Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Source of the Expectations~

As with all tales from the past, this story is full of conjecture and differing reports. It is, nevertheless, fascinating.


I speak of two similar ladies, who certainly never met,
Whose lives were the stuff of melancholy, sadness and deep regret.
Charles Dickens 'invented' one of them; the other lived real life,
But destiny decreed that neither ever became a wife!

Eliza Donnithorne's family lived in New South Wales,
And her sorry story is chronicled among old Sydney's tales.
The family arrived from India and Father built an estate,
But Eliza was single at thirty, which, for marriage, was quite late.
She met a lowly shipping-clerk and she became enthralled;
We don't know how she met him; George Cuthbertson he was called.
In 1856 they planned the marriage celebration,
And, the family being notable, there was local jubilation.
The populace sought to watch the show and began to line the streets,
And a glorious banquet was prepared, with rare and tasty treats.
But where was George, the bridegroom? He'd vanished in thin air!
She looked for him at the altar, but he made no appearance there!
It was obvious she'd been jilted! Eliza was distressed!
She dismissed her friends and family; she dismissed each waiting guest.
From that day on, for thirty years, she wore her wedding gown!
She never ventured from her house or wandered into town!
The wedding-breakfast lay untouched till it mouldered and decayed!
She was soon known as a crazy witch, and people were afraid!
A chain was kept on the big front door to hold the door ajar,
Just in case George came back to her from journeying afar.
He never came, he never wrote, they never, never met,
And all her life was lived from then in a state of deep regret.
In 1886 she died, still in her wedding-dress!
For thirty years she'd lived a life of morbid unhappiness!

All this is true and chronicled, but there are implications.....
That she became 'Miss Havisham' in the book 'Great Expectations'.
Charles Dickens had a nephew in Australia, it is true,
And the two of them wrote letters as relations often do.
Dickens may have read in letters of the Sydney broken heart,
And included the character in his book; all part of the author's art!

But there's another mystery that's linked to this strange tale.
Maybe Eliza was a fraud! Maybe she was a MALE!
Arrival records and passenger lists relating to the case,
Merely speak of an only son! Of daughters not a trace!
Was 'she' a boy child all along? Were 'she' and George both gay?
Or did George make a discovery and decide to run away?
We'll never know for sure, of course, at this late stage, and yet
Eliza and 'Miss Havisham' are symbols of regret.

289.. Fragrance!


The frangipani, at this time,
Blooms in a manner quite sublime.
Waxy, porcelain diadems,
With a tinge of a blush around the hems,
Like Christmas candles in the round,
They fascinate us and astound.
The weight of all that beauty must
It seems force the tree to the very dust.
No flimsy leaves, but sturdy greenery,
Firmly set in the summer scenery.
Cream with a palour filled with light
Set against darkest forest night.
Even when fallen the blossoms thrive
Pretending that they're still alive.
They lie there scattered on the grass
For our delectation as we pass.
Even when they have been misused,
They retain their fragrance, although bruised.
In saucers they float, indoors, en masse.
(We decay less charmingly, alas!)
Frangipani! You make more sweet
The long slow days of summer heat.

But one frangipani has no flowers.
Wouldn't you guess at it!
It's OURS!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Extra! Extra!

A public Thank You for a private gift!
One that's given me such a lift!
Sent from Canada in the snow
To Oz , that's up-side-down below!
Bear Naked! Good of you to care!
Hope you like this Thank You Bear!
And hoping your husband is on the mend.
Thanks again my Blogging Friend!

288. We Aren't the World!

MEME EXPRESS  has suggested this theme and I fear I've taken a rather ironic view of what I believe was meant to be an inspiring theme! I know the original song was written to encourage charitable giving, so I apologise to all I've managed to depress!


'We are the World?' 
You know, I really doubt it.
Although we couldn't live too well without it.
Maybe it's this, our terrible conceit,
That's leading us toward our own defeat.
Human beings are, of course, a part,
But they didn't even show-up at the start!
They made a really very late arrival
And no-one's putting bets on their survival!
The dinosaurs seemed lords of all creation
But ruled for just a limited duration!
As million after million years went by
'We are the World!'.... 
I'm sure that was their cry.
But they were forced to take a final bow.
Tyranosaurus Rex! Where are you now?
We're not the world! So let us be more humble!
Lest our bright egos take a nasty tumble!
We can enjoy this world in all its glory,
Though we are not the heroes of the story.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

287. Of Course!



The saintly Mother Theresa went up to Heaven (of course).
For her life had been entirely without blame,
And all the trumpets sounded as she entered in the Gates,
And an angel chorus glorified her name.
When it came to supper-time she discovered that her meal
Was some tuna with a morsel of dry bread,
And she ate it very gratefully as you'd expect her to,
And 'Thank you, God' Mother Theresa said.
But she took a little idle peek to the Other Place below,
To that place of endless horrors known as Hell,
And she saw the folk there feasting on venison and steak!
In fact, the Damned were eating very well!
Next night when mealtime came around her food was just the same,
Tuna and bread! Just like the poorest peasant,
And when she once more took a peek and glanced down into Hell
She saw the Damned were eating quail and pheasant!
At last she plucked up courage to question her own fare
And God replied 'There's only Me and you.
There are untold millions eating in that other dreadful place!

It hardly seems worthwhile to cook for two'

Wednesday, January 28, 2009



I find I cannot contemplate
Missing-out tomorrow's  date.
But today I've written quite a few,
So this little effort will have to do!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

286B. The Art of Intersection

The Mosque at Tlemcen.

TOTALLY OPTIONAL PROMPTS suggested this theme for this week.


Human lives intersect,
Sometimes disastrously.

Roadways intersect,
Sometimes disastrously.

But the intersections of architecture
Have no such drawbacks.

They never
All is smooth geometry.

And the intersections,
Seen in Arabian architecture,

Here, in the Mosque at Tlemcen,
'Every prospect pleases'.
The arches
Intersect like a string of pearls.
The traceries of lace,
Intersect like overlapping spider-webs.

Muslim architects
Knew the secret of
Bringing together
Strength and delicacy,
Two seeming opposites.

The world now needs the magic
Of the intersection
More than ever.

Seeming opposites,
To create  geometric perfection.

If only......



At last Paul Smith has asked me out! We're going out tomorrow!
He says a friend has got a punt, which we are going to borrow!
I thought this day would never come! I've longed for him so madly!
I don't like rivers very much but, for him, I'll suffer gladly!
A girl must play her cards just right, if she wants to get her man,
So now's the time for me to sit and calm myself and plan!
I'll take my parasol, of course, for I want to act the lady,
And I'll look quite sort of vulnerable, when the light is shady.
But a hat as well, I'm inclined to think, incase my hair gets mussed,
I'd hate to face a wayward breeze, or, worse, a violent gust!
Stockings? Of course, the white ones; they make me look so pure.
(He guesses I'm a virgin, but white will make him sure!)
Gloves? Now there's a problem; I want to look my best,
But I'm aiming for a girlish look; don't want to be overdressed!
So now, the dress! The blue? Too old; I've had it since last year.
The grey? Too dowdy. Well, the green? The green is torn, I fear.
The yellow gingham has a neckline he might think too low,
And the flowered cotton's childish; I want my dress to flow.
I want him to notice I have ..... curves, those things I mustn't mention.
And a dress that flows might show them off...... though that's not my intention!

I'll wear the PINK!

Yes, that's the one! It highlights my complexion.
He'll see that I'm attractive when he looks in my direction!
Pink brings colour to my cheeks (though some rouge will help as well)
Gentlemen don't like make-up but he will never tell!
Oh how he'll love my dainty look! My girlish parted lips!
The way my pink dress clings to me! My pearly finger-tips!
He'll love my skin, my walk, my voice, but, most of all, my clothes!
I'm certain as a girl can be that Paul Smith will propose!
Why has he left me sitting here, dejected, on my own?
I thought he was a gentleman but here I am, alone!
All I said was ' I like punts; punting is so romantic.'
All I did was giggle and say 'Let's punt the Atlantic!'
All I said was 'Don't splash me!' and 'Oh what horrid flies!'
All I did was get frightened and let out some girlish cries!
Well, the water looked so murky and the punt, well, it was rocking!
But why on earth did he say those words that were absolutely shocking?
I asked if he liked my perfume; the look he gave was blank.
And then he pulled in to the shore and tied up to the river bank!
He says he's gone off for a walk; he says he'll be back later.
It seems to me quite possible he may be a woman-hater!
I think I chose the wrong dress! I should never have picked the pink.
If he asks me out again I'll wear the green, I think.

Bogey Man!

From our local paper this week.



Today we'd call this man a jerk!
A really nasty piece of work!
A soldier with a very cruel mentality.
His victims came here on a cruise
(Without the parties and the booze)
And all they found was dastardly brutality.
His name was Major Morisset,
A name remembered even yet,
And they were Convicts mired up in his jails.
In Newcastle he had his way.
Cursed were those who had to stay
Under his thumb in old-time New South Wales.
One day, while strolling by the sea
He thought 'It would be good for me
To have a private pool that I could use.
These waves are rather high and rough
They're just not quiet and calm enough.
A pool cut in the rocks, that's what I'd choose.'
So he chose a platform made of stone
Where he could bathe and swim alone,
And the convicts came with axes and with picks.
In a line he made them stand,
With implements that came to hand,
Some made for hoeing ground or cutting bricks.
The rocks were hard, the men were weak,
And feeble was their whole technique;
But Major Morisset brooked no denial.
He had men whipped when they were slow;
The hole began to spread and grow,
He saw that he would soon relax in style.
And now we see this crystal pool
Looking inviting, deep and cool,
And we view it as a touristy attraction.
Forgetting that men toiled and bled,
And many of them dropped down dead,
Just to give one tyrant satisfaction.
It's known now as The Bogey Hole
Memorial to many a soul
Who suffered under Major Morisset.
Those convicts live in memory
Here, in our city by the sea.
We owe them all a deep and lasting debt.

285. Whiter than White!

                                                                    LEIGH GUSTERSON

In England, when I was a child, there was a weekly festival, 'The Festival of the Whites', otherwise known as Wash Day!


Monday was Wash Day! Without fail!
White washing was a Holy Grail!
Rissoles for lunch, always, on Monday,
Made from the roasted meat from Sunday.
No time to cook the usual feast;
The burden must not be increased!
Mothers, with such restricted lives,
Made a fetish of being wives,
And sparkling laundry was the aim.
One-Up-Man-Ship the only game!
The purpose of her mighty labours
Was to out-do her next-door-neighbours!
Remember Blue-Bags on laundry day?
Blue-Bags to take away the grey?
How the whites were soaked awhile,
Until they made our mothers smile;
Until sheets hanging on the line,
Fluttered, dazzlingly divine;
Till we saw Mother's spirits soar
For her's were whiter than her's next-door!
Blue-Bags to the rescue every time,
For shoddy laundry was a crime.
Blue-Bags set our mothers free
To see life as it ought to be;
Not as something dull and flawed,
But WHITE to make neighbours over-awed!
Maybe all of us use tricks,
To give our little egos kicks.
Could we but make our dreams come true
By doctoring our lives with blue!

Monday, January 26, 2009

R.I.P. Wally


He sang almost to the end.

He was over ninety
And still singing
To the 'Old Folk'.

We were 'Lemon Drops' together.

He was always immaculate.
Always the perfect gentleman.

I shall treasure the little gifts
He gave us all at Christmas Time.
The hand-cream,
 The scarves.

His voice continued robust
Long after the frailty of his body became obvious.
He would have trouble getting out of his seat;
 Sometimes he would have trouble
Remembering his words......
But his rich baritone voice
Charmed us all,
And we willed him to succeed.

So long as he could sing
He felt he kept death at bay.

He was Australian through and through,
Yet it is his rendition of 'Old Father Thames'
 That will live with me.

I missed his funeral.

I publish this obituary
In his honour.

Dear old Wally.

284. Bran Nue Day!

Three seemingly disconnected topics come together with this prompt. a) Australia Day b) Barrack Obama and c) an Aboriginal film in the making.

On Monday January 26th, it is Australia Day; much flag-waving and beach-cavorting for the Whites, but a day of mourning for the original inhabitants. Last week saw the rise to power of a man of Colour; something to raise the hopes of all non-whites. And I have just heard that a film version of an Aboriginal musical is to be made this year.

The name of the musical is 'BRAN NUE DAY!'
If that's not serendipity what is!


They have lived here
Since the end of
The last Ice Age,
Forty thousand years ago!

Captain Cook,
A 'Johnny-come-Lately',
Came here
Just over two hundred years ago!

Since then
'We' have been White!

'They are from the Stone Age!' 'we' said.

They were

They were also treated kindly.....
But on a lesser scale.

'We' are a nation of Twenty Million.
'They' are a nation of Twenty Thousand.

'We' say
'But they hadn't progressed at all!'

Look where progress has got us!
In debt!
Out of luck!
Choking on our own progress!

They had no need of progress.
The Earth gave them
All they needed....
Food, Warmth, Water.
They thanked the Earth
By being kinder to it
Than we were to them.

Our worst sin was taking away
Their self-respect.
From this arose problems
With drink, violence,
And worse.

Now there is a man of Colour
'On the throne'
Of the most powerful nation on earth.

Let us hope that this news,
This spirit,
This change,
Will reach the driest, poorest little 'humpy' in the Outback.

And bring on a

'Bran Nue Day!'

Bran Nue Dae tells the story of Willie, a young man growing up in the pearl fishing region of Broome. His mother Theresa, who has high hopes for him, sends him to a religious mission for further schooling. Willie is kicked out by the school after an incident and ends up meeting Uncle Tadpole. Together they con a couple of hippies into taking them back to Broome where more revelations await. Ernie Dingo will play Uncle Tadpole and Geoffrey Rush will play Father Benedictus.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

As Good as Gold!


As Good as Gold!
So it says on this poster!
Look closely!

It doesn't say what exactly.
It doesn't promise
To turn every girl into
A pretty Pierrette
Perched on a stool
Playing with a dolly!

A pretty Pierrette
Who, reading between the lines,
Will snaffle
A Pierot
Of unimaginable male

(Why else the
Flouncy skirt,
The pointed toes,
The oh so silky stockings?)

It leaves us to fill-in the spaces,
With girlish dreams.
It leaves us to deduce that
Somewhere in the picture,
There is 'the answer'.
It leaves us to glance idly
At the cigarettes lying close by.

They are in a yellow packet.
We think it 'as good as gold'.

They must be 'the answer'!
Hooray! We've found it!
Everlasting happiness!

I wonder if elderly ladies
Lying coughing
In hospitals world-wide,
Pierrette and her dolly.

I wonder if we, too,
Are reacting foolishly
To other, more sophisticated,
That we do not even recognise.

Will we, too,
One day regret
The siren call
'As Good as Gold.'

283A Reflections

Elizabeth Wix published this photo. It caught my eye so I tossed-off a little bit of nonsense about it.


I can see myself in that, Sis!
I think that's really cool!
If I wore that on Saturday
Wouldn't Taylor drool!
She wouldn't have the legs for it!
Her legs are white and skinny!
While mine are really rather cute!
And I look good in a mini.
I can see myself in that, Sis!
I really like the scarf!
Wouldn't Taylor hate me!
And wouldn't I have a laugh!
She's always got the latest gear!
She makes me feel a fool!
Wouldn't I go one-up on her
If I wore it to school!
I can see myself in that Sis!
But the gloves are a bit way-out.
And the model hasn't got a head!
That's Taylor, without a doubt!

Oh here comes Taylor herself Sis!
She's just come round the bend.
Let's step out and meet her.
(Taylor is my best friend.)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

283.Taking a Break!


This painting, entitled 'Young Italian Girl Resting on Her Elbow' is this weekend's prompt from

Why, I asked myself, was this girl resting? No doubt Cezanne's ghost will let me know if I've got it wrong!


Monsieur Cezanne! I know you pay!
But must I have to stand all day?

Quiet, little one, keep your pose!
I like the line of your peasant clothes!

It's been hours and hours and I'm feeling faint!
All you want to do is paint!

A masterpiece will soon appear!
It's a great work that I'm doing here!

But I can't even have a peep!
And now my foot has gone to sleep!

Stand up straight! Don't droop! Don't sway!
Fidget again and you get no pay!

It's alright for you! You're on a seat!
I wish you were the one with the aching feet!

Great art, my girl, demands sacrifice!
Everyone must pay a price!

Now my back's begun to ache!
How much longer will this take?

The spirits move me and I must heed!
I must go where the spirits lead!

All you bother about's your dream!
And you only pay me one centime!

And all you have to do is stand!
I really thought you'd understand!

Mother wants me home by three!
How much longer will you be!

For goodness sake! Lean on that chair!
Just for a second! That one! There!

Oooh! That's better! Oooh! That's fine!
But what I'd give for a glass of wine!

You Italian girls are all the same!
I'm almost sorry that you came!

Just five minutes, that's all I ask.
Then you can complete your task.

Wait! Wait! Stay there just as you are!
That's a better pose by far!
That hand on cheek is quite appealing!
The lines, the shadows it's revealing!
I'll throw this-morning's in the bin!

Stay just like that and I'll begin!

Phantom Memories



Memories elude us.

They are like
Dot-to-dot pictures
And we cannot quite
Join the numbers.

We think we remember,
But the edges of the memory blur.

Photographs deceive.
They fool our memories.
Our brains
Register a picture,
Nothing more.

'Do you remember?'
We say.
But how can he recall
What I recall?
He wasn't there.

Oh, he was in the room,
But he wasn't there in my place,
Looking through my eyes,
Feeling my emotions.

He looked East.
I looked West.
How can we share a memory?

Sometimes a colour does it!
Suddenly, a  fabric
Brings everything into focus.
We are there again.
It is unsettling.

Music does it sometimes.
When I hear Paul McCartny's 'Yesterday'
The nostalgia 
Overwhelms me.

But I am deluded once again.

Those are his memories,
Not mine.


Oh dear!......Oh my head!
What am I doing here in bed?
Let's look at the clock! My God! Past noon!
Is that the sun? Is that the moon?
I'll put one foot out on the floor.
Ouch! That hurts! My head is sore!
Everything's swimming round and round.
No, I can't put my foot down on the ground.
I'll lie back a little bit longer, yes.
There, that's better.....more or less.
My mouth tastes awful! What did I eat?
I vaguely remember it was Dougie's treat.
He bought a round, then I bought mine.....
Did I drink too much red wine?
Red wine! Ugh! The very thought!
What was the name of that girl Jack brought?
Maybe I'll just sit up in bed;
I'll sort of pander to my head.
If I can sit I'll try the standing.
What's that pile out on the landing?
Oh! It's my clothes; they look a mess!
But why can I see a sort of dress?
I don't wear dresses!..... Maybe I do!
Golly! I think I'm going to ........
There! That's better! But I feel weak.
Is that lipstick on my cheek?
I thought it was me and Dougie and Jack!
Surely I didn't bring someone back!
Now the mirror! Oh! What a sight!
Enough to give a cat a fright!
I must sit down, I feel like jelly!
Why is a bra on top of my telly?
I must get dressed! T-shirt, I think.
Maybe I need another drink.
Pants! Which leg? Is it left or right?
Are these the ones I wore last night?
It must have been a rowdy caper!
I'll stagger out and buy a paper.
Shoes! Where are they? Oh, in bed!
Here's one. It's such a pretty red.
I bought these shoes only yesterday;
They're Berluti. What did I pay?
I seem to remember they cost the earth.
Surprising what good shoes are worth.
Now where's the other, I'll dig down deep,
Did I take them off while I was asleep?
Oh my head! I mustn't bend!
Where's that shoe? Right down the end?
What's this?......... It doesn't belong to me!
No shoe! Wherever can it be?
I think I must lie down again.
It all comes back to me now and then!
Not a very edifying night!
As for the sun, it's far too bright!
Oh dear, parting is such sweet sorrow.
I think I'll look for my shoe tomorrow!

280. Signature Tune

When my children were small and I was housebound, I studied graphology, the interpretation of handwriting. At the start I thought it might be mumbo-jumbo, but experience proved otherwise. Sometimes results were quite uncanny! The following analysis is taken from the opinion of experts, though, as it is many decades since I practised the craft and I would not consider myself reliable at this stage.

Barack Obama's signature is large and bold and free,
A sign that he likes to be noticed at the very top of the tree.
The final strokes in both the names move swiftly to the right,
The sign of a forward-thinker with the future well in sight.
The handwriting is picturesque, colourful and charming,
Here is the sign of someone both vivid and disarming.
His small letters are small indeed, showing powers of concentration;
If he sets himself to work  he brooks no deviation.
The signature has no definite shape; he may sometimes change his mind.
The writing of the versatile is often wavy-lined.
Note the absence of beginning strokes; this means that his attack
Is often without preamble, and with no looking back.
The 'a' is open at the top, indicating verbal skill,
The writing of an orator, with the power to thrill.
The 'O' that starts his family name is smaller than the 'B'.
This means his personality means more than his family tree.
The line of the 'b' cuts through the 'O', cutting his life in two,
Maybe the old and 'African' life and the life that now is new.
The fact that the writing is tricky to read means privacy is desired
By this very, very public man by such ambition fired!
The slant of the signature indicates a reliable sort of man.
All in all a person who will do the best he can.

280A Ceremonial



I am intrigued by the start of things;
What lies at the very heart of things.
For ceremonials seem to be set
Firmly in amber and yet.... and yet....
'It's always been done this way' they say.
But 'always' had its own natal day.
Someone, once, said 'Let's all kneel!'
Or 'I vote we hear the church-bells peal!'
Or 'How about if we shout Hip Hip!'
Or  'Lets walk in a circle and then dip!'
'I know!' another would say 'Then I'm
Going to say a really important rhyme!'
'Let's all throw our hats in the air!
Another will say ' And tear our hair!'
Ideas must have surfaced one by one;
They probably had a lot of fun!
I bet they quarreled and disagreed
Over timing, wording, dance and deed!
Finally, feeling most frustrated
Someone must have stood up and stated
'The king's crowned tomorrow! It's up to me
To create something called a cer-e-mon-y.
Understand! We're on a mission,
Creating something they'll call TRADITION!
In hundreds of years I can hear them say

'Of course, it's always been done this way.'

Friday, January 23, 2009

279A. Humming Birds

Darlene received this (and other similar pictures) from a friend and she feels that this delightful phenomenon should be enjoyed by as many people as possible. I agree. But, because this is a poetry blog, I've added a little verse, written as though the humming birds landed on me!

Oddly enough, another poem about Humming 'Birds' was scheduled for today! It follows this one, but it is a very different sort of poem. I hope you enjoy them both.


On the early morning grass
Something wonderful came to pass!
All the air was filled with humming!
Fluttering, whirring they were coming!
Then, 'joy that passeth understanding'
On my outstretched hand they made a landing!

Humming 'Birds'

This lady looks very much like my Grandma, but it's not her.


My Grandma was of the old school,
Like many, just a drudge,
While Grandpa thought men ruled the world,
And didn't think to budge.
She did the washing, ironing, beds,
The cooking and the floors,
The washing-up, the windows,
And all the other chores.
But she always seemed quite cheerful,
After all, she was a wife,
And every female on the earth
Knew housework ruled her life.

Now Grandma had a saying,
It was picked-up by my Mum;
She'd cry out 'No-one stop me now!
Because I'm in a hum!'
As she bustled round her kitchen
Or she let fly with the broom
Or hung out lines of washing
Or dusted the back room,
We'd hear her say her mantra
As she'd shine a window pane
'Don't stop me now! I'm in a hum!'
Over and over again.

That was seventy years ago
And, luckily, life has changed,
The men are willing(?) helpers
And things are re-arranged.
But some things never alter.
I have my Grandma's genes,
And often I'm the one who cooks
And sweeps the floor, and cleans.
And echoing over the decades
The mantra seems to come......
As I keep the momentum going
I cry 'Look! I'm in a hum!'

But when I stop for coffee
I've some other words to say
I've a mantra of my own......

'That'll do for today.'