Sunday, August 31, 2008

112. My Mother's Hair

I feel in nostalgic mood, particularly as I find I'm 'turning into my Mother'! Does this happen to every woman? In one respect, however, I can never be my Mother. This is a picture of her at the age of two. Look closely and you will see the hair that dominated my life. When my baby daughter was born I didn't count toes and fingers; I looked for my mother's hair! Rebecca's hair is as beautiful as my mother's but inherited from her father's side of the family. It is thick, rich, dark and wavy. And, in between, there's me.

On my Clickpicks Blog you can see a picture of my mother 95 years later!


But disciplined.
But never frenzied.
But with a glinting sheen.
Thus was my Mother's hair.

Did it grow too long?
Snip snip with the scissors;
No looking-glass needed.
The coils
Stretched and then refolded on themselves
With perfect precision,
Bouncing a little
As they sprang back.

I inherited my Father's hair.
Of course.
Dull, thin, shapeless,

When I grew old enough to care
I realised that life wasn't worth living
Unless one had
My Mother's hair.

So started forty years of
Hair Taming.
Surely Lion Taming
Would have been easier!
It wanted to grow forward;
Punish it!
Force it to grow back!

The Permanent Wave never really existed;
It should have been called the Temporary Frizz.
It held sway for forty years.

Instruments of torture
Invaded my life.
In the chair
Noxious substances
Careered down my neck,
Stifling smells
Choked me.

And the result?
A brittle halo of wire-wool!
Dye it dark.
My Mother's hair was dark.
Touch it.
All wrong!
Surely this belonged to a doll!
And I was never doll-like.

The hair did nothing for the face.
Which was a shame
As it could have done with some help!

More instruments of torture!
Clamping teeth made of cruel metal
Gripping non-existent waves.
Fat slug-like pipe-cleaner 'thingies'
With vicious spiky ends.
Oblong buckle-shaped hinged items
That held tight to strands of hair
Soaked in
Setting Lotion!

Twisting and turning in bed.
Metal cutting the ear-lobe!
Lump indenting the pillow!
Poor benighted husband
Sleeping with a porcupiny freak!
It must have been love!

Maybe tomorrow I would wake up
With my Mother's hair.

She never worried if the weather turned damp;
Her curls just became more girlishly wayward.
(Her daughter wore a plastic bonnet!)
She never cared if the wind blew her hair awry.
She just ran her fingers through it
And smiled.
(Her daughter, like the Queen, favoured a head-scarf!)

One day I realised I was growing old.
My face still needed help
But so did everyone elses'.
Comfort suddenly became more desirable
Than my Mother's hair.

Now I touch the flat, silky little cap
That is my hair
And I rejoice,
Because it is like a little brown bird's wing.

I have broken free

From my Mother's hair.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

111. Recipe in Rime

(Photographs of Brian's Passing-Out Day can be viewed on my
Clickpicks blog page.)

A quickie today. As an exercise I attempted to write-out a recipe in verse. (Is there no end to her odd behaviour?) But the actual pie is delicious, take it from me.


Chicken and Asparagus Pie

Two carrots, three onions, some mushrooms,
Cut them up finely and fry
In unsalted butter, five minutes.
Then stir in plain flour, by and by.
Now add milk and then cream, till it's creamy,
Plus seasoning, till it's just right.
Then, lastly, asparagus pieces
And cooked chicken. The size? Say a bite.
Pour the simmering mix in a pie-dish.
When it cools add the pastry on top.
Bake at HOT for about twenty minutes.
And you certainly won't have a flop!

Note: 1/4 pound mushrooms, 3/4 ounce plain flour, 15 fluid ounces milk, 2 Tbspoons cream, 6 ounces canned asparagus, 1lb cooked chicken, puff pastry, egg wash.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

110.A Blendly Note

I said I'd been Blurfing (Blog Surfing) to someone the other day and they said they thought it was a new word! Maybe I'll be lucky with this one too. If not, nothing is lost.


With my luck. it won't be original.
Someone else will have thought of the word,
And they'll find my displaying and touting it
Pathetic and rather absurd.
It popped into my mind in a reverie
As I thought of my several BLog 'friENDS'.
So from now on whenever I think of you
I'll consider you all as my BLENDS.

109. Poop Deck!

An oldie but goodie today!


Blackbeard sat in his arm-chair
In the local Haven of Rest.
And his beard was black and swarthy,
As was the hair upon his chest.
He really looked quite fearsome,
Though his age was ninety-three.
You could see he'd lived life fully
In his days upon the sea.
His faithful parrot, Polly,
Was perched upon his shoulder
And, truth to tell, the poor old bird
Was looking even older!
The sad bedraggled creature
Let out a feeble squawk,
And Blackbeard said 'In years gone by
Lawks! How that bird could talk!'
He went to scratch her lovingly;
I took a second look!
I saw he had no good right hand!
Just a nasty hooky hook!
'How did you lose your hand then?'
(Although it looked quite gory
I knew that, as a reporter,
I had to get a story.)
'I got in a bit of a pickle
Somewhere east of Malay,
A sailor shot me hand off.
But Lord, did I make him pay!'
'Then what about the eye-patch?
Have you lost an eye as well?
Shiver me Timbers! Yes!' he said
'But I gave the culprit hell!'
'Go on!' I responded eagerly
'Tell me how it occurred!'
'Funny thing,' said Blackbeard,
'The culprit was a bird.'
'A bird?' I said, now all agog,
'Tell me the how and why!'
'Well, the danged creature flew down low
And pooped right in me eye!'
I laughed then, at his story,
He was joking without doubt.
'How could a bit of bird manure
Make your eye fall out?'
'I only went to rub me eye.
But that rub was all it took.
I was only just out of hospital!

I forgot I'd got a hook!'



The ant knows about co-operation

The ant can't do anything alone.

He can't live his life in isolation.

Solitary, underneath a stone.

The ant knows we need to help each other,

The ant's only tiny but he's wise.

He knows he must walk beside his brother,

If he wants to win that very special prize.

The ant hill is something quite enormous,

Each ant building just a little part.

Those same ants are trying to inform us

That we need co-operation from the start.

The ant isn't ever self-sufficient,

The ant never thinks he's number one,

He knows on his own he's not proficient

And he knows one little ant can't get things done.

The ant knows he can't work as a single

The burdens would be much too much to bear.

He knows he and his fellow ants must mingle.

Every ant must pull his weight and do his share.

An ant's such a very little creature,

And we to him are an enormous size,

But the ant can be our most important teacher;

Co-operation's bound to win the prize.

107.Feeding Frenzy

Another in my series of 'alphabetical' rhymes for children.


Foxie Foxie, fine and fat.
Must you feed your face like that?
When the farmyard hens go by
Fur and feathers are sure to fly.

Foxie Foxie face the fact
Eating friends shows lack of tact!
You find fowl a filling feast
But they don't like it in the least!

Foxie Foxie, fierce and fast,
Your good fortune may not last!
If the farmer finds his gun,
That will finish all your fun!

Foxie Foxie, no, no. no!
Don't eat friend and don't eat foe!.
Have some sense and use your head;
Try to eat fresh fruit instead.

Monday, August 25, 2008

106. Don't Ask!

I think 'duffers' are usually male (but of course!). However, it fitted-in so well at the end that I let it stand. I suppose that's doing my bit for Equal Opportunity!


When I was young, my mother
Often took me to task,
Saying 'Little girls should be polite
And never, never ask!'
She was referring to my desire
For the last cake on the plate.
I really knew I shouldn't ask
But, then, who wants to wait?
So, being a biddable sort of child
(Well, be that as it may!)
I trained myself to bide my time
Till an offer came my way.
'How would you like the last cupcake?'
Sometimes I heard aright.
And I joyfully received it,
And took a scrumptious bite.
But sometimes someone else jumped in
Or was offered the tasty prize,
And then I'd sit dejectedly
With tears brimming in my eyes.
But another phrase was in being,
I sometimes heard it at school...
'Don't ask, don't want!'
That seemed to be the rule.
If I longed for someone's lunch snack
And I riveted my gaze,
On some tasty little biscuit
While recalling Mother's phrase.
My 'friend' would chomp the biscuit
With a chortle of great glee
Crying 'Don't ask, don't want!'
Poor little bewildered me!
But now I'm old I've learnt to cope
With all the social rules,
I take for granted I know best
And the others are all fools!
I simply act the way I want!
Though I'm sometimes rather brash,
I say and do the things I like!
Let the others do their dash!
So it's lucky you are BLOG friends
And never have to suffer
The verbal 'slings and arrows'
Of yet another
Mad Old Duffer!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

105. Jilted!

My long-time friend, Margaret Gosden, and I have known each other since we were introduced by our grandmothers in our teens. Margaret is a print-maker in New York and I am a poet in Australia. For over sixty years we have kept in touch and Margaret recently sent me a very welcome print. We emailed each other about a possible title and even a possible orientation. This is one possibility. Others will be displayed in time.
(Forgive me, Margaret, if my reproduction doesn't do your work justice!)
On my Clickpicks page you will see the young Margaret and Brenda. We haven't changed a bit!!!!!
(Number One of Four)
He left her house in the moonlight.
His words had not prevailed.
He had begged, he had told her he loved her,
He had grovelled, but he had failed.
So he walked the long path to heartbreak,
The long path that had no end,
With only a shadow companion.
And a heart that would never mend.

Saturday, August 23, 2008




We know it's a feather made from stone
And so it doesn't faze us.
But if we were little green men from Mars
I think it might amaze us!
In a million million years (or more)
When 'creatures' view our planet,
They'll scratch their metal heads and say
'That can't be a feather! Can it?
We've found evidence of feathers
In pictures of small birds,
But this huge feathered object
Is too startling for words!'
They'll recreate the creature
That they think that they have found,
And the little metal people
Will gawp and stand around,
Saying 'Isn't it gigantic!
What a world it must have been
In the days when birds were big as that!'
They'll recreate a scene
In which birds are flying overhead
As big as jumbo jets.
And cages big as hangars
Are built for feathered pets.
They'll write long screeds about them,
Their weight, their food, their height
And they'll never, never, never know
That they haven't got it right!

Friday, August 22, 2008

103. Extra! Extra!

I couldn't resist this little evening Extra! Incidentally, I have dual nationality and two passports, British AND Australian. So I'm alright, Jack!
When China knocks us sideways,
Well it's perfectly O.K.
And we don't mind if we're beaten
By the mighty USA!
But when it comes to playing
Second fiddle to the Brits,
Well, the people of Australia
Get the * * * * *!

Adventure on the Highway

Hitch-hiking! Do any of you remember?
Do you, too, recall a time
When we launched ourselves out on the highway,
With never a thought of crime?
When nobody raised an eyebrow
As we headed out the door!
Not even Mum expressed concern;
She didn't say 'Are you sure?'
We stood beside the highway
Giving cars a smiling glance
Not ever realising
We were taking quite a chance!
Of course, foul murders happened,
But no-one would murder us.
So no-one thought to question
And no-one thought to fuss.
And so it was lightheartedly
Each raised a hopeful thumb.
We were filled with girlish excitement
Wondering what would come.
And something always came along,
A limousine or truck,
Maybe a good-looking driver,
With a little bit of luck.
Most often married couples
Out for a casual ride,
Would slow down and invite us in,
And we'd merrily jump inside.
It was almost motorised roulette,
An exciting game of chance.
In such a fashion, blithely,
We 'hitched' to the South of France,
The Isle of Wight and Scotland
And places far and wide.
And now it is forbidden;
That freedom is denied.
The world has made such progress
It's leaving us behind,
But, somehow, it's less carefree
Less guileless and less kind.
And I'm glad I lived in my day
When a girl could thumb a ride
In freedom and security
All over the countryside.
The nineteen-fifties were boring,
That's what they like to say,
But we were having a great time!
I'm glad I'm not young today.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

101. Cheers!

A little levity again. As usual, the joke is stolen but the verse is original.
(A few family pics on my Clickpicks blog.)


We were eating in a restaurant,
Suzie, my wife, and I,
When I caught sight of a well-known face
At a table just nearby.
'Good grief!' I said 'It's Alice Dean!
I'd know her anywhere!
She's aged a bit and gone quite dark.
I think she's dyed her hair
I knew her as a dizzy blonde
And we were so in love.
To think that I'd see her again!
Alice! Heavens above!'

I began to reminisce, of course,
There was so much to recall.
The affair had been so passionate,
I had to recount it all.
'Alice said I was divine!
She loved my boyish curls.
She said she was the envy
Of all the other girls.
She said my manly figure
Was perfection! (It was true!)
How come I don't get compliments
Like that, my dear, from you?

'Poor girl,' I said, 'When we split up
It really broke her heart.
They say poor Alice took to drink
Because we had to part.
Look! See! She's really sozzled now!
It seems she must still care!
It must have hurt her very much
.........I must try not to stare.
Oh, I recovered very soon;
She didn't, it appears!
To think she's carried a torch for me
For more than fifteen years!'

My wife looked blankly at me then,
So I stopped, mid-conversation.
She said,'Why! That's amazing, dear!

What a long celebration!'

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Chained Tree


It happened in this wise, my friends,
Or so the legends run,
That the Earl of Shrewsbury
Cantered home, in 1821.

The Earl was a fine, upstanding man,
But his heart was hard as stone.
He viewed his servants much like dirt,
And worked them to the bone.

A storm was raging on that night
As he rode through Dimminsdale;
The lightning flashed, the thunder roared:
He was soaked by rain and hail.

He could scarcely see the road ahead
As he hurtled through the night.
And, suddenly, a shape loomed up!
A truly ghastly sight!

A Beggar stood there, drenched and wild,
Shouting above the din
'A penny for a Beggar, Sir!
You can see the state I'm in!'

The horse reared up, the Earl let loose
With a shout of rude surprise;
'Get out of my way, Old Beggar!
You blackguard! Damn your eyes!'

But still the Beggar stood his ground,
Though lashed by wind and rain;
'Just one penny, Master!
And I'll never ask again!

A penny for a glass of port
At the local hostelry!'
But the Earl in heartless fashion cried
'You felon! Leave me be!'

He whipped his horse into action;
It set off with one bound,
Leaving the Beggar sprawling
On the dank and muddy ground!

But, as the Earl sped fast away,
The Beggar loudly cursed;
'From this day forth, oh lordly Earl,
Prepare yourself for the worst!

In every storm, in future years,
Yon tree will lose a limb.
So look to your well-fed children,
For their futures will be grim!

I curse thee up, I curse thee down,
I curse thee low and high.
For every time a limb is lost,
One of your sons will die!'

And, sure enough, a mighty storm
Destroyed a limb from the tree
And, that very night, the eldest son,
Died, in great agony.

'Tie up the tree with chains of iron!'
The Earl was heard to cry!
'The tree must be protected
So no other child will die!'

And still one great chain can be seen
Though the tree shows signs of age,
Proof of a rich man's folly
And a Beggar's dreadful rage.

Yes, still the legend lingers on,
A dire and haunting tale,
And you'll see the chain on that fateful tree
As you pass through Dimminsdale.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

99. A Long Wait

I have just recovered from my second cataract operation and I now have twenty-twenty vision for the first time in my life! This is just one aspect of the great celebration!


The Man-in-the-Moon held out on me
Till I was seventy-seven!
I never saw him beaming there
Out of a cloudless heaven.
Of course, I saw his smiling face
In many picture books,
So I was well-aquainted
With his chubby, rotund looks.
But when I looked up in the sky
I saw a faceless ball.
I never saw the Man-in-the-Moon
I never saw him at all.

I never saw the 'man-in-the-moon'
As applied to astronomy.
I never saw the hills and dales
I knew that I should see.
They spoke of craters and canals,
And every other topic,
But all I saw was a fuzzy blob
With eyes just too myopic.
I saw the photographs and charts
They pinned up on the wall,
But I never saw the continents,
I never saw them at all.

Till modern science did the trick
With a swift and sure incision
And for the first time in my life
I've twenty/twenty vision!
I trace the outlines of the shapes
And marvel as I see
The whole thing with my naked eye!
The lunar geography!
It really is a miracle
And it couldn't come too soon.
'It is the birthday of my life!'
I can see the Man-in-the-Moon!

Monday, August 18, 2008

98. Doris

My husband always used to think that if he'd been in the right place at the right time, he could have married Doris Day! I have serious doubts about this, although it appears she wasn't very clever at picking men, so it's possible! Anyway, old age has its compensations.


Way, way back when time was young,
And proper pretty tunes were sung,
My husband always used to say
'There's no-one on earth like Doris Day.'
I envied her hair, so blonde, so sleek,
Her upturned nose and her downy cheek,
Her perfect teeth so straight and white,
Her big blue eyes so shiny bright,
Her engaging look, that tomboy charm,
Those freckles, straight from a dairy farm....
I could go on and on about her.
How did he manage to live without her?
I was second best, a poor man's choice.
And I hadn't even got a voice!
And she was so 'wholesome'! (Well, so was I
But only because men passed me by!)
Now I'm elderly.......poor old me.
But, hallelujah! SO IS SHE!!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

97. Red

Written in haste. This poem could be a lot better but it's urgent! This-morning I received an email asking me to add my name to requests for a 'red card' for Mugabe in Zimbabwe. (You may remember that I lived in Zimbabwe when it was Rhodesia in the good old/bad old days.) A Red Card is the card that a soccer player is given if he has to leave the field. Thousands are expected to wave these red cards as a sign of protest against the tyrant. But Zimbabwe's problems have been overshadowed by the extravagances of the Olympics and the bloodshed in Georgia.
Red is not a restful colour.

To 'wave' your Red Card at Mugabe click


The glorious silkiness
Of Chinese costumes.
Gold upon Crimson
Poppy upon Silver.
A crimson Olympic Games.

The blood of the innocent
In Europe.
Righting the wrong
Or wronging the righteous?
The dogs of War
Wearing red leashes.

A ticket for Mugabe.
'Time to leave'
Thousands waving tickets
The game is over
For this player.
Send him off the field.

The colour of our times is

Saturday, August 16, 2008



Does seven dollars count?
Have I now done my dash?
When I hoped to win the Lottery
I meant a LOT of cash!
It should be called the Smallery!
When the prize one wins is small.
Seven dollars! Seven dollars!
Why, it hardly counts at all!
Have you ticked me off your list?
Am I counted as successful?
This wondering whether I'm in or out
Is positively stressful!
I knew I'd 'win the lottery';
I felt it in my bones.
And I'm not the sort of misery
Who sits around and moans!
I'm very, very grateful!
Yes, I mean it, it's a thrill.
But I sort of hoped for better
When they opened up the till.
Seven MILLION was the figure
That I kind of had in mind.
No! I'm really VERY grateful!
You've been very very kind!
I admit I thought of Paris
Or a little deep-sea yacht,
But I'm thoroughly delighted
With the little bit I got!
Yves Saint Laurent would have clothed me!
I'd have bought the Taj Mahal!
But I just won seven dollars!
How disgustingly banal!
Seven thousand would have paid for
Maybe minor luxuries.
But if it's seven dollars
Well, that's just the way it is.
But I am a little worried
That I've missed my only chance,
And that Fate and Fickle Fortune
Won't give me a second chance!
Seven dollars! It's a pittance!
It will barely buy a Coke!
And if you think that is funny,
Well, I don't care for the joke!
Sorry! Sorry! That was nasty!
I know you did your best.
But now I've got the seven


Friday, August 15, 2008

95. The Voice

This piece is pure fantasy. I only know that this was my perception and the perception of many other people round the world.


She will visit her psychiatrist
In 2018.

'So what is depressing you, my dear?
The psychatrist will say.

And the young girl will answer

'It was like this..........

As a child I had a beautiful singing voice.
It was so lovely that I was asked
To sing a special song
At the Chinese Olympics.
My parents were excited.
The whole village was excited.
And I was the most excited of all.

I was given a pretty red dress to wear.
The local newspaper ran a story about me.
A big picture of me was on the front page.
I was called The Little Local Heroine.

It was all so lovely that I jumped on the bed.

They sent me a tape and a recorder to play it on.
I learnt every word of the song.
The tune was so pretty.
A special singing teacher
Came all the way from Beijing
To help me get everything right.

My parents were so pleased with me.
They even forgave me for not being a boy.
They were told they would get a special pension.
I didn't know what a pension was
But they were pleased.

Then, one day, a cross-looking man came to our house.
He wore a uniform.

'That child is not cute' he said.
He sounded very angry.

He made me open my mouth very wide.
He made a bad face when he looked at my teeth.

'And she has a flat face' he said.
'To represent the perfections of China
The child singer must be perfect.
This child is not perfect.
She is a failure.'

They took away my red dress
And my shiny shoes.
They took away my words and my music

And they took away my voice, on a tape.

The other children in the village laughed.
'Who did you think you were, anyway!' they said.
The older villagers smiled
Behind their hands at my parents.
'Your'e no better than us now' they said.

My picture was on the front page
Of the newspaper again.
The big letters said
'Local Girl Too Ugly For the Olympics.'
I looked at the picture and realised that I was ugly.
My teeth were crooked,
My face was flat.
I had never noticed it before.

All I had was a voice
And they had stolen that.

Now you know why I am depressed.
All my life people have pointed at me and said
'There's that girl who was
Too ugly for the Olympics!''

And the psychiatrist will say.

'I can do nothing for you.
Your hurt goes too deep for treatment'

She will leave.

And where will she go?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

View From Eighteen

(Written at that age!)

I see the future as a time apart,
A little room
In which I am old,
And all else is old with me.

Yet there is a barrier
Between what is
And what is to come,
When I am old.

There is a door
Into that dusty, plush room.

Tomorrow will be the mirror
Of today.
Yet, inevitably,
I shall find the door
To the stale smell
And the moth-eaten rug.

Yesterday I stood amazed in the garden,
With the dragonflies and the fresh green grass.
When did I come into the house?

Two doors.
One leads back into the sunshine.
The other one leads to the darkened room.
And I cannot turn back.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

93. Old Goats

Another bit of light relief today. I wonder if Australians are the only people who will understand this old joke!

(Added later. There is a cartoon inspired by this poem on my CLICKPICKS blog for September 4th.)


Some Australians were touring in Holland,
As Australians quite frequently do;
They had seen the canals and the tulips
And they'd spotted a windmill or two.
The coach travelled into the country,
Where the grass was a shimmering green,
And the cows were all fat and contented,
With a healthy and velvety sheen.
Said the farmer 'I'm now going to show you
Some goats that we've had to retire.
They get all our care and attention,
And they eat all the grass they desire.
See, here are our goats in this meadow;
Their lives have some meaning, you see,
For, although they're no longer so useful,
They can sleep in the shade of a tree.
See, that one is wrinkled and bony.
You must note all the grey in his beard.
And the one next to him is so gentle
He's been that way since he was reared.'
The Coach Driver looked quite astonished;
'In Australia' he said, 'You will find
That our old goats are rather neglected.
Could our attitude be…..well…. unkind?'
'Why! What do you do with your Old Goats?'
The farmer was eager to know
Said the Driver 'We take them on coach trips!

Come on, Folks! On the bus! Time to go!'

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

92. Electronic Barrier

This actually happened to me the other day. Maybe the young girl in question would have rather died than chat with a verbose old biddy at the bus-stop! On the other hand, I wish she'd given me a chance! Who knows.........?


We stood at the bus-stop, side by side,
An elderly lady and I.
And we started to chat, as strangers do,
When they catch each other's eye.
'It's a beautiful day!' I brightly said,
Not original but true.
'Really perfect' she then replied,
'I live near here. Do you?'
I told her I lived nearby and she
Responded with her address.
' But you're not Australian' I said;
From her accent I could guess.
Within a minute or two I'd learned
Her life-history, family, name,
And she had learnt as much from me;
I'd responded with the same.
Then we looked up and saw the bus.
It was coming round the bend.
And I said goodbye with a cheerful smile,
Feeling I'd made a friend.

We stood at the bus-stop, side by side,
A lovely young girl and I.
And standing silently seemed quite odd
So I spoke up by-and-by.
'It's a beautiful day!' I brightly said,
Not original, but true.
There was no response so we simply stood
Silently, we two.
Then I stole a sideways glance at her
And, suddenly, it was clear,
She hadn't heard a word I'd said.
She'd an ipod in her ear.
So we went on standing wordlessly
Until the bus arrived
And maybe she didn't notice......
As for me, I felt deprived.
An ipod is fine and dandy,
A smart and modern trend,
But we simply can't compare it
To the smile of a new-found friend.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Colorful Cover!


Surfing the net I saw poppies
And poppies and poppies and more....
And I looked back through rose-coloured glasses
To a land that's not mine any more.
We had a vacation in England
And they told us that they'd had a drought
And, because of the weather conditions,
The poppies were all coming out.
Our friends lived in beautiful Wiltshire
And we drove to the top of a hill
And we saw such a glorious vision
That the memory lives with me still.
The fields were blood-red with the flowers,
And they covered so much of the scene,
And the world was transformed by the colour,
With only a slight hint of green.
I'd always imagined that poppies
Grew sparingly, deep in the grass;
That they speckled the green of the hedgerows
In a way that, remembered, was sparse.
Yet, here, was an ocean of poppies;
I could splash in the waves with bare feet,
While the song of a skylark, above me,
Was heartfelt, romantic and sweet.
I now have a quilt that I cherish;
It's covered with poppies in bloom,
And it seems every evening, at bedtime,
It's Wiltshire again in my room!
For certain Australia is lovely,
The wattle, the gums, the blue sky,
But I'll still keep remembering poppies
And the song of a skylark on high.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

90. Casablanca

I have just become involved with an Australian on-line magazine, (I think that has some other smart name!), called 'BONZER' and the current topic is 'Here's Looking at You, Kid.' I thought I'd reprint my little effort here, as I know a lot of people feel sentimental about the old film.


Would they have lingered in our minds
For days and weeks and years;
Would their romance still have the power
To bring us close to tears;
Would we still see their silhouettes
Against a darkening sky;
Would their farewell still be for us
The epitome of 'Goodbye';
Ingrid Bergman had lost her head
And chosen to follow her heart?
If Humphrey Bogart had vowed that they
Could never live apart?
If the Director had changed his mind,
And plumped for a Happy Ending?
If they'd wandered into the sunset
Two lovers forever blending?
If Humphrey Bogart had said 'So long'
Not 'Here's looking at you' and 'Kid'
If anything had been different,
In what they said and did,
We'd have witnessed just one more film-show,
From the dim and distant past.
But 'Casablanca' was magic
And magic will always last.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

89. My Wall

The other day a friend asked me why I 'bother' with writing poetry. This is my response. I'll keep the friend's name a mystery.
(But you can view her new kitchen on my Clickpicks page!)


I've a friend who's embroidery's charming,
Each stitch is a work of perfection,
So she frames the results at enormous expense
And displays them for our close inspection.
But I'm just an amateur poet;
There's nothing to put on a wall.
I might rival Pam Ayres with my verses
But no-one will see them at all.

I've a friend who makes quilts by the dozen,
She spreads them out over her beds,
And we all stand around and admire them,
The pinks and the blues and the reds.
But I'm just an amateur poet,
My poems reside on the shelf.
They are just scraps of paper in boxes,
For no-one to read but myself!

I've a friend who's a wonderful gardener.
Her blooms are a riot in Spring,
And we stand on the lawn in amazement,
Saying 'Oh what a clever old thing!'
But I'm just an amateur poet,
With no chance of taking a bow,
For there's no-one to look at my scribblings,
And no-one is gasping out 'Wow!'

I've a friend who is clever with icing;
Her cakes are confections of bliss.
And we all stand around, looking wide-eyed,
Saying 'How did you ever make this?'
But I'm just an amateur poet
And nothing of mine is on view.
I must hide my light under a bushel.
That's all that a poet can do

Until now...... when I've dived into Blogging!
At last my attempts are on show.
I'm shooting them into the cosmos;
They will blow where the Blogging winds blow.
I may be an amateur poet
But I've found my own outlet at last.
My Blog is a 'wall' I lay claim to,
And I'm nailing my flag to the mast!

Friday, August 8, 2008

88. Half-Baked!

I promise you this little story is 100% true! Rebecca and I chuckled as we ate our chicken-and-asparagus pie. Incidentally, it was delicious.


I was wandering through the Shopping Centre when my idle eye,
Chanced upon a lunchtime treat, a tasty little pie.
My daughter likes asparagus, and I like chicken too,
So I found myself attracted to a mixture of the two.
'One of those pies, please' I declared. The assistant turned away
To prepare for me my purchase, in a brisk, efficient way.
I suddenly fell to wondering what bakery I'd found.
Was it 'Annettes' or 'Pie-wise' ? I took a look around.
But the name of the shop evaded me; it was somewhere out of sight.
But still I craned my neck around, looking from left to right.
It was then I chose to use a phrase I soon came to regret!
...In fact I feel quite silly when I think about it yet!
'Where am I?'
Yes, that's what I said! The girl's face went quite white.
Her eyes grew wide with horror.She was not a pretty sight.
'Why! You're in the Shopping Centre!' (I knew that to be true!)
Poor girl! She thought I'd come adrift as Old Folk often do.
Was I Elderly Bewildered? Should I really be In Care'
Was I really in the Centre not knowing I was there?
I quickly put her mind at rest and we laughed and laughed and laughed.
But be careful how you phrase things or you may appear quite daft!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

87 Accidental Artistry

Peter Lewis is a friend of mine, met at the local Speakers' Club. He is also the cartoonist on our local newspaper and a serious painter as well. I am often fascinated by the abstract doodles he creates while listening to speeches. (Please, other Speakers' Club members, ignore the boring/snoring rhyme! I only used it for convenience!)
On my Clickpicks Blog you will see an example of Peter's excellent cartoon work.


A speech proves rather boring
So to stop myself from snoring
I grab a piece of paper and a pen.
I'm in creative mood
But my doodles are quite crude
Just feeble, artless, childish, matchstick men!
Then I'm glancing to my right
And I see a wondrous sight!
It's friend Peter and he's doodling as well.
But the magic of each line
Puts to shame 'art' such as mine,
And I'm quickly falling underneath it's spell.
There are circles armed with teeth
Up above and underneath
They are cogs all interwoven circling round
I can see that they're evolving,
Turning, twisting and revolving,
I can almost hear each harsh metallic sound!
Now he's turned his art to trees,
But you wont find trees like these
When you wander through the bush or other places,
For each random pencil mark
Has made features in the bark,
I see gnomes and ghouls with dark and threatening faces!
Every shape is interwoven.
There are devil's hooves, all cloven,
Mixed with angels' hair spread out between the stars!
He's exciting and impressing
With some shapes I'm only guessing....
Maybe creatures he's imagining on Mars.
Then I look down at my page
And I feel a sort of rage!
How I wish I could be similarly gifted.
But I know I wouldn't miss
Seeing doodles such as this.
And I leave the table joyfully uplifted.
But it really seems a sin
That he'll throw them in the bin,
Doodles no-one else but I appreciated!
For each one deserves a frame
And the signing of a name,
The name of him by whom it's been created.
Some works of art are greater,
Yet to me he's a creator
Of such accidental beauty and design,
That, though they are lost for ever,
His doodles are so clever
That the world should treasure each and every line.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

86. Belated Greetings


I missed the Horses' Birthday!
Oh what an oversight!
On the First of August every year
There are candles we should light!
For every horse gets older
By precisely one whole year
On the self-same date in August.
Now don't you think that's queer?
If it lives below the Equator,
On that very special date
It must celebrate its birthday,
Sometimes early, sometimes late.
When I was teaching children
We made a mighty fuss.
We'd celebrate those birthdays
As though they affected us!
'Today's the Horses' Birthday!'
The little ones would cry.
And we'd paint delightful pictures
And we'd hang them out to dry.
We'd read stories about horses,
We'd go galloping outside,
And I might make up a poem
About going for a ride.
But now I'm out to pasture
Like a poor old nag myself,
And the books about the horses
Are all dusty on the shelf.
All the poems have been written,
All the stories have been told.

I forgot the Horses' Birthday!
I must be growing old!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

85. Arrested Development.

Here is another selection from my book of short melodramas called 'Mix Me a Melodrama'. The play is called RECIPE FOR REVENGE'.

Archie is a policeman and something of a buffoon. He is called to a murder scene, but he immediately falls in love with a suspect, and he sings her the following song.

Archie speaking.......

I've fallen in love with this glorious creature!
So glamorous in every feature!
That figure! It goes in and out!
That face! That little rosebud pout!
How can I keep my mind on crime
When Milly Melsetter is so sublime?
Milly! Milly! Milly! Cripes!
I've not felt like this since I got my stripes!

To the tune of 'And the Band Played On.'

My heart went bump!/ I can still hear it thump,/ And I seem to sway./ She looks so smart/ It's affecting my heart/ In the nicest way./ If she should discover/ I'd suit as a lover/ I'd gladly give her all my pay!/ This crime doesn't matter!/ The whole world could shatter!/ I'd shout 'Hooray!'./

I'm in the Service,/ But still I get nervous/ When she appears!/ She's captivating!/ I'm constantly stating/ My doubts and fears./ I know I'm a tough guy/ A bit of a rough guy/ And she is the queen of her peers!/ But I'd be elated/ If we could be mated!/ I'd shout 'Three cheers!'/

I am bowled over!/ I once was a rover,/ Now this occurs!/ I feel so tender/ That I'd like to send her/ Some jewels and furs!/ It may sound excessive,/ But I feel possessive;/ A tom-cat who's nothing but purrs!/ My whole body's dancing!/ I feel like romancing!/ I'll shout'I'm hers!'/

Monday, August 4, 2008

84. Froggy Pond

IMPORTED POEM (I'd never be so politically incorrect!)

Through Blogging I have met-up with an old friend, Rob. We lived in the village of Alton together sixty years ago. When I say 'lived together' that was far from the case! He was a Catholic, I was the daughter of the Headmaster of the local Church of England School! Any hobnobbing was frowned upon .Remember those days? Not that hobnobbing was ever on the cards; I don't think either of us had much sex-appeal at that stage! In any case, it was his sister, Dorothy, who was the link.

Rob mistakenly thought I wanted contributions to my Rinkly Rimes and he sent me this offering. I think it's so witty that I'm including it. The anti-French sentiments are entirely the work of the author! (He's probably referring to garlic!) I gather he was on holiday in France at the time.
A harking back to the Good (?) Old Days can be seen on my Clickpicks Blog!


This is the tale of Grandad Rob,
Performer of each menial job,
Who paid a brief hygienic visit,
And suffered embarrassment exquisite
One sunny morning, plans were laid
By she-who-always-is-obeyed,
A little task for him to do:
" Please throw away the barbecue"
So off he went, with style and grace,
The properly appointed place
-A plastic skip beside the road,
Receptacle of noxious load.
The flapping door he opened wide,
A dreadful smell flowed from inside,
Effluvia coming straight from hell:
The quintessential gallic smell.
With hastily averted gaze,
And muttered francophobic phrase,
He threw the barbie in, and then
Approached his motorcar again.
But now catastrophe ensued:
A little thing, but very rude.
This news your living blood will freeze
-He'd thrown away his bunch of keys.
And six feet down the keys you'd see,
(Or metres one-point-eighty-three)
They nestled there - o cursed luck
-Upon a bed of froggy muck.
At first he reached in with his arm,
Like fishing in a sewage farm.
A leg then tried he - no more luck
In fact, he almost got it stuck.
The problem stayed, but only more so,
Inserted he his upper torso,
And there he hung, with legs a-kimbo
Within his own putrescent limbo.
He tried to sort this impasse out,
While all his loved ones fell about.
So, added to the smell mephitic,
He'd now a fam'ly paralytic.
Veronica then, all clever-cloggish
-Well versed is she in matters boggish
She solved her father's smelancholy!
She used the good old British brolly
Extended by a hook of wire
She saved the keys from durance dire
But now, it seems, his hopes grow dim
Nobody wants to talk to him.
The reason is, with all this stench
They clearly think he must be French.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

83. Lazy by the Lake.

When we arrived in Australia in the early 1970s I was enchanted by Lake Macquarie. We had left South Africa, with its glorious mountains, and I never expected to enjoy such beauty again. But Australia and its lakes proved a wonderful surprise. This continent is often described as 'harsh' and most people think 'beaches' when they think of it, but we also enjoy lakes, rivers, gorges, rain-forests and much more.Our lake is named after one of the first Governors of New South Wales, a gentleman named Lachlan Macquarie. Lachlan is still a popular name for boys in Australia. This poem started life as a song; hence the refrain.
On my Clickpicks blog you will discover the reason for my enthusiasm.

The Lake lies limpid on a lazy afternoon.
If we don't get there soon
We'll be sorry.
With trees surrounding
And boats abounding,
It's quite astounding!
It's our Lake MacQuarie.
We can stop a while beneath a sunny summer sky
And watch the seabirds fly
With easy grace.
It's all so gentle
And elemental
I'm sentimental
About the place.
The paths wind pleasantly beneath the shady trees
And we can take our ease
Simply strolling.
Where Dads and Mothers
And baby Brothers
And all the others
Need no cajoling.
If we spy a seat we can simmer in the sun
There's nothing to be done,
But have a ball.
It's all so gentle
And elemental
I'm sentimental
About it all.
The evening comes. The sun's a ball of rosy flame
And aren't we glad we came
From the city!
The light is fading
And birds are wading
And their parading
Looks oh so pretty.
Our skin is salty from the softly-blowing air
And still we stand and stare, goodness sake!
It's all so gentle
And elemental
I'm sentimental
About the Lake.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Do you remember Gigi?
Do you recall her colt-like enthusiasm,
Her awkward grace,
Her charming innocence?

Do you remember Tomboys?
Those girls, in 'our day',
Who were described as 'betwixt and between",
'All arms and legs',
'Little ugly ducklings'?
Do you recall their gangliness,
Their bony knees covered in bruises,
Their hair bobbed into a 'pudding-basin' shape?

Gigi blossomed.
That was what it was called in those days.
"Your Greta has certainly blossomed'
One mother would say to another.
And everyone knew what was meant.

In the fulness of time Gigi became a woman.
In the fulness of time our Tomboy became the toast of the town.

In the fulness of time……..

But now time has no fulness to arrive at.
That time between childhood and womanhood
Has been filled-in
In a sort of paint-by-numbers,
Sort of way.

Our Tomboy sports painted toe-nails,
Gauzy 'bling',
Frothy tutus
And all the accessories required by today's
(heaven help us!)

Perky little bras adorn
Very non-perky little chests.

These young girls will blossom, too,
No doubt about it.
Eventually Nature will catch-up with fantasy.
But at what price?

There will be no hesitant little ballerina
Emerging from the wings,
Pristine, shiny, new.
There will be no universal gasp
At the transformation.

'Been there, done that.'

The eyes will be less wide,
The skin will be less dewy,
The breathlessness will be less thrilling.

And the tutu will be grubby and crumpled.

Come back, Gigi!

Friday, August 1, 2008

81. Agin' the Government!

I am not a political animal, but my friend Patricia White sent me an email this-morning which highlighted the work of Amnesty International and and all that the organisation is doing for Human Rights. The Olympic Games are upon us and, if nothing else, we should thank our lucky stars that we 'are not as other men are'.

See my Clickpicks page for the Amnesty International Logo


We're all 'agin the government' it seems.
We mock our rulers' attitudes and schemes.
In every pub and bar,
Where groups of people are
We hear the variations on the themes.

'That so-and-so! He hasn't got a clue!

'Give me a chance! I'll tell him what to do!'

'They're a pack of thieving guttersnipes, that lot'

'Because of them this country's gone to pot!'

'He hasn't got a brain inside his head'.

'Did you hear what that lying bastard said!'

And so it goes, the hot air ever rising
And nothing changes! That is not surprising!
We can get things off our chests
Call them charlatans and pests
But there's no-one calls our language 'terrorising'

Be thankful for this fact ..... we're free to speak,
To give our rulers lots of 'bloomin' cheek'!
In a land not far away
Men must watch the words they say,
So they go about their business looking meek.

Not everybody lives the same as we,
And we take for granted that our lives are free.
So be forthright and be frank
But do not forget to thank
The men of old who forged

80. What a Raquet!

With the Olympic Games looming I've been pondering the changes in society in the last 100 years! One of my Indian fellow-Bloggers complained that the ladies of his tennis-club were being criticised for wearing too little on the court. Someone wondered aloud if they would be better in saris! (Not sure how to spell that!) This reminded me of the fact that it wasn't so very long ago that European ladies had to keep to a strict dress code! Times have changed.

Recall the tennis gear of old on my Clickpicks Blog.


On the tennis court,
If skirts were short,
The moral-police would say
'Please stop the game!
It is a shame
For ladies to dress that way!'
Though lengthy skirts
And long-sleeved shirts
Impeded the flight of the ball,
Girls had to dress
Well, more or less,
Like ladies coming-to-call!
The men could stride
And leap and glide
With freedom, as they played,
But the ladies' wrath,
In those yards of cloth,
Made everyone dismayed.
Now freedom reigns!
They broke their chains!
And that's how it should be.
On the tenns court
And in every sport
A female should be free!