Poetry

Local Poets

By 30 July 2023May 19th, 2024No Comments

One of the lovely pleasures that we at Eastsider News have discovered is the degree of creative talent we have in our local area. Collected here are some of the poetic contributions we have received from our local community. Some are funny, some are inspiring; all reflect the important role poetry plays in our culture.

Carolyn Ingvarson

 

Old mothers can die young

When our mother became old
a bit wobbly and prone to falls
with ‘turns’ that left her reeling,
we insisted she be made safe
in an aged care home
And there she was caged -safely
for a slow demise over 5 years
There was no choice for us
Five kids with busy lives
Nowhere for her to fit there
She would be better off
We all knew that to be true.

It’s the path ahead for the old
I’m old and I don’t want it
I see that time for her differently now
She called it her prison
I smiled then and thought it fanciful
Go on, its nice here I’d say
And it was nice – didn’t smell of piss
Had great views
And we visited often
This was no prison

The loss of freedom is such a price to pay for life.
She was confronted with the failure to look after herself
Her fear of being a burden to her kids
And with that, we removed her chance to do what she could
To be where she wanted, when she wanted
Would she have preferred to be that person
still making some decisions
and perhaps fall down and die
in her own home?
Who knows
We couldn’t ask
We did the best we could
That worked for us, so it worked for her.
She knew that,
till she didn’t know anything anymore

This is my mother’s day wish
I want to die at home
Don’t save me from myself
Don’t make me safe
cossetted in chains
Don’t rescue me, protect me
I choose against old age like that
I will sign a pledge now
If I can choose my time
if not struck down by other forces
I want to die at home
Feeble and incontinent
but not bound and gagged for my own good.

Know this – those who feel obliged to care,
I would never blame you
If you let me go
falling and failing at home
Don’t protect me with the drawn out collapse
of self into dried -out baggage

I say this now while I can
That I’ve loved my life
and you have made it so
This next decade will round it off
Some time soonish, I will die
I don’t mind how
But please let it be without
the cocoon wrappings of that thing we call
aged care

I’m sorry mum for those last years you endured
I fear you gained nothing from them
Except that we didn’t worry
I’m asking my family not to do that
And that might be too hard
But here it is
Do this, and when I’m gone
you won’t worry
You’ll know that you did what I wanted
And that makes any old woman happy.

Evie Taylor

Rainbow

A poem by Evie Taylor (Age 8)

I fly up high right over the Rainbow,
I soar through the shimmering Clouds.
I see the light, I hear the birds,
I imagine touching a Rainbow.
Streams of colours flying through the blue skies,
All around, everywhere.

Marion Clark

Blind to Heartache

Marion Clark

They are the ‘lucky ones’, or so they think,
In their ivory towers
looking down
At the rest of us
Suffering in the misery of integrity
And self-scrutiny.
Theirs is not to question motives
or intentions
Nor to wonder about the effect of their grandiosity
On those they deem to be inferior,
Blind to the heartache they cause
To those who care.
Rationalization is preferred
As the maintainer of perfection.
Opening themselves to the scorn of the mature,
The amusement of the sadist
And the exasperation of those who are
Unfortunate enough to love them.
We are in a world they will never know exists,
And all that is left for them is our compassion.

Barry and Ian Horn

You can get copies of Poems for a pandemic by emailing Barry at barryhorn@bigpond.com.  The price is $5.00 and all proceeds will go to Tonga to help a village recover from the January 2022 volcano and flooding.

Owen Clark

Owen Clark

Owen Clark was born in Chinchilla, Queensland. After finishing his secondary schooling at Toowoomba Grammar School, he worked on his father’s sheep property for four years before obtaining a Theological degree in Melbourne.

Prior to working at Melbourne Lifeline for ten years as a trainer and supervisor of telephone counsellors, he spent seventeen years in Parish ministries in South Australia, New South Wales, and Victoria. His final calling was to Industrial Chaplaincy, where he spent twelve years caring for people at work and critical incident debriefing at various companies and organisations in suburban Melbourne.

Since retirement in 2000, he has been actively involved in Balwyn Central Probus Club and attends a weekly meditation group.

His recently published second book ‘Eighty-Five and Still Alive’ which includes his poems and thoughts is available at Amazon.com.au.

His first book, a memoir, ‘View From the Boundary Fence’, was privately published in 2019, and both books are available from the Boroondara Library. You can also have a look at ‘View From the Boundary Fence’ online on the website owenroyclark.com

Never Give Up

Owen Clark

You may think that you’ve had enough,
But never, never ever, give up.
And even when you feel all scarred
And you have troubles by the yard,
Never, never ever give up.

When it seems all your friends don’t like you,
And everyone bullies and strikes you.
Know every road has its bumps and ruts.
You don’t think it, but you do have guts
So never, never, ever give up.

This is an extract of a longer and gently inspiring poem.  We encourage you to read the full poem by clicking here. We have published more poems by Owen in Eastsider News and plan to post them on this blog in the future.

Four Rolex Watches

Owen Clark

Over a cup of tea,
A rich friend said to me.
‘On your wrist, do I detect
A watch; a nice Rolex.’

‘Yes, I wear this watch each day.
It seems to cheer me on my way.
My daily spirit gets a lift,
For me to wear this family gift.
I received it from my father.
He received it from his father.
Very precious as an heirloom.
Like some lovely, family, perfume.
And when at last my life is done
I’ll pass it on then to my son.’

My friend replied with this to say.
In a sad and serious way.

‘My choice would never be a Swatch.
I also wear a Rolex watch.
One is good but I wanted more.
I have money so I bought four.
But none of them can I compare
In meaning, with the one you wear.
The value in your family
And close connections I can see,
Can only be obtained for free.
They can’t be bought with my money.’

A Letter

Owen Clark

People think email is better,
Yet today I got a letter.
Old Fashioned you may often think,
Those words on paper, with black ink.
And written with a shaking hand,
Today, it’s hard to understand.
Computer keys are best, they say.
A click: the words then fly away.

Writing word after word is slow,
It’s not speed here that is the go.
Loving thoughts make the time go slow.
Mindful journeys to a person,
Special memories that are certain.
Each word written so carefully.
Each word crafted so prayerfully.
There is some news I’d like to share,
I’d like to tell of my new chair,
The old one was the worst for wear.

When writing I am not alone,
Memories flood back to my home,
And lots of things we used to do.
Are re-lived in my letter too.
In writing it is not a chore.
For those who write, it’s something more.
Togetherness, a journey shared
With someone who has always cared.
Distance is not now far away.
I can picture them, there, today.

 

 

Looking forward for that letter,
Helps us feel so much better.
A sadness when one didn’t come.
“I hope everything’s right with mum!”
Today, they say, the mail is snail.
Back then it was wind in one’s sail.
Mail brought reassurance, and joy.
Connections like a strong alloy.
From loved ones far away,
Comes an uplift to the day.

My aunt, lived in a place far-flung,
Sought a penfriend when she was young.
An advert in the Goodly Pearls[1]
Connected, distant, lonely, girls.
For over fifty years they wrote.
For loneliness an antidote.
My mother wrote me once a week.
And in a time when life was bleak.
It linked me to my missing home.
And it helped me when all alone.

 

[1] Goodly Pearls was a popular magazine

for young people in days gone by.

 

Christmas, birthdays, were special times,
Wishes with special cards and lines.
Family news, the usual natter,
Joining in each family matter.
Romances blossomed through the mail,
Two letters a week, without fail.
It was such a joyful caper.
XX   B O L T O P
Better On Lips Than On Paper.

Has writing letters had its day?
We now connect a different way.
Is it better? Or is it worse?
Computers can be such a curse!
Letter writing may now be gone,
But my good memories still live on.

Washing Dishes

Owen Clark

I wonder if moderns understand.
That we washed dishes all by hand
With no machines, you have to think.
Of washing dishes in the sink.
‘I want to wash,’ was a quick cry.
Another then would have to dry.
There could be such a hue and cry,
Of who would wash, and who would dry.

And to remind you let me say,
This happened three times every day.
And men would often shrink and shirk,
And say, ‘This is a woman’s work.’
Often children dodged to spoil it.
‘I have to go to the toilet.’
They didn’t think that it was fun.
But work always that must be done.

Others though have memories fond,
It was a time when they would bond.
It wasn’t just a chore or work.
They had a time when they would talk.
Communicate and with no phone,
Together they were not alone.
They talked things over by the sink.
They then would contemplate and think.

Somethings lost in the world today,
Machines, they took this time away.
Children still grizzle and complain,
Emptying that machine again!
Instead of washing in the sink
Today is easier, don’t you think?
Still, dirty dishes must be done,
Does this come back on only one?

Take a good look at the old

Owen Clark

When you are alive and young,
You may think it will not come.
One day you too will be old,
And part of the old age fold.
Spare a thought for those who are,
There are signs they’ve travelled far.
Look and see what you’ll become,
When you cannot jump and run.

You could perhaps find a clue,
As to what you think you’d do,
When you can’t tie up your shoe
And are wobbly on your feet.
All you want to do is sleep,
And not venture to the street.
How do these aged cope with this?
Is all they do, sleep, and sit?

You don’t like to gawk and stare,
And shrink from all the grey hair.
If you listen, you will see,
Something of the mystery.
See how these folk worked Life out,
How they coped with all their doubt.
Can you learn from what they say?
That will help you in your day.
When you will be old and grey.

How to write a poem?

Beverley Walsh

How do I write a poem?
Will it come bursting out of my head,
the words like concrete pouring from a mixer
straight onto a page
and set?
Or will it be like childbirth?
I’m told it’s agony
until
it’s joy
and a child has emerged,
fully formed,
perfect in every way.
Will my poem be like that?

Should I write a sonnet?
Perhaps like Shakespeare….

 

There is much more to this gentle, witty poem than what we have published here. We suggest you read the full poem by clicking here. Enjoy the quiet humour of Beverley’s musings as she wanders through the various poetic byways to find the answer to her question. 

Ruth Butcher

The Rainbow

Ruth Butcher

Genesis – the first sighting
The first recording of this
‘Act of God’
The rainbow comes after the
storm.
It is beautiful but elusive.
Formed by rain droplets
– yet always a combination of
sun and rain.

Lifting one’s eyes
– from earth to ‘heaven’ and
back again.
A marvelous light
Accompanies the receding
darkness.
It is uplifting- always a sign
of hope and promise.
It speaks of something
greater- a transforming
‘presence’.

Suzanne Conchie

The Sacred Feminine

Suzanne Conchie

In the Deep
Lap of night Moonmother
Unfurls her silver
Sleeves and in the tender
Light, rocks an earthling
Child to and fro, to and
Fro in the warm
Womb of night in the
Presence of All things
A sweet shy gathering
Of embryonic gas grows
Skin of newborne blue
Tears of joy well into
Oceans her glow imbibes the
Sap rising closer, closer to
Her in the Deep
Where
All is One