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Posts: 139
Reply with quote  #31 

Morning Star

This was the farthest step from planet Earth
when an explorer stepped onto the Moon
to look for cheese, but found only dust
It was the furthest step from the dawn of time
when elders of the ancient nations of Papua
were told to step over a line draw in dust

The hearts of the home planet people were ecstatic
as astronauts pranced on the Sea of Tranquility
collecting Moon rocks for the boffins of Earth
The hearts of the Papuans were drowning in tears
lectured harshly under the shadow of guns
to surrender freedom on this mad Earth

The great chief of the astronauts was watching
from the capital of the nation taking freedom
wished the astronauts excellent adventure
The chiefs of the Papuans were humbled with grief
and like Geronimo once fought a war to be free
Papuans fought against Indonesia's adventure

The great space escapade rolls on day and night
seeking ways to live on the high stellar frontier
to find the freedom of space among stars
The great Papuan dystopia sinks in blood and mud
searching for a way to find freedom on this Earth
seeking a way for for life beneath the stars 

Outer space is zillions of times vaster than this Earth 
nations can know more land than wildest dreams
just spread out among stars in joyful peace
It's stifling in the Papuan lands after decades of war
where Papuans end up in jail for flying their flag
or get shot for daring to call for peace

It was one small step for man onto a whole new world
now we wonder how soon the giant leap to the stars
with celestial space for nations to spread out
It will be one small step on Earth to reach to space
one giant leap in space to bring peace on Earth
Papuans free from nations that spread out

Celestial space offers peace for humans to explore
knowing freedom and joy of flying among stars
using the power of the Sun to keep Earth safe
Celestial space offers the way to Papuan freedom
opening ways for all nations to know happiness
and a good life among the stars that is safe



NOTE ~   New Guinea was the last place on Earth to be colonised by European nations. Britain claimed the south-east, Germany the north-east, and The Netherlands claimed the western half, arranged in Europe in 1848, and without regard for the Papuan people, who have lived in this land as long as the Australian Aboriginal people have lived in Australia: believed to be around 60,000 years. Britain passed administration of the south-east to Australia in the early 1900s, and when WWI broke out, Australia invaded the north-east, with both territories being given independence by Australia in 1975, as Papua New Guinea. West Papua is the common name for the western half of New Guinea, a territory the size of France. After Indonesia gained independence from The Netherlands in 1949, the Dutch retained West Papua, but Indonesia insisted on possession of the territory, even though it was Papuan land with an ancient Papuan population. During the 1950s, Australians were on the ground in West Papua, working with the Dutch to prepare the West Papuan people for independence. On 1 December 1961 a Papuan parliament was opened, a new national anthem sung, a coat of arms presented, the West Papuan flag raised across West Papua, and 1970 declared as the year for independence. It was possible that the whole island of New Guinea could have become one large independent nation of Papuans. The Indonesian response was to begin invading New Guinea in 1962. There was going to be a war, in which the Dutch and Australian governments would have fought Indonesia to keep the West Papuan people free and able to continue on to independence. Being the heat of the Cold War, and with the United States needing a pro-Western peace with Indonesia, as events were heating up toward the war in Vietnam, The Kennedy administration intervened, told Holland to get out, Australia to butt out, and gave the green light for Indonesia to occupy West Papua, increasing its territory by 25%, and gaining possession of the soon to be largest gold and copper mine on Earth, called Freeport, along with all other resources. In 1963 Indonesia became the new colonial power in New Guinea, and with no intention of leaving. There was to be a vote on self-determination by 1970, run by the United Nations. This vote was run by Indonesia in 1969, while President Nixon was visiting Indonesia, attracting most all reporters to Jakarta, and during the time of the Moon landing of 20-21 July. Indonesia began the voting process while the United Nations observers were still in Jakarta, who then raced to West Papua to observe the last 20% of the vote. The method of voting on the fate and future of the West Papuan people, their lands, their culture, their democratic rights, was for the Indonesian colonial rulers to select 1025 elders, lecture them under the shadow of guns, draw a line on the ground, and instruct them to step over that line. No women were involved in the Act of Free Choice, as it was called, determining the destiny of 800,000 Papuans and a nation in waiting. Two Papuan elders escaped to the Australian territory, and with the assistants of concerned Australians, were about to fly to New York, to raise concerns about the "Vote with No Choice", as West Papuans call that farce, at the United Nations, but Australian authorities removed them from the plane. With no alternative but to declare war on Indonesia, who would not give up West Papua without a fight, the UN General Assembly accepted the strange farce of a vote on self-determination, and allowed half of New Guinea to be part of Indonesia. A few years later, Indonesia invaded East Timor, and after hundreds of thousands of deaths, the East Timorese people were allowed a vote on self-determination in 1999, and are now a free people, and a free nation. The killing and fighting has been remorseless in West Papua since the 1960s, with one rebellion in progress during the "Act of No Choice", with potentially more killings than happened in East Timor, and over a longer time. West Papua is the blood-soaked dark side of the Moon landing, which Indonesia used to hide their farce of a vote, while the eyes of the people of Earth were watching Neil Armstrong step onto the Moon, and President Nixon was drawing reporters to Jakarta. Over the past six decades, very few reporters have been allowed to enter West Papua, so many atrocities are never reported. Is there a way out? The West Papuan people could be allowed a real vote on self-determination. Will the nations of Earth stand up and ask for Indonesia to allow a properly run vote on self-determination for the Papuan people of western New Guinea? Would Indonesia agree? One way out of the killing of West Papua, could be with space development. Indonesia could be a hundred times wealthier with a hundred times more territory in orbital space habitats, so, would that be a good trade-off, to allow West Papuan self-determination? For a photo essay on West Papua, or Netherlands New Guinea as it was known at the time, made just before the Indonesian occupation, find a copy of the National Geographic of May 1962. Anyone who is not seriously angered about the treatment of the West Papuan people, needs to visit their doctor, to make sure that they are still alive.

West Papua will eternally haunt the Moon landing in July 1969, which Indonesia used as a smoke screen to hold a vote on self-determination, involving 1,025 selected men, voting by being told to step over a line drawn in the dirt. And thus a land there size of France was taken into the Indonesian nation, along with all their wealth, to be taken .....


West Papuans in the ancient land that they have lived in for over 60,000 years.


West Papuan refugee, Rex Rumakiek, holding the banner that I made for the march through the streets of Hobart during Human Rights Week in 1997. I am standing behind the banner.

Following is an earlier poem, written for an exhibition on West Papua as part of Human Rights Week in Hobart, Tasmania, in 1997. West Papuan refugee, Rex Rumakiek, attended the opening, with a talk by Tasmanian politician, John White MP, who later that day read the poem out in the Tasmanian Parliament, so that it is now permaently recorded in the Hansard.

A Papuan Christmas

Far away in Europe
in 1848
the island of New Guinea
was carved up like a Christmas Cake
A quarter to the Germans
a quarter to the Brits
and half for the Dutch
a three way split
Did anyone ask the Papuans
Did anyone say please?
Were they invited to the party?
Or was someone being mean?
Far away in Europe
half way round the world
the destiny of Papua
was legally upheld
Now the people cry
“Freedom from the yoke
freedom from the colonialist
who treat us like a joke!”


Honest Government Ad ~ Visit West Papua! ~


Posts: 139
Reply with quote  #32 

Fiery Rage

An angry red Sun is rising
through an orange sky of smoke
where ash falls like snow
on a landscape charred insane
like a blacksmith's fiery stroke

First day back at school was sunny
classes rumbled on inane
until that announcement to vacate
walking home along the beach
best way to avoid any flame

The water was strangely calm
with smoke clouds blowing over
flames dancing along the hilltop
like demons from an underworld
working there way ever closer

A tree lit up like a castle torch
flickering fingers into the sky
sparking embers raining down
stomped upon when on the ground
lest flames so swiftly catch and fly

Hot wind blowing strong around
drying out the tinder ground
wondering what would happen next
siren howls on its mission of mercy 
imagining where it may be bound

TV news was harsh and grim
of a farmer racing the flames
raged past his tractor like a knife
burning off his clothes
and there he sat in a haze

Next day to see what happened
in the valley over the hill
where old farms and hedgerows
were swept away by a wall of fire
the ashen land now silent and still

Rode my bike past burning fence posts
past sheep that had been trapped
where old stone houses were empty husks
to find a blackened sword of war
handle burnt as the weapon crashed

Rain fell again in its good time
soaking into the blackened land
new growth sprang up renewing life
of green and flowers in bloom
revived from the flaming hand

Memories fade of that fiery rage
when we walked the beach from school
not knowing if our homes would be gone
in a war of heat with devils of flame
of Mother Nature kind and cruel

An angry red Sun is setting
through an orange sky of smoke
where ash falls like snow
on a landscape charred insane
like a blacksmith's fiery stroke





Posts: 139
Reply with quote  #33 


The sand was warm
like sugar and salt
a sweet sea breeze
waves galloping in
like a frisky young colt

What an emotion
a feeling of love
to see the sand castle
with moat and banners
and clouds above

Running wild like the wind
across squeaking sand
when the sound of trumpeting
from somewhere around
was heard like a band

Brightly coloured bandmaster
marching along the waves
followed by ninety nine elephants
all trunk to tale
trumpeting aways

With monkeys on top
clashing cymbals
a huge flock of seagulls
cawing in the air
spreading scandals

We jumped in the air
filled with joy at the sight
and fell on our bums
to watch them go by
as the sun set into night

Stars swirled above
where the Moon sings
where water sparkled
like glittering fireworks
like love that stings

All in a dream
all in a haze
all timeless
all afloat
in a daze




Posts: 139
Reply with quote  #34 

The Painting

Crack through the forest
bullet flies
people fall down dead
no lies
in harsh times

The paint was applied with care
of an island by the sea called Clyde's
where the sea crashes round
booming into an ocean cave
a place I have gone to many times

Strokes of the brush made a rainbow
like the Viking bridge to Valhalla
rising from the island and into the sky
when reports over the radio
told of events by some crazy fella

The mood of the Clyde's rock
reflected in the ocean of kelp
fresh salt smell by the shore
people shot at Port Arthur
police racing to help

The final sign of the artist applied
to tell who made this painting
that glistened fresh and oily
a house set on fire by the bay
by a man gone mad and ranting

Crack through the forest
bullet flies
people fall down dead
no lies
in harsh times

Savage dogs once guarded the neck
to lock convicts in and keep others away
but they were long gone from paradise
when bitter tears began to flow
on that mad and shocking Sunday

Cruelty mocked through time
in that old convict country
romanced in pain and drudgery
echo of musket and crack of whip
where prisoners marched in slavery 

How could a land of such beauty
be the home of so much cruelty
but as decades slide through time
memories settle into stone
in the river of our history

Staring at this canvas
with palette and brushes in hand
the pain became stained with the paint
of a mad day on the island
when no soul could make a stand

Crack through the forest
bullet flies
people fall down dead
no lies
in harsh times

East Timor was once invaded
half a dozen Aussie news hounds killed
and the land imprisoned in suffering
with deaths way too many
until the shooting was stilled

A poll on liberty was held
setting East Timor free to declare
it's independent nation state
and we sent a gift to celebrate
the Clyde's Island painting to share

When painted pain from Port Arthur
seemed right for East Timor
two tragedies that must be healed
as oceans reshape the shore
finding new ways to restore

A photo flew back from the President
Xanana was holding Clyde's Island
the painting had made its journey
to be with a people now free 
and share the song of their land 

Crack through the forest
bullet flies
people fall down dead
no lies
in harsh times



Painting of Clydes Island at Eaglehawk Neck by Kim Peart .....





Posts: 139
Reply with quote  #35 

Lost Dog

A sunny day
the world was nice
out on the road
I rode my bike

My dog
Buster came
my friend
to play

Screech of wheels
breaking hard
hit the dog
Buster ran far

My heart screamed
to find my friend
where could he go
around what bend

The cubby was empty
by the tree
where we ran
so free

One day the rope broke
where Buster barked
but I survived
another lark

Not in the hay
bales stack
not hiding there
to pat

Great fun to play
castle of straw
kingdom of sky
dreams to draw

I walked the beach
dragged a rope
wondering where
my dog did lope

Where we frolicked
in the waves
in the sun 
we plays

I tried the dunes
a sandy hollow
he was hiding
would he follow

Tears of pain
fell like rain
and happiness
with dog again

He's OK
he can walk
so home we go
for a good long talk


Note ~   This poem explores a childhood event, when my old dog Buster was hit by a car, and I had to go searching for my friend, not knowing if he was alive, injured, or dead. Mum would always know when I was coming home, from a day up the bush playing at the cubby, because Buster would beat me home. I once put a rope on a tree in the valley there, and swung out on it. Later, on another tree, that rope broke. There were still some farmlands near our house, that were slowly being transformed into a suburb, and in summer, there would be bales of hay stacked, that we would play in. Kept in from school when little one day, two miles from home, two beaches away, I missed the school bus, started walking, and found a rope to play with on the beach of endless distractions. The family went out looking for me, when I didn't arrive home on the school bus. I was found on the beach, dragging a rope along. What was wrong? Buster was found in the sand dunes by the beach, in a wind-blown hollow of the sand. We used to talk.


Posts: 139
Reply with quote  #36 

Thorn Bird

Snap a prickle
crack of thorn
drag the branch
to the pyre
in the morn

Farmer Jack
was a happy chap
with loving wife
of big round eyes
and a dog called Nap

Hard the day
cutting boxthorn
a great swaith of prickle
bloodied hands
clothes torn

Neglected long
this bed of strife
must be cleared
for better use
by order of wife

From crack of dawn
to the midday sun
Jack cut a passage
to the heart of thorns
it was no fun

Then glimpsed a form
strange to see
like a fairy tale sleeper
skin white
in the prickle sea

Snap a prickle
crack of thorn
drag the branch
to the pyre
in the morn

Thinking a statue
a work of art
Jack cut deeper
to the sleeper
thorns to part

Naked on bed
as if a grave
one branch away
thorn scratched white skin
blood it gave

Trickled red
down that arm
"Am I mad,
am I bewitched?"
a screamed alarm

Cutting with care
the beauty revealed
asleep to life
in the heart of thorns
no longer concealed

Should kiss those lips
like beauty sleeping
to waken the damsel
from strange slumber
from her dreaming

Snap a prickle
crack of thorn
drag the branch
to the pyre
in the morn

Jack staggered back
quite overwhelmed
a kiss would be sex
between those legs
if he delved

His loving wife
with big round eyes
filled his sight
saved his mind
where passion lies

Looking back
the damsel vanished
only a stone to see
went home for lunch
quite astonished

Boxthorn regrew
best left alone
the forest stayed
the heart of thorns
with a sleeping stone

Only one soul heard
the strange encounter
when out with the sheep
Nap was told
the thorny adventure

Snap a prickle
crack of thorn
drag the branch
to the pyre
in the morn


NOTE ~   This poem is my take on sleeping beauty. The image is of boxthorn on my land in Tasmania, very old boxthorn. You never know what will be found in there. Clearing the ancient boxthorn at present, and it is hard to avoid blood running from prickled hands. Such long sharp spikes. No lover of people. Boxthorn is from South Africa, transported to Van Diemen’s Land as a hedge plant, but is gleefully removed now’a’days.



Posts: 139
Reply with quote  #37 

Game of Fences

Years went by
a daily drudge
digging holes
for posts
no bludge

The farmer hard
whip on back
dawn to dusk
a fencer's lot
life's evil stack

One frozen morn
wire snapped
whipped hard
clipped head
one eyed Jack

Something snapped
farmer vanished
never seen
ever again
years crashed

Decades later
posts rotted
dig out holes
new poles
strange sight spotted

A skeletal hand
struck with the bar
pulled up in the air
and stared at
like a star

The constable came
who knew of a rumour
had another post dug
and found the head
a rather grim humour

One eyed Jack
years of abuses
snapped like a wire
cut up the boss
buried the pieces

Bits down a hole
the fencer's revenge
ending the tyranny
a game of fences
the farmer's end

Ancient in years
old people's home
one eyed Jack
read the news
cackled alone



NOTE ~   Fencing is a hard game, toughening the hands from digging holes for posts, and shedding blood when wire cuts and slashes. A farmer expecting more than a fencer can give, could end in strange places.


Posts: 139
Reply with quote  #38 

Country Agent

Through cobwebs and snakes
the agent trudged
to present a property
that was once much loved

But time rolls by
when people die
kids go to the city
someone must buy

The drone flies around
filming the homestead
once a stone mansion
now more dead

But words is words
and this may sell
to a city slicker
sees heaven in hell

The agency founder
dear departed Dad
once got smart
selling land to be had

Far away on the Moon
along with the title
just go claim
when possible

A chip off the block
why not sell Mars
where Musk plans a city
who could pass?

Its the re-sale value
once its legal
or go build a house
on a SpaceX shuttle

That shack is falling down
but a smart fella bought it
nicely restored
who would believe it?

A country house 
in a country town
with a solid wood stove
the buyer's no clown

Back in the office
feet on his desk
the agent wonders
what could be next?

Why not apartments
in an orbital space city
a business plan drafted
the model's a beauty

A website created
all luscious and tempting
an investment of ages
retirement for spending

Dad would be proud
made a mint with the Moon
space cities are bigger
gold with a boom

Don't mind the shower
get a total refit
that tree has a lean
I'll get them to cut it

You want a hill?
The view will amaze
looking over a valley
to endlessly gaze

An old school house
Gothic in stone
could be a gallery
with an interesting home

An apartment in space
with a view of the Earth
time-share the expenses
with an annual berth

Anything's possible
when willing to dream
a tree-change in the country
or riding a Moon beam

Home again by the fire
the flames dance around
dreams of the future
celestial bound




Posts: 139
Reply with quote  #39 

Ghost Cafe

Walking alone in an icy wind
wrapped in a shivering blanket,
where will I go on this empty street
of stones like a dead grey carpet?

Winter trees reach out like bones
to take what breath they can
where I gaze at a ghost cafe
to the tune of a gusted tin can

I remember once it bubbled with life
the sound of laughter in happy light
but those people left to follow the gold
and now all that's left is the shadow of night

We spoke there once with delight
about dreams of a palace of art
did you too fly away to the gold, with
memories falling like leaves from the heart?

I can remember your laughter over coffee
as your words danced about on the table
and ideas rose like magic candles
burning as brightly as a mystical fable

The past clatters shut like a metal roller door
on haunted spectres of memories,
pulling the blanket tight from the cold
I fight on against this wind's cold treacheries

My fire of light still burns within against this night
where visions bleed oily colours of paint
in my studio with strength to match heart and soul
with a canvas stretched tight as a drum for a portrait

A study of life in pain and joy, in dark and bright,
in stone and vine, in glass and wine,
in song from the heart, spread out with paint,
creating a feast for the eyes, to greedily dine.

The painter, stands alone, hums in silence,
as loud as an old cathedral organ hive,
driving out the icy wind of frozen reveries,
turning new soil for the seeds of life.

Though I walk alone in icy winds
wrapped in a shivering blanket
as an artist I know these empty streets
and dance upon it's grey stone carpet


NOTE ~   Does this poem speak of the loneliness of an artist, surrounded by a chaotic carnival of memories, and yet defiant with an inner strength. People may look upon this crazy character, and think them mad, but, what if in their studio they are producing works worth many millions of dollars, not because paint is gold, but because if those works are loved, it is this love that turns the dried oil paint in sheets of gold. It is love that makes art live through millennia, and gain its money value. If the art is not worth the love of generations, then it dies, and sinks into oblivion. But, often the artist is lost from sight in life, behind the finely oiled opinions of others. And like Paul Gauguin's landlord, after the death of the artist, drags a trunk full of the artist's work down to the sea, and pushes it all off the end of a jetty, to float away into oblivion. How many millions of dollars sank in that blind act of madness by a sane landlord? There are many individuals lost in life, who may have inner treasure, hidden from sight.


Posts: 139
Reply with quote  #40 


I fell into happiness once
landing in a pool of bliss
where the swimming was nice
like a kiss

When a butterfly landed
flapping her wings
where the sunlight of love
silently sings

We were alive in the sunset
colours of the rainbow
sitting on the sand
seeing you glow

Laughing in moonlight
at silliest things
moonbeams were flying
as if they had wings

By the fire that danced
with flickering lights
your hair forest gold
whispered delights

Stars swirled around
through the velvet night
where knowing you
was to know your light

Then a yellow dawn
revealed you were real
not just a dream
who I could feel

For a moment at day
it seemed you would stay
but like the dew must melt
you were away

Stunned in happiness
dripping with bliss
on the edge of a pond
with a lingering kiss


NOTE ~   Sometimes imagined, sometimes real, sometimes both, moments in life happen that leaves a tingling sensation in the imagination, echoing forever.



Posts: 139
Reply with quote  #41 

Aurora Dentata

This painting is strange
you may feel the same
one by James Gleeson
in a plain gold frame

Called Aurora Dentata
a haunting creation
like a shark out roaming
through the ocean

You can look up dentata
and be surprised
at a myth with teeth

But what is its meaning
what does it say
is there a message
a moral at play

An old Irish gardener
said he knew
held up his hand
and declared it was true

Had fingers missing
was a gunner in the war
on a flying fortress
through clouds of gore

He had earned the right
to spin a tale
and turn the listener
a little pale

Makes for reflection
on the horrors of war
when unbridled passion
comes to the fore

In the quiet of the gallery
in the play of art
Aurora Dentata
screams from the heart

Is it just another painting
or a comment on war
of the forces of Nature
exposed and raw


Note ~   'Aurora Dentata' (1986) is a painting by the Australian surrealist artist, James Gleeson (1915-2008). He lived an amazing life, with his greatest works being created in his older years. He would not go quietly into the night.



Posts: 139
Reply with quote  #42 


Once asleep inside my Mother Earth
snailing along through endless time
until the long slow birth revealed
a face to the air and rain so fine

Left there standing tall upon a hill
with rabbits bounding round about
and trees for friends that grew so tall
then falling down when their time was out

New trees grew from seeds of old
where birds would nest in spring
and rest on me to dance about
or stand to watch and sing

Then one so sunny morning
as I soaked in the rays of heat
a child came climbing up the hill
and found I made a really neat seat

Looking out across the countryside
and down upon the farm below
where a family field of vines
made wine with a glow

The lad would tap with a rock
and listen to the ring I would sing
resounding through the forest deep
an ancient tune of the stones that ting

One day an earthquake shook the hill
quaking ground fell away from me
and I rolled on down the slope
through vineyard and tree

Just missed the little house
tumbled through a stone wall
into the vineyard coming to rest
where grapes mark the end my fall

My friend the lad was rather angry
hammer blows instead of song
summers rolled through time
new grapes came along

Feet pressed, juices flowed
to make the wine that glowed
and the lad went away to learn
arts of life and new skills honed

Returned a man so tall and strong 
with hammer and chisel in hand
carving stone into new shape
new life for rock to stand

Then one day he stared
his chisel and hammer rings
began to crack hard upon me
chipping away the rock that sings

A year went by among the vines
barrels filled with newer wine
and I reshaped from old
into goddess sublime

Where the people sing
with summer's hot days
dancing around their statue
now in the heart of their plays

In the midst of the vines
I sing with the wine 
with a ting in time
a happy rhyme

NOTE ~   The boulder in this poem is reflective of a similar event in Italy a few years ago ~
Boulder smashes through Italian farm
BBC News, 31 January 2014


Posts: 139
Reply with quote  #43 


Flying along the highway
maintaining steady speed
trees swoosh past
and other cars
racing by my steed

Driving into walls of rain
slows down just a tad
don't want to slide
or spin around
that'd be so bad

Oncoming truck and trailer
a menacing mobile mountain
rocks the car in passing
like an ocean wave
sprayed like a fountain

Windscreen wipers
swishing, swashing
sweeping through miles
music helps
time mindlessly passing

Stop at a roadside shop
iced coffee for the mind
must keep awake
must stay alert
the highway is not kind

On the road again
a car overtakes at speed
"petrol head" I mutter
stay within the limit
no need to push the steed

An accident ahead
slows down fast
flashing lights
crawls by
happy to get past

Back up to speed
appointment to meet
roadworks ahead
stalled at lights
waiting to proceed

Only slow drive is allowed
workers all around
upgrading the highway
wider than before
now slowly city bound

Away again at speed
and onto a country road 
past cattle and sheep
and long legged alpacas
grazing their paddock abode

At last the mountain seen
a brooding mother
where the city nestles
by a river to the sea
an aquatic father

Crosses the bridge
once knocked down
by a ship that veered away
one Sunday night
on it's steam to town

Into the madding traffic
into the car tower gritty
into a slow square spiral
into a parking bay
into a day in the city 


NOTE ~   This poem sings of the drive from our country town, called Ross, along ther highway, into the city of Hobart, where Mt Wellington broods above the town like a possessive mother, and the River Derwent is a great harbour by the ocean. The Tasman Bridge was knocked down by a ship in 1975, which is still down there, with the bridge rebuilt over it.
Decades on from the Tasman Bridge disaster, the memory of the tragedy still haunts the state
Phoebe Hosier, 5 January 2018, ABC News Online
"It's 44 years today since the Tasman Bridge disaster, but the memory of the traumatic event still lingers in the minds of many Tasmanians, who say they're fearful or anxious when crossing the bridge. It was in 1975 when the ore carrier Lake Illawarra struck the bridge, taking out two pylons and 127 metres and three spans of the bridge. Five motorists and seven crew members died. What caused the Lake Illawara to go off course is unknown, but historians have said strong river currents and inattention on board could have contributed.” ~ 
JAQI ~ I was living in Howrah when the bridge fell, 3 miles south, and we heard the noise. The next morning I paddled out onto the river in my canoe to see the gap in the bridge. Ferries on the river made a revival, while the Tasman Bridge was being repaired.

Tasman Bridge Collapse 40th anniversary newstories ~ FILM ~

Song from the time ~ Ferryboat Shuffle ~

Tasman Bridge disaster turned to opportunity for Bob Clifford and his boats ~

Hobart Floating Bridge, 1963 ~

Tasman Bridge Reconstruction (1978) ~

Memories of the old Hobart Floating Bridge ~


Posts: 139
Reply with quote  #44 

The Model

When Mr Brown retired
he took up art
went to many classes
life drawing too
where he found his heart

He loved the female form
rounded curves
like billowing clouds 
like sand dunes
like gliding feathered birds

He loved the coloured pastels
gentle shades to form
the rounded curves he loved to see
merging pinks 
into colours like the morn

Reddish tips for nipples and cheeks
weathered tones for feet
rugged strength for hands that work
finding their story
hair falling like a river fleet

At life drawing one day he dared ask
if a model would pose
in his studio for an oil painting
on a canvas stretched
in an antique frame of gold rose

The day was set and the hour made
for the model to be
in his studio by a bay of the sea
in his old shop
he felt as happy as a bumble bee

He rubbed is bald head
making it gleam
wondering about a scene
by the sea
or in a forest stream

A sunny day with seagulls down below
where the wind was blowing in
through the rigging of the yachts
sounding like a train
which always fascinated him

The pot belly stove was stoked
making the studio warm
with the paints squeezed out
of their little tubes
onto a palette hardly worn

A gentle knock at the door
"Do come in,
is it warm enough for you?"
"I think so."
She disrobed to begin

His heart fluttered to behold
her standing in sight
"Which way should I pose?"
"By the chair."
And the paint began to fly

Bristle brushes slashed the canvas
cutting through air
spreading paint with a palette knife
smeared with a rag
her naked beauty was captured there

Inspired by the model's presence
the artist grinned
this work seemed not to be by him
then the model glared
as her boyfriend barged in

"What are you doing here?"
they all said
then a hand smeared the canvas
the model screamed
the artist's bald head went quite red

Waking up in a hospital bed
a crack on the head
by a jealous model's lover man
with his troubled heart
and his beautiful painting now quite dead

The nurse shared the news
all on the radio
how the police came and arrested
both model and lover
for brawling in Mr Brown's painting studio

"And you arrived by ambulance,
unconscious too."
Traumatic memory haunted him now
with the cruel desecration
of a painting too good to be true

Pondering on this fickle finger of fate
and the many subjects for art
he decided that trees were safer by far
and that's how he found
a new passion for painting bark


NOTE ~   I once had an art studio in an old shop by a bay of the sea, where the wind blew through the rigging of of the yachts, sounding like a train. But there was no train. The last train that ran in Bellerive was over a century ago. I have worked with the model in art all my life, male and female, but never had Mr Browns problem with a model. Adding the drama made the poem more interesting: but maybe there is a lesson in there for any hobby artist thinking to work with the model in art. The experienced artist remains alert to potential problems that might hop out to haunt. The British artist, Lucian Freud, once got into an argument with a taxi driver, and got a black eye out of that ..... which he made a painting of, as soon as he was back in the studio. Artist's are often rugged creatures, turning odd circumstances into art, rather than running away to paint bark, as a safe option.




Posts: 139
Reply with quote  #45 

A Big Old House

Driving down the country road
blowing up a cloud of dust
past a big old house
up on that hill with a tree
leaning into gloom and dusk

Glancing up she's there again
standing at the window
watching time go by
through fading curtains
might be a lonely old widow

The fog swirls up around the car
I slow down to see ahead
that old house
left behind in dust and fog
rounds another wriggly bend

That car's now gone down the bends
I watch through faded curtains
as silence falls
like dew on the grass
on another night of misty rains

Closed off another room today
memories no longer seen
all fading away
this last room will do me
reflecting on the life that has been

I love that painting by the sea
seen over Gran's old cup
with Bushell's tea
remembering the beach
where I played in the sand with pup

The boys out in the thundering surf
and Mum watching keen
to keep em safe
from surf and shark
and rips that lurk beneath

Sun fell and something happened
a baby came in pain
born to strife
adopted to a family
I had to wear the shame

Many dreams died one day
when a tree fell on Dad
Mum lingered on
"You're a good girl"
but I didn't feel that glad

When Mother faded into time
older brother went away
sent a post card
never heard again
left alone to mind me day

after day in this big old country house
rooms jammed with memories
waiting for the call
as days fade into years
as mists roll through the valleys

Driving back from a day in town
flashing lights and sirens crying
flames flickering
smoke rising among stars
that big old house was dying

Stood watching flaming fingers
leaping out the window
and wondered
that face by faded curtains
as roof collapsed in a showery glow

I asked the fireman what he knew
"That house was long empty."
blackened stone walls
now lurk against the night
burnt out of its hive of memories

Sad in heart I drive home slow
from a ruin of black scars
where silence fell
by the swing in the tree
where smoke blew away to the stars


NOTE ~   Driving along the country road, many empty houses are seen, and one wonders, what are the memories? And then time takes them all away, like a tree that melts in the forest, for new dreams to spring up into life.

'Beach Fun, Carlton' by Rick Crossland .....


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