|Poetry by Georgie MacBrayne
|Hello, poetry readers:
|Hello there. The poems here need to be updated again soon, and new ones added. If you like having a read I hope you will enjoy some (or all) of these.
These are selected from the over-eight-hundred poems I have written over the years and cover a wide variety of subjects.
Thankyou for checking out this page.
Happy reading, Georgie
|TRAFFIC OLD AND NEW
|They’re part and parcel of this modern age,
Fast cars and four wheel drives are the rage,
Highways abound, cars scattered like confetti,
Flyovers tangled like a plate of spaghetti.
There’s bikes and trucks and buses too,
Anything with wheels, to name a few,
Wide open roads, with multi-lanes,
Drivers all ages, some with growing pains.
Traffic speeds at a break-neck pace,
Everyone’s hurrying to be some place,
Or bumper to bumper they grind and crawl,
In a traffic jam, it’s a free-for-all.
Around about a century ago
The pace of life was comparatively slow,
Great-grandpa had a model -T Ford,
With flash upholstery and a running board.
This might have out-paced an old cart-horse,
If they could crank-start the motor of course,
Bells and whistles, a loud horn to blast,
All part of our old pioneering past.
Early cars had a few horse-power,
But still couldn’t go many miles per hour,
So Flossie, even pulling a heavy load
Might have trotted much faster along the road.
In front of the motor a flag-bearer waved
To make sure motorists were well-behaved.
For in those days there was no need
To hurtle around at break-neck speed.
Pedestrians safely could go for a stroll,
And not become part of the dreaded road toll,
Unless they happened to get in the way,
Mown down in the street by the brewer’s dray.
The motor car was a hazard quite new,
Status symbol for the moneyed few,
Descended from wagons with wheels of wood,
Soon would do things no wooden carts could.
One day will members of the human race,
Bump into each other in outer space,
Run each other down in floating cars,
Vie for parking spaces between the stars?
I wonder if perhaps, with gravity lacking
That might be a whole lot easier for backing,
Petrol pumps would become obsolete,
As would the need for a tar sealed street.
They could build a space bridge from planet to planet,
With toll booth, and robots stationed to man it,
But - so much for this nonsense, for what it’s worth,
It’s time I came back down to earth.
|WELCOME TO AUSTRALIA
|By way of explanation for this crazy story….. Visiting my sister in Aus - hadn’t seen her for several years. She joked that I should carry a rose between my teeth so that she’d recognize me, so I duly made a “rose” from yellow paper and plastic stalks, determined to embarrass her by taking her at her word. It worked! Couldn’t resist carrying it in my hand going through Customs, so as to arouse their curiosity wondering what sort of nasties I was importing to destroy Australia’s agriculture. That worked too - naughty eh? The customs man was mortified when the painting hit me in the face, cutting my lip a bit, and then when I couldn’t stop laughing, (tears running down my face), the poor guy became quite agitated! I’m sure that for some reason he though I was one rose short of a bouquet! Lots of fun!
Welcome to Australia, the land of kangaroos,
Come for a happy holiday, or on any old hackneyed ruse,
Jet across the Tasman, flat as a dark blue board,
A comfy flight on Pacific Blue, so easy to afford,
Come in to land in the early night,
We’re near the end of a pleasant flight,
Airport’s now a welcoming sight,
Into a blaze of yellow light,
And Australian Border Control.
Rising, stretching locked-up legs, we passengers disembark,
Eyes adjust to the brightness instead of the mellow dark,
I poise at the top of the mobile stairs, for a royal wave unless
There’s nobody there of importance, whom I might hope to impress.
Down the steps and just a short walk,
Snatching a few last moments to talk,
Eyes watching everything like a hawk,
I’m going to feel a bit of a dork,
Clutching a rose between my teeth.
We shuffle along, to be processed like a haul of wriggling fish,
To sail through obliging Customs is now my fervent wish,
I’ve filled my card in, boxes ticked, a few things to declare,
Can’t wait to see my sister who’s waiting for me out there, (I think!)
My flight-mate’s checked out, there she goes,
I strike a smug and careless pose,
And smirk, as officials query my “rose”,
The gap to the Customs man starts to close,
Then he beckons me to my fate.
Travel weary, bored with it all, I’m lured by the beady eyes,
Of a tall and lanky officer, a swagman in disguise,
He’s about to inspect my belongings, maybe tip them all out on the floor,
Exposing nighties and knickers not seen by the public before.
I’d ticked a few boxes, for some items could
Be a hazard to Aussie if they’re made of wood,
Like a painted box canvas I knew I should
Declare to the Swagman, yes that would be good,
And he’d let me pass through unmolested.
The Swagman drawled a greeting and scrutinized my card,
Wanted to see the painting - (I thought “Nah, this won’t be hard”),
He cut the wrapping paper, which exposed the cardboard packing,
Then slit the tape exposing the painting’s wooden backing.
There was a gap where the tape stretched tight,
And although the knife was wielded alright.
I must say it gave me a hellava fright,
As the painting leapt with the speed of light,
And whacked me fair in the face.
The Customs man was mortified and stared with frightened eyes,
While waving hands in horror said “I do apologize,
I say - are you okay M’am, is there anything I can do?”
I felt a great temptation to declare that I might sue.
But I didn’t make a smart retort,
Or file an incident report,
Or tell the chap what I really thought,
I bet they do that at each airport,
From Goldcoast through to Perth.
Oh what a state of righteousness, this heady sense of power,
My wounded state gave me control to make the poor guy cower,
But being a kindly Kiwi, I took pity on this man,
Who lives beside a billabong and boils a billy can,
For just an accident it was,
Rude welcome to the land of Oz,
‘Twas nearly time to go on through,
I had in mind what I must do,
And so I clutched my rose.
Now I’m not one to dramatize, get hot around the collar,
Even sporting a purple bruise the size of an Aussie dollar,
Then once more through the ticket desk to get credentials checked,
I swayed, and touched my wounded face just once more, for effect,
My sister would be right outside,
I knew her arms would open wide,
When I emerged, but would she see
And recognize that I was me?
What should I do to be identified?
We waved the Swagman a last goodbye,
And cleared the exit, my bruise and I,
So then it was at Viv’s request,
I passed another idiot test,
And there she waited, to my relief,
So I thought I’d give her a bit of grief,
And made my debut, startling but brief,
With a yellow rose between my teef!
Soon after a red-faced welcome hug,
And the rose removed from my grinning mug,
I was bundled off without further delay,
To her car, and we made a quick get-away,
Before the white coat brigade arrived!
|THE HISTORY OF TENNIS (the correct version!)
Tennis dates back many hundreds of years, well maybe a thousand or more,
Egyptians, Romans and Greeks may have played, as a change from going to war,
Its origins lost in the depths of time, rules evolving along the way,
Until it emerged as the popular sport that lots of us play today.
Way, way back in Tudor times, in the sixteenth century,
Henry the Eighth built a tennis court, and fond of the game was he,
So Hal was scoring some aces, whilst out there on Tower Green,
They were chopping the head off Anne Boelyn, his second luckless queen.
A couple of centuries later, ladies played in demure attire,
(When girls were said to “twinkle” or “glow”, but were never allowed to “perspire”),
Though stiff with bustles and corsets, and hemlines around their feet,
The ladies joined in and sweated, in an effort to compete.
At Wimbledon 1949 the crowd had an almighty shock,
When Gussie Moran stepped out on the court, in a shortened tennis frock,
It was quite a rude awakening for all those with dicey tickers,
And the crowd was thoroughly scandalized by Gussie’s frilly knickers!
Officials went into a frenzy, and it caused a huge outrage,
Upsetting the double standards of another day and age,
Now in recent times at tournaments, the international names
Strive to up-stage each other with clothes, as well as their powerful games.
Vying to be the most trendy, lots of skimpy outfits transpired,
While Wimbledon still enforces the whites, elsewhere some are weirdly attired,
It’s often a sight that makes for sore eyes, two ladies the crowds did enthral,
For the Williams sisters caused a stir when they wore almost nothing at all!
John McInroe liked to throw tantrums, some guys smash their racquets to bits,
It’s said to relieve the pressure that results from their mad hissy fits,
The ladies of course have decorum, (with exceptions) quiet and serene,
Except nothing’ pierces the eardrums as much as Sharapova’s scream,
One would need huge dedication to keep up their strength and morale,
As do those enduring heroes such as Federer and Nadal,
It takes a rare breed of person - huge fortunes there are at stake,
Now that millions are paid in prizes, there’s no limit to what they can make.
Thank goodness we don’t need to bother, with all that palaver and hype,
To survive at the top you’d have to be a unique and invincible type,
Not many of us get to Stanley Street, (except to watch from the stands),
Or are burdened with touring the circuit, to kiss trophies in other lands.
We don’t get to sign many autographs, or to play as the number one seed,
Or to serve at a hundred miles an hour, ’cause it’s all about power and speed,
We don’t throw our grimy wrist bands and such, for admirers to fight for and catch,
‘Cause there’s nobody out there who wants them, after watching our afternoon match.
Players today from across the board come in many shapes and sizes,
Most casual players are in it for fun (and occasionally for the prizes),
In this game where love means nothing, and many olds are still sporty,
The ladies are labelled “veterans” when they’re still five years short of forty.
Many players when under pressure find it harder to keep their cool,
But to play with good grace and sportsmanship is the unspoken golden rule,
So visitors - why not give it a go you won’t ever know till you try,
If you’ve got what it takes to play tennis, try to keep yourself fit till you die!
It takes a fair bit of stamina, and most of us have some of that,
You could look upon it as exercise to stop us getting too fat,
New chums might come across as keen, determined to prove they can hack it,
The chances are they’ll find the whole process is nowt but a glorified racket!
Sport is for those from all walks of life, from kindy and through retirement,
Enthusiastic energy could be seen as the main requirement,
It’s quite a bit safer than rugby, who knows - you might find you’re addicted,
Myself, though I’ve had a few injuries, these were mostly self-inflicted.
So why not join us on club days, it doesn’t matter who you are,
You could always watch from the balcony, drink coffee or booze at the bar,
And whether you’re shy or competitive, you’re speedy or slow on the run,
Tennis could be what you’re hankering for,
AND IT SHOULD ALWAYS BE FUN!
| BECOMING A PENSIONER
| BECOMING A PENSIONER July, 2012
You’re sixty-five, you’ve qualified! At last you can retire,
The very fact you’ve made it, puts you in the line of fire,
You’ve found the “open sesame” that leads you to the pension,
But if the word gets out it can attract unkind attention,
Some sixty-fours and under seem to think you’re in the money,
Because you’re over sixty-five, (and this is really funny),
A few are green with envy as they wish their youth away,
They can’t wait to be sixty-five, and super-rich and grey!
We’ve worked to raise a family as most did, on the whole,
Surviving on our wages, never living on the dole,
It’s time to put our feet up, as we golden oldies ought,
And then we’ll go and slam some aces on the tennis court.
Don’t ever feel guilty, ‘cause we’ve paid our share of tax,
We’ve worked our fingers to the bone and flogged our aching backs,
And thus have earned the right to beat our bodies up some more,
To run our legs into the ground just like we did before.
The sixty-fives of yester-year were so portrayed as fragile,
While here we are in modern times - we’re mostly fit and agile,
Just dye your hair and join the gym, accelerate a fraction,
Ignore the wrinkles, get those muscles fitter for some action.
See Grandma in the photographs, so plump with snowy hair,
All togged up, she’d sit for hours in her rocking chair,
Knitting needles clicking, that’s how she perceived her role,
Tiny skirts and tennis shoes weren’t for that kindly soul.
Now rocking chairs are not our style, we opt for Lazyboys,
Some seniors love technology with all its latest toys,
Right into things computerized, our ears grow mobile phones,
We’re savvy “inter-netting” types, not just a bunch of drones,
There’s smart phones, clever ipods, and wi-fi tablets too,
These older heads can do most things the younger ones can do,
For Seniors can do anything, with special dispensation,
We have a lot to offer to the younger generation.
They know it all already though - that’s typical of youth,
Their hair has not a trace of grey, they think they’re bullet proof,
Then way hence in the future, to retire - long they’ll wait,
For by that time the super age could rise to eighty-eight!
It’s said that we’re a burden, too many olds there are,
Heck - that’s how those kids got here, and we’re healthier by far,
If being young is everything, it’s very over-rated,
Or should we olds be catalogued and then expiry dated?
Hey …………millionaires get pensions too, (you have to wonder why),
They’ve got so much they lose the plot, there’s nothing left to buy,
I reckon Super’s done us proud, and by gum have we earned it,
Life’s been a long, long lesson and I hope by now we’ve learned it.
It has been said “necessity’s the mother of invention”,
You may well ask “what’s that to do with those who get the pension?”
Well……...not a lot, although it makes a lovely rhyming scan,
The reason that I wrote it here is just because I can.
Because I’m a SENIOR!
Grounded………jammed on a reef,
Miles off course in the morning’s early hours,
The Rena, pedestalled on Astrolabe,
Pitched and leaning, she towers
Over the churning surface of the ocean,
Stuck fast yet in perpetual motion,
Lurching, at the mercy of the waves.
Thick and putrid her life blood oozes from ruptured tanks,
Escaping a split carcass, stuck fast on the jagged banks,
Compromising our shores - her own catastrophe vying
With birds and sea creatures trying
To survive in a mantle of thick black oil, and dying,
Losing the one-sided contest.
A captain is in disgrace,
We don’t see his face.
Man without a name, his first mate the same.
But who is responsible and who will take the blame?
Millions of dollars in compensation
Can’t match the devastation
Or turn back the clock
Of relentless time.
But time will tell
And yet may be seen
Our beautiful coastline,
Cleansed and pristine.
There she still lay, rent asunder, groaning, crying,
Split in two, no longer a vessel - but broken, dying,
A corpse divided, new dimension of her grief,
Sad ship remnants, scraping and grinding on the reef.
Polluting the ocean, a wreck wreaking havoc on the sea and beach,
Still spilling corruption as far as it can reach.
Damage not done to the full extent,
A storm tore at one half and down it went,
Two murky skeletons in their respective graves
Two rusting halves, one sunk beneath the waves,
The other perched for infinity
On a rocky mound in a churning sea.
Since Rena ground to her final halt,
No amount of finding fault
Can undo carnage that has been created,
Environmental problems are all related.
Though the clock cannot be turned
|TO THE SCAMMING SCUMBAGS
The world’s full of people who like doing good,
So caring for others they act as they should,
But they must be wary and do nothing rash,
For robbers can fleece them and steal their cash.
These con-men are low-life, they have a great urge
To participate in this internet scourge,
Yes scammers are scumbags - it’s really no joke,
They’ll rob people blind till they’re totally broke.
The victims are random - picked out willy-nilly,
Many are kind folk but just a bit silly,
Their hearts hear your pleading so it’s no surprise,
They open their purses and fall for your lies.
Your “Daddy” has died and now you’re bereft,
But............. ten million dollars is what he has left!
He wants me to have it (the cunning old fox),
So it waits in a bank vault locked up in a box.
But...... “Pa” never knew me - so isn’t it funny
That he had decided to leave me his money,
Now sending a fat fee is what I must do,
Then gather my savings and give them to you.
Are you a big lazy man, or a wife?
Have you done an honest day’s work in your life?
Does this make you feel good - all “take” and no giving,
Why not do what I do and work for a living?
You’re really pathetic, and you should be banned
From hurting good people all over the land,
Though you have no conscience I hope you’ll repent,
You’ll not get my money, no not a red cent.
So guess what - the joke is on you, you see,
I’m not so dumb really, you can’t catch me,
I’ve been very naughty, so please call me “bad”,
I’ve just had the best time that I ever had.
You’ve told your sob story, a very sad tale,
Which might succeed sometimes but this time will fail,
Oh - I feel for you “Linda” - well I’ll be damned,
If you’re not a scammer whose just been scammed!!!
|DEEP DARK SECRETS
DUE SOU’ EAST AND HOMEWARD BOUND 21/5/11
The ocean’s flat beneath us, a huge and wondrous thing,
While I peer through double glazing past the rivets on a wing.
Way down below soft clouds stretch out to white infinity,
And stamp their Payne’s Grey shadows on a bright sun-burnished sea.
We’re heading for the Long White Cloud, Australia’s far behind,
I’ve had a lovely holiday, now home is on my mind,
Soon on the left unwinds the stretch of Ninety Mile Beach,
Unbroken sand and surf and sun, and Auckland within reach.
Now circling over farmland, all Aotea green,
Bright land creeps up to meet us, soon the airport can be seen,
Blurred concrete tarmac flashes past, jet engines scream and drone,
I’ve crossed the Tasman once again and here I am back home.
It’s been a really pleasant flight, an interesting day,
As travelling goes, I wouldn’t want it any other way,
More Customs interaction, (you get to know it well),
Then I snatch my tired luggage from a giddy carousel.
The Naked Bus heads homeward, we’re Bay of Plenty bound,
Lulled are all the passengers by traffic sight and sound,
Familiar views fill windows, a round trip now complete,
And there is Bill to meet me in the dark and quiet street.
| CUT/COPY & PASTE
There is a worthy gentleman, and nameless he shall be,
Who’s never had the sheer delight of using C.& P.,
He’s doing things the hard way – well I ask you, what a waste,
There’s really nothing difficult in copy, cut and paste.
He doesn’t read instructions - won’t work it out alone,
He says he needs a tutor, and insists he must be shown,
The imminent arrival of a friend from overseas,
Will help him learn a simple skill – to cut and paste with ease.
A speed two-finger typist, he can sometimes make mistakes,
He needs some understanding, and that’s often all it takes,
While pointing out the typo’s, just to put him to the test,
Will always get a smart retort – pay-back with interest.
Now learning how to cut and paste can save a lot of time,
Could keep a person occupied, avert a life of crime,
I’ve advocated C/C/P, time and time again,
I’m trying to be helpful, but he says I’m just a pain!
He like to keep things simple, and he won’t as yet concede
To clutter his computer up, with stuff he doesn’t need,
I talked about the “Publisher” – it started as a joke,
Then when I mentioned “Photoshops”, he almost had a stroke.
Official e-mail tutor, I’ve been labelled as a nag,
So, dare I add “for pictures you can click, control and drag”?
I hope imported tutoring will bridge a yawning chasm,
As helpful things I’ve said have met with scant enthusiasm.
I’m threatened with bombardment, boasting new computer skills,
I’ll soon be inundated while I’m popping headache pills,
It won’t be long – he’ll think he’s just the whiskers on a cat,
And I’m quite sure that he’s the one who’ll need a bigger hat!
The owner of a painful toe,
(Who knows not how he made it so),
Has ripped off half a well-stuck nail,
The toe turned red, his face turned pale.
On cue the toe began to bleed,
Resulting from this gruesome deed,
Soon red and sticky were his feet,
Toe pumping to a quick-step beat.
Like magic it began to swell,
And throbbed like drumbeats straight from hell,
And thus he waded through a flood
Of dark, coagulating blood.
Some furniture he must have kicked,
Though unaware which piece he picked
To mutilate this digit that
In half-raw state was big and fat.
Now while I know I shouldn’t worry,
Will he encore in a hurry
That amount of needless pain,
And would he do this all again?
But time may heal – it should not fail
To resurrect that piece of nail,
So hear me now – I do entreat,
BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU PUT YOUR FEET!
|FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The pineapple is not a fruit of the pine tree.
The pine tree has a pine-nut that comes in a cone,
(as can pineapple ice-cream.)
Neither is the pineapple any sort of apple.
Cox’s Orange is not an orange, but an apple,
while a love-apple is the tomato.
Although a tomato does not grow in a tree,
there used to be a tree-tomato,
which is not a tomato, but a tamarillo.
A gooseberry is not the egg of a goose.
It is a fruit which grows on bushes –
that is, except for the Chinese variety,
which grew on vines, and became Kiwifruit,
(which is not the egg of a kiwi.)
Some are now called “Zespri.”
Grapefruit is not the fruit of the grapevine.
No – it is the fruit of a citrus tree – like an orange.
Not Cox’s Orange of course,
as we know this is an apple.
A pear is just a single one.
Two pears are a pair of pears.
A paring of a pair of pears is a peel.
Pears have appeal for some.
If you like pears, maybe the avocado is for you.
It is a pear!
Do you like cabbages?
They don’t grow on trees, you know,
but there is a cabbage tree which is a palm.
Confused? Who wouldn’t be,
when a tiger lily has spots!
|DON'T TEACH ME!
You don’t need to teach a baby to walk, or a dog to bury a bone,
You don’t need to teach a cat to stalk, or an owl to sit alone,
You don’t teach a bird to build a nest, or a hen how to lay eggs,
You don’t teach mice to be a pest, a centipede to use its legs.
You don’t need to teach a cow to eat grass, or a monkey to swing in trees,
You don’t teach a person to see through glass, or how to make honey, to bees.
You don’t need to teach a fish to swim, or a stork to stand on one leg,
An athlete, how to use a gym, a barman to open a keg.
You don’t need to teach an eagle to fly, or a nightingale to sing,
Or teach the rain how to fall from the sky, or teach a wasp how to sting,
You don’t need to teach a frog to croak, or show a duck how to preen,
Don’t teach a comic to tell a joke, or Elizabeth how to be Queen.
Don’t teach a crab to live in the mud, or teach a lion to roar,
Don’t teach a mosquito how to suck blood, or a drunk to fall on the floor,
You don’t need to teach a rabbit to breed, or teach a mole how to dig,
You don’t teach a plant to go to seed, or a fig tree to grow a fig.
You don’t teach a wild beast to eat meat, the wind how to make a draught,
You don’t make an antelope fleet on its feet, teach a sailor what’s “fore” and “aft”,
You don’t teach the tide how to come in, or go back out on its own,
And one final thing: you don’t need to teach teenagers to talk on the ‘phone!
|PUSS IN BOOTS
There was this handsome moggy – an extraordinary fellow,
In thick fur coat, and tabby stripes, all golden-honey yellow,
From a “marriage of convenience”, with quite distinguished roots,
White feet, white chest, and yellow eyes, and named quite simply – “BOOTS”.
There’s nothing Boots liked better than a good nocturnal scrap,
The fur would fly, in tangling with this most ferocious chap,
At times he disappeared, and was not found anywhere,
Then Glenn would simply whistle – pretty soon Boots would be there.
A stalker of some note was he, brave hunter on the prowl,
For possums, ferrets, rabbits, once an eel, and an owl!
He’d bring home all his trophies, proof of each success he had,
And leave them on the doorstep, all those treasures, for his dad.
When Glenn was busy snoring in the darkness of the night,
Four-thirty in the small hours, just before the morning light,
And Boots was feeling hungry, on his corner of the bed,
To get his dad’s attention, he’d just whack him on the head.
He’d play-fight with the boys (preferring male company),
And dribbled when they patted him – no ladies’ man was he,
He had no time for children, for he spurned them one and all,
Except for little Brooke, who had him at her beck and call.
What’s better than new furniture, for pussycats to scratch?
Boots tested out his claws for size, but soon he met his match,
A small but well-aimed missile, quelled his first destructive lust,
Then, when Glenn yelled “Incoming!”, well you’d not see Boots for dust!
On unsuspecting legs he’d pounce, and grab them in a trice,
Stray arms were pinioned in a grip just like a furry vice,
‘Twas time for careful handling, only one wrong move just might
Be such that it was followed by a painful ginger bite!
He wouldn’t scratch – oh no, he’d never use his claws on you,
(Why bother spoiling fingernails, when one good bite would do?)
And like all cats, expert he was at snuggling down to rest,
Young Boots would fold his paws, and tuck them in beneath his chest.
He’d ridden around the country – seasoned traveller in a car,
Unrivalled boss in his domain, patrolled both near and far,
He’d pose, just like an ornament, perched on the window sill,
And gaze with haughty grandeur from the house up on the hill.
For Boots was not your average pet – not “just another cat”,
This smart and bossy feline was a classy one at that,
He knew just what he wanted, always made known his demands,
Quite fast he was, in learning to obey a few commands.
You bet Glenn won’t forget this cat with personality,
Such special memories are engrained upon his memory,
Who now will keep OUR dog in line, and never give two hoots?
He’s gone, but not forgotten - this awesome “Puss in Boots.”
Some fellas have a hankering to take a pretty wife,
To revel in domestic bliss and lead a happy life,
And so they’re joined in wedlock, and become two souls in tune,
Then head off for a wonderful romantic honeymoon.
It might be spent on foreign shores, or in their native land,
But rest assured a fisherman will have it neatly planned,
While seeing sights, or shopping trips, for some may have appeal,
THEY don’t go very far from home without a rod and reel.
With keen anticipation he’ll escort his blushing bride,
They reach their destination, where he shows her off with pride,
The die is cast – it won’t be very long before she’ll find
This mega-man she married has just one thing on his mind!
So as they start their married life, it’s almost sure to be
Beside the waters of a lake, or somewhere near the sea,
Forget about the plush hotel – hours in a draughty tent
Mean she’s a fishing widow, while he’s in his element.
And what a great idea he had, to hire themselves a boat,
To take romantic cruises, for a honeymoon afloat,
He’ll never once neglect to give his wife a passing nod,
While sorting out the bait, and reaching for his fishing rod.
For (just by sheer coincidence), he’d packed his fishing gear,
And brought it with him “just in case” – he made that very clear,
Such is the satisfaction, when he hears the reel scream,
For him that is reality – not just another dream.
And this, the loving husband, knows it is her heart’s desire,
To spend her evenings cooking on the embers of a fire,
It’s all about priorities – but if that’s not enough,
A bloke has got his fishing – that’s the real important stuff.
He takes her in his arms and plants a kiss upon her face,
And tells her that he loves her so, with every fond embrace,
Then as she dons a negligee, and warms the double bed,
He’s in his rubber waders, with a beany on his head.
They’ve hardly had a honeymoon – the end result of course,
The marriage, barely started, might be headed for divorce,
But he is so devoted and as faithful as can be,
Except he has a lover, for his mistress is the sea.
So ladies, if you’re newly-wed, before the bells are quiet,
Your hubby goes off fishing – well, you’ll simply have to try it,
Make sure you won’t be lonesome on the honeymoon you’ve booked,
‘Cause one way or another you’ll be well and truly hooked.
You go back some years later, tripping down Nostalgia Lane,
“Footloose” and “fancyfree” have gone, the kids are just a pain,
But fishermen have one-track minds – when one has had enough,
He’s happy as a sandboy to unpack his fishing stuff.
Perhaps a second honeymoon is written in the stars,
He’d like to spend it at the pub, or crawling around the bars,
You’re wiser now, you know the score, so ladies if you’re smart,
Suggest a fishing holiday, and he’ll love you from the heart.
|SHOWER BOX SERENADE
All ye who have a penchant for singing in the shower,
Might warble soapy opera, with a burst of vocal power,
A gold disc from the pop charts, sung just beneath the jet,
Or yodelled country/western, in a state like "dripping wet."
You belt it out, as water swirls and gurgles down the drain,
A sweet old-fashioned melody, or jaunty jazz refrain,
To test the range of octaves, as soapsuds sting the eyes,
You linger in the lather, while hot steam begins to rise.
Forget about your troubles, in your small acoustic square,
Then rinse them clean away, just like the shampoo in your hair,
You imitate a diva, then your favourite Broadway play,
Or copy Pavarotti, as your face deflects the spray.
All inhibitions gone, burst into song - see how it feels,
To entertain an audience, while scrubbing knees and heels,
And you aspiring singers may achieve your finest hour,
False confidence is rampant in the wetness of the shower.
Singing in the shower's a bit like singing in the rain,
Without the jittery tapdance, top-hat and twirling cane,
Revamp those famous arias, notes trembling low and high,
'Cause they won't sound quite the same you know, when one is dressed and dry!
| SURPRISES IN THE SAND
Take a stroll along the beach,
Beauty abounding, much within reach,
Stoop to select a perfect shell,
But – there’s a length of wire, as well.
Follow the mark, as the tideline goes,
Sifting sand between the toes,
A quaint piece of driftwood invites me to look,
Beside it - an old line, with rusty hook.
Enjoy at leisure, the picturesque shore,
Slowly shuffle a few metres more,
Washed up there, on the sandy slope,
Is a piece of yellow nylon rope.
Lying together side by side,
Worn, and smoothed off by the tide,
A beer bottle, and broken glass
Take my attention as I pass.
Wet shells catch the sun, and glitter,
Natural debris, mixed with peoples’ litter,
And from it, the beach will never be free,
As most of it’s washed in from the sea.
There’s a caring custodian of the beach,
Cleaning up the area within her reach,
A volunteer who patrols the scene,
And helps to keep our beaches clean.
|BELOW AND ABOVE THE SEA
|Fins ‘neath the surface,
Wings in the sky,
Shoals in the ocean,
Flocks flying high,
Fish roam the waters,
Birds cruising free,
Below and above the sea.
From the roof of the heavens,
To the ocean’s floor,
Wildlife in abundance,
Who could ask for more,
The Bay, with its plenty,
So much that is free,
Birds in the open air,
Fish in the sea.
Below and above the sea.
| MAN’S BEST FRIEND
Dogs may be a gentle pet,
And so present no mortal danger,
Some be man’s best friend, and yet,
Some be a threat to friend or stranger.
Ever-loving and devoted,
Man’s best friend, so tried and true,
But the dog’s fine reputation
May be spoiled by just a few.
Some have love and proper training,
Others may be taught to fight,
Man’s best friend, trained for attacking
With a savage snarl and bite.
Every dog must have a licence,
Thus it’s written – that’s the law,
Man’s best friend must have a number,
Always be accounted for.
Once a year comes registration,
Details entered in a log,
But ……… why not register the owners,
IF they’re FIT to own a dog?
| January, ‘03
She rides the inky water on her belly, broad and flat,
While slickly swells the harbour underneath her, calm and flat,
I gaze in admiration, in the early evening’s chill,
As sentimental memories give my spine a gentle thrill.
A child I was in Auckland, once, gone 50 years and more,
And often sailed to Devonport, on Auckland’s northern shore,
The Kestrel had a sister-ship – a twin named Albatross,
And so, on one or other, made the frequent trips across.
I remember climbing narrow steps, from deck to deck,
Ignoring urgent warnings not to slip and break my neck,
And running circuits of this boat, that has no bow or stern,
Then hanging over wooden rails, to watch white water churn.
The sounds and smells of Auckland’s wharf, my memory contains,
The hum of winch machinery, and rattling gangplank chains,
Such bustling of commuters, the rush-hours and the slow,
As, crowded or deserted, she sailed on ebb and flow.
I’d sometimes spot the captain there, up on the rounded bridge,
And push to open heavy doors, then step across the ridge,
Remember being jostled, on the wooden slatted seat,
All empty and abandoned now, there’s no-one to compete.
This part of Auckland’s history, old timbers painted white,
Still takes me back to when she was a so-familiar sight,
Those days before the harbour bridge, on waters deep and blue,
So now, to watch her moored there, brings shades of déjà vu.
Her homely, wide proportions, for me still have appeal,
The aged, simple, classic lines above an aged keel,
I feel a great nostalgia, just to see her still afloat,
Have captured her on canvas now, this grand old ferry boat.
|Pleasant vibes, around two people on ponies,
Leisurely trekking, on a Sunday afternoon,
Through the friendly confines of the forest,
With the environment, peacefully in tune.
Two sets of hooves clop, softly,
Along a well-worn beaten track,
Mattress of spent vegetation, loosely packed.
Trunks loom, straight and tall, along the path,
Individual, yet each part of a multitude
Of silent sentinels, hardly changing from day to day,
While their branches whisper, in crowded solitude.
Ferns, sprouting in abundant confusion,
Spring with abandon, between each rough bark,
Just as myriads of life forms, in profusion,
Congregate invisibly, in crevices damp and dark.
Heavy, the special perfume of the bush,
Here is a place with air so cool and clean,
Redolent – that familiar earthy scent,
Throughout the misty shades of brown and green.
Sunlight filters through the highest branches,
But its rays are spent before it can reach the ground,
Here thrive mosses, in rich, black soil,
Where all sorts of shade-loving plants abound.
The friends wend their way, in silent companionship,
Content to be riding, past many a curling frond,
The ponies still walk softly, perhaps contented too,
Taking their riders through the forest, and beyond.
| October, 1999
The infinite sea lends us a portion
Of its wealth and splendour,
Who could fail to be impressed
With the generosity of the lender,
How fortunate we are, in that
We are able to borrow
And use this limitless resource –
Not have to return it tomorrow,
How can anyone absorb this lovely view,
And not feel blessed?
You only have to look, and see
The colours in which it’s dressed.
We should try to ensure its preservation,
Although that’s not a new concept,
We can all share in that which lies
Right here on our doorstep.
The sea continues to renew itself,
Tries to remain unspoiled,
Sometimes the issue becomes controversial,
A spring that’s tightly coiled,
It tries more and more to cope
With plunder and pollution,
So, how is it rescued from this abuse –
What is the ultimate solution?
It’s in the interests of everyone
To treat the sea with reverence,
For the caretakers of the future,
And trust they will protect their inheritance,
We have the whole of New Zealand,
From North Cape to the Bluff,
Do we ever appreciate
This beautiful land enough?
This place, the subject of my writing, has a well-known identity,
It is named, maybe with understatement, “The Bay of Plenty.”
|Monmouth Redoubt (Tauranga)
Leafy glade, lots of shade,
Pictures that the sun has made,
Lovely trees, branches, leaves,
Berries red and green on these.
Pohutukawas, palm trees there,
Trees are growing everywhere,
Weather’s fine, sun will shine,
This is nineteen ninety-nine.
Well kept grass, time to pass,
Look at shadows of the past,
Go once more, heretofore,
Back to eighteen sixty-four………
There’s a cannon set in concrete, underneath a spreading tree,
A monument to those who fought with special bravery,
Their story is recounted, and securely set in stone,
It’s history for all to read, this record stands alone.
In 1864 there was a battle for the land,
The 43rd Light Infantry was that which made the stand,
To protect this town’s inhabitants, they entered in the fray,
At the Military Cemetery, some rest until this day.
The European women, and children took their rest,
They tried to sleep each eveing, while remaining fully dressed,
They were cared for at the Mission House six weeks or so, before
The natives couldn’t be restrained, or held back any more.
So the Colonel told Archdeacon Brown, although it would be hard,
They had to transfer all of them, while under heavy guard,
Their escorts took them safely to this, Monmouth Redoubt,
They bunked down in the blockhouse, on the floor, to wait it out.
Then they boarded Sellars’ Cutter, which arrived here in the Bay,
To ship the frightened refugees to Auckland, far away,
In cold, inclement weather the journey took a week,
But landed them in safety, that all of them did seek.
As I stand here, reading the account so fervently,
I realise that on this spot. the blockhouse used to be,
And on this very piece of ground, where stand these stones of grey,
Took place this violent turmoil in New Zealand’s yesterday.
This grassy square that overlooks the harbour and the city,
Is a peaceful place today, but once saw bitter enmity,
The evidence is plain to see, where “earthworks” edge the ground,
With “moats” around the outside – the ditches that surround.
Here today, had my say,
I’ve been back to yesterday,
Now I see, fleetingly,
Some people who made history.
Bright Monarch, darting from bush to bush, leaf to leaf,
Regal is your name – your wings of orange flame a perfect foil for the sky,
Scribbling invisible patterns in the air, instinctive is your brief
And orderly mission – mating and laying eggs before you die.
Your whole life cycle is confined to six weeks or so,
Urgently alive, you’ll be busy every minute, no time to delay,
You’ll be feeding on nectar, and selecting the plants that you know,
You have not many tomorrows, so are making the most of each day.
Delicate but strong, the vibrant stained-glass windows of your wings
Carry you on currents of the wind, a tiny spec in the firmament,
Thin crisp tissue, etched in black – a sprinkling of white dots to the edges clings,
Fleeting is their beauty, but beauty needs no reason, and nothing is permanent.
Under the asclepias leaves are tiny eggs – vulnerable promises of life,
Caterpillars may survive, voraciously to fulfil their role, slow but deft,
Each destined to become a chrysalis, change its black and yellow suit of stripes,
But many fall prey to the stinging Asian Wasp, and its kiss of death.
They don’t stand a chance when a thief steals their brand new lives,
Newly-hatched from their eggs, the process has barely begun,
The strong may endure (Mother Nature herself selects) – a percentage survives,
But weak or healthy, to preditors they can still succumb.
And so turns the wheel, continually repeating the order of rotation,
Egg to caterpillar, to chrysalis, to butterfly, then to the beginning once more,
Sunshine is built into your wings, catching the light, with oscillation,
The miracle of metamorphosis, as decreed in nature’s law.
|HOME FROM THE SEA
He loved his little dinghy – hand-made boat,
The two of them drifted together as one,
In splendid isolation, with a gentle motion,
Heaven! Just to be aboard – to let it float,
Fishing line over the side,
At one with the sea, out on the ocean.
Urgent tugging on the line – he wound the reel,
But to the fish on the surface he said,
“I wonder my friend, just what you feel,
So I’ll release you to swim away. Godspeed, little fish,
Go live out your time, and I wish
You could have a life as happy as mine.”
Then he addressed the open air,
Feeling the pleasure of the day, full of emotion,
“Oh Lord, take me when you please,
I ask only that the sea’s
All around me when I go.”
Little did he know!
The old man felt a chill, and buttoned up his coat,
Then pulled on an oar, changing direction,
He lay back for a while and sighed.
The shore seemed so remote,
Then as the craft bobbed along on the tide,
He simply closed his eyes, and died.
How still he lay, in his little hand-made boat,
How could he have guessed
That so soon would be granted
His simple request. He had passed away
Doing what he loved best,
And at one with the sea.
As evening closed in, slowly,
And the moon threw glitter on the sand,
A wave lifted, and placed the boat softly on the shore,
Guided perhaps by an invisible hand.
It had delivered him faithfully,
Home once more.
|MISTER PIANO MAN
He’s an ordinary, unprepossessing kind of fellow –
Kind of mellow,
But when he plays the slow love songs
Your mind longs for more – more of the same.
Take us away again,
Mister Piano Man.
Not someone you’d remember – not much to look at,
But you’ll soon overlook that.
Beard needs a trim, bushy brows look rather grim,
Slightly dishevelled – favourite hat,
He’ll not dispense with that.
But quiety-spoken, he blends into the crowd,
Not too loud,
An ordinary man, he creates his own talent,
Appetites to appease,
With the sound of the keys.
Please them if you can,
Mister Piano Man.
Lulled into closing your eyes,
With music to mesmerize,
He’ll hypnotise you.
Play your songs, Mister Piano Man,
Capture the crowd. Take them as you find them,
And then spellbind them.
You have what many a musician has,
Blues and jazz,
Pouring your soul
Into an arpeggio roll,
Play your chords – play, play,
Say exactly what you want to say,
Show them that you can, then slip into a different key,
Speak to me,
Mister Piano Man.
Change of tempo, change of pace,
Make the heart race,
Your agile hands have a mind of their own,
Just yours alone,
So hold your listeners and shake them,
They’ll take notice – you’ll make them!
Stamp out the progressive scale,
Aggressively male, and expending raw energy,
With no apology.
Tame the keys and pound them,
Don’t leave them as you found them,
Mister Piano Man.
Music assaults the ears,
Till the eyes sting with tears,
Hear the urgent increase taking place,
See the profile of your face
In the polished piano case,
As you wind down into the sweet release
Of the final piece.
And with the fading of the last vibrations,
The real world closes in, as we remain
Drained, and waiting for you
To take us away again,
Down memory lane,
Along the same vane,
Take us away
Mister Piano Man!
|JUST A DOG'S LIFE
A cat can be a horizontal line, long and straight - going nowhere,
Or it can be like a fur collar, draped over a chair, just hanging there,
Or a mound of fluff, round, like a ball of wool evenly wound,
An archway stretched tall, quivering limbs locked, lower case
letter “n”, on the ground.
A cat is a motor purring, warmed up and ticking over,
A cat may be a stay-at-home, or enjoy the life of a rover,
A cat can be a streak of lightning, just a flash and a blur,
A cat can be a spikey brush, frozen statue of bristling fur.
A cat tries to double its length, twisting, slowly stretching,
A bizarre ballet impression, sinews tight, muscles flexing,
A cat likes to preen and groom, oblivious to all unimportant things,
A cat may appear to be sound asleep, but flicks an ear when a bird sings.
Little sounds and snuffles it makes, when apparently dreaming,
Who knows if its mind is blank, or if it’s plotting and scheming,
A slight irritation may cause a tail to flick, or whiskers to twitch,
Or the beating of a prolonged tattoo behind an ear, to relieve an itch.
A cat may snooze the day away, feigning exhaustion, but really just lazy,
A cat may be full of mischief, and do its best to drive you crazy,
A cat will try and fool you - “Do not disturb, I’m slumbering deep,”
Then one yellow eye opens a slit (just to check on things),
while the other remains asleep.
The hardship of waking up brings a deep, jaw-shuddering yawn,
Cats don’t always sleep in the dark and arise with the dawn,
Some cats enjoy being fussed over, brushed and patted - they
like it just fine,
Some cats do their own thing – “Leave me be; but don’t forget to
call me at dinner time!”
A cat can be a presenter of dead trophies, expecting due applause,
A cat can caress you with gentleness, or rake with vicious claws,
A cat sometimes likes to jump high, to catch a toy which dangles above,
A cat may ignore you, or fall into your arms and smother you with love.
A cat, it is said, starts out with a generous nine lives,
A generous tom may possibly have just as many wives,
A cat can give the impression (which is probably correct,)
that it hasn’t a care,
Or that, after working very hard, doesn’t have the strength to do
anything, or go anywhere.
A cat may prance around, aloof, so superior as it stalks,
A cat may not deign to notice a mere mortal, when it talks,
A cat is a law unto itself, and if you think it is doing your bidding,
That shows how well it has you trained – just who do you think
you are kidding?
Many a cat has the people it owns, completely under its spell,
It supposes they aren’t aware of all the subtle tricks it knows so well,
A cat will let you know if it wants your company, or would
rather be left alone,
No matter what YOU would like, remember - Cat is tolerating YOU
living in ITS home!
We’ve all heard about it raining cats and dogs.
Well, if you splashed into a poodle,
that would be the proof,
But: reigning cats – now, ain’t that the truth!!
| MUSIC OF THE SEA
|Note to readers: This poem was written solely as potential lyrics for a song. It in no way reflects any tragic past of my own, as I have not had a tragic past!
A stormy, windy day,
Can help to clear my thoughts which matched its gloomy grey,
But if it stays this way,
I find I need the sun to keep the blues at bay,
The clouds will clear today,
Then skies will have the blues that help me see the way,
I hear the deep voice of the ocean,
I hear the music of the sea.
I was a sentimental remnant of what used to be,
What I was thought to be,
Never was exactly what I ought to be,
So it was news to me,
That I can be exactly what I choose to be,
Listen to the sad and broken strains,
Mysterious music of the sea.
The future's clearer now,
It's opened up its arms to welcome me somehow,
And I do allow,
That I can recognise this as a stronger power,
So I give my vow,
When it's time, I'll mount the stage and then I'll take a bow,
Now I rest my sharpened senses on the beach,
Encouraged by the music of the sea.
I see the burning breast
Of waves reflecting reds upon their rolling crest,
For they steal the best
Of colours from the sun that's sinking in the west,
It puts my mind at rest,
I'll be persistent, like the waves, on my ambitious quest,
Conducted by the rhythm of the waves,
I'm lilting with the music of the sea.
For I am restless still,
But like the restless ocean I can change at will,
By now I know the drill,
I'll re-arrange my life so it will fit the bill,
Sometimes I feel a chill,
And wonder if my efforts all will come to nil,
The gentle calm is like a soothing balm,
I'm seeking solace in the music of the sea.
This gentle giant here,
The ocean, so submissive and compliant here,
Can be a force to fear,
And it can turn its rage on one who comes too near,
But now to me it's dear,
It has the strange ability to lift and cheer,
And what a great composer it must be,
Who wrote the special music of the sea.
|SURF WILD AND FREE
We stood on the burning shore babe,
We'd both been there before,
Another time, another day,
With a different one, but in the very same way.
we walked on the silver sands babe,
Our running shoes in our hands,
Two sets of footprints followed us,
Then in rushed the water and washed them away.
It carried our prints back to sea babe,
While we watched the surf, wild and free,
We talked in muted tones, we two there alone,
And had a conversation with the sea.
We walked to the end of the beach babe,
As the twilight was closing in,
We climbed on the rocks in a carefree way,
With the tide swirling round us, we were drenched with spray,
We stood there on top of the crags babe,
While most of the sand disappeared,
Decided we'd better be moving on,
With the tide coming in and the beach nearly gone,
We waded back to the dry babe,
Laughing, in the surf wild and free,
It wasn't what we'd planned, but we ran hand in hand,
And said our goodbyes to the sea.
|FISHING WITH DAD
Not much more than a toddler,
This wee lad, with his dad,
Sitting on the wharf, perched there
On a seat, on the piles, on a day that is fair.
A few fishing details to discuss,
Serious things, but – there’s no rush.
The small fishing rod is held by dad, for now,
Listening, while the little fellow, (maybe), tells how
He thinks things should be done,
As they sit there, in the sun,
Picture of love and serenity,
Just a wee lad, and his dad.
| YOUR LAND, MY LAND (New Zealand)
The land’s been here, through the depths of time,
the property of none,
And answering to no-one,
since time itself begun,
Till one day it was trod, by those
who chose to call it home,
They borrowed the use of the elements,
and everything was on loan.
And so it shared its bounty,
this green and productive land,
If offered the contents of rivers,
and the oceans, and the sand,
Then came increasing numbers,
and some had no respect,
For nature’s generosity,
the things they should protect.
The land was torn apart by strife,
as bloodshed came with wars,
They carved it up, for ownership
of land and sea and shores,
Then documents were created,
so everything would be fine,
Ownership became simple –
just sign on the dotted line.
This divided the population,
who should have lived as one,
The land became a trophy,
a prize to be lost or won,
With boundaries set by fences,
and race opposing race,
So years went by - this country’s again
a very volatile place.
Today there’s much dissention,
on who owns what, and where,
There’s ‘rights’ for this, and ‘rights’ for that,
so what is just and fair?
Through hotly-debated issues,
my conclusion’s still the same,
Mother Earth is still her own mistress,
like she was before man came.
She’ll surely have the last laugh,
having offered us all we need,
Land wasn’t meant to be shredded,
torn apart by hate and greed,
One man, though, shared this concept –
it’s not hard to understand:
The land isn’t owned by the people,
but the people belong to the land.
In the morning's warmth, with the sun still low,
Mid-day was still a fair way to go,
A man staggered on, (a pitiful sight),
From where he had shivered and spent the night,
Huddled and shaking - alone in the dark,
But his life was still a smouldering spark,
From under a tree stump he dragged himself on,
There was nothing to eat, and the water was gone.
He'd been in the desert all on his own,
In a four-wheel drive he'd called his home,
Searching for gold, the fever had struck,
And he'd had more than his share of luck,
Insisted on going in, all by himself,
For he didn't want to share any wealth,
He'd do what he came for, then go on his way,
To be a rich man at the end of the day.
But he'd wandered away from the beaten track,
And knew not which way to be turning back,
While the jeep was embedded, wheel-deep in sand,
And there was no-one to lend a hand.
In the midst of nowhere, he donned his hat,
And planned to walk over the scorching flat,
So he took some supplies and hurried along,
But soon all the food and water was gone.
His pockets and pack were weighted with gold,
Not much in the way of supplies did they hold,
He tried not to think of the mortal cost,
Though soon realised he was hopelessly lost,
And the hat was no use in the midday heat,
Which burned through his shoes to the soles of his feet,
But still he pressed on, 'neath a clear blue sky,
Soon sobbing with pain, but his tears were dry.
Then he started to laugh, but the laugh had no mirth,
For his pockets held gold, but the gold had no worth,
So, all the adventure - what had it been for?
He'd found him a fortune - was losing much more,
His breath became ragged, he knew in his grief
That now there was nothing to offer relief,
And then in the distance there danced a mirage,
And he thought of his car, parked in the garage.
He thought of his children, a son and a daughter,
He longed for a pool filled with cool, clear water,
He thought of himself, but remembered his wife,
Then knew he'd be here for the rest of his life.
So our in the desert, expiring of thirst,
The gold had been all that he thought of at first,
Then he became certain that die here he must,
And his body would crumble, and blend with the dust.
The sun had raised blisters all over his skin,
And he knew it was hopeless - he felt it within,
His mind did but wander, unable to think,
He'd swap it all now for just one cool drink,
His weak legs gave way, and he fell to his knees,
Through parched lips cried "Someone help me please",
But here there was no-one who heeded his cry,
And here there was nothing that money could buy
So for the first time, he'd have traded his wealth,
In exchange for rescue, his life and his health,
When into his pocket he plunged his hand,
Gold nuggets spilled out and sunk in the sand,
As night closed in and his body grew chilled,
And his open mouth with sand was fillled,
One fist an empty bottle did hold,
And the other was wrapped round a lump of gold.
Two little girls in their nighties,
Awake with the early sunshine,
Had spied a hugh mountain of presents
That Santa left under the pine.
Four little hands tore them open,
So eager to see what’s inside,
Full of excitement and wonder,
With bright, shining eyes open wide.
They saw, from the can on the table,
That Santa had finished his beer,
And not much was left of the carrot,
As a snack for the hungry reindeer.
Then all that remained of the biscuit,
Was just a few chocolatey crumbs,
These hallmarks of Santa Claus’ visit
Must have made them all fingers and thumbs.
Those ribbons and wrapping from presents,
That make such delightful debris,
The colourful litter of Christmas,
Was scattered around by the tree.
The thought behind giving’s important,
Whether gifts be enormous or small,
But I’m sure these “grandies” must be to you
The greatest treasure of all.
I’ve never been wild about fashion,
the things that I wear are quite plain,
I’m comfy in favourite outfits,
and use them again and again,
My sewing machine’s done some mileage,
I ignore trendy labels on clothes,
I don’t spend a fortune on make-up,
and would rather not don panty-hose.
As strictly a practical person,
“hands on” is the line that I take,
It’s rewarding to make lots of useful things,
my “handyman” image at stake,
I’m happy in bare feet or jandals,
spend hours flexing tennis shoes,
While sporting a sizeable bunion,
for high-heels I never enthuse.
It’s fun to be mixing some concrete,
constructing a fence or a wall,
Or sawing, or weeding the garden,
and I don’t mind the cleaning at all,
I’m cool with my hands getting dirty,
you’ll not hear me make a complaint,
While sometimes all coated with sawdust,
or hair and clothes dotted with paint.
Then once in a while I go shopping,
must go into town and be seen,
I may not be garbed like a model,
but at least I’ll be tidy and clean,
So today I had kept an appointment,
and into some glad-rags had changed,
Then made a most punctual appearance,
at a time that had been pre-arranged.
I’d wielded a comb and some lipstick,
and felt rather well-groomed and neat,
Arriving at my destination,
I chanced to look down at my feet,
With a groan of amusement and horror,
I exclaimed, with surprise and dismay,
As I still wore my gardening sandals,
all speckled with paint spots and clay.
I rose up to meet the occasion,
albeit my face turning red,
Was met with a grin of politeness,
not one single smart word was said,
Now, I’m usually in a great hurry,
‘cause there’s never a moment to lose,
But I’d not gone to town in my overalls,
and at least I’d remembered some shoes!
|WHAT'S IT LIKE?
What’s it like to be a stream, uninhibited and free?
You could borrow exact reflections of anything you see,
You could fill up the darkest hollow, then rest for a while, still and deep,
You could run down hill, be a waterfall, then over the edge you’d leap.
Cascade, to join a wide river, to flow away, far and beyond,
Or maybe become distracted – waylaid, to become a pond,
As a river, you may have the bathers, as a stream, just the splashing of feet,
In the winter may drop below zero, or dry up in the summer’s heat.
You might harbour fresh-water crayfish, see the anglers hovering above,
After your precious inhabitants, the sleek, shiny fish that they love,
In the rain, you may be overflowing, your banks and retainers to breach,
Or you may be just one of many, running down the hills to the beach.
We see the results of pollution, a practice destructive and mean,
If I were a stream I’d sure like to be one that remains fresh and clean.
If your bed is all dried up and parched, then you can’t be a stream, and yet,
There are many things that a stream can be, but it always has to be
|DUST TO DUST
I saw a bird today, lying on the ground,
I was walking the dog, when he fossicked around
In the long grass, and duly emerged,
Dropping his trophy on the green verge.
Then, as I looked, I saw
That it wasn’t a bird any more,
And it was a little bit sad
To see that the life it once had,
Had departed long ago.
Evidently having been exposed to all weathers,
It was now nothing but a cloak of feathers,
Which was totally empty, and slightly absurd,
Just a memory in the shape of a bird.
A brush is a brush (or so it’s said),
It might be for smoothing the hair on one’s head,
But even if one has a shiny dome,
And therefore no use for a brush or comb,
They may be tempted to go a bit farther,
With shaving brush to create a lather,
And after the brush, use a razor instead,
To shave off the whiskers on top of the head.
For cropping the dome, where the locks once grew,
A blade does what a brush used to do.
They’d lather again, all over the skin,
And scrape the whiskers from jaws and chin.
Now everybody has brushes to use,
For cleaning their teeth, or to polish their shoes,
Though many a mouth has bare, shiny gums,
A denture, maybe, to a brush succumbs.
And skin-deep beauty relies on the brush,
For applying mascara, or spreading a blush,
A stubby, stiff little brush rarely fails,
To remove the dirt under fingernails.
Great-grandmother used brushes to scrub,
Or remove the grimy ring from a tub,
She’d brush the ash from around the hearth,
Then use a broom to sweep the path,
Brushes were used to do the chores,
To wash the dishes, and scrub the floors.
Brushes exist in all shapes and sizes,
Varieties in many guises,
You’re bound to need brushes, wherever you are,
They’re under the bonnet, deep in your car,
Brushes are used when paint is spread,
(Except if you use a roller instead).
I am an artist, and happy to say
I was given some brushes the other day,
The above leading up to how grateful I am
To receive this gift from a signwriting man,
A handful of handles – all filled with sable,
I’ll certainly use them as well as I’m able.
Beautifully cared for, well-crafted and old,
They’re probably worth their weight in gold,
In perfect condition, as when they were made,
For painting pictures, a valuable aid.
So now I say “thanks” - it’s appreciated,
Their value can’t be over-rated,
And perhaps one day, if you resign,
I can use your brushes to paint you a sign!
|THEY CAN FLY!
There was this pig, a porky old swine,
Living the life of the pampered porcine,
His two front feet with gold were shod,
And shone as he leapt from clod to clod.
This pig so pink, with trotters of gilt,
Was covered with chocolate, right up to the hilt,
As it splashed through the mire, on its nine-carat hooves,
Practising all kinds of fancy moves.
Then children learning the golden rule,
Emerged from their classrooms at Hampstead School,
In the afternoons about ten past three,
They’d look for the porker, and there he’d be.
At the end of a boring, lesson-filled day,
They greatly admired his lavish display,
All dancing along in a raggety line,
They followed the pig’s expensive shine.
With grunts and squeals it frolicked and rolled,
While kids pursued those flashes of gold,
He paced himself, seven steps in a row,
Then leapt, on the eight – through the air he’d go.
All corkscrew-tailed, feet burnished bright,
A flying pink pig – an astonishing sight,
So he became called “The Pied Piper of Ham”,
But by now you’ve guessed he was just a sham.
For pigs can’t fly (or so I’m told),
And neither do they have trotters of gold,
It’s all a bit odd – an unlikely theme,
In fact, nothing but Uncle’s crazy dream!
(“Oh look Bill – just out there,........up there, can’t you see!”)
|Out here in good ol’ Kiwiland, where the curling ponga grows,
We’re mad on rugby, racing, beer – we worship all of those,
We’re also very fond of sweets (that make the waist expand),
But some are old traditions here – in good ol’ Kiwiland.
We’ve white and pink, and black (of course), and yellow, reds and greens,
These sugary confections that we know as jelly beans,
They taste of vanilla, raspberry, licorice, lemon, lime,
But me – I like the black ones best, and scoff them first, each time.
Now over in America, in the big U.S. of A,
They have a different version, as we found along the way,
Their special breed of jelly beans (which must be distant rellies),
Are half the size, a taste surprise, and they call them Jelly Bellys.
They come in many flavours to maintain the status quo,
So, if you’ve tasted only one, there’s forty-eight to go,
Every palate’s catered for, from savoury to the sweet,
Whichever way you look at it, they’re a very tasty treat.
Fancy a Chocolate Pudding, Crushed Pineapple for dessert,
A slice of Strawberry Cheesecake, GrapeJelly wouldn’t hurt?
How about a Caramel Apple, Orange Sherbert, with a fizz,
Then you spy a brown one, and you don’t know what it is!
Oh, what a dental nightmare! What a way to spend your days!
Chewing Jelly Bellys, in an alcoholic haze,
Just sip a Pina Colada, with a Margarita chase,
Add a Strawberry Daiquiri, and you’ll soon be off your face!
If you prefer “teetotal”, Orange Juice might be your drink,
Or chew a cooling Root Beer, it’ll give you time to think,
A foaming sweet Cream Soda helps to polish off your lunch,
But you’ll get a trifle tipsy if you dose on Island Punch.
One frothy Cappuccino – that could be your caffeine fix,
A Café Latte’s soothing, such a smooth and subtle mix,
Then on we go to fruity tastes – Tangerine can’t go wrong,
There’s Watermelon, Very Cherry – heck, the list is long!
Blueberry and Juicy Pear, and Cantaloupe as well,
Wild Blackberry, Top Banana (and that Mango rings a bell),
With Plum, and Peach, and Raspberry Red, and Apple (Red and Green),
Now don’t forget the Berry Blue, see – this is what I mean!
And still to come – there’s Lemon Drop, and Lemon on its own,
Some Tutti Frutti, Pink Grapefruit, and Lime is close to home,
Try Coconut, and Licorice, (the one I like the most),
Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam, to spread upon your toast.
Do you have some cravings? – for the hot stuff do you yearn?
Try one called Dr. Pepper, that might make your tastebuds burn,
Here’s Cinnamon, plain and Sizzling, to sprinkle on the cream
Of the French Vanilla flavour, that sounds like an icecream dream.
Hey! Bubblgum for the youngsters, and, if you’re long in the tooth,
Then Buttered and Caramel Popcorn might remind you of your youth,
There’s yummy Toasted Marshmallow, all melty in the fire,
And whisps of Cotton Candy clouds, to fill your heart’s desire.
Okay now, there you have it – grand total……forty-nine,
And if you think that’s not enough – your problem pal, not mine!
So, all you jelly connoisseurs, you’re gourmets through and through,
I’m sure these spotty Jelly Bellys will appeal to you.
Hang on!! I missed the Kiwi, and I don’t wanna make a fuss,
But this is one, I have to say, that should belong to us.
So Terri, Ward and Julie - shucks! you really made our day,
Thanks for all those Jelly Bellys sent from the U.S.A.
|LEVIATHAN ON THE LOOSE
When an elephant went on a walkabout,
she demolished a fence, for a start,
And breached the electrical boundary,
that was keeping the zoo apart,
So she packed her trunk and departed,
for adventures exciting and new,
And lumbered away to freedom,
through the moat at Auckland Zoo.
Soon it was being reported
that Burma was wandering around,
This disrupted the rush hour traffic,
and near to a halt, it was ground,
They closed off the ramps to the motorway,
and the chaos this sort of thing brings,
Was all on account of an elephant,
that was loose in Western Springs.
But Burma was worried and nervous,
though adventures should be fun,
And she didn’t want the key to the zoo,
even though she’s twenty-one,
So after a while her keepers
escorted her back to her home,
Delighted, united with Kashin,
as she didn’t like being alone.
She’d had a brief taste of freedom,
the thrill of a new escapade,
She’d caused quite a bit of confusion,
and newspaper headlines she’d made,
So, were you out strolling that morning?
‘cause you weren’t just “seeing things,”
If an elephant swayed across your path,
by the lake at Western Springs.
Way back in nineteen fifty-three,
While hosting British royalty,
New Zealanders were stunned and shocked
By a great tragedy that rocked
What an awful Christmas surprise
Which stole a hundred and fifty-one lives,
And many families began to grieve
On that horrific Christmas Eve.
Ruapehu’s crater was over-filled,
It’s walls then breached, and duly spilled
Their contents down the mountainside –
Uprooted trees and rocks would ride
That giant, silty, muddy wave,
So there was nothing then, could save
The bridge at Tangiwai.
When overwhelmed, a bridge support
Could not resist the great onslaught,
And swept away, was carried far,
By this – the mighty, huge lahar.
The Wellington-Auckland night express
Was travelling northward, in the darkness,
One and all blissfully unaware
Of the fate that did await them there.
But the driver must have guessed their plight,
As they hurtled headlong through the night,
Applied the brakes, but it was in vain,
Yet he did his best to stop the train.
This action, though, was known to save
So many people from the grave.
Who knows, what was his final thought,
Knowing it was too late to abort
The approach, and futile attempt to cross
The bridge at Tangiwai.
The engine rocketed into the flood,
To be embraced by the swirling mud,
Followed by carriages one to five,
With many people no longer alive,
The sixth one teetered, precariously,
While rescuers helped set its occupants free,
And then it too, fell to its demise,
Before those watching, horrified eyes,
From where the bridge had been,
A massive rescue operation
Saw the extent of devastation,
Many victims were smothered or drowned,
Many more bodies were never found.
Inside smashed carriages some had died,
Others were snatched by the raging tide.
It was, abruptly, the end of the line,
For the train, with engine 949,
Now we remember, as time goes by,
Those sad events at Tangiwa.
So many rescuers gave of their best,
Frantically working, without any rest,
And Cyril Ellis soon became,
Along with others, a household name,
We’ve heard the agonized tales of woe,
Happenings of fifty years ago,
Survivors from the luckless train,
Re-living the trauma, over again,
Too terrible to contemplate,
Disaster of magnitude so great,
Ingrained in their memories each sound and sight,
And dreadful event of that fateful night.
And so, on Christmas Eve each year,
The train will slow, on crossing there,
It’s driver throws a flowery wreath,
To Whangaehu, far beneath,
For all who took that tragic ride
In memory of those who died.
© Georgie MacBrayne
|DRUGS AND SOCIETY
|Broken promises, shattered dreams,
Recriminations, silent screams,
Peace in pieces, nerve ends raw,
Destroyed, the very reasons worth living for.
Ruined relationships, vows disavowed,
Nothing’s sacred any more, everything’s allowed,
Experiment with anything, nothing’s taboo,
Do just whatever you want to do.
What makes you feel good, take it for free,
Choices without responsibility,
Drugs for the asking, so high the cost,
Gone is the innocence, for some all is lost.
So many young ones are robbed of their youth,
They’re used and abused, and we know it’s the truth,
And dealing in drugs, by losers and fools,
So often starts with children in schools,
Drugs a big reason, the experts agreed,
And robberies finance a desperate need,
Jails overflowing, prolific the crime,
But it may change nothing, doing the time.
Punishment’s often useless, because
So rare the discipline, flouted the laws,
Rules are outdated, the boundaries are gone,
How long can this downward spiral go on?
Now, I wonder if it may
All be turned around, one day,
Those caught in a cruel trap that alters the mind,
If they can break free, then what will they find?
Each generation more out of control,
Lives will be taken, heads will roll,
Is it too late to alter the trend,
Where, oh where will it all end?
|Tiny, trembling and terrified!
It was caressed by a feline stare, all yellow-eyed
And fascinated by its reluctant plaything.
Random pats with a furry paw could make this toy spring
And leap in the air,
Tortured by despair,
Alternately paralyzed with fright,
Then galvanized into flight,
It had nowhere to go – no place to hide,
Escape and safe refuge denied.
Perhaps destined to meet its demise,
Detained by sharp claws that go with the yellow eyes,
This tiny form,
In its macabre role of pawn,
In a game of “winner takes all”,
Was so helpless and small.
I reached down to the ground
And gathered up the pink and chocolate-brown
Bundle of velvety fur, cute and quivering,
For this little fellow, one new threat
Must be much like another.
Safely cupped in my hand,
I wondered if it would understand,
In its docile trance,
That it had another chance
Release – a moment’s hesitation –
Then in a flash it was gone.
This wee mouse would live on
For a while.
I had to smile
And the cat,
Deprived, just sat,
It didn’t want to play,
Besides – tomorrow is another day!
|There was a dashing pirate, Evil Arthur was his name,
Of stature small, and ruthless – reckless piracy his game,
The bane of honest sailors, the terror of the seas,
And grown men cried in anguish, as he brought them to their knees.
While shiny golden earrings adorned each dangling lobe,
He pillaged and he plundered his way around the globe,
The tricorn hat displayed the fearsome crossbones and a skull,
His trusty cutlass flashing, as he leapt from hull to hull.
While Arthur struck such fear into many quavering hearts,
Brave heroes turned to jelly, as they vainly played their parts,
A parrot on his shoulder, a crutch for missing leg,
He limped and hopped his merry way from keg to whiskey keg.
Now Arthur was a pirate who was smaller than the rest,
So more than fifteen Arthurs fitted on a dead man’s chest,
Then long ago he left his little footsteps in the sand,
And buried treasure on the beach, in some far-distant land.
So, be alert if fishing, or sailing on the brine,
Attack could come from Arthur, any place, at any time,
He’s after all your treasures, will attempt to board your boat,
And this swash-buckling buccaneer might even cut your throat.
For Arthur’s on the rampage still – more handsome as he’s aged,
Perhaps his lust for violent crime, has yet to be assuaged,
Which is the real Arthur, though? that’s anybody’s guess,
Where did he get this penchant from, for wearing fancy dress?
He guards his reputation, being such a ladies’ man,
So get set, ladies, take your mark – and catch him if you can,
With wooden leg prosthesis, strapped on, beneath his knee,
He’s mellowed, and enjoying ballroom dancing now, you see!
His story may be told to generations yet to come,
They’ll learn his catch-cry “Yo, ho, ho – and where’s the bloody rum?”
But though he’s past one hundred, and becoming more sedate,
He still repeats the parrot’s cries - “Ye Lubbers - Pieces of Eight!”