Fantastic Feathers


Fantastic Feathers


Compared to fur or human hair

feathers are a smart affair.

As down, their fluffy unzipped form

of under-feathers, keeps birds warm.


But barbs and barbules, shaft and quill

hide clues to how birds fly with skill.

Their contour feathers, zipped and long

make wafting wings so light yet strong.


From dowdy mums to vivid males

with crazy crests and splendid tails;

for camouflage or bright display

feathers have lots of roles to play.


by Celia Berrell

First published in Double Helix (September 2015)

Reproduced with permission of CSIRO


Take Note: from pillows to pens, feathers have helped humans sleep well and become educated!  Recently we learnt that some dinosaurs were feathered too.  Compared to fur, feathers are fascinatingly complex and some are almost magically colourful.  I find feathers fabulously beautiful.

Polliwogs and pobblebonks



Polliwogs and pobblebonks

I could be quite mistaken

but I’m feeling pretty sure

that polliwog’s a word

you’ve never come across before.

And pobblebonk’s another,

with a funny kind of sound,

a word I’m also certain

you have never seen around.

They’re not a type of candy

or variety of fish.

They’re not exotic items

in some oriental dish.

They don’t have beaks or feathers

and they’re not a breed of dog.

A polliwog’s a tadpole

and a pobblebonk’s a frog.

Jenny Erlanger

Poetry Prompt #40

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This week’s prompt is “Chickens”

A few ideas:

  • Why did the chicken cross the road?
  • Chickens pecking order
  • Feathers flying
  • The love of eggs
  • The noisy rooster
  • Hens brooding


Looking forward to your contributions.

Please send to:


This week’s quote to ponder on:

“With me poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion”

Edgar Allan Poe

(An American writer 1809-1849)


Poem of the Day


Blue and red

by Sophie Masson


All the day long, the bluebird sings,

High in the trees, high on the wing.


All the day long, the red cow eats,

Moos and eats, moos and eats.


All the night long, the blue dog howls,

Keeps up the neighbours with his sad yowls.


All the night long, the red fox prowls,

Watch out you farmers, lock up your fowls!



Poem of the Day



 by Allan Cropper


It’s a topsy turvy kind of day

My head is in a spin

What’s down is up, what’s up is down

I’m neither out nor in

I’ll try on lots of outfits

and brush and style my hair

It’s a topsy turvy kind of day

but I don’t really care

It’s a muddily fuddily way I feel

My head is in a fog

I think I’ll put my runners on

and go out for a jog

I’ll race the other joggers

to see if I can win

It’s a muddily fuddily way I feel

but comfy in my skin

It’s a higgledy piggledy afternoon

My head is in a cloud

I think I’ll put my headphones on

Play music way up loud

I’ll dance around my bedroom

where no one else can see

It’s a higgledy piggledy afternoon

and that’s just fine with me


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


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


My Nan speaks Nanish


My Nan speaks Nanish, not Hippo or Hag.

It’s a slippery language I’d love to snag,

a scrumptious secret wild horses can’t drag

but Nan won’t let the cat out of the bag!


My Nan speaks Nanish, not Thai or Turkey.

Spying on the neighbours what does she see?

Pishposh! Codswollop! Fiddle-de-dee!

Wagging tongues are barking up the wrong tree.


My Nan speaks Nanish, not Belgium or Bear.

She’d teach me if she had the time to spare

but it’s half past a freckle, quarter past a hair,

the proof’s in the pudding and hen’s teeth are rare.


My Nan speaks Nanish, not Dog or Derry

wetting her whistle watching the telly,

chewing the fat with great aunty Nelly,

bulging eyes growing bigger than bellies


My Nan speaks Nanish, not Mooney or Manx.

When old photos lull her into a trance

she’s caught and lead in a merry old dance

by teasing bees knees and fancy ants pants.


My Nan speaks Nanish, not Cree or Kipper.

Hob-knobbing in her best bib and tucker.

When she married Pop it was a ripper,

he was the monkey, she the dog’s dinner.


My Nan speaks Nanish not Gothic or Goop

sucking on eggs or jumping through hoops.

She calls me little chicken noodle soup.

Possum. Pumpkin. I’m her favourite fruit loop.


My Nan speaks Nanish, not Persian or Pie.

It’s tricky talk that leaves me tongue-tied

But if wishes are fishes, pigs can fly,

my Nan can speak Nanish and so can I!


© Jane Williams


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Here are the recent updates to this blog/website.


For ease of reference, links to articles, interviews or reviews posted on the blog page will also be accessed via their respective pages.



Recent interviews with Doug MacLeod and Stephen Whiteside can be accessed via the Interviews ‘drop-down’ menu.



All  reviews can be accessed via the Review page.



The article/bio on Oodgeroo Noonuccal aka Kath Walker (contributed by Robyn Youl of Bacchus Marsh, Victoria) has been added to our POETS A-Z page.


If you are not able to view the ‘drop-down’ listing of poets, all bios can be accessed through the main page here.

Direct link:




Di Bates




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Here are this week’s updates.



Current competitions (listed on this site) are now on the main ‘Competitions‘ page – in order of deadline submission date.



The 2014 Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards, Australia’s largest and oldest poetry writing competition for students.

Closing Date: 30-June 2014



Two bios have been added to our POETS A-Z page.

Mike Lucas

Dianne Ellis

If you are not able to view the ‘drop-down’ listing of poets, all bios can be accessed through the main page here.

Direct link:


That’s it for this week.


Di Bates