I Wish

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I Wish…

 

Oh goose you fly so very high,

I wish that I could too.

Up up, up up, into the sky,

There’s nothing I can do.

 

I stand here wishing I’d grow wings,

I never hope for other things.

I dream at night that I’ve gained height,

And the earth is almost out of sight.

 

But here I am, stuck on the ground,

Never to be seen or found,

Up there with you oh goose,

For I am just a humble moose.

 

Oh moose as I look down below,

I notice you especially.

You graze the grass, you sip the lake,

You wander so majestically.

 

Your antlers have such symmetry,

They make a stunning crown.

Your fur hide, is a royal robe,

Magnificent though brown.

 

And since you simply cannot fly;

You’re never going to fledge,

I’ve bought a gift – an airline ticket,

With a dozen golden eggs.

 

So dream your dreams,

You never know just what you will achieve.

Many things are possible,

So long as you believe.

 

 

Louise McCarthy

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A Secret Space

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A Secret Space

 

There was shelter –

An upturned water tank

With an entrance hole —

My secret space

In the brittle summer bush

Where I’d hide,

Dark and bruised and splintered.

 

In those childhood days

I was an outlaw of sorts,

Travelling alone,

Not fitting anywhere,

Listening to cicadas throbbing

With song,

Beyond words,

Wanting nothing

But the arc of my mother’s arms

 

 

Dianne Bates

An hour of fame

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An hour of fame

 

I’m standing proudly centre stage,

I grab the microphone.

The love from all those avid fans

rains down on me alone.

I launch into my favourite song,

I belt out the refrain.

The crowds are screaming out for more.

I take the mike again.

I’m really pumped, I raise the pitch,

I give it all I’ve got.

I’ve never known such warm applause,

I’m feeling pretty hot

until my mother calls my name

and interrupts my song:

“Your sister needs the bathroom now.

You’ve been there way too long!”

 

Jenny Erlanger

Spreading the word

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ABC Local radio – a greatly under-utilised resource?

by Stephen Whiteside

I was very excited when my collection of rhyming verse/bush poetry for children, The Billy That Died With Its Boots On and Other Australian Verse was published by Walker Books in May last year. Walker did a beautiful job of putting the book together, and I felt confident that it would do well.

However, I was a little disappointed with what I felt was a lack of publicity. I made my own efforts, and did manage to secure an interview on ABC Local radio in Melbourne (774) on a Monday afternoon during the school holidays, but that was about it.

Then, when the book won a Golden Gumleaf for Book of the Year at the Australian Bush Laureate Awards during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January this year, I realised I had the ‘hook’ I needed. It was particularly gratifying – and of interest to the media – that a book for children had won an award that is ostensibly an award for books for adults.

I decided to target ABC Local radio once again and, again, my home town, Melbourne came through. I secured an interview with Libby Gorr on a Sunday morning. However, I had no success with the other capital cities.

It then occurred to me that my natural constituency, given that the book was ‘bush verse’, was probably rural and regional Australia. With this in mind, I began to approach some of the smaller ABC Local radio stations. I quickly struck gold.

As a general rule, responses fell into one of three categories.

  1. The presenter loved bush poetry, and pounced on the opportunity to interview. (This happened a couple of times.)
  1. The station had no interest in the book unless I was visiting their town, which I wasn’t. (This also happened quite a few times.)
  1. The station was interested in the book, but needed some local connection with the book to justify an interview. This also happened on quite a number of occasions, and was where the challenge began.

I secured a state-wide interview in Ballarat by explaining the history of my various ancestors in rural Victoria. I secured an interview in south west Queensland by discussing the influence of Banjo Paterson on my work. (Paterson wrote Waltzing Matilda in this part of Australia.) I secured a couple of interviews in South Australia by discussing the influence of CJ Dennis on my work. (Dennis was born in South Australia, and lived there as a child and young adult.) I have secured an interview in Albany, Western Australia, by explaining that there are poems about whales in the book. (We will do the interview as soon as the whales arrive!) I have also secured an interview in Tamworth, because that is where I won the award.

I should add that all of these interviews (13 now in total) have been conducted without my leaving Melbourne. A few have been live, but most were pre-recorded. Most have been conducted on my mobile phone. I attended the ABC Soutbank Studios for the interview with Libby Gorr.

Of particular interest was the Ballarat interview, where I was placed in a ‘Tardis’ in Southbank. These are highly sophisticated studios that allow the interviewee to sound as though they are in the same studio as the interviewer, even though they may be many miles away.

My favourite interviews have been with the smallest stations in far off corners of this huge continent. The interviewers tend to be more passionate, the interviews longer, and the questions more interesting.

Do any of these interviews sell books? I don’t know, and I probably never will. I cannot see how they could do any harm, however, and they are great fun. Of course, the number of people listening to these programmes is likely to be less than with the large metropolitan stations, but there is nothing to be done about that.

My own feeling is that these smaller rural and regional ABC Local radio stations are a highly valuable and probably greatly under-utilised resource for authors trying to sell their books.

Poem of the Day

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                 The Yarn of Shaun the Sheep

Two Tasmanian farmers have found what they hope to prove is the world’s woolliest sheep. They believe it has been wandering wild for six years and never been shorn.

Peter and Netty Hazell discovered the animal, nicknamed Shaun, wandering on their farm and decided to take him in.

You ought to hear the yarn the folks are spinning

now the news is out both far and wide

about the Tassie wonder from down-under –

our Shaun the Sheep, the nation’s woolly pride.

 

Now Shaun was just a lamb six years ago

when fire came blazing near his eastern farm

and Shaun thought “Yikes! It’s time to do a runner.

If I stay put I’m sure to come to harm.”

 

So off he went to wander through the mountains

and live a lonesome life beneath the trees.

He didn’t fancy staying to be roasted.

He thought the better option was to freeze.

 

But no, he didn’t freeze. His woolly fleece

grew thicker by the day as he went west

and Shaun the Sheep became a walking doona

(a first-rate one – merino at its best).

 

and as the days and months and years went by

that fleece became so big it swallowed Shaun.

But then it chanced that Pete and Netty Hazell

were driving in their ute one autumn morn

 

and saw that fleece – or was it someone’s doona? –

abandoned in a hedge beyond the road.

They went to have a look. The doona bleated.

“Hey Pete! There’s something living in this load!”

 

Then sure enough they saw that doona move.

And as these folks were kind and tender-hearted

they took the creature home to sort it out,

and since that day the three have not been parted.

 

For Shaun the Sheep has learnt to live in style

and changed his name to Shaun the Superstar,

for Shaun was shorn and now he is a legend.

That fleece of his is famous near and far.

 

The Aussie owners say his wool is destined

to make at least three jumpers – superfine.

But if you check what’s told around the campfires

you’ll find an even better story-line.

 

It seems that in that famous Aussie fleece

there lurks a kind of magic super-power

and like a certain Aussie magic pudding

it keeps on growing bigger by the hour.

 

The latest count is now at thirty-five

new woolly garments! Now do you suppose

that yarn could make (if someone keeps on spinning)

the right stuff for an emperor’s new clothes?

 

© Kate O’neil

 

 

 

Poem of the Day

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The oyster way

 

An irritating grain of sand

or pesky piece of grit,

it slips inside the oyster shell

and finds a place to sit.

 

The oyster greets the irksome pest,

confronts it face to face,

bestows it with a soft caress,

a silky, smooth embrace.

 

How wonderful our lives could be,

how great for me and you

if we could tackle obstacles

the way the oysters do.

 

We’d gather all those gritty bits

that grind in vicious swirls

then smooth and sculpture each in turn

to shape a string of pearls.

 

 

©  Jenny Erlanger

 

Poem of the Day

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The House that Never Sleeps

 

Our house is a blinking one,

A winking, ever-thinking one,

At night when all the work is done,

Our house is standing by.

 

The laptop light is pulsing white

In case it’s needed in the night

To play a game or book a flight,

It’s always standing by.

 

The bright light on the video

Is glowing green, all set to go,

In case we want to watch a show,

It’s always standing by.

 

The red lights on the Xbox E,

The microwave, the smart TV,

All stab the dark impatiently,

Forever standing by.

 

Our house is ready all night long

To heat some food or play a song,

Till all the fossil fuels are gone,

Our house is standing by.

 

© Jill McDougall