Email: info@mudgeehistory.com.au
Author/Administrator: Diane Simmonds
Mudgee, NSW
Phone: 0488 065 456

A Selection of Reconciliation Poems

by

Diane  de St Hilaire  Simmonds (C)

 

The Reconciliation Poems of One Spirit on this page are copyright (c). If you wish to use any of the poems, please contact the author: info@mudgeehistory.com.au for written permission.

NAIDOC song for children

By  Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds © 2016

(It can be sung to the tune Happy Talk from South Pacific, or just recited as a poem)

  

Let’s share happy happy happy talk

Emu, lizard, kang-ar-oo.

Our Dreamtime spirits dream

Together we’re a team

To make our land the best that we can do.

(Two year olds could just sing/say one verse)

 

Let’s share happy happy happy talk

We’ll help each other every day.

In Dreamtime let us be

Good friends and so may we

Bring good Dreamtimes to us all today.

 

Let’s share happy happy happy talk

Let’s be friends and say g’day.

Red, yellow, black or white,

There’s nothing wrong or right

We need each other to be good at play.

 

 

A DREAMTIME WISH

(c) Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds 2016

Black spirits dance across the plains

a strange Corroboree

and dusty willy-willies

sigh a Dreamtime wish for me.

My soul feels so united

with this land and with its soil

and my heart just swells with music;

makes my anguish disembroil.

The peace of velvet night skies;

Southern Cross; The Milky Way:

symbolic stars of harmony

and union, within lay.

And I hear a Dreamtime whisper

as a song sighs through heat haze

to the throb of dusty dancing

as Corroborees mime plays

to pass on the ancient legends

of a mystic unity

of land; creation; spirit,

for unique souls who are free

to be different; individual,

yet united and as one -

not just with neighbouring brothers

but with water, earth and sun.

My spirit captures legends

of those ancient orange sands,

though grandparents were not born here -

yes, they came from foreign lands -

but my soul's conceived in folklore

and my heart's a southern myth

that lingers round the gum trees

and Blue Mountain caves as if

way back there in ancient Dreamtime

when the earth was formed as one,

I played with dusty brothers

when our dreams had just begun.

Now my hopes and dreams aren't mystic -

they're here now; for time to come:

that though unique we may be,

united destiny we've won.

Diane (far right) with husband Peter and Holly Grech at the opening of M/s Grech's solo exhibition, 'An Australian Story, These are the hues of the land I love'.

Diane Simmonds, featured in the solo exhibition of Photomedia artist Holly Grech on Friday, 26th September at the Umbrella Studio of Contemporary Arts in Townsville.

The poem above, A Dreamtime Wish, inspired Holly Grech for her first artwork, Dreamtime, in An Australian Story, These are the hues of the land I love exhibition. M/s Grech’s Dreamtime artwork sold on the first night of the exhibition for $2,000.

M/s Grech also produced a book on her exhibition, featuring the poetry that inspired her for ‘the hues of the land I love’, a line from Dorothea Mackellar’s poem, The Colours of Light. Henry Lawson, Banjo Patterson , Vance Palmer, Henry Kendall, William Ogilvie and other significant Australian poets featured in the collection. Diane was the only living poet featured.

A collaboration between M/s Grech’s artworks with emerging artists Tegan Ollett - Performance Artist, Aaron Ashley - Projection Artist and Matt Elwin - Sound Artist entertained guests during the opening night as an artwork in itself. This performance will also feature in other Townsville venues.

“It was a great honour to be featured in the exhibition as one of the poets who inspired Holly,” Diane said.  “I was quite astounded.”

 

Also used by St Jospeh's School, WEST TAMWORTH NSW  to celebrate NAIDOC Week

Also published in The Australia Times online Poetry Magazine

Bush Spirits

(c) Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds 2016

When the sunshine hits the rockrace

Casting shadows from the sky

And silver sunlight glistens

And the ferntrees smile and sigh

As they bask in warmth and glory

And reflect the silver wings

That flitter here and there

When the spirits fly and sing

In the morning on the mountain

Whenthe bush nymphs say a prayer

You see the mountain’s splendour

And your heart becomes aware.

 

 

The Seasons of a Nation

By Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c) Mudgee 2014

  Our winter desert

bereft of leaves,

bare willow branches

reaching for sun's warmth

finds icy winds of justice

howling.

Ghost Gums twist,

and taunt

of yester years' crime.

Present day politicians

wash their hands in others' tears

and offer a cross to the afflicted:

nothing of value,

emptiness,

crumbs beneath the master's table.

Dreamtime ghosts shout across a desert

in winter winds

of emptiness.

Red ochre rocks crumble

into barrenness

and stretch their naked dunes,

blowing whither winter winds desire

to eternal horizons.

Barren,

empty as the Easter grave.

Didgeridoo drones to clacking sticks

and ancient warriors war again

to claim their souls once more.

from winter's death.

Dust to dust.

Ashes to ashes.

Yet like the Christ

I rise again in spring.

 

 

Spring.

New life

from old branches -

scarred,

bare,

and awkward,

blossoms into glory -

fruitful, multiplying.

Rebirth burgeons forth

in desert dunes -

a miracle of splendour

once tears and rain are shed.

Regeneration

peers through cracks in boulders

where slippery moss is washed

in baptismal sprinkling,

soaking rainforest floor,

sanctifying death and decay

to resurrection.

The winter snows melt.

Hardness of heart

tires of trudging deserts.

Lilies bloom on the sand dunes

with Sturt's  Desert Pea

and Kangaroo Paw.

Spring is hope.

 

 

Summer.

Carefree

golden beaches.

Children playing in the waves.

Black children, white children,

romp with yellow friends.

The innocence of dawn

rising on warm blue waters.

Salty spray

whips against ancient rocks,

each wave a newcomer

and yet eternal,

returning from the deep bottomless oceans

of creation

where mermaids sing

and Neptune's crown gives forth

from mystic to reality -

life

and Holy Spirit breathes

a soul with no colour.

 

Summer -

where folk songs sung by sirens

in washed out caverns,

caves haunted by ancient chants

of didgeridoo

and warriors' wailing over waves

that wash the fire ring's shells,

call children to explore.

Could it be possible

their voices echo laughter?

  

Autumn.

Mellow days

and balmy nights.

Fruit ripens on the trees

from yesterday's labour.

Golden days end in

lapping waves sweeping yellow sands

in shiny silver light.

A full white moon,

calm and serene

in a black velvet sky.

Amphitheatre for an Oscar.

The whole world sits upon a stage

and the prompter speaks from history,

chants ancient desert corroborees

and folk songs from old England's shores

to mystic Greek mythologies

and exotic Asian melodies.

The milky way is the audience

and the southern cross MC.

And the sound speaks out to the universe -

We are one!

 

And the seasons turn to infinity:

Dreamtime,

Eternity.

Life, drawn into a Trinity.

We are one.

The Search

By Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c) Mudgee 2014

 

Her spirit lives in places

where I've never been before;

deep gipsy black eyes dancing

by the plains of Nullarbor.

I trudged and trudged that desert

as her ghostly form called on

and her presence stirred the sand-dunes

and her whispers sang sweet songs.

The passion of her noonday sun

burns memories by night

and my dreams disturb my memory

with a Truth bathed in moonlight

As the Milky Way spills legends

on  Dreamtime’s spangled skies

and starlight angels in a cross

           sing southern lullabies.

The min min dawns ethereal:

like a spotlight on the stage

and lifts horizon's curtain

on my antique holy page,

and the Brolga danced in orange dust

its strange Corroboree....

and eternal spirits beckoned

as they called and called to me.

A strange dance throbbed and swelled and paused

within my desert heart,

and her spirit like a willy willy

swirled and I was part

of the dance that beat a rhythm

'cross those ancient orange sands

in unity and passion

with shrouded Dreamtime lands.

I could have stayed;  become like her -

a mystic;  legend;  myth,

but my anchor tugged and pulled at me,

and dragged me back as if,

by the coast of settled cities,

where white collars and black tails

like the penguins, waddle on the shores,

and tide wears rock, but fails

to let go of safe tradition,

as it laps eternal shore

and sail seas of Dreamtime's vision

to holiness once more.

 

 

UNITY

By Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c) Mudgee 2014

 

Fifty million years ago

I lived...

in desert reds

and healing streams,

in blue gum mists and mountain greens

and olives

dancing in my breath.

You think of me and think of death

and yet I live.

My passion moves, creating free

the white men, aborigine.

You think you're different, who believe?

You're part of me and I retrieve

the right to make you black or white,

like seas and deserts, day and night.

I've made you whole at last.

My life's spaced through eternity,

rained in the rivers, flowed to the sea,

then risen in ethereal clouds

that rain fertility

and twitch the brolgas dancing feet,

delighting all who come and meet

me in my death again.

You think I'm dead.   I live!

See in that ochre desert rock

the finest atom sit and mock

those who proclaim to 'own' me,

like a slave.

The plus and minus I have made

to make a whole.

When your three score years and ten

have ended, like the rest of men

and you join me in rocks and trees,

breath fondles olive silver leaves,

and house a wedge tail in your arms,

soar in warm currents over farms

and ancient burial grounds...

you'll laugh...

you're one with me, you're one!

 

 

 

 

AUTUMN

By Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c) Mudgee 2014

 

From dust I came

surrealist realm of ochre rocks and blue tipped limbs

ancient music throbs  my veins

I am earth and sea and sky

From the rivers I came

flowing, peaceful,

laughing with pebbles on shallow days

deep, turbulent, searching:  my moody days.

My still blue skies in autumn hushed

bar the sun clipping the tips of bells ringing

magpie chimes across mellow breezes

whispering in the ear of ghostly gums stretching,

lazy in the noonday sun.

I am dust

as I sit and ponder

bereft of soul

for my soul is dancing in the wind with butterflies,

my soul is flashing silver backed gum leaves

in the sun

my soul is singing and sighing in river caves;

turning blue in ethereal eucalyptus gases

It is autumn

and I am dust.

 

 

I AM  AUSTRALIAN

(c) Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds 2016

 I search my soul, my mind and conscientiousness

to know where I belong,

explore my love, my life and  loyalties,

find out my hearts true song.

My spirit wanders through the desert lands,

seeking refreshing streams

and somewhere near and somewhere long ago,

my 'self' is made in dreams.

  

Beside a billabong at night,

a stranger walks

about who might,

be your or I,

a kindred quest,

do we belong

as clan, or guest?

I am white woman, young and beautiful,

my babe has skin dark brown,

my mate's exotic, mix of everywhere,

 no more a remnant of the crown.

Exiled, banished, because of poverty,

scandal, politics, and sin

I've  died and risen, sought asylum

revived my spirit, fresh ideals to win.

 

Upon my soul

lands'  spirit's born.

Within my heart

earth's early morn

awakes my youth,

and claims my years,

it holds  my joy,

soothes all my tears.

  

I'm born of dust of beaches, deserts,

Australian through and through,

with  respect to our unique Dreamtime -

creations' God in me and you.

I have no love or quest for other lands

for here I now belong

My soul was born on craggy mountaintops

It sings a desert song.

  

From dust I came,

 to dust degenerate -

maybe red ochre,

white sand, black loam.

In unity

with earth and heaven,

in truth I call

Australia  home.

 

 

THE AUSSIE SPIRIT

(c) Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds 2016

Used by year 10 Geography at the Melbourne Rudolf Steiner School.

Long long ago in Dreamtime

Creation's Spirit breathed

over waters, lands and skyways:

a Southland was conceived.

The sun's warm rays touched rocks and trees;

clouds rained fertility;

the Spirit breathed into mankind

its own soul; mystique; free.

The Spirit danced from man to man

like willies on the sands;

breathed laughter into kookas;

skipped in brolga's swampy lands.

The Dreamtime Spirit romped and played

with all beneath the sun

and human heartbeats whispered

an understanding:  all are one.

We mock now our origins;

forget our unity.

We think the holy dollar

is the way to set us free.

We rape our land and prostitute

the mother of mankind;

sell coastlines to exploiters;

to ecology are blind.

We think we have a need for jobs

handed on a silver platter;

forget that we're Creation's sons:

our spirit doesn't matter.

As long as dollars line our palms

we forget we're meant to be

fruitful;  multiplying

with the land and with the sea.

So Aussie mates, please listen.

With your hearts meet with your soil.

Take one good look at nature

and you'll understand and toil.

Wrestle with your gods within

which is dominant to be:

the one who binds your fate to gold,

or the One who sets you free

to work with our great Southland

in creative; fruitful dreams.

Let your spirit dance;  imagine

man and nature wedded themes.

 

 

CHRISTMAS  STAR

 

In a humpy camped on orange sands

beside a billabong;

clacking sticks and didgeridoo

throb out a mystic song

of love:

a Dreamtime song of love,

where man and spirit,

earth and sky

are one.

 

In a humble farmer's cottage

on sun parched paddocks brown,

a family sing carols

with a hushed and sacred sound,

of love:

the Christ Child's song of love:

how man and spirit,

earth and heaven

are one.

 

In a velvet canopy above,

Christmas stars shine down so bright.

Southern Cross becomes the symbol

to my children: black and white -

of love:

eternal song of love:

where men on earth are one.

By a cross of true forgiveness,

all are one.

 

 

 Cobb & Co come to Byrock Gilgai.

 

Did you know Baiame, when you created this magic watering hole for your people,

That we would one day share it with another tribe.

Did you know back then, when skies were decked with winging gods who walked this hallowed earth;

Touched sacred rocks with wells of life;

Symbols of a man and wife: water, soil, fertility.

This place, where earth and heaven meet, did you know back then you'd greet

white ghosts in burning chariots,

Of yellow ochre, flaming red,

Cages bringing those we dread

back from a Dreamtime myth,

To live with us as if,

Death has overtaken life.

Yet in your sacred waterhole where earth and heaven kissed, you know

the symbols of two different worlds are wed.

When in the course of life we shed

our fear,

Mortality embraces life, we share a resurrection, might,

Know what you planned back then.

Let's look into your waterhole, and see the clouds and heavens part

 Enough to see, to give a start,

To fill creation's dream.

And then at eventide a spell, will come, deliver us from hell,

For in its mirror of the night, in velvet skies, Baiame, a sight,

A southern cross reflects a birth:

Redemption to the depths of earth,

Two worlds unite in Byrock's holy gilgai.

 

 

 


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info@mudgeehistory.com.au

Would you like to contribute to these Australian poetry pages. Send your submission to the editor on dzsimmonds@bigpond.com

Poems by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c) 2016, Mudgee. If you wish to use any of the poems, please email the author: dzsimmonds@bigpond.com  

I am happy for you to use them, but I would like to know where and when.

A one off public reading is permitted as long as my authorship is acknowledged at that reading and you let me know where and when.

The general public may use a poem for their own personal use as long as my authorship is acknowledged at that use, but commercial publishers must gain written permissison from the author to publish.

 

Goldrush Woman:

Letters to and from the goldfields.

 by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c) 2016

 

Dear William,

Thank you for your letter. Mum is feeling so much better,

I had a job in Turin Castle as a milkmaid. It was good.

We got milk all through the autumn and made cheese, the neighbours bought ‘em;

the money bought Mum medicine and wood.

 

You say come to New South Wales, when the next ship from here sails;

we can send gold home to Mum to keep her well.

So I’ve packed up sons and daughters, left brothers, sisters, Mum, who taught us

never sit and whine when life churns up a hell.

 

When she can, my mum will come, with brothers, sisters, all will run

to the land of opportunity and wealth,

for with me your fate will rise, as together, if we’re wise,

we can work and save and build our family’s health…

 

Dear Mum,

From the ship bound for the free land, New South Wales sure is the key and,

I expect our new life surely will succeed.

Will’s got a good claim at World’s End, and a shanty I defend

with good tucker for the diggers mouths to feed.

  

We walked here from Ballarat, where the good gold once was at,

but the new rush took us north to find our treasure.

Life was hard while moving on, with rain and sleet and snow upon

the mountains, which in summer gave such pleasure.

When at last we all arrived, gave God thanks that we survived.

Found World’s End as literal as you like to take it.

In deep bush along the Meroo, it’s so beautiful that you

will gladly stay, when to this place you finally make it.

  

There is work when you come here, selling food, supplies and beer.

You’ll be healthy here and life is good, if rough.

The sun shines every day and though it’s very hot, you’ll say

we are fortunate; good food, good health – enough.

  

Many folk around us swear, us tough females bravely bear

the brunt of hardships in this savage place.

But it’s not bad. We’ve suffered worse, back in Ireland where the curse

of the famine and the overlords we face.

  

We can work our way out here, be our own boss with good cheer.

If our claim goes rich we’ll live a life of style

and be equal to the lords, and the cavalry with swords

cannot seize our wealth across the scattered mile.

  

So we look to you to come; for we’re settled and we’ve won

our honest place in this great southern land.

It’s a new life and we’re free, it’s a hard life, but we’ll be

our own masters. On our own good soil we stand.

Mates

 by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c) 2016

 

We sat there and yarned ‘neath the old gum tree

‘bout nothing in particular, or worse,

‘bout the days we meandered up dusty lanes

And the day that we lost mum’s  purse.

Yes, we sat there and fiddled with blue gum leaves

As we squashed their perfume to the air

And we sniffed eucalyptus and we drew in the dust

With the gumsticks decorating our hair.

Distinct smell of ants as we squashed their trail

When we stamped in the dust and leaves

Gave a thirst for rain on the old homestead

Where one mate to the other one cleaves.

Yes, we sat there and yarned till dinner time

Though what about I haven’t a clue

But as the clear drought sky blazed a piercing eye

I guess I just took comfort in you.

For we’ve shared tough times since the day you were born

Taken comfort, but given some pain

Like the time I slipped with the practise whip

And next day you got even again.

But once come to terms with our sibling spats

We were mates, stuck together like glue.

We were mates, no matter what came our way

Whether laughing or ‘having a blue’

You taught me to kick –

I got keen and sharp

And I beat you in a football match.

You built good ‘cubbies; we’d play Mums and Dads,

And as a ‘father’ none could hold a patch.

Now our parenting’s real, our own kids kick balls

When we visit the old homestead and folks

And we sit and talk and enjoy a while

As we laugh at mum’s corny jokes.

The smell of the rain sweeps across the plains

And excitement in our veins runs wild

As we cooee and dance as raindrops kick the dust

Safe to act, once again, like a little child.

 

 

 

The Blacksmith

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Steel rings, flint flies,

His craft is old and true.

The mingling sweat of horse and man:

A battler, he’s true blue.

With arms of steel, back like the trunk

Of Stringybark gum trees

The man and hot shod horse are mates;

Mare snuffles; bellows wheeze.

 

 

 

 

 

The Shoemaker

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Smells of tanning reek the air.

Mute rhythm taps a song.

Leather creaks soprano’s tune:

The cobbler’s lace and thong.

Fine ladies dance and farmers trudge.

Children skip and play

In wares of humble cobbler skill,

Feet walk this land each day.

 

 

 

 

 

The Alchemist

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

The Alchemist’s mystical terrain

Of pots and potions to cure all ills;

A universal elixir to restore

Eternal youth and life that fulfils

Our wish to exist forever,

To never let go – and yet

The Alchemist’s esoteric secret

Is those who give up life, life beget.

 

 

 

 

The Rough Rider

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

He’s tough, alert, a daredevil.

Life’s for now; quick thrills.

He doesn’t mind a sprain or two

He’s ready for some spills.

The Rough Rider lives life that way.

He’s cheery whate’re befall.

Life’s ups and downs he rides with ease.

Flat out he rides; gives all.

 

 

 

 

 

The Apple Seller

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Apples, apples Sir, two a penny’s cheap.

Two a penny Sir, two pennies last a week

For me and what’s mine.

A baby and a toddler, and me man

Whose doin’ fine

On what I make with apples.

Apples, apples, buy an apple now,

Take it to your office, your lunch it will endow

And think of me who grows it

For two pennies a week.

 

 

 

 

 

The Stockman

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Dust and cattle, sweat and noise;

Cows bawling, scorching sun;

Whips are cracking; blue dogs bark;

The long day’s work most done.

The stockman yearns for grub and beer;

A yarn by campfire bright.

His swag unrolled, he’ll map the stars

That wander through his night.

 

 

 

 

The Shearer

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

Torn singlet shows his tanned strong arms

That hold his sheep secure.

His back is stooped, legs stand astride

To make his strength endure

The clip. Sheep number 89

Is scooted down the shute.

The ringer hopes to keep his score

And hear mates cheer, “You beaut!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Swaggie

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

His old dog ‘Blue’ sits by his side;

His only friend of late.

He tramps from country town to town

Accompanied by his mate.

They share his swag, his billy tea,

His meal of rabbit stew.

The mateship of the Swaggie and

His mate is known by few.

 

 

 

 

Another Swaggie

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Along the country track a mile

Tramps slow and ragged feet.

A stooped old man walks with his dog

And asks all those he meets

For work. A bit of work for food

To keep the dog and man.

A bit of work, and tucker

To give a mate a hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gold Panner

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Out in the bush on the creek’s stony bank

Sits a shed made of iron; inside’s dark and it’s dank.

Open fire on one side heats a chimney of stone

Where a stew brews all day beside a kettle’s soft moan.

A table and chair flank an old wrought iron bed

Where snoring his head off, sleeps wrinkly old Ned.

Now Ned’s an old prospector looking for gold.

He sits in the river sifting sand in the cold.

He’s tattered and muddy; though holes poke his knees,

Ned sits on a fortune that nobody sees.

For under the floorboards in his rusty old shack

Is hidden hold nuggets the size of your hat.

They could buy him a castle with a view by the sea

And a Rolls Royce to get there; where men strive to be

But old Ned has no need of a castle in Spain

‘cause the lifestyle he leads leaves him nothing to gain.

For he’s free in the mornings when sun touches the skies

Till the starlight at evening shines on dreamy closed eyes

With nature all ‘round him from moon’s skies to gum tree.

You see, Ned doesn’t need gold that owns you and me.

 

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

 

The End of the World

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

Dedicated to Count Rudy of Hill End NSW

 

Do you dream of escaping

To the end of the world

Alone in the beauty

Of nature unfurled?

Where gum trees sigh peacefully

Against a blue sky
Water whispers and trickles

In the creek that’s nearby.

And the butcher bird’s song

Rings out through the trees.

A song of the wilderness

Your longings to please.

The earth shimmers in silence

From man’s problems which tease –

Just the sun and the mountains

And the whispering breeze.

Do you dream of such longings?

Does your soul long for peace?

Then come to Hill End

Let your problems all cease.

Give your ear to the Bell Birds.

Give your eyes to the sky.

Let the breeze caress softly

Nature’s healing draw nigh.

Make friends with ‘old timers’.

Draw from peace that is theirs.

Learn to keep life so simple

There’s no place for your cares.

Absorb the contentment

From the locals’ lives there.

Learn nature’s values.

Tranquillity wear.

Never mind all the Joneses

With their scurrying lives curled.

Head straight for Hill End.

To the end of the world.

 

 

Kling Wrap

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

You pull at it and you tear at it

And occasionally you swear at it

And try your best to stick it –

The product known as Kling Wrap.

 

It crunches up together.

With it a horse could tether.

Its strength is undefeatable

The product known as Kling Wrap.

 

My Mum is quite good at it.

She’ll smooth at it and pat it.

For her it sticks just where it should.

The product known as Kling Wrap.

 

You should see Father try it.

He tries to bend and tie it.

And FATHER ends up gift wrapped with

The product known as Kling Wrap.

 

So before you end up divorcing it.

Go to Uni for a course in it.

You’ll end up wrapping the whole horse in it.

The product known as Kling Wrap.

 

 

              

Eurunderee

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

While driving through the country

In the early morning light

The sunshine’s warm rays touched me

As I looked off to the right.

And there before the mountains

In the valley’s morning hue

Were clouds of mystic beauty

With soft tree shapes peeping through.

Though I could not see behind the mist

The valley’s gems of gold,

I knew that they were there

From experiences of old.

And I thought how just like daily life

Thos mystic clouds must be

For they sometimes hide true beauty

As they whisp around a tree.

So in life when dreary clouds ahead

Spread dread within our heart

Remember misty valleys

Of life’s joys are really part.

And watch God’s light draw high the clouds

And lift the valley’s veil

To show the sparkling gems of faith

Along each winding trail.

The last tear

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

She stood dressed scantily by the road,

Grey clouds had gathered round

Her last few leaves of gold and brown

Like teardrops hit the ground.

Her glorious branches stark, exposed

Like naked arms in prayer

Shafts of gold float down to earth:

Foliage once her crown of hair.

What more could harsh winds whip and shake

What more could May gremlins steal,

Her last hold on summer’s all but spent.

Shed tresses round her feet in prayer kneel.

But harsh winds’ winter storm is short

For in springtime’s wakening breeze

What once was dead brings forth new life

Again on budding trees.

 

 

A Roadside Trip to Parkes

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Just out of town

Where locals dump their rubbish

Stinks

And there beside the eyesore

Shining in the sun

A native pea

Wandering...

Brings beauty

They bask on a warm spring day

Side by side

Giving balance to the world.

 

 

 

 

Winter Rain

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

There’s been a bit of rain

And around Yeoville, Parkes and Dubbo

There’s green and gold canola

As far as the eye can see.

It was dry brown grass last trip.

We must eat a lot of butter.

 

Chapel in the Nursing Home

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

We sang songs without music

Led by a tone deaf lady

And a jovial man

Jumping around like a monkey.

He preached the Gospel

To those past caring

And told them

The best was yet to come.

Maybe we will have music

 in heaven.

Everyone said

It was good.

So what was good:

The gathering,

The caring,

The laughing

And the hope that there is more.

 

 

The Readers Festival

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Lots of people,

Thousands,

Grasping at every word

And inspiring thought

From the mouths and brains of writers:

Preachers to the Western world,

Giving food

To the spiritual hungry.

In a world

That has shunned religion.

Just words

From man to man

Like fishing in your own bathtub.

It was all good,

Inspiring,

Enlightening,

Fun,

But the best thing there

was the  children

doting on Mem Fox,

singing

‘If you’re happy and you know it’;

reading

words, grammar, spelling.

In the beginning was the Word.

 

 

Small Towns

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

Small towns along a highway,

Tomingley, Peak Hill, Stuart Town,

Busy vehicles

Passing the quiet life

At 110kph

Modern people with modern lifestyles

Cars

Semi’s

Grey nomad vans

Outpacing the ones

they have left behind

in tumble down houses

and relics of yesteryears’ cars

dumped around them.

They sit on their verandahs

watching the world go past

with their cup of tea

and home made ANZACs

then feed the chooks,

water the vegies

and milk the goats

before their afternoon nap.

And we wonder

who really has the good life?

 

 

Highways of life

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Truck stops along a highway

filled with grey nomad vans

stopping the night.

They have spent their life

working,

gathering,

accumulating,

seeking the good life

in their spotless,

minimalistic houses

and stylish cars

only to leave it all behind

and live with nature

in their spotless, minimalistic, swishy vans,

drinking latte in small villages

on the footpaths

in the sun.

 

 

 

 

A Trip to the beach

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

The ocean roars

its mighty breath.

It heaves its powerful hands

against the shores

day in, day out,

never stopping:

watery turbines wasted

as strong currents sweep over watery worlds below

and natural air conditioning bathes earth’s summer shores

where sweltering land lubbers

come in hordes

for relief from suburban heatwaves.

Seagulls use the windy ocean currents

to cool,

to glide,

to play,

to eat.

They know the power of the pristine tides.

Yet we still burn coal..

 

 

 

Fishing on the beach

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Spent $12 on frozen prawns

bu catching nothing.

Seagulls sit on the sand

in the sun

watching

the sea heaving

its mighty chest

against the shores,

then breathing in

its streams of foam

to show again

its timeless strength.

Blue horizons

gather a cloud or two

and salty spray

dances with the heavens,

complaining of its barrenness.

We pack up to go home

and the sleeping seagulls

swoop

on discarded bait.

Beach bums surviving

on handouts..

 

 

The Saints of Malley’s Flat

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (C) 

Published in ‘The Land’ Newspaper. 

Based on a true story.

Do you remember now my friend,

Now we are old and grey,

The ‘saints’ of our old Mallee’s Flat,

When life was blithe and gay. 

Do you remember old man Bob,

T’was thought he weren’t ‘all there’

Till he was heard reciting verse

For hours without a care.

When Rev. Jo the preacher came

To show us all ‘god’s might’,

We arranged a concert for Sunday School,

And asked old Bob to recite.

The verse went on and on my friend,

For half an hour or more,

Till Rev Jo, his face all red,

Pushed Jo toward the door.

We clapped and whistled loud applause,

And stamped and yelled for more

Poor Rev. Jo, confused, perplexed,

Could not calm the roar.

T’was Billy Hughes’ bright idea,

A teaser through and through,

The preacher marked him to repent,

After another prank or two.

And now my mind stays round the bend,

And halfway down the hill,

To where the row of pine trees grew,

To May’s garden senten-ill

And when I longed for peace and quiet

I would come here for a rest,

And talk with May, who though t’were old

Was sure one of the best.

T’was like a stay in heaven I thought,

To stop and talk with May,

In her oasis full of cheer,

She worked in the sun all day.

‘Don’t mind my gardening dress,’ she’d say,

Bent o’er to dig the land,

And as she bent, her old dress showed,

On her rear, a sun bleached band.

But gnarled old hands, and tattered hat

Above a dried brown face,

Showed love and peace to all who came,

Our May was full of grace.

She was kind to Susie Grey,

The Mallee’s own libertine,

Who though the matrons looked down their nose,

Their sons did contravene.

And so to shock the town’s blue blood

Or hold a trump-card, rather,

Her eleven children’s surnames differed –

According to the father.

I smile at the thought of Ernie’s shop,

Its door bell gently tinkling,

To show the way to smells and delights

Of which children now have no inkling.

Those were the days my old, old friend,

Smoking chimneys, the welcome mat,

And friendly smiles, and knowing eyes,

Of the ‘saints’ of Mallee’s Flat.

 

The Melbourne Cup in Mudgee

Written after visiting a Melbourne Cup 'do' and seeing a friend attacked by foolish snobbishness.

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

The first Melbourne Cup dinner I attended

Was glamorous.

Eyes ran up and down

When I arrived

That  said, “Who’s she?”

That was ten years ago.

Ten years of drought

And recession.

This year’s Cup

Had lots of home-made hats

Some a little crazy.

 

 

 

 

Fertilizing troubles

This poem speaks for itself and was one of the first I wrote  about our alternative lifestyle in Mudgee.

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

The old tree down the back was a terrible disgrace,

When we first came to Mudgee, with its gnarled and battered face,

And bare arms mutilated from the drought and scathing wind;

Its twisted knobbed old body dripped its bark as though t’was skinned.

We pondered on its future: what a shame to cut it down.

If only we could save it and somehow restore its crown.

We thought of it in days gone by when it was in its prime;

Its hair all bathed in glory; boughs strong for kids to climb.

Six drought years of settling in, our house now built upon

Our land, where battles conquered foes; where victories have shone.

Our tree it seems joined in our fight, its enemies it scorned,

And aided by our battling plight, boughs stand with leaves adorned.

When now I look at ‘standing grace’ sway gently in the breeze;

Its arms outstretched to touch the sky, sun shining on its leaves.

I think of how its battles won, it laughs in victory,

And thanks us for excretion waste, we buried beneath our tree.

 

 

The Shearing Cook’s baked dinner

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

“Not stew again,” the men all cried, ‘We’ve had it up to ‘ere.’”

“It’s different,” the camp Cooky lied, “to last night’s mince and beer.

Tonight’s a specialty my friends,

A rare delicious treat.

Superb creation never ends;

My menus are a feat.”

“It’s stew again. Don’t cover up.

It’s boring plain old stew.

Why can’t we feast a different sup – roast beef, and baked spuds too?”

“How can I get roast beef out here?

Lamb meat the boss provides.

A shearers’ cook can’t poach a steer,

He’d tan our flamin’ hides.”

“We’re sick of lamb, we’re sick of stew,

We want some better tucker.

We’d give our pay cheque for one ‘do’ of real home baked beef supper.”

“I’ll try,” said Cook. “I’ll search my brain and risk to poach a steer.

My reputations all in vain if my meal brings one jeer.”

So Cook crept out later that night,

His nerves were all ajitter.

His sharpest blade he held fist tight

And hoped the steer don’t twitter.

The ‘job’ all done by early morn

In silence of the moonlight,

The sun rose stealthily e’re the dawn

Found cook back from a dune hike.

He’s searched and found rare native fruits

For fruit pie of the century.

“I’ll fix these flamin’ whinging brutes;

This taste will test their dentury.”

He fussed and clattered pans all day;

He seasoned, sifted, walloped;

Stuffed tender beef with scented hay;

With his 'choppers' pie crust scalloped.

The meal was served: a brandy baste on the beef men voted ‘different’.

The pie, ‘superb’

A wondrous taste –

None knew Cook’s false teeth crimp’d it!

 

The Mudgee Blockie

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

[This is the story of the Simmonds family's first days in Mudgee, in the alternative lifestyle period of Mudgee's development, when 25 acre people came from Sydney and other areas to live a 'self sufficient' lifestyle. They were commonly called 'blockies' by the 'true locals' and often looked down on. However the years have proved the blockies' worth and the region has become a vibrant growth area because of the diversity of skills the blockies brought.]

T’was from Sydney she came

Country life in her veins

Enthusiasm simply was ooz’n.

The good life for me

And the kids will be free

From the smog and the rat race and booz’n.

They moved into a shed,

Enough room for the bed

A table and chair and the kitten.

“We don’t need much,” said she

“Bush work’n we’ll be.”

By the ‘build your own’ bug they’d been bitten.

In just a month or two

Our house will shine all new.

Built with our own hands – and no mortgage.

The garden’s all planned

‘Course chemicals are banned.

You KNOW bugs don’t like garlic and borage.

There’ll be water in excess,

Waste not want not’s a success,

With bathwater, dishwater and slops.

And the veges will grow

With the herbs in a row

And the show judge will vote them the tops.

Our own meat we will raise

As o’er pastures we gaze,

While on the verandah we sit gently rock’n.

While MUM milks the cow

Milky froth flowing, and now

Fresh butter and cream bring us flock’n.

Yes, life was just grand

All reality banned

The good thoughts were only worth think’n.

Everything was so rosy

Home and garden all cosy,

Never realizing how quick they were sink’n.

What a shock it was when

To this dear little hen,

Troubles came, and started multiply’n.

The veges grew full

To be eaten by the bull,

But that didn’t stop her from try’n.

Again and again

She planted in vain,

And always was someth’n against her

She dug and she toiled,

The sun merrily boiled,

And troubles securely did fence her.

Dam water dried up,

Not even a cup

Full could EVER be wasted.

She longed for the rain,

If it came she might gain,

But it didn’t, and the veges all basted.

The cattle all died,

Couldn’t save even a hide,

When they got in and ate her oleander.

And as for the house,

Boy didn’t she rouse,

When in two years, all t’was built was the verandah.

City slickers take warn’n,

Or else you’ll be mourn’n

Your fate, when you come to the country.

Country life is just grand,

In the MIND where it’s planned,

It’s not really for all and sundry.

HOW ABOUT THAT!!!!

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

 I've had a really rotten day

when everything's gone splat,

from the time the cock crowed 'doodle doo'

till dark, now how about that!

When I got up, Jack Frost had been

Cow's mooed 'my udder's fat'

so warmed my fingers cuddling their hides:

romantic?  How about that!

My tank went dry; the dam just mud;

I divined, but smelled a rat

when I dug down to a water pipe -

Eureka!  How about that!

My chook business has gone astray;

There's no eggs where they sat;

An old tramp took my free range eggs

for breakfast!  How about that!

And then it rained torrential rain,

Leaked through the roof  ' pit pat'

They caught the rain drops in my boots -

My new ones!  How about that!

So now I've 'ad it up to 'ere,

My farm's for sale next Sat.

I'll sell it for a 'hobby farm'

A bargain!  How about that!

 

THE WATTLE TREE

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

[Alternative Lifestyle is not always easy. In the hard times, the wattle trees around the Mudgee district gave much inspiration.]

 

Don't forget

in the winter gloom

blooms the wattle tree.

A silent testimony

that defies the winter frosts;

a promise of new birth

in the spring.

When all is bare and white,

the frost burnt grass

a brown sludge,

stringently stretching

to at least give an impression

of covering and protecting

the cold ground;

when grey clouds loom

every day

and chill winds

shriek through the storm tossed scrub,

harassing the gums

to huddle their olive gowns

close to them;

the wattle stands

silently

spilling its courage

in sprays of golden hue;

surprising the winter wind;

meeting its teasing challenge

with little puffs of golden delight;

rather than cowering

to the icy blast.

And before long

the winter wind

gives up its fight

and lays to rest

its fierce aggression,

melting in the face

of this golden gown of glory.

Yes, heed well,

the wattle tree

in winter.

The Woman on the Land

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

Won a first prize in The Land poetry competition.

 

How much heartache can one woman bare

at the sun's rise and fall on the day.

In the scorching heat and the red dust plains,

is it life - or is it life's way?

Her family of young ones play round her knees.

For them she will toil and bear

the trials and the tears of the Aussie bush:

but for them she'd be way past care.

Is it love of a man or love of the land

that keeps her slogging through?

Or is it love of a life, or life's challenge?

It depends on your point of view.

For women are deep and mysterious,

not shallow or surface beings

and a real Aussie woman of the bush

is a woman who real life is seeing.

 

BOB'S  TALE

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Highly Commended in the Bronze Swagman Competition and printed and illustrated in their  anthology.

Buckaroo is a locality in the Mudgee region, about 8klms north of town with Mt Buckaroo its main feature. Based on a story told to me by the late Jim Freeman of Mudgee, locally known as 'the Mayor of Menah', who was our friend and mentor when we first came to Mudgee and told the stories many of my poems are based on.

 

Old Bob was a mate with a store of old tales

of the bush and the scrub, all true blue.

Round the campfire he caused howling laughter or wails,

depending the tale on review.

His eyes used to shine when he told of the times

as a lad, with his ear to the wall,

he would hear elders talking - such gossip and tales -

as life's troubles, or fun, they'd recall.

Old Bob had the knack of entwining the tales

of his boyhood, and life in the scrub.

He'd paint vivid pictures of life in the raw

that delighted, from churchyard to pub.

My favourite story, I often recall

is a 'snake yarn'; the top one of all.

For you know that the 'snake yarn' each blighter repeats

gets embellished to taller than tall.

Bob tells of a time, when he was a lad -

swears on his Mum's grave that it's true -

he was out in the bush with his Uncle Roy

woodcutting - back of old Buckaroo.

It was time for a 'smoko'; the black billy boiling,

Roy reached to the swag for the tea.

He disturbed a 'King Brown' all of nine foot in length,

with a waist that was thick as his knee!

He screamed for a shovel, Bob swished it around,

but 'King Brown' was too crafty: slipped through.

Exhausted and shocked from chasing the brute,

old Roy sought a seat, and his brew.

They sat on a near log, sipping murky black tea,

as at ease as in armchairs at home.

Refreshed, heart beats steadied, they got back to their job

of woodcutting.  The time had just flown!

Roy looked at the log they'd been resting upon:

its size would just finish their load.

With the chainsaw blade roaring he sliced ten even rounds

so quickly - he jumped like a toad.

Roy picked up the first round; Bob carried the next:

what they saw turned their faces snow white!

From the first to the last block its hollow was stuffed

with the 'King Brown' they had chased out of sight!

 

 

 

 

Alternative What?

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

Written during the 1980s during the big alternative lifestyle movement in Mudgee when Sydney people, including the Simmonds family, were buying small 25 acre blocks in Mudgee to live a self sufficient lifestyle. They were called 'blockies' by the locals, and, although looked down on at the time, were ultimately responsible for introducing the diversity that has made the Mudgee region so attractive today. One of the first things Diane learnt about life in the bush was to laugh at yourself, and find a sympathetic 'local' to learn from. As said above, for us that was the late Jim Freeman, who got sick of laughing at me carting the calf about in a wheelbarrow and taught me how to wean it.

 

Dear Mum,

 

You can stop worrying about me now mum,

I'm really alright you know.

I know you'll miss me terribly,

but I'm o.k. - here with Jo.

I know the farm's run down and ragged,

but the house is a handyman's dream.

Though with six kids, the cat and canary

it is busting apart at the seam.

Yet it's cosy when you get used to it.

The dirt floor is packed carpet smooth.

An orchestra plays on the tin roof mum,

when it rains - a sound to soothe.

Although it's a little bit leaky

I've buckets to catch all the drops.

It's the most Aussie sound I have heard mum:

the tin roof, and the rain dripping plops.

My Joe's got conveniences streamlined:

our old mini's parked by the back door

to drive down the track to the loo mum,

and just eight metres more to the bore.

So we don't even waste a trip mum.

Pay a visit, then on to the pump.

The back seat holds three buckets full mum,

we can bath - if we don't hit a bump.

And the loo is quite picturesque mum:

A big hole in the wall to look through

and the times when there isn't a line-up

we relax and enjoy the good view.

I'm getting quite good at farming.

Helped a calf to be born yesterday

and I even taught it to suck mum -

though my finger's sore now I must say.

I had quite some bother to begin with:

the cow kept deserting her calf,

so I put the bub in a wheelbarrow

and followed the mum down each path

till she gave up, and stayed with her baby,

fed it and licked it all clean.

I can tell you, I was tired that night mum,

I was tempted to let that calf  wean.

We aren't desperate for rain anymore mum.

We have mud and slush up to our ears.

But poor Joe had to go and get sick mum,

plus it struck down three of my dears.

The 'Jenny' then had to break down mum,

so the washing by hand must be done.

Chopping the wood in the rain mum

ain't exactly what I call good fun.

But like a good farmer's wife, I braved it.

Got a skinned shin and bruised foot by the way.

Still, the pink tracksuit you sent up for my birthday

kept the mud and the slush all at bay.

Oh mother, dear mother, don't panic.

Me and my Joe will do fine.

My dear children are blooming from farm life.

Don't worry, dear mother of mine!

 

 

The Dancing Chook

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

Dedicated to David and Jackie , who also had a hard time learning to become alternative lifestylers. Wanting to harvest their chicken farming, Jackie went to the library and borrowed a book on how to kill a chook. She read the directions while David did the job!

 

 

I'll tell you of the other night

when my chook did the Rhumba.

His name is Percy and he danced

it true to beat - by gumba.

We thought we'd make a ‘Percy Stew'

to fill our growling tum-ba.

"We'll wait for night to catch him:

outsmart that chook adumb-ba."

I crept up to old Percy’s perch

but he saw me acome-ba.

I grabbed his legs; he shot his spur

in flesh of my poor thumb-ba!

Still, held him tight and whacked him on

my chopping block of lumb-ba.

I swung the axe - but Percy ducked

and he began to hum-ba

In chicken tune, a beat that sound

just like the rolling Rhumba.

I swung and swung - he ducked and ducked

(or chicked and chicked say some-ba)

I got'im - then I fainted;

(from the shock I went all numb-ba).

I woke up thinking Percy’s dead!'

but what a fright to come-ba:

Old Perc was dancing round the yard -

old fashioned, old time Rhumba!

I chased him, grabbed him - in the pot

made 'Chicken stew a Yum-ba'!

 

 

 

 

An Alternate View

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 Dedicated to Patty

Patty was a stunningly beautiful Spanish woman, who wanted to live an alternative lifestyle and build her own house, but needed a husband to help her - one who could work.

Won a Highly Commended Certificate at the Henry Lawson Poetry Competition.

 

 

I need a man about the house.

I said a man now, not a mouse.

Someone who's willing to swing an axe.

Someone to work hard, not one who's lax.

I need a man about the house.

Who'll say "I do" and be my spouse,

And do the things a good man should -

like cart the garbage and chop the wood.

I had a man about the house.

Unfortunately, he was a louse

so I got mad and sent him packing.

and now for company I'm lacking.

I need a man about the house.

Don't need good looks, nor body grouse.

He needn't take me to wine and dine.

If he'll empty the loo, he can be mine.

I need a man about the house

who loves a woman in a skirt and blous(e)

A "he" man with muscles to mow my lawn;

who's up and working at the crack of dawn.

Have I made it clear now, who I'll espouse:

someone to do things, someone with nous.

Someone to help me in my strife.

Someone who'll stay with me and make me his wife.

 

 

 

Mateship

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Boris and Suzie were eagles.

They lived over Orana's farms.

The smooth barked pink gum tree that housed them

stretched its arms to the heavens above.

They were a pair.

They homed there as one.

Now Boris thought Suzie was super.

Her feathers so soft earthy brown.

His big  hearty chest swelled with love for her

as he winged over  Mudgee town.

She was his girl.

Their life just begun.

 Suzie was young and coquettish.

She flirted and flounced through the trees.

She circled round Boris and teased him

as she glided on the springtime breeze.

He was her man.

Kept hot on the run.

They built a big nest there together,

of sticks: very classy shebang.

They primmed and they primed it with love songs;

of their pride in each other they sang.

This was their home

basking neat in the sun.

Their home had a long, tarred verandah.

Steel animals ran up and down.

They swished and they squealed with their tyres

and brought man to invade the land.

And just for some practise,

one shot off a gun.

Suzie was flirting with Boris.

She swooped and she swirled through the sky.

Creating a challenging target

for mankind with lust in his eye

to shoot and destroy;

to kill on the run.

The lead pierced her heart and fine feathers.

The shock on her face showed her pain.

Her eyes locked in farewell to Boris

as she swooned to the earth again -

a flopped bag of feathers:

man's trophy was won.

Poor Boris' scream pierced the heavens.

He screeched and he clawed at the sky,

then perched on the bough of their love nest,

gave a wounded and grief stricken cry:

a target of sorrow

for man's carnal fun.

 

 

 

 

 

A True SNAKE YARN

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds

This is said to have happened in the Wyaldra area of Mudgee.

 

Out in the bush, round Willow Creek Glen

Two emus were prancing round three working men.

A kanga with joey tucked safe in her pouch

All witnessed a snake yarn, for which they all vouch.

The workman named Bill was a bit ‘green’ and dim

The others thought they’d take the mickery out of him.

In the old workman’s hut they were working upon

Were some mouse holes in the dirt floor

Their swags laid out on.

Bill was nervous of snakes, spiders, lizards and rats,

Jumped at things in the dark, like the screaming of bats.

He’s never ‘been bush’ in his young life before

And to initiate Bill, his two elders had swore.

Now before he shut eye, Bill covered those holes

With a plank and a brick, to keep snakes from bed roles.

But by morning was shaken to wake up and see

The plank and brick moved and the hole left quite free.

‘A snake! A snake!’ He yelled in the dawn

And woke his two workmates who stretched with a yawn.

‘Don’t worry young Bill, there’s no snake in there,

A snake out so early would be awfully rare.”

But Bill was determined to make sure that was so

And he poured petrol down the hole so he’d know.

But the old shack belonged to some miners before

And a shaft three miles long was under the floor.

Bill poured ten gallons of petrol right down

Then thought for a bit, and said with a frown,

‘That bugger’s gone deep, I’d better make sure.’

So he threw a match down the hole in the floor...! There WAS a big snake down that hole

Now his head’s up in heaven; his tail’s with lost souls.

 

 

 

 

 

The Ostrich Waltz

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

Written during the Ostrich period of Mudgee's alternative farming pursuits for neighbours at the time, John and Janet.

 

 

Step, 2, 3,  Step, 2, 3,

Ruffle the wings.

Step, 2, 3,  Step, 2, 3,

Bloated neck sings.

Roaring and hooting and flapping a feather;

Dancing and prancing, he thinks he's so clever.

Step, 2, 3,  Step, 2, 3

Look at him dance,

Wooing and cooing, his eyes on romance

 

IT'S SURPRISING

WHERE WATTLE TREES GROW

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

Inspired by wattle trees growing in the wilderness approaching Ilford

 Gum trees in the gorges

twist and curl their agony

as the windswept barren ridges

bare red earth for all to see,

and red clay bound scraggy mulga

bows its face in windswept prayer

as the queen of nature's glory

flaunts her golden crown of hair.

There she stands in crowning glory

to surprise all who behold:

how though in earth's poorest crust,

she is gowned in purest gold.

Though the fierce wind howls and gales there;

drought bound trees all gnarl in pain;

still the beauty of the wattle

lends to earth its grace again

to claim beauty in its landscape,

though a harsh and barren land:

yes, it's surprising how the wattle

sheds its gold in God's wise plan.

And it's true how in our own life,

although poor and harsh may be

we can learn a valued lesson

from the humble wattle tree.

When fierce troubles howl around us;

drought bound friendships seem to be -

don't twist and gnarl to fit your trouble -

proudly be a wattle tree.

 

DROUGHT WITHIN

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Drought in my heart as I look across the sky:

Clear azure blue - my pained heart questions "Why?"

Drought in my family;  in eyes so dark with pain

With hearts that cry in secret and sharing thoughts refrain.

Drought in my friendships:  don't come and visit me.

I can't afford a biscuit;  I can't afford the tea.

I just feel so embarrassed to talk about my trial.

Please understand;  have patience and walk with me a mile.

Drought in my faith - can't go to church in town

The petrol bowser's empty.  I pray:  no rain is found.

Drought in understanding from the city living swell.

"I'm apples mate; I don't care 'bout other people's hell."

Drought in unity of spirit;  drought in giving mates a hand.

Drought in patriotic bondage;  Drought in greatness for our land.

Carbon Tax

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

She stands and argues

All day long

The press attentive

A one note song

On carbon tax

Or carbon trading

She’s not sure which

Is the one that’s rating

Her one tone voice

And flaming hair

Her face so pale

Shows despair

For all’s not well

The polls all frown

And carbon tax

Is shouted down

What’s in it for us

The populace bought?

What’s in it for me

Her constant thought.

Big eared opponent

Takes the flack

And churns it up

And throws it back

To score another

Political point

And cover the fact

That he’s lost the point.

The battle’s now

This is the chance

To win the victory

A political dance

But the fight began

with global warming

And there’s no action

To heed the warning

Of nature’s  destruction

And human mourning.

Just a political pantomime

With no end, and no morning.

Past Caring

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Our hearts were heavy Henry,

and life was black as hell,

with a fiery furnace burning

on the land we had to sell.

The crows were pecking pebbles -

their throats too dry to call.

The kookas had stopped laughin’

and our banks had hit the wall.

Sad faces in the street

didn’t bother with g’day -

they just hurried ‘round the grocery chain,

‘cause there was nothing left to say.

They didn’t stop to taste and buy

new products from the reps.

They chose something cheap and filling

and kept their change for debts.

And even then the cost was high

for cabbages and mince

and a biscuit was a luxury

and cordial out since

the recession.

The Missus grew tomatoes

and spinach in the yard,

but water for geraniums

was definitely barred.

Two inches in the bath tub

did five people and the floor

and the Simpson’s wash was rationed

and the farm wife’s nerves were raw

‘cause she was working in the pub

three days a week and shopped around –

got another two days cleaning

in a motel in the town

to keep food on the table

in the rotten, 10 year dry.

“Ten years”, she said,

“Its longer. Ten years is just a lie.

I can’t remember when

life seemed ‘normal’ around here;

when our hearts were free and happy

and our weekends beef and beer.

The family farm is scarcer

than hen’s teeth on the plain

and the farmer doesn’t matter

to the city stock exchange.”

Old Banjo’s words still strut

along the wealthy city streets.

But your thoughts old Henry still reflect

the bush dryness and the heat.

She was scared to leave her husband

On the days she went to town.

She asked a friend to call and check

‘cause his mental health was down

-          and he was past carin’.

But hey now, Henry, lift your heart.

The rains have come and we can start

to care again;  new life begins.

Bandaided spirit dumps drought’s sins.

We see a green tinge on the hills

and silver ribbons in the dells;

the ute is gowned in glorious mud;

the labour party - they’ve axed Rudd

and made promises galore,

for good things now in store.

The recession’s back is broken

and the rain is just a token

of Australia’s wise and cunning move

to keep afloat of fiscal doom

and even loss of breeding stock;

farm debts teetering at the top;

banks foreclosing mortgages

for Real Estate agent forages,

the prime farmland to sell

to city tree change dwellers

don’t matter.

‘Cause banks will lend us money now,

in spite of the recession row

that blamed their profiteering,

when the dollar signs were leering

at reality.

We’ll never be able to pay it back.

But optimism’s the farmer’s knack

and we are dancing in the rain.

We’ll start once more in spite of pain.

We’ll take a punt and buy the seed.

We’ll keep the stock from saleyard greed.

The years of drought, we’ve seen before.

Our hearts are wounded, knees are sore

from praying to almighty God,

who at last has wet the sod

with tears of joy and drops of hope

and faith again to fit a Pope

that life is good and life will heed

our feeble efforts to succeed.

And even though we hit rock bottom,

those heavy black days are forgotten.

The rains have come, new life is here.

Henry shout and lift your beer.

The doom and gloom is gone, it’s glarin’,

that we’re in heaven and past carin’.

 

Happy Christmas Memories

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Christmas is a happy time

For dancing in my mind

Are people in my memories

Of times I’ve left behind.

 The days of true blue friendships

When people just dropped in

Kids cooling in the river

In our boat of tar and tin

We’d jumped in off a rope tied to

A sprawling red gum tree

Or play a game of roundas

While the adults drank hot tea

To make them sweat and cool them

On a languid afternoon

After eating a baked dinner

And dipping silver spoons

Into Grandma’s boiled fruit pudding

Done in the copper out the back

And laced with rum and threepences

Saved up by Uncle Jack.

Aunt Mary made her Christmas cake

To a secret recipe

Passed down to her own daughters

And Uncle Bob made sure that he

Brought lots of ginger beer

He brew up back behind his shed

And very ‘adult’ beer it was

That went right to your head.

It put the men into good cheer

And by the evening meal

Father played the piano and

Jo next door began to spiel

Off his jokes, and poems, and yarns.,

That sent us into laughing fits

And Billy Boy began to fume

And dance and raise his fists

Till Mum would shout and clout his ears

And send him down the back

And cousins by the dozens

Followed Bill along the track

Looking for some fun and games

In the dark and evening cool

For Bill was our bright hero

Though Mum thought him a fool

Yes, these Christmas thoughts are company

They still can make me smile

And I still can hear their voices

When they visit me a while

In my memory.

 

 

GLOVES

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

(Oh for the days when ladies wore gloves)

 

Once we wore gloves

to cover our scratched, battered, gardening hands

when playing 'ladies'.

Now the fashion

is acrylic nails

on ring adorned fingers.

So I drag out the glamorous stilts

and throw a scarf around my little black dress

put a smile upon a painted face

and hide my hands under the table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bats

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Bats around the belfry

Bats around the bed

Bats are flying everywhere

Bats are in my head.

 

Miles and miles of batwings

Fly across the sky

Heading for my orchard

Makes a woman cry.

 

I get a gun to shoot them

I bang and clang – make noise

I cover trees with netting

But bats are naughty boys

 

My fruit is growing grandly

Soft peaches on the tree

But bats come in and get them

And nothing left for me.

 

Each nectarine has bat bites

Each peach is torn to shreds

Each apricot has nibbles

I’ll wring their bloomin’ heads.

 

My environmental daughter

Says, ‘No mum, please be kind

The bats are nature’s servants

The dread is in your mind’.

 

I’ll give her nature’s servants,

I’ll keep environment green

I’ll put a great big sign up

And bats will not be seen.

 

‘What sign my dearest mother

Could keep those bats on high

What sign could keep bats off our trees

Floating in the sky?’

 

We know those pesky bat brains

Outsmart the farmer’s war

On them – they come out winners

And fly around for more.

 

But this big sign will trick them

They’ll screech and scream with pain

And cry ‘wasted environment’

Fruit’s ripened, but in vain.

 

A use-by-date I’ll give them

Neon letters bright and bold

A use-by-stamp that’s out of date

Will say my fruit’s too old!

 

 

The Shearing Cook’s baked dinner

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

“Not stew again,” the men all cried, ‘We’ve had it up to ‘ere.’”

“It’s different,” the camp Cooky lied, “to last night’s mince and beer.

Tonight’s a specialty my friends,

A rare delicious treat.

Superb creation never ends;

My menus are a feat.”

“It’s stew again. Don’t cover up.

It’s boring plain old stew.

Why can’t we feast a different sup – roast beef, and baked spuds too?”

“How can I get roast beef out here?

Lamb meat the boss provides.

A shearers’ cook can’t poach a steer,

He’d tan our flamin’ hides.”

“We’re sick of lamb, we’re sick of stew,

We want some better tucker.

We’d give our pay cheque for one ‘do’ of real home baked beef supper.”

“I’ll try,” said Cook. “I’ll search my brain and risk to poach a steer.

My reputations all in vain if my meal brings one jeer.”

So Cook crept out later that night,

His nerves were all ajitter.

His sharpest blade he held fist tight

And hoped the steer don’t twitter.

The ‘job’ all done by early morn

In silence of the moonlight,

The sun rose stealthily e’re the dawn

Found cook back from a dune hike.

He’s searched and found rare native fruits

For fruit pie of the century.

“I’ll fix these flamin’ whinging brutes;

This taste will test their dentury.”

He fussed and clattered pans all day;

He seasoned, sifted, walloped;

Stuffed tender beef with scented hay;

With his 'choppers' pie crust scalloped.

The meal was served: a brandy baste on the beef men voted ‘different’.

The pie, ‘superb’

A wondrous taste –

None knew Cook’s false teeth crimp’d it!

 

 

 

 

THE WATTLE TREE

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Don't forget

in the winter gloom

blooms the wattle tree.

A silent testimony

that defies the winter frosts;

a promise of new birth

in the spring.

When all is bare and white,

the frost burnt grass                                                                

a brown sludge,

stringently stretching

to at least give an impression

of covering and protecting

the cold ground;

when grey clouds loom

every day

and chill winds

shriek through the storm tossed scrub,

harassing the gums

to huddle their olive gowns

close to them;

the wattle stands

silently

spilling its courage

in sprays of golden hue;

surprising the winter wind;

meeting its teasing challenge

with little puffs of golden delight;

rather than cowering

to the icy blast.

And before long

the winter wind

gives up its fight

and lays to rest

its fierce aggression,

melting in the face

of this golden gown of glory.

Yes, heed well,

the wattle tree

in winter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clouds of fire

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

A sunset on a cloudless sky

Is pretty, but quite bland.

The colours gently mingle;

Give an aura to the land.

But sunset on a sky of clouds

Is drama to behold:

Sky mirrors prisms of jewel lights

And clouds alight with gold.

So too, if life were bland with ease;

Untroubled, cloudless skies,

We’d smile a sweet insipid faith

That never reached our eyes.

Yet those who’ve conquered mountains;

Trail blazed drought and storms and mire,

Stand on peaks ablaze with glory;

Silhouetted by clouds of fire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Rock Fishing

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

High tide.

and washed ashore

against the cliffs,

a mermaid

caught by her hair

trailing over rocks

sings night songs

to the full moon.

Tides lap beaches,

smacking soft kisses

on warm sands.

Secrets of the sea

pass through generations

of sea nymphs.

Oceans sigh and swell

in waves of rising memories

which fall to hidden currents

and legends of deep waters.

Mermaids laugh.

Silver moonlight flashes

on black green waters.

Curling tresses sweep rock faces:

soft, gentle, sultry songs,

linger, drawing

souls into the sea.

Sirens calling fishermen –

Who will catch whom?

 

 

 

Silence

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

 

Silence:

my friend; my sanctuary;

my strengthening.

For in the silence

I hear God speaking.

In the silence

I feel God's awakening

to inner strengths.

In the silence

I see God's illumining

to inner truths.

For silence

is the greatest communicator of all.

In silence

we find out about ourselves.

In silence

we discover what life is all about.

In silence

we see the sweet mysteries of life.

In silence

we unravel the perplexities of life.

In silence

we are aware of the spiritual realm

that nurtures our world.

In silence

we find God.

 

 

AUTUMN

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

From dust I came

surrealist realm of ochre rocks and blue tipped limbs

ancient music throbs  my veins

I am earth and sea and sky

From the rivers I came

flowing, peaceful, 

laughing with pebbles on shallow days

deep, turbulent, searching:  my moody days.

My still blue skies in autumn hushed

bar the sun clipping the tips of flowered bells

ringing magpie chimes across mellow breezes

whispering in the ear of ghostly gums stretching,

lazy in the noonday sun.

I am dust

as I sit and ponder

bereft of soul

for my soul is dancing in the wind with butterflies,

my soul is flashing silver backed gum leaves

in the sun

my soul is singing and sighing in river caves;

turning blue in ethereal eucalyptus gases

It is autumn

and I am dust.

 

 

 

Bushfire

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Black burnt stumps and ashen ground

for miles there is to see.

Foliage gone; bare ghosts screech out

where is earth's harmony?

A stark gnarled scene devoid of sound,

an eerie silence: stung.

All life lays quiet, a smouldering haze

across the valley's hung.

What is this holocaust of earth?

Has nature's God gone wild?

How can such landscape procreate

to give us earth's grandchild?

Yet deep within the ash and soot

a miracle begins.

A marvellous phenomenon

this fickle spirit wins.

This land is one of contrast.

Awesome challenges inspire

and tough tenacious spirits

handle heat and drought and fire.

Expected devastation

of the tumult; cruel terrain,

simply stirs regeneration

of life's best resources again

and the pure and simple things spring up

devoid of alien essence;

the bonds of strength and grit and nerve

producing lush frondescence

till our beautiful Australia:

land of the conquering soul

once more dons her complex gown

refined; united; whole.

 

 

 

 

WHAT'S REAL?

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

 

"What's real?" the little rabbit said

to toy skin horse one day

lying in the nursery

where Nanna watched them play.

"Is it having things inside of you

that buzz and whirr and click,

with handles for someone to hold,

and beauty all would pick?"

"Real isn't how or when you're made"

said skin horse to toy bunny,

"It's certain 'things' that happen;

things some would class as 'funny'.

It's not your eyes, your nose, your hair

being perfectly in place.

It's not your body perfect,

nor a neat and pretty face.

Real takes time and patience;

and giving all you've got.

It's when the children love you

'cause your cuddly, warm and soft.

It's when they can't go beddy bye

till they know you're safe and sound;

and they laugh for hours at play with you,

delighted you're around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images, association and connotation

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Candle on a mantelpiece

Light burning

Fire burning

Room aglow

Forms a bow of light

And an outer darkness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain mist

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

White clouds

Wet on my face

Soft on my eyes

Swirling round the gum tips.

My woolly jumper hugs me tight and you

Brush misty drops with fingertips.

Smell gum leaves

Trampled underfoot –

Soft, like you and I.

We sit atop blue mountain heights

And watch lost valleys far below.

Swirling, misty Brigadoon.

How long will we last?

Ghost gums peeping through the mist

Cold air, hot breath

Hot hot breath

Murmurs echo

Mountains talk

We are not alone

You and I

We are not alone.

 

 

 

Justice

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

The golden rule is politically incorrect

And now it seems

Anything goes.

Is man bent on self destruction?

Are we all Lemming mice

Without courage to stand against

Corruption and injustice?

Is heaven so hard to reach

That we resign ourselves to hell?

Have we polluted the Dreamtime innocence

By joining forces with the devil?

If knowledge is a choice

Between good and evil

Christ and anti-Christ

And purity is common to all humanity

In seeking unity,

One world peace,

We must be sure to seek

The bonding of a higher spirit.

Reach for the stars

Not ancient reptile wars

World War III is in our own soul

And those who refuse the cooee call

Will see another holocaust

Victory is an active verb

Not a right.

Peace is a synonym for justice.

 

 

 

Class and poverty

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

My mother sacrificed

To buy me shoes

A pretty dress

And ribbons for my hair.

She taught me manners

Obedience

Good speech

But oh! If only

She could have taught me

The right accent!

 

 

 

 

 

Poverty 2

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

She was very slim

Dyed white hair

And talked of ‘mummy’.

Bangles clinked together

On thin wrists.

Diamond rings

Adorned her painted fingers.

“There’s a good café in Elizabeth Street”

Her cultured British voice

Echoed in the wind

As I headed for MacDonalds.

 

 

 

 

 

Cappuccino Café

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Waiting

After work

Time to waste

Before a meeting

Half an hour’s breath

Time to think

Find myself

Before I  become

Someone else again.

 

 

 

 

 

Unemployment

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

He’s 55; has grey hair

And sad blue eyes.

When he was 20

He thought he owned the world.

Social Security now owns him.

 

 

 

 

 

Single mothers

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

In grandma’s day

She was a bastard

And her mother a trollop.

Now her mother gets

A pension;

Rent assistance;

Many boyfriends

More kids

And more money

To spend on drugs and booze

And she's much better off…

 

She just wishes she had

A single father.

 

 

 

Politicians

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

When I was 10

I learnt fairies were untrue

And Santa didn’t exist.

 

When I was 20

The Uni taught

God is dead.

And only science is real.

 

Now I’m 40

And politicians say

“Trust me!”

 

 

 

Alzeimers

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Nelson Mandela was gaoled because his passionate belief

Was politically incorrect.

And the world condemned in empathy

And grief.

Uncle Leo has been gaoled for life

Because he forgets.

He forgot to tell the Nursing Home

He was going ‘out’ to visit his wife

And arrived on her doorstep

Unexpected.

Last week my neighbour

Had an unexpected visitor on her doorstep.

He bashed her blue

And robbed her.

He’s not in gaol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s lib

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Year 2,000, and women are liberated.

The TV shows them every day:

Doctors, lawyers, business executives,

Jumping into bed

With doctors, lawyers, business executives.

What’s changed?

 

 

 

Redfern

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Lonely streets

Crowded with people

Kicked out of home

Kicked out of life.

 

Boys holding boys

Girls with spiked haircuts

Hags in long tresses

Old men who stare.

 

Crazy dress

Wanting attention

Only can get it in lonely crowded cafes

And booze.

 

 

 

 

The Campbelltown train at midday

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Stale cigarette smells lingering,

glued to sticky surfaces

and no smoking signs.

Empty seats, scarred and slashed

All face the wrong way.

An old man sits

In crumpled, smelly garb

And talks to everyone

As they pass him by

To a safe distance.

A tattooed youth with greasy locks

Lights up,

Draws back

Throws the fag

To the eager faced old man.

“Thanks mate,” he grabs, fumbling, sucking, happy.

The youth thumbs up

And lights again.

Somber faces,

Quiet,

Click clack, slick clack,

Thoughts race silver rails.

 

 

 

 

Bag lady 1

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

She mumbled, muttered and rumbled

And rummaged through her bag.

The XPT swayed, smoothly through the night.

The house lights freckle

Her window image

A pat here, a pat there -

A hair is out of place.

Rummaging, rummaging through the bag again.

Muttering, worrying,

Lengths of tatty braids

Knotted, tangled,

She swathes a length of blue cotton

Around a chignon

Perched like a pimple

Atop her bony skull.

Muttering, worrying,

The XPT swaying,  a soft click clack, click clack.

Patting, prodding,

Cuts a once bright tablecloth

Into gingham bows

And jams them into the tangled nest of cottons.

Muttering, searching,

Seeks her mirrored face,

Blurred, in the window’s moving darkness.

Removes her wig.

A bald neurotic

Wraps and cuts

And remonstrates

The XPY is roaring through the night.

 

 

Bag Lady 2

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

She sits on Manly’s promenade

And whistles while she works

Sewing, sewing,

Busy, busy,

Seams across her skirt.

Waves crash on the sands

The wind whips her feeble dirge

To blend with the seagulls

Fighting for off cast chips

And crumbs of bread.

She sits and whistles

Sewing

And drags her skirt around

Her ragged frame

To sew another seam

A seagull pecks

At a knob of mouldy bread

Protruding from her perished bag,

Squawking, fighting, bickering.

“Shoo” she says:

The lyrics of her song.

 

 

 

 

Bag lady 3

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

White powdered face

Blue painted eyes

And ruby lips

Snow white whisps

Of straggly hair

Spring from a white straw brim

Snow white dress

And gloves

White stockinged legs

In snow white shoes

That mince along the street.

An angel of innocence

Walks Sydney

Night and day.

 

 

 

Old Jack

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Old Jack they called him.

Old Jack, but he is young when sober.

Old Jack when drunk and smelly, crumpled.

Singing, happy

Old Jack.

 

 

 

 

60th Birthday

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

Antique crystal

Catches rainbows

That colour my years.

Wisdom in every hue.

Nothing black and white.

Eternal creator

Reminds us every day

The passing of time

Holds beauty.

Morning sunrise,

Fragile, fresh and crisp;

Evening sunsets,

Colours strengthened by wisdom of the day.

 

 

 

 

 

Royal North Shore’s Chapel

by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c)

 

It’s Easter 2009

And Royal North Shore

Has thrown out its crosses

In fear.

Fear of offending others.

And the cock crowed

Ten thousand times

To put them back.

Ode to the Girl Scouts

(c) 2012

No more promises to honour the Queen,

or Country,

Just be true unto thySELF.

So what to do with the motto

to serve others

unSELFishly?

Girl Scouts becomes

something else!

 

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Poems by Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c) 2016, Mudgee. If you wish to use any of the poems, please email the author: dzsimmonds@bigpond.com 

I don't mind you using them, but I would like to know about it.

A one off public reading is permitted as long as my authorship is acknowledged at that reading.

The general public may use a poem for their own personal Christmas greetings as long as my authorship is acknowledged on that greeting, but commercial publishers must gain written permissison from the author to publish.



Christmas 2016

True Vision

 

One night a shepherd sat on a hill

And stared at the night, blue velvet and still,

What is love? He said.

 

A wave of bright stars; a milky clear light;

A band of white angels sang in the dark night.

Jesus is love.

 

Three ancient wise men travelled deserts and sands

On camels they rode over many strange lands.

An answer to life, they sought.

 

A star in the night sky guided their way.

They travelled by night and rested by day.

Thinking deeply.

 

Found little babe Jesus, born to be king

Not of a country, but a spiritual thing.

The answer to life and love.

 

God is love.

Living is loving

 

CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT LOVE

 

One night a shepherd sat on a hill

And stared at the night sky, blue velvet and still.

A wave of bright stars twinkled gossamer white

And a thousand winged angels sang in the night.

God is love.

He sends a new birth

God’s son, baby Jesus, brings love down to earth.

 

Three ancient wise men travelled afar

Over deserts and strange lands they followed a star

To herald a new life, a new idea bright

A vision of love lighting earth’s darkest night.

A babe in a manger, new birth, simple poor

Confounded their wisdom and filled them with awe.

 

The shepherds and wise men learnt a lesson that night

It is simple, yet complex, but the formula’s right.

Just use the KISS principle, keep it simple, you’ll see

Let the star light your darkness; mankind can be free.

For the truth is so simple, makes it hard to conceive,

See the light in the dark night; God is love. Just believe.

(KID'S POEM COMING!)

 

 

Kids’ Christmas 2015

 

It’s half past one, the moon is bright,

And Santa’s toys will come tonight

He’s in his sleigh at the north pole

He’s finished the top end, Down Under’s his goal

 

But something is wrong, the reindeers all sneezes

I’ve been up all night in the cold Rudolph wheezes

My head hurts, my throat’s raw, my hooves are a mess

Where the snow and the ice froze my toes, I guess.

 

I can do no more. I’m worn out I’m afraid

Please Santa find someone who’s heroic and brave.

Cause Down Under’s a challenge, it’s hot, and bush flies

Get into your ears, and your nose and your eyes.

 

Old Santa got on his mobile at once,

He dialled Dubbo Zoo, he had a big hunch,

The Zookeeper said yes, please come straight away.

And fifty big kangas met Santa – Hooray!

 

Santa stuffed presents in each kangaroo’s pouch,

He stuffed them so tight, some had to say, ‘Ouch!”

He gave each a GPS map, then he said

Give a nice gift to everyone tucked up in bed.

 

He sent one to Darwin via the Alice Springs track,

And one over to Broome ‘cross the desert outback,

Two went to Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth,

And one thumped up to Townsville for all he was worth.

 

The kangaroo’s spread cross hills and the plains

They bounded through drought lands, green forests and rains,

They bounced in mud puddles, pranced hot sands on the beach

Trod deep hidden valleys, every mountain’s grand reach.

 

And the earth shook with joy as the kangas bounced by

With a present for brolgas, emus, lizards, bush fly

But the best ones were kept for the good girls and boys

Who woke Christmas morning to wonderful toys.

Christmas 2015

 

In a world of hate and fear

We all need Christmas.

For Christmas is about love.

Goodwill.

Kindness.

Yes. We all need Christmas.

 

In a world of war and turmoil

We all need Christmas.

For Christmas is about peace.

Yes.

We need Christmas.

 

In a world lacking faith

But high on politics and religious obsessions,

We need the trust and simplicity

Of Christmas.

 

A little baby

Born to a virgin

Both symbolise a new beginning.

A fresh start

To a new idea in religion:

Love.

 

A baby; a virgin and a stable:

Back to basics.

 

 

 

Silent Night 2015

 

Silent night, holy night

Not a bomb or gun in sight

Just some shepherds on a green

Minding sheep where stars are seen

And in the beauty of the night

Awe and wonder; angels bright

Singing God’s own glory.

Born to tell a story.

 

Silent night, holy night

No screaming TV causing fright,

No paper headlines' sensational view

Just simple truth: a baby’s due.

Not king, or queen, or celebrity,

Just a battler -

Born in a humble stable.

 

Silent night, holy night

Wise men sought a source of light

And found it in a stable.

 

Christmas

  

We all want wisdom...

See the three wise men

travel the earth

to find a new birth,

and embrace it

honour it

to refresh their ancient traditions.

to refresh their ancient traditions...

 

 

We all want peace...

Oh silent night, holy night

shepherds quaked

at the sight

glory streams in a milky way

southern cross in a velvet sky lay

stillness and peace contemplated within

stillness and peace within...

 

 

We all want joy...

Happy happy happy talk

between family and friends.

Christmas time is time for giving

Christmas time is pain forgiving.

Families reconciled.

Friends again...

Christmas is time forgiving.

Multicultural Santa

  

Santa got an E-mail

From Australia way down under

That put him in a spin

And sent his plans asunder.

The message said, ‘Dear Santa

Your reindeers can’t come here,

It’s way too hot in summer

For your ice-lan-dic reindeer.

And our Southland’s multicultural

So some reindeers have to go

To make a place for zebras,

And elephants, and Jo,

Our kangaroo

Who’s a thumper, she’s a peach,

Who can lead you through the outback

To the bush and then the beach.

So Santa very carefully

Selected for his sleigh

An animal from every land –

Half female by the way.

And Christmas Eve he loaded up

With Jo, the kangaroo.

A grizzley bear, a zebra

matched with reindeers - two by two.

The sleigh was very difficult

To get into the air

An elephant from India

Unbalanced every pair.

 The sleigh bumped over mountains

And jerked all through the bush;

Bogged in the crimson desert sands

So Santa had to push

for miles

through our sticky, sunburnt land -

He had to strip his red suit off

and slip, slop, slap his tan.

The joey jumped and bumped along

And gifts flew everywhere –

Toys bounced from the magic sleigh

And tumbled through the air.

And 20 million people

Woke at dawn on Christmas day

And scratched their heads and puzzled

How their gifts got where they lay,

In the tree tops, under bushes,

At the front door – or out the back,

Floating in the pool, quite soggy

Where they tumbled from the sack

On Santa’s multicultural sleigh,

As Jo jumped across our land,

And the elephant tried to jump like her,

And the zebra, and eland.

Santa said, “Next year I’ll use rabbits,

Or sparrows, or snakes,

At least the ride will be smoother,

In the multicultural stakes.”

 

By Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds © 2015

 

 

Slicing time

He sliced time in two

BC , AD, CE.

Not a prince of this world.

Simply born in a stable,

his father a carpenter.

He died on a cross

between two thieves.

Yet because of him,

time ended

and began anew.

The world’s thinking

turned upside down

as he shouted

‘Father forgive them’

and gave up his life.

Time stood still.

The curtain between earth and heaven

was rent in two

and mankind glimpsed heaven

 in all its glory.

 

By Diane de St Hilaire Simmonds (c) 2013

 

 

 

In My Memory

Christmas is a happy time

for dancing in my mind

are people in my memories

of times I've left behind.

The days of true blue friendships

when people 'just dropped in;

kids cooling in the river

in our boat of tar and tin.

We'd jumped in off a rope tied to

a sprawling Red Gum tree

or play a game of roundas

while the adults drank hot tea

to make them sweat and cool them

on a languid afternoon

after eating a baked dinner

and dipping silver spoons

into Grandma's boiled fruit pudding

done in the copper out the back

and laced with rum and threepences

saved up by Uncle Jack.

Aunt Mary made her Christmas cake

to a secret receipe

passed down to her own daughters

and Uncle Bob made sure that he

brought lots of ginger beer

he brew up back behind his shed

and  very 'adult' beer it was

that went right to your head.

It put the men into good cheer

and by the evening meal

Father played the piano and

Jo next door began to spiel

off his jokes, and poems, and yarns

that sent us into laughing fits,

and Billy boy began to fume

and dance and raise his fists

till Mum would shout and clout his ears

and send him down the back

and cousins by the dozens

followed Bill along the track

 looking for some fun and games

in the dark and evening cool

for Bill was our bright hero

though Mum thought him a fool.

Yes, these Christmas thoughts are company.

They still can make me smile

and I still can hear their voices

when they visit me a while

in my memory.

Aussie Christmas

 

Air so stark and still;

pressing expectation:

hot earth,

blanketed by a cool velvet sky,

heavy with a milky wave of light;

heralds the Christ Child's birth,

beside a southern cross of destiny.

'Love' is born this summer night.

Cicadas sing a welcome

amongst crisp gum leaves

and bark, composting.

Spirit of 'Love'

sweeps this great southern land;

claiming souls

for its own eternity.

Didgeridoo

throbs out a mystic welcome;

its haunting rhythm

wavering throughout the earth's intense heat;

twitching the brolgas feet

to dance a dusty welcome

to the Christ Child.

A hushed, hot land

slumbers

beneath the Southern Cross

eclipsed

by the Star of Bethlehem.

 

Christmas Time In Australia

 

The hot earth shimmers in silent heat,

a brown parched land and blue sky meet

at Christmas time in Australia.

Cicadas sing a thirsty song

and kookas' laughter rings out long

at Christmas time in Australia.

The family sentries search the skies

for a streak of smoke that brings bush fires

at Christmas time in Australia.

Wet bags are ready near the tank

and the firefighter claims first rank

at Christmas time in Australia.

Hot westerly winds bring dust and smoke

and burnt out paddocks wear a black cloak

at Christmas time in Australia.

The heat from fires and heat from sun

combine to cook our land round 1.00

at Christmas time in Australia.

Still families swelter, gathered round

a big baked dinner, in gravy gowned,

at Christmas time in Australia.

They wear crepe hats and bon bons pull

and eat plum pudding till they're full

at Christmas time in Australia.

 

THE LITTLE CHRISTMAS SWAGGIE

 

 

 

Years not long passed in Aussie land

when times were tough and mean,

our swaggies wandered through the hills

their figures long and lean.

A swag was humped upon their backs:

their tucker bag and tea,

and boots were cardboard lined for soles;

they camped beneath a tree.

Men laid beneath the Milky Way

and brewed their billy tea;

hoped for a shilling soon to earn

to feed their family.....

 

 

Long long ago in ancient times

in Bethlehem one night,

a baby boy was born a King

yet shared our swaggies' plight.

Long way from home his parents trod

the dusty country track;

His mother laboured 'cross the miles,

upon a donkey's back.

They camped within the stable walls

beneath a shining star,

whose light caressed the new born babe

and spread the news afar.

A bed of straw the babe laid on

and swaddling kept Him warm;

this little Swaggie King was born

with love this world to reform.

And so the Swaggie King grew up

in simple poverty;

He stayed a swaggie in His heart

true to His nativity.

In adult days He roamed the hills:

man born to be Messiah;

no homely pillow for His head

as other men desire.

No worldly goods strapped to His waist

His feet in sandals clad;

but riches from His lips poured forth:

how God's blessings man can have.

As the Aussie swaggie worked and walked

to save his family,

so God's own Swaggie tramped this earth

to rescue you and me.

When next you see the Milky Way

or brew a gum leaf tea,

remember your past heritage:

GOD'S LITTLE CHRISTMAS SWAGGIE.

 

Like a baby

 

How can God

Who has given the world

To the care of humans

Bring peace on earth?

 

How can God

Who has allowed mankind

Freedom to choose

Good or evil

Save the world?

 

How can God

Midst war and confusion

Create goodness

When fighting and terrorism seems

So close at hand

 

How can the Christmas baby

Humble and helpless

Bring light to mankind

 

I feel like that baby lord

Born into a world

I cannot control

A world of poverty and terror.

 

And yet, as I grow to adulthood

I understand

God can and did save the world

By giving the freedom

To choose.

 

For everyone that chooses God

Every act of kindness and love

Every life given for others

Is the re-creation

Of God-ness in this world

 

Like the Christmas baby

I start out small

And grow

In understanding.

 

 

Little Boxes

 

Little boxes sit around our tree

wrapped in green and red and gold

and on Christmas morning we'll all sit

and open and unfold

the gifts from those we love.

We'll smile in sweet surprise

that they've managed to keep secret

their gift before our eyes.

We'll laugh and kiss and cuddle

and declare our love anew

even though last week we quarrelled,

yes, this year has had a few.

The boxes wrapped beneath the tree

are like my Christmas heart

when I sit and dream and open

little boxes holding part

of my life.

While angels sing a chorus

of a silent holy night

I lift the lid and peak inside

at memories so bright

of you.

I open up my box and smile

and sit and think of you a while -

remember good times that we shared

and sad times when you showed you cared

and then I close the lid real tight

and tuck my box right out of sight

deep within the memories of my heart.

Then I sit and write a Christmas card

to you.

 

The Joy of Giving

 

The gifts we give at Christmas time

are wondrous to behold

We search our hearts and plague our minds

for 'treasures' pure as gold.

We think of those we love all year;

our hearts go soft with yearning:

we want to give them of our love;

our mind to them is turning.

And as it turns away from self

and others try to please

the joy we feel becomes so high

a thought begins to tease."

If every day I gave so much

to ones I love and treasure -

not 'much' in terms of money,

but of the heart's true measure....

If I let go of my desires;

thought deep and searched my heart

and tried to serve for happiness

the ones of whom I'm part....

I wonder if I'd feel the joy,

the laughter and the cheer

that I feel now at Christmas time

each day throughout the year?

 

Remember?

 

4am, its almost light,

I wonder what he brought last night.

I'll just creep out to where our tree

is sitting near the brick chimney

in the loungeroom.

A bike!... My pride and joy.

A bike!...one each, a girl and boy.

With streamers falling from the bars

and woven through the spokes and bars -

a bike!

I wake my sister, shout the news

to Mum and Dad, who flat refuse

to get up, come and see

the bike for Sis and me.

"Oh please get up, I want to ride,

I want to play, to go outside

and show the other kids my bike,

that Santa brought, show Bill and Mike.

Look!  There's Susie wheeling by,

Dad, come on Mum, please don't sigh,

here, I'll help you, hold my hand,

come on, it says from you and Gran

and Pop.

Yeah!  Watch me! Look Mum, Dad - no hands,

Hey, there goes Fred, hey, he's got bands

around his trousers,

Hah, that's for wowsers.

My bike's got shields across the wheels,

and I can't tell you how it feels

so great!

My bike's the best one in the street,

Its green and purple and the seat

is cushioned!

It's perfect! Santa Clause is great

and I'm so happy I can't wait

till next Christmas.

 

 

 

Christmas:

Memories of the Heart.

 

There's a lot of little memories

tucked away within my heart.

Some are sad and poignant

and some - from Cupid's dart

are sweet, and soft and gentle;

make me warm and young again,

and some are mixed together,

full of love and joy and pain.

At Christmas time I view my life,

my friends, my clan, and others

who somehow along the way

I've lost, though thought blood brothers.

It's a time to sit, remember,

savour tenderness and dream

of the emotions of past loved ones

and my eyes with tears oft gleam

for the joy and pain of loving

is what Christmas is about

when we understand the Christ child,

and our faith grows deep, devout

for we hold the joy of living

in the memories of our heart

and we know the pain of loving

is only a small part.

For whatever sheds a tear

and weighs our heart within our chest

has also given so much joy,

provided passion's best.

Though memories within our heart

may hold some loss, some pain,

the Christ child's gift of peace and joy

can turn our loss to gain

for a heavy heart becomes like gold

when given to the King

and memories gain angel wings

and soar to heaven and sing

an Halleluia chorus, at Christmas time each year

when we sit and dream of memories

and people we hold dear.

 

 

 

Christmas

 

 

As Mary carried the Christ child

within her womb

may we also carry Him

within the centre of our being.

 

As the wise men travelled afar

to discover where He lay

so may we travel

the galaxies of the Spirit

to find a new birth -

a new faith.

 

As humble shepherds

listen to the angels message

so may we be humble enough

to listen to the Spirit of God.

 

As an innkeeper had given

his best to the world

and had no room

for the Son of God

but offered his tattered and soiled

stable anyway

so may we not falter

to let Him convert

our soiled and tattered hearts

for the Birth of Christ

within us.

 

 

 

 

SILENT NIGHT

  

Silent night,

Holy night,

Nought but stars

And hills in sight

Shepherds rest upon the green

Look into darkness, stare and dream

And ponder.

Quiet quiet quiet night

Souls feel tiny at the sight

Of moon and stars and endless lights

Twinkling in the black of night.

God whispers.

Men see things they cannot dream

Eternity comes close, is seen

In visions bright against the night

A band of angels, heavenly light

Sing praises to a father

And speak the heavenly birth.

And simple shepherds know a truth

They touch a wisdom in its youth

That in the quietness of the night

God comes down, and in that light

Comes life.

 

Cristmas Memories

 Families, Christ, and Angels,

and friends from near and far

are wrapped in our box of memories

and gleam from the Christmas star

atop our tree. Heaven above sings hymns of old

on a silent night, and the past unfolds

and we think of loved ones gone. Reassured

that the Christ child we adore

has passed through the veil and gone ashore

on the other side of eternal seas

where the angels sing, and our Christmas trees

sparkle lights like stars at night,

here on earth, we hold hope bright

and remember dear ones that we've loved

with us, sing 'Noel' from heaven above

in an angel's robe, and with wings of gold

and we know as nativity unfolds

and our memories dance in a gleaming tear

and we laugh and dream of yesteryear

on this silent holy night,

that the Christ Child's heavenly light

and the angels chorus holds our dreams

safe within the realm of those heavenly scenes

And the treasured memories of our past

are the Christmas story and the heavenly cast.

Christ IS in Christmas

Christ is in Christmas

There’s proof all around

There’s joy and there’s happiness

And good will abounds.

Christ is in Christmas

There’s love shared with all -

The poor and the lonely -

To answer His call.

Christ is in Christmas

The tinsel; old Claus

Families are celebrating

Taking time out, a pause

To remember the Christ child

To teach children good will

To seek faith and hope

And hearts with love fill.

 

My poem this year reflects the positive aspects of Australia celebrating Christmas in a world of seemingly ill will towards Christians. Even the tinsel and decorations, even the carols blaring through the shopping centres, is positive. It is a sign that we as a community hold Christmas as a time to celebrate. Give thanks for all the positives around you this year.

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