Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost

A couple of days ago there was a report of a child found dead at the edge of the surf on a beach in Queensland . The place is familiar to me and this baby’s death so bizarre I felt I had to write a poem  as her requiem or to release it from my mind.  There is more coming out each day on this case and it just seems to get worse, but none of it will help her now.

We are fortunate to be living in this lucky country, but sometimes things happen that have no logical explanation and seem too terrible to even imagine. This was one of them.

Paradise Lost

And then on the news

From where buildings have views,

A child had been found near the water.

Laying dead on the sand

In this make believe land,

She had to be somebody’s daughter.

In the home of the stars

And all of the bars,

Of fortunes and loving with smiles.

Maybe this was a case

Of wrong time and wrong place-

Maybe nobody thought her worthwhile.

This poor little soul

Only nine months old,

A victim of psychotic neglect,

Her tiny soul lost

As they consider the cost

Of parents whose lives are a wreck.

Imagine her life

Daily trouble and strife,

Her fear and what she was thinking,

Such a tragic event

When three people went

To the beach for some drugs and some drinking.

I know someone cares

That this baby died there,

Where the waves continue to roll,

It’s a bad thing to hear ,

And to happen right here ,

Just so sad – may God rest her soul.

 

 

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The Long Range Bike Rider

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A normal day can produce an unusual experience right out of the blue.  For example,  meeting someone riding a push bike from Steep Point in W.A. to Cape Byron in Qld in fifty six days. A bloke is doing just that to raise money for the Royal Society for the Blind which is based in S.A. ( rsb)  This is not, as you often see on the news , using back up media and safety vans with flashing lights and sponsor signage , but just a man on a bike handling all his own problems as he moves across the country  relishing every moment. The bike looks quite tired, and it needs a bit of work,  but he is seemingly as fit as a flea.

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His name is Kim Turner and he has been around for sixty five years. He calls himself a ‘long range bike rider’ and he has been north to south across Oz and has done Tassie as well – all in the name of charity . He currently works in the mining  industry,   traveled the world, has six grown kids and lives in a shearer’s hut fifty k’s from Adelaide. His mind is bristling with stories and anecdotes about people he reveres and has met and he articulates them with Italian like hand gestures , looking away as his memory refills and his eyes sweep back with a quote from someone like the Dali Lama or Rudyard Kipling to further illustrate a point.

I wondered , as he pushed off into a strong westerly wind to prepare for his next leg to Tenterfield, if in another setting this man would be someone famous , but I doubt he would like that notion as he seemed to be quite content with his lot. He admitted he disliked school and quit early, but his knowledge of ‘stuff’ was remarkable and he is a true raconteur.

It was refreshing to meet such a man and I pondered later about my ordinary memory and how the rust of age seemed to be settling on it. Kim mentioned Bec Miller at the Royal Society for the Blind in S.A. saying she was an exceptional lady and has been a great help to him.  Should you see Kim heading for Byron Bay  on his trusty bicycle you could help with a donation for the rsb and if you get the chance to chat with him just enjoy it. He’s an unusual human being.

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The singer, the saddler and the songs.

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In a country town not far from where I live a singer named Peter Allen lived and had  a famous grandfather  whose place of business became famous in one of Peter Allen’s songs -‘The Tenterfield Saddler’. Peter, apart from writing wonderful songs won an Oscar and married Liza Minnellie, so he got fairly well known . This inspired the tourism folks, the council, a bunch of supporting business’ and lots of volunteers to create a festival in Peter’s honour. It took a couple of years, but the inaugural weekend festival played September 6th to 9th and was very successful.

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One can meet all sorts of folks at such events who are interesting and from all sorts of backgrounds. Tenterfield is a picturesque, friendly and historical  little town on the New England highway – which they blocked for the Saturday festivities and must have taken some organising.

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The shot above was taken as stall holders began setting up  and strangely, people seemed to  be hesitant to walk on the bitumen even after all the heavy transport and cars were stopped .

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There were many singers and songs, concerts and events happening. These ladies are the ‘Loveys’ and were an amazing little band from Mullumbimby who  had a couple of reasons for getting together. They all played an instrument at some stage in their lives        ( one plays a bassoon !) and they all had been in less than successful marriages. Women are amazing !

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At the end of the day when the sun was going down and folks had wandered home after closing up , the trucks were back on the highway and this tenacious local was still singing away.  He was obviously booked in this slot for the afternoon and the only bloke within cooee was the snowy haired tech guy. When he finally finished his set three or four people passing by and coming down off the euphoria of concert music, love and happiness applauded him like he was some rock god. Must have made his efforts feel a little more worthwhile.

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His name is Glenn. A smiling face, an interesting and friendly character. A self employed landscaper  with two kids and a wife back in Sydney camped in a Torago and cooked his tea with a small gas stove, warmed his legs with two small fan heaters under the light of a Dewalt power drill lamp running off a board charger which satisfied his worldly needs. He found pleasure in  simplicity  saying  these days people’s lives were  clogged up with too much unnecessary stuff.  The misty rain didn’t phase him . He checked things out around the Festival and the next morning said he loved it and headed back to Sydney. He kindly left one of the heaters for me saying he got them cheap from Bunnings. He was unusual – but typical of the Festival goers.   DSC06009

The Danny Elliott interpretation of Peter Allen’s songs and life made for a fantastic concert and a couple of hundred mature souls packed into the Henry Parkes town hall laughing, crying and singing Peter Allen songs like kids at The Wiggles concerts.  Sir Henry got some important things rolling in this Town Hall and the process has been repeated this September as plans are already being made for the Peter Allen Festival to be an annual event. Definitely worth a visit!

The King

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Elvis Presley, died on this day in 1977 .  I recall I was in an office in Adelaide exactly  forty one years ago when I heard the news report.  It was so hard to believe back then.  I remember when my best friend bought back a 45 of  ‘Paralysed’  from Japan  before it’s release in Australia and we treated it like some sort of religious icon, slipping it from the paper cover and placing it on the turntable to hear it for the first time. The goose bumps slid up and down my spine smiling as the now familiar, but still amazing intro, came through the speakers. I remember that day as if it were yesterday.

It wasn’t all easy for Elvis. In hindsight , having every facet of his life picked over and analysed from every angle including his penchant for  junk food and later in his career  prescription drugs, it was pretty clear Elvis was going to come to grief at a young age.  He was seen by over a billion people in 1973 in his ‘Aloha Hawaii’ concert long before the reach of the Internet. If you live on Earth chances are you have heard the name Elvis Presley and it’s unlikely  any  of today’s celebrities will ever match him.

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His workload  which involved eleven hundred odd concerts in seven years plus thirty two movies after his army service probably contributed  to his early demise, but management wanted as much from ‘their product’ as they could get . It’s ironic and has a degree of Kama that his manager died a pauper. Even with all that, many of his early songs with the Jordanaires set him up for an incredible career gaining legendary status and his music still remains popular today.  He is apparently making more money each year now than when he was alive. He was  different and controversial when he began singing and he lifted popular music  into a whole new realm.

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From a very basic beginning, he worked his craft using original sounds from  different genres of songs believing in himself until eventually he created something that can never be forgotten whether it was rock or pop, country or gospel.  To my mind,  during  his whole life he remained a humble, modest , decent and  spiritual  human being who was almost embarrassed by his wonderful gifts.  I believe he  was aware he had some rare power  of communication via music and he used it to make hearts light, love intense, smiles bright and millions of feet want to dance. Throughout his  career  his songs were presented with  respect, sincerity and often a sense of mischief.

Elvis burst onto the scene setting  the standard for  others to follow such as Tom Jones, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis etc proving that although he had his frailties  he was truly unique and to many people he will always remain The King.

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A Funny Little Dog

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My home is quiet. No squeaking dog flap, no scratch of claws on the lino, no slurping of a water bowl, no snoring alongside my bed and no thumping and scratching as she wrestled her blanket. My little dog Dee Dee  was thirteen and a great little mate. When Lil her sister died in 2016 DeeDee had a personality change and had to be close to me or sitting on part of me whenever we were in the same room – prior to that all she did was sleep. I like to think she took over Lil’s job looking after me.

We did many miles together including a very long caravan trip last year which she didn’t really enjoy, but she was good and gave me no trouble. We got into one place and had to use a motel ( long story) and I had to sneak her in asking her to be very quiet or we would get kicked out and she slept beside me in the bed and kept me awake snoring  like a drunken sailor.

This little dog made me laugh every single day with the things she did and sometimes when she had medical issues made me cry. Even up to last Saturday night she seemed fine, but as is often the way with all of us when we get old something suddenly went awry in her little body  and she spent her last night wracked in terrible pain and confusion with me cuddling her trying to soothe her. Mercifully about seven a.m. on Sunday 22nd July she was put to sleep by a vet and at last, she rested.

I like to think she has joined her sister Lilly playing wherever good little dogs play when they leave us. It is said when you have a dog it’s an emotional happening . You experience the most joy when they become part of your life , the strongest love when they share their life with you and the deepest grief when they leave you.

DeeDee – so much love from a funny little dog.

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Hold That Dream

SUPER ANT

It’s difficult to know

what one should do,

when the dreams you had

for all those years

seem unlikely to come true.

I longed to be a sportsman

shoot a few with all the champs,

all the psyching up and making deals

and living in training camps.

I wanted to be a traveler

and  follow famous trails,

all kinds of places to investigate

spending weeks on road and rail.

I’d be saying controversial things

my opinions they would quote –

a column published every day

and all the books I wrote.

I bought the tapes and heard them all

on positive thoughts and such –

not real cheap I have to say

and they didn’t help me much.

So after fifty years and half a life

it slowly dawned on me,

I was waiting for someone else

to offer me the key.

The dreams that I had started with

were still stored down the back –

the key was simply – get off your bum

and get your mind on track !

So I’m putting things together now

I don’t need the fancy stuff,

those old dreams have changed a bit

but I reckon it’s clear enough.

I’m not saying I’ll be famous,

but then again I might –

what really counts I figured out

is to hold your dream real tight.

Your age don’t count for nothing,

nor does the the social scene –

and life can take you anywhere

when you’re following a dream.

Play By The Rools

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Just Google it  to get an answer true –

In a milli second you’ll be straight through.

What’s this ? Discontented  people  coming in  ?

Pollies making speeches with dribbling chins,

We may be losing what we have gained

What our soldiers fought for may be in vain –

And it’s not just that – as bad as that is –

This is not  a question on a TV quiz –

This is us right now and we all need to know-

Oz is asking –  ‘hey what’s the go ?’

Everybody is welcome if they accept our rules

But some of those rules are ignored by fools .

Life is precious in this modern world

Where bombs , cowardice and killing girls

Seems to be the quest of some religious folk

As we Aussies sit around and think up jokes –

Media messages with a guilty feel

Ignoring headlines – are they false or real ?

It’s hard to believe what folks can do –

For the sake of  tradition – and there are only a few

Who will hurt you or your child, or a father or mother –

With hollow reasons these people hate each other .

We all live with people from many lands

Who’ll stick by our side working hand in hand ,

And for them and for us it’s not real fair

If some bring their hatred and want to share

Their  twisted thoughts of persecution

Intent on chaos and revolution –

We aren’t like that in this great land

They have to know –  have to understand

We are peaceful people with much to share

And we welcome those from everywhere,

So just remember when you come here

This is not a land of threats or fear .

Leave that shit behind you ace  –

And if you don’t like the rules – this ain’t your place!