Monday, 27 January 2014

Firebreak?

They close the schools when it’s too hot
At over 40 - teaching has to stop
The whole week we’re on red alert
High winds are forecast and can hurt

The pasture land and country towns
When burning embers float around
A chance spark or a lightning flash
And bush fires make a front page splash.

Perpetual sun – an Aussie trend
But holidays come to an end
This week the schools start their new year
But in this heat – who will be there?

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Sunday, 26 January 2014

Australia Day

On Australia day we celebrate
How in 1788
Captain Cook sailed Sydney way
Stepping ashore at Botany Bay.

The date was 26th of Jan
The arrival of European man
Upon an island vast, unknown
Which the Aborigines called home.

A harsh and unforgiving land
With a barren heart of sand
Sharp rocks that crack in burning heat
A wilderness where serpents sleep.

Here convicts and free settlers came
With hardly a penny to their name
When the cry of “Gold!” in Ballarat
Lured many to try their luck Outback.

The States became a Federation
And are now a multicultural nation
With the ‘Whites Only’ policy repealed
New arrivals come from far afield.

New citizens sworn in on this day
At official ceremonies say
They are proud to sing “Australia Fair”
And this ‘Lucky Country’ share.

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Friday, 24 January 2014

A Drive to Windy Point

In the evening as the sun goes down,
The winding roads go darker brown,
The shadows lengthen on the way
And daytime bird song melts away.

The views on every side astound
Fine look-outs each way we turn round
The rocks are jagged, deep ravines
Have no doubt hidden bad crash scenes...

Above us there is only sky
The moon our guide as we drive by.
At last the car comes to a rest
At Windy Point; the view is best

As here all Adelaide is seen
In twinkling lights of red and green:
The airport runways, Brighton Beach,
And Marion Mall are within reach.

Glenelg is a stone’s throw away
Dark patches - Adelaide’s parkway
It’s not L.A. – high rise is rare
And there’s no pollution in the air.

It’s a place with magic of its own;
So no one comes here all alone
Couples and tourists from afar
Pass happy moments in the bar!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Thursday, 23 January 2014

Simply Red - Roxby Downs

The colour red springs straight to mind
Against a blue that’s hard to find
In Northern Europe my own patch,
Which has no landscape that can match.

Pale green shrub and dappled trees
Stillness broken by a breeze,
Bird life abundant, hard to see
Against a terracotta scree.

Where am I? Far from tarmac road,
On dusty track, in Antipode
Just minutes from Olympic Dam
Named for Melbourne’s sporting span

In Fifty-Six - now busy site
Where uranium’s processed day and night.
With gold and copper ore, this mine
Is making dollars now, big time.

In this thriving outback town,
Where all amenities surround
The growing populace, desert heat
Means air conditioners seen in street.

There’s a library, hospital and vet
Dry cleaners and a superette*
Where prices for fresh veg are high
The trucks must travel, that is why.

What’s a bettong? In the dark,
We discovered in an arid park
In a hide, first checked for fear of snakes,
That wildlife night-time forays makes.

A bilby, mini kangaroo,
Was caught in spotlight by our crew
As we wandered over sandy dune
Under a starlit sky and moon.

Once a month the Raceway roars
As old jalopies settle scores
A chequered flag proclaims the winner
Steak sandwiches our only dinner.

On Sundays, Roxby Downs still thrives
The nursery plants enrich our lives
Then hurtling over rough terrain,
We can noodle in the dumps again!

The Opal is an outback gem
Each one unique; my feeble pen
Cannot express its fiery glow
Found in red rocks so deep below.

A treasure of another sort
A trip up North, a sudden thought,
A dream of Oz this one weekend
Whose memories will never end.

* very small supermarket

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Sunday, 19 January 2014

The Tour Down Under

Victoria Square* – a maze of tents
Huge crowds; activity intense
“The Tour Down Under” starts the year
With water bottles, Lycra gear.

Huge banners for this sports-mad nation
The officials check the conflagration
Which has wrought havoc in the Hills
And engendered huge insurance bills.

But smoke inhalation is no threat
Though the heat and steep inclines are set
To challenge all those who take part
And make their well-taxed muscles smart!

After the heat wave of last week
The “cool change” means this annual feat
Can go ahead now just as planned
Over empty roads in this parched land.

This Tour de France pure Aussie style
Is just as gruelling mile for mile
As its Gallic counterpart
And not for cyclists faint of heart!

* Central Adelaide

(c) Poet in the woods 2014




Thursday, 16 January 2014

Hot - Hotter - Hottest!

Quiet and sleepy Adelaide
Known for its Christmas street parade,
Its avenues devoid of cars
Its many clubs and coffee bars

Its festival of arts and fringe
Its racetrack and other sporting things
Its leafy suburbs in the Hills
Its relaxed family style – no frills

Does not often “hit the spot”
In terms of news, for it does not
Have a Sydney Bridge or "Hanging Rock"
Or nightlife that raves round the clock.

But since yesterday its reputation
As the warmest city in the Nation
Has been surpassed as waves of heat
Make it the Planet’s hottest seat!

At over forty-six degrees
And scalded by a Northern breeze
The CFS* is overstretched
As the many bush fires now attest!

*Country Fire Service

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Thomas - at Six Days Old

A miracle has just occurred;
When he breathed so gently like a bird,
I held my nephew - six days old
Upon my lap – and I was sold!

With tiny hands and rose pink feet
And cheeky tongue, he tried to greet
His brand new Auntie who had come
To meet him in the sweltering sun.

In a singlet of the smallest size
His shock of dark hair hid his eyes
But he welcomed me to his new home
By smiling just for me alone!

A whole new wardrobe not yet worn
Has been chosen for this dear newborn
But the torrid heat is rather tough
So just a nappy is enough!

He’s learning, but it takes some time,
To suckle at his mother’s vine
Nature’s milk is now on tap
So he gets fed between each nap.

His parents, who are learning too,
Are sometimes not sure what to do
Each cry is different and unknown
Thomas’s language is his own!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Monday, 13 January 2014

Thoughts at Melbourne Airport

You can't stop progress - I checked in
A domestic flight - no code - no pin
Just my name and destination
And I can fly right round this nation.

Melbourne airport has a buzz
About everything it does
"The Age" gives news and gravitas
Read by the smarter set en masse.

It apprises me that once again
It is proud and happy to proclaim
That migrants swell its ranks non-stop
As a livable city - it comes top!

Domestic Terminal - relaxed crowd
Announcements shout from tannoy loud:
Newcastle, Brisbane, Adelaide
On each Gate - several flights displayed.

"Virgin Australia" in bright red
With purple scarves are go-ahead
Young and vibrant, full of smiles
They conduct us down the aircraft aisles.

The plane is small - 4 seats each row
Some stay empty - need is low
Adelaide where my folks hole up
Has no lure like the Melbourne Cup.

Though its Festival in Autumn time
Gives the place a chance to shine.
We taxi off in blazing sun
"City of Churches" - Here I come!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014


Sunday, 12 January 2014

Pick Nix at Hanging Rock

Far out of Melbourne - to North West
There lies a magic treasure chest
A rock formation, stark, bizarre
That arrests the gaze, seen from afar.

It's farming country - little towns
Nestle in the rolling downs
Huge squat houses, large domains
Lay scattered over sun-drenched plains.

A small sign, almost too discreet
Guides us up a dusty street
The object of our trip today
A scenic, rugged rock display.

In Sixty-Seven, Peter Weir
His iconic "picnic" filmed up here.
A walkway takes us to the top
And I'm photographed at "Hanging Rock"!

An Edwardian girls' school, ivory-clad
Had a day trip to the highest crag.
With stupendous views of valley floor
Some girls set out to explore.

But no trace of them was ever found
So the mystery lingers all around.
Fact or fiction? What is real?
The whole place has a special feel.

This beauty spot once wild, neglected
Is, thanks to the film, protected.
The tourists in their hordes come by
And picnic under cloudless sky!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014












Friday, 10 January 2014

Away with the Fairies!

Northcote - a suburb up and coming
Outlet shops, live music running
Down the sunlit streets they come
In quest of beer and culture fun.

We've tickets booked for a live show
My friend, who's really in the know
Chose "techno rock" from Isle of Skye
The "Peatbog Faeries" caught her eye.

The bagpipe player centre stage
Gets us dancing, rocks our cage
Soon the boards bounce to our feet
Nightlife in Melbourne is upbeat!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014



Tuesday, 7 January 2014

A New Beginning!

In Melbourne news came down the line
“Mother and baby doing fine”
Last night late the waters broke
A sleepless night – when dawn awoke

A labour-intensive morning passed
For a first-born – it all happened fast
At two hours old, I spoke with Dad
Thrilled at the coming of his lad.

Then to his dear Mum – her labours done
Proud of her 7lb. 9 oz. son.
Such a blessing – full of grace
A miracle has taken place.

We once thought Ma would not be Gran
But at ninety she knows that she can
Welcome to her heart this boy
Who turns her sorrow into joy!

So Auntie who pens these few lines
Past sixty, a new role now finds
A long-held hope comes to fruition
Wee nephew gives her a new mission!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Going Interstate

Adelaide airport - smart and new
A lounge with a panoramic view
Fellow travellers brightly dressed
Smiles from Virgin staff – impressed!

Australia’s vast - so interstate
Means add a half-hour at the Gate
Today’s white clouds recall Magritte*
Belgian artist – surreal wit.

I treat myself to coffee – strong
In paper goblet – cups are wrong
Australia’s keen on “take away”;
I sip my brew while on my way

Down a corridor to its end
On a carpet with a “parched field” trend.
Melbourne arrivals swarm on past
Loose shirts – there is no Business Class.

While we await our call to board
Kindles closed, computers stored,
With mobile phones, I-pads and books
No one at his neighbour looks.

With modern media we connect
But I feel a deep pang of regret.
With so many people here to meet
No one looks further than his seat …

* Rene Magritte: 1898-1967

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Monday, 6 January 2014

Twelfth Night

The 6th of Jan – Epiphany
Time to burn the Christmas tree
Except that here, this Pagan rite
Might set the family house alight!

The fir tree is not native here
And though at first it might appear
That groves are planted for this fete
Most Christmas trees in Oz are fake!

The world goes back to work again
Daily stress in the fast lane
With Star and tree packed in their box -
Forgotten the shepherds and their flocks…

(c) Poet in the woods 2014



Sunday, 5 January 2014

Rain is not a Pain

We left the Church in pouring rain
No umbrellas were to hand
The relief of everyone was plain
The threat of bush fires is a strain!

Many signs on major roads I pass
A “total fire ban” is in force
A tossed out match or piece of glass
And conflagration takes its course.

No wonder no one looked depressed
At the rain clouds giving birth
The sultry air now has a rest
As moisture spills into parched earth.

But unlike Europe, swathed in grey
Where constant rain is source of trial,
For water Australians often pray
And when it comes, all wear a smile!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014



Saturday, 4 January 2014

Sunset over Bellevue Heights

A huge expanse of febrile fronds
A gentle slope to beach and plain
We’re perched upon a gentle rise
Which lovingly absorbs the rain.

From the patio I observe the view
The day’s heat slowly cools at last
The arid landscape breathes anew
Dusk is upon us very fast.

A lobster glow with coral streaks
Encompasses this panorama
All shades of red in troughs and peaks
Sunset Down Under is pure drama!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Friday, 3 January 2014

Human Roadkill!

First days of Jan – still in the sun
A puff of cloud, a gentle breeze
I scan the Paper – New Year fun
Is drunkenness and general sleaze!

Many have over-celebrated
And fall asleep on Brighton Beach
It’s the thing to get inebriated
The drink-drive threshold soon is breached.

Patrol cars come and the crowd clears
The revellers, clad in shorts and thongs,
Congregate in bars with beers
And break out into raucous songs.

Many tragedies occur this week
The Paper cites some “hit and run”
Statistics on road deaths are bleak
Is this madness caused by too much sun?

(c) Poet in the woods 2014



Roadkill usually means kangeroos!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

The Queensland Caravan

A lifestyle choice, this Deluxe home
Complete with storage, fridge and loo
Has twin beds which vanish in the roof
And table top in fetching blue.

A bunch of keys and hefty clamp
Ensure its owner peace of mind
From insects and torrential damp
Out in the bush – it’s all streamlined.

The roof lifts up, a sink swings out
There’s a shower and a BBQ
Somewhere in the casing lies
A water tank hid out of view.

Huge panels in the base for gear
But wily ants have set up home
So instant action with a spray
Ensures they’ll leave us well alone.

Compact, this fibreglass design
Gleams in the sunlight – nearly new
Its chunky wheels in sunken mode
As storms have lately rumbled through.

The weather has been wild of late
Hailstorms are forecasted today
The need to move it now is great
It should be placed out of harm’s way.

Parked out in the front since May
Embedded in the softened ground
With the carport only feet away
It cannot be manoeuvred round.

We toiled ages in the sun
And tried a myriad towing tricks
The end result was still Square One
Frustrated – we ate fish and chips!

(c) Poet in the woods 2014

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Year's Eve BBQ

The last day in a troubled year
Is spent in glorious Southern sun
Despite the heat, keen shoppers run
As bargain hunting is such fun!

We’re invited to a BBQ
Aussie-style in friends’ backyard
While ‘snags’* all sizzle we keep cool
The aircon has to work so hard!

A plastic basin filled with ice
Is the outdoor cocktail bar
There’s bread and salad which suffice
Far too hot for meal 4-star!

A sprinkler keeps the lawn deep green
The kids splash in the paddling pool
In the distance twinkling lights are seen.
The sea becomes a sparkling jewel.

New Year revels - Glenelg Beach
We drive around but find no park
Returning to an ice cream each
And view of fireworks in the dark!

*sausages

(c) Poet in the woods 2014