•December 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

To the editors of letters in the Sydney Morning Herald
Whether here today, or long since dead and buried,
I dedicate these verses in a spirit of great thanks.
If I’d had one letter printed then these pages would be blanks!



•April 17, 2019 • Leave a Comment

The structure, the history, the identity

Which holds more truth?

Can one exist without the others?

There is beauty in most monuments.

This can exist alone.

But is beauty in the eye of the beholder?

History is important to the whole world

But whose history?

Stories are written by the victors.

We all treasure our deep identity

Religious and national

Or of many things dear to our souls.

I once visited a mosque in Córdoba.

It held a Christian alter,

An electric polisher was hard at work.

A monument to the modern?

To unity of faiths?

To all it touched?

Or a mere symbol of human diversity and persistence.


•October 27, 2018 • Leave a Comment

A baby born before his time
Many moons ago.
A gallant little fighter
Who would not let life go.

He fought to live with courage great,
He breathed once on his own,
Removed his tubes all by himself,
He was doing this alone!

The life he lived was not one month,
I saw him every day.
I gave the milk that he was fed,
And hoped but did not pray.

The nuns around him did that job
As well as nursing him.
I felt no God would let him die
Because I sang no hymn.

Despite this hope, his fight, this care
His life was much too short.
But I’ve six and forty years of love
For the joy he would have brought.

Old Age and Choice

•May 10, 2018 • Leave a Comment


Pruning a bougainvillea is a task for the brave,
But also a task that opens doors to serious thoughts.
Bougainvilleas resist the pruning process.
Their thorns are sharp, their branches supple
If they had teeth they would be bared.
They resist destruction.

Older, as I climb the ladder to chop their heads
To cut the branches ever reaching to the stars,
I reflect that when I can no longer climb this ladder
To reach my stars, I can no longer drive to places far
To unload these off cuts, or merely recharge my senses,
I will wither on the vine.

But now, days later, bougainvillea, once so sharp and spiky
Is a gentle green, and is very softly, slowly reaching
For its same stars. But so low the stars can not be seen.
So low wind cannot blow through needy branches
And the rain, to heal, beats on struggling growth.
The bougainvillea fights for a new life.

Maybe one day, perchance quite soon, I may change my mind.
A wheelchair’s breeze may excite as a car’s slipstream.
A ladder not worth scaling from the highs of bariatric lift.
But no. I will never grow new shoots, stars shine no future
And rain, wind and sunshine wither all old vines.
Time will come to dig out roots.

The Songs That People Sing

•March 28, 2018 • Leave a Comment


Listen to the songs all peoples sing,
The ones learnt at a mother’s knee,
Hark the solemn message that they bring.

Listen, though heralding bells don’t ring
For songs that call for people to be free.
Listen to the songs all peoples sing.

Though sometime in dismay our hands we wring,
Listen for nuances very hard to see.
Hark the solemn message that they bring.

It’s unwise to our old notions firmly cling
Against strong words that make another plea.
Listen to the songs all peoples sing.

And when strangers reach our land by wing
Or sailing o’er a wide and treacherous sea,
Hark the solemn message that they bring.

It can be a wonderful and beauteous thing
Harmonising melodies him, me and thee.
Hark the solemn message that they bring,
Listen to the songs all peoples sing.



Love and Marriage

•September 10, 2017 • Leave a Comment

“Love and marriage, love and marriage,
Go together like a horse and carriage.”
So go the lines we’ve sung through the years,
The lines that joyfully ring in our ears.

In all of the fairy tales taught to the young
In all of the songs that together are sung,
Bliss is that lovers can pledge their great love,
In a wedding with choirs that sing from above.

The prince and the princess can marry with joy,
The pauper can wed a wealthy man’s boy.
No longer a dictate of father and mother
A husband or wife is one’s chosen lover.

Star crossed lovers, we laud their devotion.
Romeo and Juliette, we share the emotion.
Nothing should stand to hinder their wedding,
No family feud should deter them from bedding.

In all of the legends, which many believe,
From Psyche and Cupid to Adam and Eve,
The core of the theme that delights all our minds
Is the triumph of marriage over snakes of all kinds.

So years in the future when legends are told
Songs and stories, I hope, will honour the bold,
The devoted, who fight for their own human right
To wed a beloved by a rainbow’s bright light.


•August 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment


Regrets are for a life not lived,
Not for chances that are gone.
A path that one just never took
Cannot evermore be known.

A door that opens in one’s life
Means another has just closed.
Behind closed doors we never see
But dreams can be supposed.

And while we dream about such loss
Reality is frozen
We then might miss the very paths
Behind the door we’ve chosen.

To tread true paths in any life
We must look where we are going.
Not stare into a wonderland
Of glimpses that are showing.

For every glimpse we think we see
Or story we are told
We miss the nugget on our path
That turns out to be gold.

Teenage Boys

•July 18, 2017 • Leave a Comment


Like saplings they stand tall reaching for the stars.
Striplings raw with athleticism sway, lithely, side to side
Wind whistles around them. Lightening oft strikes.
Hear the sound of giant redwoods groaning in the forest.

The wild birds and animals are wary, some avoidant
Some using the whipping branches to look to the future.
Creatures of uncertainty, is this a tree or man for our time
Or will the hopes and promises of more be stunted?

Panic. Will there be bushfires, droughts or floods
To impede life, to break hearts, to stop branches blossoming?
Or will maturity come, the trunk widening, the canopy sheltering
The boy learning, growing helping others, living life.

Most saplings and striplings grow strong, some stalwart gums.
Some slighter, more willowy, their canopy more sparse
Reaching for the ground, the animals, the bubbling brooks.
Some alone in wider fields, on taller slopes, on barren plains.

But all give joy. If singed by fire, gnarled limbs renew the leaves
Giving more cover. When struck by lightening the divide’s a treasured home.
Warped branches delight, varied barks sought for their many colours.
Difference is the essence of being, for sapling and tree, boy and man .