”Encounter” by Virginia Lowe

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Encounter

They met at the back door

He was going out

She was coming in

Bemused, enchanted

They stood face to face

Eye to eye

She was charmed by

His long fluttering eyelashes

Then she took a peck

We rushed to sweep him up

Before she reached his eye

Only eight months old

Though already walking

Without boots

Who was he to stand

Between a chook and her beloved

Cat food? 

12 May 2018

Virginia Lowe

Monkey Mia with Teacher Notes

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Monkey Mia

Word runs round the campsite
They’re in! They’re coming in!
Instantly the baking beach is crowded
We stand knee-high in sea
Yearning, stretching towards the horizon
Where the dolphins appear

A meeting, we trust, of minds
Eager as ours, for contact
For reaching across the species barrier
In love

They nudge our legs
We stroke their satiny sides
Well away from the eyes and
​blow-hole vents
Each name age and relationship
Is learned from the dorsal fin
Distinctive, notched or bent
This is the larger part of the pod
Females and young

In supreme trust one mother
Allows her baby to come closer
Guarded and shepherded by its
​big sister
To swim between the legs
Right at the shore
Oh little one! we greet it
With rapture

They leave
The beach is deserted, desolate
Under the searing sun,
the blusterous hot wind

We leave
Drive back through the bright jewels
Strung on their breathless chain of heat –
Stromatolites and Pinnacles aeons old
A gorge and its curving
Stone-carving river –
There is a snake, a lizard
And woe! a car-slaughtered emu

Leaving its life-long partner
Disconsolate

In Perth a small news item –
The dolphin baby is dead
Killed, it seems, by effluent from the camp
Oh little one!
It was our manure that was your doom

Home again
We bear bright cameos
Of beauty and strangeness and difference
Of wildness and creatures who trust
Of encounters with alien minds
Paid for by us with guilt and grief
Paid for by them with their lives.

Virginia Lowe

Notes by Jeanie Axton

This poem is an opportunity to discuss the environmental impact of Tourism. It was published in 1996. You could look at the changes that have been made in Tourism in Australia from then to protect the environment and our animal friends.

Here is a link to information on the current operation. Up to three rangers are on duty at any time and only selected people feed the dolphins.

http://www.australiascoralcoast.com/attractions-events/monkey-mia-dolphins

And a link to a YouTube clip:

Her First Christmas/Christmas Trees

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HER FIRST CHRISTMAS

 

The pillow case

packed with

carefully chosen gifts

all wrapped

 

Adoring parents

on the end of the bed

 

The toddler

still in bed

unwraps each one

enjoying the paper

the ribbons and bows

 

Mother sits on

impatient hands

Each item

so carefully chosen

carefully wrapped

is carefully unwrapped

carefully explored

before going on

to the next

Mother cannot bear it.

 

To Australian poetry for children, 18 December; 6 December 2017

 

CHRISTMAS TREES

 

So many different trees

over the years

all decorated with the same ornaments

Kitsch jewellery from op shops

small wooden toys

peg angels from kinder

crocheted balls from Prague

red and silver tinsel

 

The traditional pine branch

shoved in a bucket,

held up by soil and bricks

the bucket covered in layers

of red and white crepe paper

 

Then the traditional

little growing tree

faithfully planted out

but never seeming to thrive

afterwards

 

One year it was a huge green

flower-shaped succulent

others it has been branches

broken from the leafy elm

 

As a child one year

we had a huge eucalyptus branch

touching the ceiling

Big enough to carry balloons

and a present for each person

present at my party

It had been Dad’s family tradition

but Mother disapproved

of the twigs and needles

dropped on her lounge-room carpet.

and of his family

So never again!

 

Virginia Lowe [on Allpoetry site as pick of the week]

 

30 November 2017

 

“Progression” with Teacher notes

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Progression

 

She showed it

to her slavedriver

who saw the possibilities

He promoted slave Hannah

to supervise

the sawing team

 

Before,

hundreds pulled the immense stone block

on its log rollers

A team of twenty waited at the back

to grasp the log-load

when it had been run over

The back log had to be

hauled to the front

to be run over yet again

 

If only the stone could stay still

on the logs while they kept rolling

Clearly impossible. Hannah scowled

But a slice of log sawn from one end

would roll the same way

With a hole in the middle

supporting – well we’d call it an axle

and a second round piece from the log

On her model it worked perfectly

Wheels! Wooden wheels!

The first cart

 

Wheelbarrows, trains, cars, trucks

cogs, pulleys, clocks,  machines

 

Life on earth would never be the same.

 

Virginia Lowe

Notes:

The Israelites or Jews were kept slaves by the Egyptians, so I’m imagining it was the same time as they built the pyramids – that’s why I called the slave Hannah, originally a Jewish name.

In fact it wasn’t the same time – the pyramids were built about 300 years before the Israelite’s turned up. But it makes a more interesting story. A very very old story.

I couldn’t think of any way to describe the axle apart from our word, but it’s a concept they wouldn’t have had. I’d like to hear if anyone can think of how the rod holding the two wheels together and on the ground, could be described otherwise.

The Jews escaped from Egypt with the help of Moses, who persuaded the king, Pharaoh, to let them go with the help of ten plagues. It is all there told in the Bible in the book Exodus, and is celebrated each year by the Jewish community as Passover.

Ideas:

Maths:           Looking at shape make Pyramids with cardboard

Humanities: Research the logistics of the building of the Pyramids

Learn about Jewish history and culture

Music:          “Let my people go” This includes images that will help in learning about

Jewish history

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkEmS3hWmmU

Art:               Paint: Make a giant class cardboard pyramid and creatively decorate it

News update

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Festival hosts children’s poetry events

 

 

 

 

Are you thinking of becoming a children’s poet? Are you already a children’s poet looking for a way forward in your journey? What can poetry do for children? Join poets Sally Murphy, Dr June Perkins and JR Poulter, in-conversation with Dr Virginia Lowe, for this fascinating discussion. Bookings essential.

When: Saturday, August 26, 2017, 1 – 2pm

Venue: Brisbane Square Library, 266 George Street, Brisbane City

Parent event: Queensland Poetry Festival

Age range: Preschool kids, Kids, Young adults, Adults (30+), Seniors

Bookings required. Phone Brisbane Square Library on 07 3403 4166 to reserve your place.

FREE

 

 

 

 

When: Saturday, August 26, 2017, 2 – 2:30pm

Bring your children to this poetry reading for the young (and young at heart), featuring children’s poets Sally Murphy, Dr June Perkins and JR Poulter. Bookings essential.

Venue: Brisbane Square Library, 266 George Street, Brisbane City

Bookings required. Phone Brisbane Square Library on 07 3403 4166 to reserve your place.

Cost: Free

Would you like to host a children’s poetry event?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poet Glora Gonsalves has founded World Children’s Poetry Day (WoChiPoDa), an initiative aimed at instilling the love of poetry in young people, and is calling on people around the world to join in and celebrate the day by hosting local events. For more information about becoming involved in the initiative visit http://wochipoda.com/

Poetry pointers

Where do you get ideas? How do you write a poem? Do poems have to rhyme? What makes it a poem if it doesn’t rhyme? Who publishes poetry? How do I become a children’s poet? What is your top tip for writers who want to write poetry for children?

These are among the myriad questions asked by writers who want to write poetry. How would you answer them? If you have a poetry pointer to share, email me at traffa-m@bigpond.net.au

Articles, events, information and interviews

ACP is also happy to accept information about children’s poetry activities and events in Australia and overseas, poetry links, competitions, interviews with poets or publishers, poetry book reviews and relevant articles.

Poem of the Day

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IVY’S ADVENTURE

 

Irascible Ivy was angry

As she watched children skip through the gate

Magic shouldn’t be easy

It made her feel queasy

Still she worried that she’d be too late

 

She knew the gate had to lead somewhere

Enchanted that land was for sure

So she structured a ladder

And couldn’t be gladder

Imagine the magic she saw!

Virginia Lowe
  • Submitted in response to Poetry Prompt #21

 

Poem of the Day

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Sunshine in the lounge room

 

You are my sunshine

 

The player piano

gave me the words

there on the roll

 

My only sunshine

 

I pushed the pedals

and sang at the top

of my voice

 

You make me happy

 

And I was happy

there in the lounge room

with no sunshine at all

 

When skies are grey

 

skies might have been blue

or grey with rain

But the piano played for me

 

Please don’t take my sunshine away

 

Virginia Lowe
  • Submitted in response to Poetry Prompt #15

Virginia said: I can’t hear the word without (mentally) singing the song, which I learned in childhood, just as the poem says.

Poem of the Day

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Forgetting how to ride a bike

 

My father loved the stars

In another life,

permitted education,

his facility with numbers

might have made him

a famous astronomer

instead of an accountant

See that bright one?

That’s Beetle-juice

I remember him telling

Yes, I’d say meekly

wishing to please

But I couldn’t of course

It was all just fuzzy blobs

 

See that milkbar on the corner?

No I said. Didn’t want to be sent

somewhere I couldn’t see

Stupid child! they thought

It never occurred to them

that I really couldn’t see.

 

So on my seventh birthday

a bicycle purple painted,

with Virginia

in gold down the crossbar

the most beautiful bike ever seen

I was terrified

to ride it, I couldn’t see

where I was going,

what was in front

I walked it to school

to Brownies after school

to have it admired,

to show it off

but I couldn’t actually ride it.

 

Six months later

my myopia finally spotted by a teacher

I learned to ride with my new glasses

I was never very good

never enthusiastic

never worthy of the bike’s beauty

The skill now long forgotten

Virginia Lowe
  • Submitted in response to Poetry prompt #8

poetry-prompt-8Virginia said: I was myopic (short sighted) from birth, but no one realised until a teacher called my parents when I was seven. I didn’t know of course – that’s just how the world was – it didn’t occur to me that it might look different to different people.  After I got glasses I was fine – but never really confident riding a bike, however beautiful the bike was. Now I’m old. When they removed the cataracts from my eyes, they fixed the myopia as well, so no more glasses! There are some things I miss though, especially the pattern of circles of light through a dense leaf canopy. But now I can see the birds instead. I’ll never go back to bike riding though.

I first wrote this poem in response to a prompt on another poetry site, Silver Birch Press. The prompt was ‘learning to ride a bike’. It will fit into my autobiography in verse (not yet published) A Myopic’s Vision.