Archives for posts with tag: Australia

spencer gulf
Beach
by Roslyn Ross

It was the first and last holiday
of childhood, the only time we
ever went away, and precious
because of its exceptionality,

where the riveting glaring
gaze of the white-sand beach,
remained in memory always,
and the sky burst shocking

blue, as if it held Summer to
account, and dared the days to
languish in shadow, when they
could not, and would not be

released from the brilliant grip
of sunshine, day after day after
day, where the tease of hot sand
through drying toes and the salt

captured kiss of the sea refused
to leave clothes, or lips or skin,
not even when we ate the fresh
cooked fish, caught by rod at

the edge of the beach, each day
as if the King George Whiting
waited for the hook, knowing
this was the gift they offered

in a Summer that would never
be known again, at least for
some, and therefore, would
be held in perfect prism.

PHOTOGRAPH:Spencer Gulf (South Australia)”

Ros aged six

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: We only ever had one holiday when I was a child, when we drove 602 kilometres from Adelaide to Tumby Bay in South Australia, when I was about seven. My parents, myself and brothers all went to stay with family in a shack on the edge of the beach, Spencer Gulf, where every day the adults went fishing with rods and caught King George Whiting, a succulent and exceptional fish found in the region and known as the King of Fish!

PHOTO AT LEFT: The author, aged seven, about to take off the apron little girls wore in the 1950s and go on holiday to the beach.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Roslyn Ross
was born in Adelaide, South Australia and has lived around Australia and the world, including Antwerp, Belgium; Bombay, India; Luanda, Angola; Cape Town, South Africa; Johannesburg, South Africa; Lusaka, Zambia; Vancouver, Canada; London, United Kingdom and currently, Lilongwe, Malawi. She has spent long periods in the United States, Russia and Portugal. A journalist/editor by profession, she began writing creatively in her forties and has completed five novels and one work of nonfiction based on her four years in Angola during the civil war. She is currently writing a nonfiction book tracing her Greek great-grandfather, a biography of her mother, and a book on spirituality as well as a sixth novel. She writes a blog on her time in Malawi and also blogs on ancestry, poetry and creative writing, with a deep and abiding focus on the human condition.

claire_hull
Land of eucalypts
by Roslyn Ross

In secret, slivered slip of leaf
the frame is put in place,
a languishing of eucalypt;
as perfumed, drifting grace.

The myrtle from the southern land
is born in fire and death,
and drapes the days in waiting
until it burns again.

With serpentine releasing,
its skin is shaken free,
revealing flesh fair beautiful
as bark surrounds the tree.

The moon shines on its purity,
caresses milky trunks,
as phoenix-like she rises
on watered, ancient roots.

Like demons born in torment,
they raise igniting arms,
as if to cry for mercy
when nature calls them home.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The eucalyptus, while now common in many parts of the world, having been exported for nearly two centuries because of its fast-growing nature, is native to Australia. The smell of eucalyptus, or “gums” as Australians call them, is ubiquitous and redolent of home, and expats over the centuries have carried leaves with them, as evocative reminders and salves for homesickness. The eucalyptus varieties, members of the Myrtle family, are also highly flammable and contribute to the frequent and deadly bushfires which ignite every summer and which are, and always have been, a part of life in Terra Australis. The smell of fresh gum leaves and that of burning gum leaves, is embedded deep in the Australian memory.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Gum Tree and Smoke” (Australia) by Claire Hull. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roslyn Ross is an Australian writer and poet who currently lives in Africa. She has been writing poetry since she was a child and has also completed five novels and one work of nonfiction.

edwardes_park
Childhood in West Preston and Surrounds
by James Fogarty

I grew in West Preston,
a little wedge of Preston proper,
Melbourne’s best worst suburb.
Some called it Western DePreston
(Self-deprecation, I guess),
but it was always a special place.
J E Moore Park, with cricket nets sporting broken links,
and forgotten, sometimes broken balls resting on top,
which we’d take home anyway.
Sometimes we’d go the extra few minutes to Crispe Park –
when there was a game, or someone beat us to the Moore Park nets –
damped Merri soil there, my grandpa would tell me,
muddy in footy season.
Before that, Edwardes Park,
its black locomotive our gigantic playground,
worth six-hundred-forty in 1968 but
beyond price in my youth.
Nearby, we’d cut from Henty Street to the Wright Street Park,
between two leaning wooden fences,
when suddenly, a giant, rotating swing would appear,
a now-fading clown painted on top.
Once, an old lady across the road took us to W K Larkins Reserve,
where she told us: “There, a man died once”
and we believed her!
(The red paint on the rock a testimony to this day).
Back around the corner, through the laneway and up the hill –
back at home –
my newborn brother couldn’t have his name,
because that old lady’s dog already had it.
Throughout the years, with a new name settled,
the closest, J S Grey Reserve, proved favourite –
a bent tree our as goal posts,
later cut down and never replaced.
Later, I’d observe more from the bus,
and sometimes the car, like
that strip of yellow-green grass down Cheddar Road,
leading to those dustbowl ovals at J C Donath Reserve, or
H P Zwar Park, flashing between NMIT classrooms, or
G E Robinson Park, complete with spinning egg for play.
Still, the one I remember most
I’ve never visited:
Coburg Cemetery, on Bell Street.
“People are dying to get in there,” my grandpa would say,
without fail,
every time we passed.
I miss that joke,
and those parks,
but I don’t want to die in one,
like that man at Larkins Reserve.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Edwardes Park” (Preston, Victoria, Australia).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: James Fogarty is a teacher and writer from Melbourne, Australia. He was going to write a panegyric about his childhood suburb, in Melbourne’s north, but ended up writing about the parks he frequented and the memories associated with them.

WALTON
Neil Armstrong’s Three-Stage Punctuation
by James Walton

In the slow orbit of wombats
my house hangs on to the hill,
the yellow frog flaunts the leaping crimson spinnaker of its jump
to the swallows’ rue at my reflective door,
white lightning shudders in liftoff from another countdown.

Wind dies.

Apple blossom carries the love-letter kiss of butterflies,
delivered in the slow somersault breeze
moon landing clumsy, on the creek now river.
Stars tumble into it, where the eyes of my people well at the eddy;
dreams caught wanting the release of gentle hands not fossicking.

Later, on the plain before Narrandera:

Sun and moon stare it out on the flat,
through moving windows, I make no ground in their yellow orange disregard.
Rise and set, clocking on and off.
They know the contraband in my head is safe,
no small step can approach it.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: We drove to the Byron Bay Blues festival (Australia) to see B.B. King, Mavis Staples, and Bob Dylan. We left just after a small earthquake, and 650 kilometres into the trip on the first day went from mountains to flatland, where the sun set and a full moon rose across the plain at the same moment. Felt like a journey through space and time, but somehow still in the same place, so vast we didn’t seem to be moving. A bit of past, present, and something to come.

PHOTOGRAPH:Quake light on Linn’s Hill” by James Walton.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: James Walton is from the Strzelecki Mountains in far South Gippsland — the last step off the Australian mainland before Antarctica. His work has appeared in several journals and anthologies. He was shortlisted for the ACU National Literature Prize in 2013, and Specially Commended in the Welsh Poetry Competition 2014.

Balmoral Beach 1mb
Freedom
by Irina Dimitric

Freedom to think aloud, a precious
commodity, alas, not a birthright
of all the inhabitants on Earth

My new home in the land of plenty
Down Under, how I love you!
Freedom to think aloud is mine, too

Freedom to walk on the beach
all year round, where golden sand,
the blue ocean and seagulls dance

And on my balcony, merry bush birds
eat out of my hand as I watch their antics and
the shimmering sea; then, they fly away free

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I migrated to Australia with my family in 1964. Apart from having the good fortune to live in a leafy suburb near the sea, coming from a totalitarian regime, former Yugoslavia, the right to freedom of opinion and expression in a democracy is what I truly treasure.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Balmoral Beach” by Irina Dimitric.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Irina Dimitric, retired teacher, lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and a canary. Writing poetry and photography are her recent passions. Her work has appeared in narratorAUSTRALIA online and in print. In 2014, she published her first book of poetry, Dreams On My Pillow, accompanied by her photographs. Visit her at  http://irinadim.com

Blue_Mountains,_Australia
Ironstone Mountain
by Michele Fermanis-Winward

Blue light
folds into cloud,
becomes a turgid green,
the day suspends
as birdsong disappears.

We feel the strike,
windows shake
on thunder’s pulse,
lightning shafts
drawn to metallic stone.

The ridge electrifies,
hairs stand erect,
a scent of ozone
replaces oil of eucalypt
in ionized, crackling air.

IMAGE: “View of Grose Valley from Govetts Leap, outside Blackheath, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia” by Roo72.

fermantis-winward

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michele Fermanis-Winward writes surrounded by bush at the top of the world heritage, Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia.The sounds she usually hears are king parrots and crimson rosellas.

ghost_gums
In The Church of the Allambee Valley
by James Walton

There is no balm for the yearning of eucalypts,
candlebarks stretch up this vaulted wanting
dahlias splash an insane chant over a paddock
a calf nods and backs into a startled wander,
one day she might raspily lick the mystery of my supplicant salty palm.

The kunzea shakes its head at the darting thoughts of ransacking      honeyeaters;
galaxies of shining filaments catch their own suns
striped feathers and silver eyes are lavish ideas with nowhere to go.
In winter a faltering hand of snow,
sticks a gentle finger in my eye stopping the risk of pride.

The chalice Ash joins no offering of passage,
the canoe drifts from tree shape misleading entry
hands worked free an illusion of transit,
pushing into the promise finding
hardwood bars all ways against the bubbling rainbow.

At my pew in the white gum I am an uneventful and regular event.
A shrieking squall of red and green blue yellow veers –
leadlight to frame the river noise below holding
at anchor in shards of haphazard reflection,
memories slipping through my hands to their own lives.

My prayer, more like the old family dog sitting alert in the herb garden,
each working day at the same hour
listening for the school bus,
panting for the children who no longer arrive
but never doubting the shadowy promise.

PHOTO: “Ghost Gums” (Australia) by James Walton.

walton

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: James Walton is from the Strzelecki Mountains in far South Gippsland — the last step off the Australian mainland before Antarctica. His work has appeared in several journals and anthologies. He was shortlisted for the ACU National Literature Prize in 2013, and Specially Commended in the Welsh Poetry Competition 2014.

bkoala
NO KOALAS HERE
by Merlene Fawdry

No koalas here in the place of mine,
no spot-tailed quoll or common wambenger
remain, behind the fringe
of spindle-limbed eucalypts
and stunted blackwood
that fan the roadside,
a veil to the scene beyond,
where matchsticks splinter hills of waste.
A different litter remains
on these wombat hills,
sun-scorched and aglow
in lethal illumination,
gone are the eco-creatures
that lived in the realm of shadow,
the cracks and crevices of their habitat
expunged by the bulldozer’s blade.

The last rufous and golden whistlers,
scarlet robin and masked owl have flown
wings dipped in thermal salute,
a memory flight of what used to be
before the machines came, to
honour the fallen, the displaced,
the diminishing species,
Satinwood and Wombat Bossiaea
consigned as memories on a botanist’s page.

No koalas here, where mighty gums once stood
gone in a eucalypt smudge,
a misty wraith that shares my grief
at the devastation before me,
where spindle-limbed eucalypts
and stunted blackwood
that fan the roadside, fail to hide
the open wounds of loss.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Wombat Forest is reputed to be named after the Wombat township now known as Daylesford, the spa capital of Victoria [Australia]. The forest has been logged since the gold rush era of the mid 1800s and ongoing forestry practice has thinned the blackwood and mighty eucalypts of the area. The subsequent disappearance of the understorey of climbers, native herbs, grasses, rushes, sedges, and aquatics has endangered the swampy riparian shrubland, woodland, and streambank ecosystems. This is the place of my belonging, and the inspiration for this poem came when I was driving along the Ballan/Daylesford Road. Looking beyond the deception of trees that lined the road to the blank hills beyond, I felt extreme anger and sadness, as if part of me had been lost to the bulldozer’s blade.

IMAGE: “Confused Koala Discovers His Home Has Been Cut Down.”

merlene-fawdry

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Merlene Fawdry is a writer and poet, author of five books and several books of poetry. She lives in a small town in rural Australia,where she enjoys the diversity of writing poetry, nonfiction, and fiction, and provides an editing, manuscript preparation, and writer mentoring service. She has a strong interest in social justice and the environment and reflects in much of her writing. She maintains a blog @Merlene Fawdry and welcomes comments on her posts.

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THE DUCK AND THE KANGAROO
by Edward Lear

Said the Duck to the Kangaroo,
‘Good gracious! how you hop!
Over the fields and the water too,
As if you never would stop!
My life is a bore in this nasty pond,
And I long to go out in the world beyond!
I wish I could hop like you!’
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.

‘Please give me a ride on your back!’
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.
‘I would sit quite still, and say nothing but “Quack,”
The whole of the long day through!
And we’d go to the Dee, and the Jelly Bo Lee,
Over the land, and over the sea;—
Please take me a ride! O do!’
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.

Said the Kangaroo to the Duck,
‘This requires some little reflection;
Perhaps on the whole it might bring me luck,
And there seems but one objection,
Which is, if you’ll let me speak so bold,
Your feet are unpleasantly wet and cold,
And would probably give me the roo-
Matiz!’ said the Kangaroo.

Said the Duck, ‘As I sate on the rocks,
I have thought over that completely,
And I bought four pairs of worsted socks
Which fit my web-feet neatly.
And to keep out the cold I’ve bought a cloak,
And every day a cigar I’ll smoke,
All to follow my own dear true
Love of a Kangaroo!’

Said the Kangaroo, ‘I’m ready!
All in the moonlight pale;
But to balance me well, dear Duck, sit steady!
And quite at the end of my tail!’
So away they went with a hop and a bound,
And they hopped the whole world three times round;
And who so happy,—O who,
As the Duck and the Kangaroo?

SOURCE: Lear’s Nonsense Drolleries (1889), available free at gutenberg.org.

DRAWING: “Duck and Kangaroo” by William Foster from original text.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Edward Lear (1812–1888) was an English artist, illustrator, author and poet, and is known now mostly for his literary nonsense in poetry and prose and especially his limericks, a form he popularized. His principal areas of work as an artist were as a draughtsman employed to illustrate birds and animals, making colored drawings during his journeys, and as an illustrator of Alfred Tennyson’s poems. As an author, he is known principally for his popular nonsense works, which use real and invented English words. His most famous poem is “The Owl and the Pussycat.”