys and girls would get together and read each other poems. Alas, I was born to late for that habit. Peace

  32. Hello there, Lady Di. From what some have said poetry is still a feature in today's schooling. I hope it is wide-ranging.

    I'm thinking seriously of giving a hardcover book of Aussie poems to my grand-niece who is 9 as part of her Christmas presents this year. I always give her and her younger brother books for Christmas. Even when both of them were born I sent books (to their parents) as presents for the bubs. Nothing wrong with starting early, I say! :)

    Thanks for coming by. :)

  33. "Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of a powerful feeling." ~ William Wordsworth