My Country

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Today is a tribute to Dorothea Mackellar.

“On the 24th November, 2017, the Society of Women Writers of NSW, along with donors to the memorial, will gather in Waverley Cemetery at 6pm to ‘unveil’ the substantial marble plaque. This honours the poet, Dorothea Mackellar (1885-1968) with the 8 lines of her most famous stanza from her poem My Country, there for all to see in perpetuity. Her gravesite is close by the ’jewel sea’ of the Pacific Ocean she so lovingly describes”

poet Dorothea Mackeller

My Country – Poem by Dorothea Mackellar

The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies
I know, but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze …

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand
though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly

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Cat-a-static

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Cat-a-static  by Celia Berrell

(Nikola Tesla 1856 – 1943)

 

Nikola loved his childhood cat

the sleek, majestic black-Macak.

A cat whose fur would click and spark

when days were chilly, dry and dark

as stroking black-Macak’s fur coat

could cause a tiny lightning bolt.

 

Nikola Tesla loved his cat

the sparkling, zappy black-Macak.

That static electricity

inspired young Tesla, cleverly

inventing things quite technical.

Especially electrical.

 

From neon lights and radios

to radar and remote controls.

Transistors, robots, X-ray zones

and AC power to our homes.

Tesla had a genius knack

that started through his cat Macak!

 

http://www.pbs.org/tesla/ll/story_youth.html

It happened that one day the cold was drier than ever before. People walking in the snow left a luminous trail behind them, and a snowball thrown against an obstacle gave a flare of light like a loaf of sugar cut with a knife. In the dusk of the evening, as I stroked Macak’s back, I saw a miracle that made me speechless with amazement. Macak’s back was a sheet of light and my hand produced a shower of sparks loud enough to be heard all over the house.

My father was a very learned man; he had an answer for every question. But this phenomenon was new even to him. “Well,” he finally remarked, “this is nothing but electricity, the same thing you see through the trees in a storm.”
My mother seemed charmed. “Stop playing with this cat,” she said. “He might start a fire.” But I was thinking abstractedly. Is nature a gigantic cat? If so, who strokes its back? It can only be God, I concluded. Here I was, only three years old and already philosophizing.

 

I love the story about how his pet cat Macak sparked much of Nikola Tesla’s innovative work with electricity.  So I created this poem to honour Macak.

 

A Tribute to “Trim” Matthew Flinders’ Cat

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Trim

I’m a black cat

A special cat

A ship’s cat.

I was born on the Reliance in 1799.

Of all my mother’s kittens

I was the one most fine.

I’m a black cat

A special cat

A ship’s cat.

I have four snow-white paws

And a white star on my chest.

Of all the cats on board this ship

The sailors like me best.

I’m a black cat

A special cat

A ship’s cat.

When it’s time for dinner

I don’t eat with other cats.

I sit at table with the men.

I don’t care for rats.

I’m a black cat

A special cat

A ship’s cat.

I have a trusty friend

And Matthew Flinders is his name.

He has called me Trim.

I think together we’ll find fame.

I’m a black cat

A special cat

A ship’s cat.

Matthew is a clever man

He’s sailed all round this land.

He’s given it a name

And that’s Australia – how grand.

Perhaps you have a cat at home

Is it as fine as me?

Would it like to come aboard

And sail upon the sea?

With a black cat

A special cat

A ship’s cat.

Pat Simmons

Trim was a famous cat. Well worth a dedication poem.

A good adult read is the book by Bryce Courtney “Matthew Flinders’ Cat”

Here is a little more information on him:

 

  1. “Trim was the ship’s cat under the command of Matthew Flinders on voyages to circumnavigate and map the coastline of Australia from 1801 to 1803. He was therefore the first cat to circumnavigate Australia. Sadly, it seems he was stolen and eaten by hungry slaves. A statue to Trim was later erected, and he has been the subject of a number of works of literature. A statue sits on a window sill on the outside of the Sydney Library, in Sydney, Australia. The plaque on Trim’s statue reads

TO THE MEMORY OF TRIM
The best and most illustrious of his race
The most affectionate of friends,
faithful of servants,
and best of creatures
He made the tour of the globe, and a voyage to Australia,
which he circumnavigated, and was ever the
delight and pleasure of his fellow voyagers . . . .
“Written by Matthew Flinders in memory of his cat
Memorial donated by the North Shore Historical Society.”

  1. http://www.everseradio.com/lynn-brings-us-top-five-ship-cats/