W for Water

The boat engine creeks signalling an imminent lock. A stillness follows 
allowing moments of discreet reflexion. This lull precedes a to-ing 
and fro-ing, a rhythm inapt to this boat’s magic allure 
when it floats over the expansive Rhine with no lock 
in sight, revealing to us all several picture 
postcard peaceful scenes. Early this morning 
the river managed to keep us well afloat.  
Castles emerged atop lush green forests 
while rows of houses came into view 
like decorated and gilded gems. 
Enchanted by this floating 
vision, I dream beyond 
the end of time and, 
breakfast, oh, dear
I've missed it! 

V for Vision

Arriving atop, I sit down.  As I look up I take in a remarkable

dreamlike vision.   Nestled against the river bank are three

pretty red roofed and yellow-fronted houses. Further back

there is a forest and on the side some lush green bushes.

Picture perfect. I take in the beauty of it, but soon

decide something ‘s missing. Not light nor extra

colour or features! I think it’s people.

The elements all make a lot of sense

Yet to create atmosphere you need

people. I long for the warmth

of human vision, touch

and talk. These make

life’s experience


U for Umbrella Words

      The assistant can hardly see me. She waves pointing towards the bread 
          'Did you want the loaf sliced?' I nod, becoming aware of people 
                queuing  behind me, and quickly add 
             'And can I have two of these cakes please?’ 
          ‘These are not cakes, they are gateaux’, she says. 
  	    I shake my head in assent but I dare not point 
                    to the tempting curly pastry 
                      with shiny raisins in it. 

    		        She’ll perhaps say 
                     that it isn’t a snail 
                         but an escargot.  
                         The  next  day 
 	               if I wanted to buy 
                         an umbrella, 
 	   	         would I call it 
                         a parasol or
                         a parapluie?

T for Talking

              You talk; some hear, some don’t.  They have heard the words 
               but not taken them in.  There is no response. You shout. 
            They turn around and ask: ‘What do you mean?  You know they’ve  
            heard you. You repeat the utterance so they don’t misunderstand.
                                   Later   you   start
                                   to  talk again, but 
                                   those   people  who 
                                   listen rarely reply,
                                   you  start  walking
                                   around,    flipping
                                  a hand up  in the air
                                  as if you  had nothing
                                  to say finally there is
                                  need  for less shouting 
                                  instead   you  stammer:
                                 ‘Just  talking to myself’
                                 shrugging  your  shoulders
                              and flipping your hand in the air.


              His parents were not surprised 
             when he first produced a podcast 
            that became very popular. 
          Being the youngest child, 
       he often felt
     whenever his siblings
  left the house without him.
He resented being left behind 
  and complained to be pushed aside, 
        as if he was unimportant.    
          Around that time 
            his parents noticed 
             that he had developed 
               some astonishing
                 sound making techniques. 
 	             He made nonsensical 
                    and blabbering noises. 
       He created such racket and clangour 
    that they needed to give him 
 their undivided attention to appease 
his so-called solitude. His family
     had discovered early how much
        he needed to be heard.

R for Realism

This occurs when you don’t have anything on your mind. 
You've stopped worrying about every thing around you. 
you forget you left 	      the washing out, 
you don’t bother 	to put a heater on 
because you can stay warm 
under the bed covers. 
There is no 
to visit
Catch up 
with a friend for coffee? 
Can wait for another day.  Check the letter box? 
Nobody writes any more.  	Some vacuuming? 
You swept under the table 	    the day before. 
Lunch? Sit up and watch TV with        a sandwich and a fruit. 
Water? There’s always a bottle	         at hand on your bedside. 

K for Knitting

You can knit outfits from yarn without looking

you can catch up stitches across rows

you can undo what you have just done

you can invent your own pattern

There are some who yarn while they knit

many sing and dance, moving about

others put it down with a sigh

only to pick it up with dreamy eyes

What of those like me whose feet punctuate the rhythm of their hands

following the cadence by keeping up to step

it is a simple beat.

Knit-Purl Step-Up with right foot

back to Knit-Purl Step-up with right foot

Lilting unto the end.


You’re trapped.  
You work from home
and no one is checking over your shoulder  
you’re in charge, running the show 
Just send your report and you are paid, but so little!

Or you choose to take a job in town  
where you are part of the team 
with back-to-back meetings 
while you smile to colleagues till your lips feel sore 
A well-paid job but you will never get your way.  

If  sharing information is at stake 
yet you intend to offset the demands 
and maintain a balance 
keep your views  to yourself 
Saving your wise opinions for an opportune time.

Quarantining some Australians

The shopkeeper signals her over.

’Not my turn!’ she says.

He looks to the side ‘Come on then!’

calling to the Indigenous youth he’d ignored,

who shuffles up holding some sandals. 

‘You can’t afford those, he growls, ‘Pick something else’,

returning the man’s card behind the counter.

He turns to her.  ‘One sunhat. Any cash with that?’ 

She shakes her head, enters her pin,

staring at the forlorn card on counter. 

‘Cashless welfare’ he grins.

Looking up, ‘That’s better!’ 

She turns to see the glum youth,

standing, flipflops in hand.

Uneasy now,

she wonders how to report this power keeper.

Am I nostalgic?

Those who know me I suspect feel I am nostalgic that I never managed to start my own bookshop.

I’d call it a biblio-bus, but it would not run like council vans that visit people on a regular basis. It wouldn’t drop books to a random telephone booth or letterbox on the streetside.

The project consists of a long-travel journey around Australia. It aims at delivering reading matter and library resources to remote and isolated centres or schools many of whom would be indigenous communities. I would stay several weeks building a profile of what each group chose as a theme of interest. Initially I would offer encyclopaedias or magazines to complement literary texts I had brought with me. If a community had a topic of interest, like starting their own business, I would commit, in writing,  to a follow-up visit within a year. I would then source information on their selected theme.

A project outline would be to first consult with centres that a reasonable size four-wheel drive can access. Then I’d recruit a team of  younger volunteers as resource persons to be rotated. If I obtained permission I would consult with indigenous reading experts like Dr Anita Heiss and publishers like Magabala Books for guidance and support. Finally I would distribute the books or packages recommended to various charity groups who rather than ask donors for cash requested hard copy resources to donate to those centres.

Although I regret that I haven’t planned this project yet, I believe I was not ready to implement an inclusive strategy in my earlier days. I used to encourage people to read in an abstract capacity. Providing literature for a project is a better model which can benefit from life experience.

The major drawback I suspect is the delay factor. However I think that even the younger people may well wait a few months for thorough resources. They may even pass their passion onto their siblings and form an elder-focused group to develop a plan of action for their project.

Am I nostalgic? I am more of an optimist. I believe now is a good time for me to make this dream come true. From the people’s viewpoint it may be it’s never too late to make things happen.