Tag Archives: australian poetry

MARCH 31 2011: Day no 90 of 2011 : And being home, memory becomes a passion. A.D. Hope.



Hurrell Sisters

Memory becomes a passion.  Its 3.34pm now. I have been out for lunch with a young friend. At her house in the trees. Its made of stone and timbers. Lets sit down now on the Bench and have a Yaan about being Home again and the passion for memory that has come with that.

The ladies above are the HURRELL SISTERS. The one down the front on our left, well that’s Lucy Jane, my father’s grandmother. They are not in my conscious memory. They lived a bit south of here on the Macleay River.

Map picture

There is a storm rumbling around. It seems to be coming up from the South. I’m going to mind the stone and timber house for a few weeks. And a very large dog. When I decided to come home to the Bellingen Shire last year. I knew there was a baby coming but I didn’t know there was a sister leaving.

A year into being Home and Memories are with me. I remember a lot of storms. The wild ones of 1974 and the ones that ripped along the SOUTH ARM ROAD in 1995. The memory coming to mind is of Uncle Jim and the big eagle in Laurieton. I don’t know why it’s a vision that sticks with me and I don’t know the details and I am not even quite sure who Uncle Jim was but I was mightily impressed with the eagle with the huge wing span. When I went north to the Tweed the raptors were one of the captivating things for me. I liked the sugar cane and the cane fires and the river.

The News just came on TV and they say that petrol  could hit $2 a litre. That would be a bummer. In the 1970s – I used to say ‘ fill er up’ and they would do so for $2.

One of my intentions for 2011 is to do some more remembering. Passion is absorbed somewhat in grief at the moment but I shall initiate the re-membering anyhows. One reason for doing that is to assimilate my 6 decades and not become stuck into the land of Useter Be. I rather fancy moving through the rest of this decade with a bit of a sashay. Maybe not a sashay.  I just looked at the sashay videos and its not quite what I have planned for the rest of this year. Perhaps a cake walk or a Pride of Erin or something more Australian. Let me take another look and Grandma and the Aunts and see how they might have moved when wearing the world lightly.  They don’t actually look like they would wear the world too lightly but they might well have danced the Pride of Erin. I was taught it at school in the 1960s in N.S.W.

I think I would prefer to move something like this :

I am fairly sure I have not one chance at all of moving like these exquisite movers but the essence of how I wish to move on is someplace in the Bangarra legacy.

But those days are passed as well. I have a vision. A standing one legged in the shallows with a fishing line in hand and little fish swimming about. Don’t want to catch anything.


MARCH 5 2011 : A farmer was seen lifting up his pigs, one at a time, to eat apples out of a tree. A passerby said, "Wouldn’t it save a lot of time to shake the tree and let them eat the apples on the ground?" The farmer replied, "What’s time to a pig?"


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Strong and unafraid, it’s the fishing she loves,

the family eventually together, safe sleeping in beds

in a house near the water. She’s proud to be

her mother’s helper and longs for new wings to

to free her from swings, to fly high, to plunge

into the bay to find mermaids to play with forever.

Suzanne Covich.


FEBRUARY 28 2011 : Day 59 : THE END OF SUMMER.



The summer days are fading, as they must
From endless hours to short and fleeting light
The bird’s once bright, immortal tune, now cries
A melancholy aura to the dusk
The children fiercely climb, and dream, and race
Before their wild and unchained days depart

Shannon Georgia Schaubroeck, USA.

The last day of February and of a Summer which truly didn’t go in any manner that I had expected. I love Summertime. For that reason, I lived further North from 2001 – 2009 where its warmer still. This Summer stayed cool until the last week or so. Sometimes cold-ish. It rained and rained and rained. The Capital City of Queensland flooded and houses and people were washed away as well as the ‘ Symbols of our modern city “ as the Premier said. The city of Christchurch was struck by an earthquake  in the very middle of the day and people are still buried in the rubble a week later. Hundreds dead.

My family whirled in and out of our place and the baby turned one. Then, just a week ago, my sister passed away. All through the Summer months and her last Christmas she had become increasingly ill and tiny. Poor wee thing. Seemed that the world wept for her. The skies and the heavens. She DID have the one last Christmas she wanted.

Kati B and her IMM moved houses and now we come to the last day of Summer somewhat daunted. I put Les Murray’s poem in the side column. I know a good few people who don’t like Les Murray but I do. And the ABSOLUTELY ORDINARY RAINBOW is to me a very decent thing to read.  I can sit still when I have read it and weep. I can sit still and gag on an attempted breath. When I read Les Murray, I feel no need whatsoever to ‘ recover’ quickly or rally to the ‘positive’ view of things. I have no obligation to measure my right to sorrow against the rights of others or the nature of the event.

The old howl of mourning  is mine to use as I will.

I see a woman, shining, stretch her hand
and shake as she receives the gift of weeping;
as many as follow her also receive it

and many weep for sheer acceptance

Les Murray.




Totems were vital in Aboriginal life, emphasising the close link between Aborigines and the spirit-world around them. Aborigines believed the world abounded with spirits, some friendly, some hostile. this belief led to explanations about the origin of human life, and also helped to explain what happened at death. Death was the end of physical life only, for a dead person’s spirit was then released from the body. It would make this way to a home in the sky with the spirit-ancestors, or to a spirit-centre such as a waterhole, where it could await rebirth in another human form. In some groups it was believed the spirit was carried across the sea to a land of the dead.


Death was a complex issue. Aborigines often believed there was another form of the dead person’s spirit, called the ‘trickster spirit’. this mischievous spirit sought to remain near the body and cause trouble. It was best not to disturb it. After mourning their loss, often with loud wailing and gashing of their bodies, the family members left the scene of death, though mourning ceremonies could still follow. To prevent arousing the trickster spirit, the use of the dead person’s name was avoided for a long time, possibly for ever. but there were often visible reminders of death, such as mound grave, a cremation site, or a tree-platform on which the body was placed, together with white clay and bark armlets worn by mourners. Graveposts were often erected. In northern Australia, where funeral rituals were important and prolonged, the graveposts of the Tiwi people on Bathurst and Melville Islands were grandly decorated, and were features of the sacred (Pukamani) mourning ceremonies held there.

And now we reach the last day of this Summer. The little girls are back at school. The heat has arrived and appointments are made. Not for me. I deal with that world as little as possible and at the end of this Summer, I have not made an appointment with anyone for anything. I am simply sitting here thinking about the Summer of 2010-2011.


The children fiercely climb, and dream, and race
Before their wild and unchained days depart.

Shannon Georgia Schaubroeck, USA.


There have been a lot of  butterflies and birds about all Summer as well and hopes I have held for a long time about the Family and the Beach and Swimming, well they all came into being.

DECEMBER 2010.  
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Summer clothes in Port Macquarie. Mowing with a chook.
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North Beach Pool.

Lady selling home made Xmas decorations at Markets.

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Blazing Sunrises. Christmas Days.


Nambucca Heads. Lots of Lorikeets.
JANUARY 2011.  
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Hungry Head Lagoon. Bridge at Bellingen.
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The last day of January 2011.

Out at the swimming hole called the Promised Land in Gleniffer, west of Bellingen.

FEBRUARY 2011.  
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Sarong Days. Wild and Unchained Days.
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Rosellas on the fence. Farewell, Summer.