Val Neubecker

My first foray into writing was in using my rhyming ability to write lyrics for a theatre restaurant in Townsville then later in the Gold Coast. This continued over 15 years.

In 1987, I had two children’s books published by Macmillan in their Southern Cross series: The School Photograph (which was in verse) and An Alphabet of Australian Animals.

Another book, What Little Dragons Do, written in verse, was published in 2007. In 2012, I won second place in Jackie Hosking’s Rhyming Poetry or Verse for Children and in 2013 a Highly Commended in KBR Unpublished Picture Book Manuscript Competition.

I have work published in the NSW School Magazine and the NZ School Journal and more recently I have turned back to lyrics and written a series of children’s Christmas songs, composing the music for these as well.

I’m the Poetry Co-ordinator for an organisation called Creative Connections where WA poets write poetry to artworks created by artists with a disability. We hold an annual exhibition which attracts a lot of interest.

I love writing poetry and below are two re-written nursery rhymes plus a more thoughtful piece.

LITTLE MISS MUFFET

Little Miss Muffet

Sat on her tuffet,

A tuffet as tough as could be.

She yelled at the spider

Who hung there beside her,

‘It’s gotta be softer for me!’

‘It’s hard on my bum,

And it’s making it numb

And the edges are jagged and rough.’

She gave it a kick

And a whack with a brick,

But the tuffet remained just as tough.

The spider just smiled,

‘There’s no need to get wild.’

And Miss Muffet snapped round with a glare.

‘Oh, stop being jolly,

You hairy-legg’d wally,

I tell you, it’s simply not fair!’

The spider was breezy,

‘Now, just take it easy,

You’ve got to do things that are smart.

Now, please understand,

All you need is a hand,

I’ll search on my web for a start.’

He spun up a line,

The connection was fine,

And he googled the words, ‘tuffet buster’.

His web came aglow

With the sites now on show –

There was one that stood out from the cluster.

Reading ‘Dragon for hire,

I got flames, I got fire,

And l soften up all opposition.’

The spider pressed GO,

In a minute or so,

A big dragon flew in for the mission.

The spider said, ‘Great!

You look just the right weight.’

As his footsteps were shaking the ground.

His scales were bright green,

His expression was mean,

Till the moment he first turned around.

Ignoring the tuffet,

He eyed off Miss Muffet,

It seemed it was love at first sight.

And he roared, ‘You’re divine,

Won’t you say you’ll be mine

And we’ll fly off together tonight!’

He approached in a stride

With his arms open wide,

And Miss Muffet shrieked off in dismay,

And the spider said, ‘Good!

It was time someone should

Come and frighten Miss Muffet away.’

© Val Neubecker

MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB

Mary had a little lamb

She had one last year, too,

It isn’t so unusual

‘Cause Mary is a ewe.

© Val Neubecker

COUNTRY

Published by the NSW School Magazine

Leave the city behind

and head out

where the traffic thins

where fruit trees blossom

vegetables fill paddocks

and grape vines hold hands

where goats and horses nibble

and chickens nod

where pigs snort in leftovers

and cows single-file to a shed

Head further out

where roads run straight

through endless landscapes

where wheat crops sweep the air

canola fields dazzle

and cotton fuzzes the fencing

where sheep gaze vacantly

and yabbies burrow deep in muddy dams

where cows are called cattle

and kangaroos own the land

where clouds of galahs

swing in unison – grey, pink, grey –

and wide-winged eagles hover

where dusk heralds a bush bustle

of rustles and scuffles

where you can look up

into the night sky

and see more stars

than you have ever seen before.

© Val Neubecker

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