I walked the road you walked

I ran the path you ran

I strolled the boulevard you knew too

I chased you down our avenue


My hand, my arm, outstretched

You, beyond its reach

I sensed a feeling, forgotten, lost

I felt a pain you had embossed


When I could run, I’d run so fast

My haste, like youth, ne’er could last

When I could touch your mouth, you came

You whispered, so that I alone could hear your name


My sweet angel, hold me, embrace kismet, please

I’m destined to mistrust the ease

With which you turn, and walk away

Bringing dark night sky to the sunshine’s day


An earlier version of this first published on

The Sepulchre

The sepulchre of the sentiment

That stands beside the Seine

The green seeds of the linden tree

That captivate your name


Away, be gone, that sentiment

In place, another, quite unknown

A surreptitious sentiment

One rushes to disown


You have no place standing there

Where Charlie reigned supreme

There’s no welcome mat at my door

So stay away from me


My river greets those of like-mind

With a smile and a cry

For granted, take not what we have

To you, a lullaby


The sepulchre of the sentiment

Reminds, of those who won’t grow old

That surreptitious sentiment

Be gone – protect the fold



Postscript: In memory of all those innocent civilians who have died in terrorist acts of violence


She tells a joke –

I laugh aloud

She shouts obscenely –

I agree

She wanders over to

The other side –

I laugh, aloud,

At me

Caught in life’s maze –

A puzzle solved

Caught in the rip

Within the sea

I raise my hand

For help to come

Life yet lived –

My final plea

Her shadow follows –

Windswept hair flows

Too cold, too callous

To save a thing like


Yet, to win one must

At first, to lose –

Pleasure craved at mortal cost

Of her, of she

Best friend

Fallen from the table

Devoured in an instant

Opportune, she lives for here and now

Like smile on an infant


Found amongst the grass

Eaten – pure instinct

The lips, the sense of smell inspect

What to us is non-existent


She lives her life from down below

We live ours from up above

Man’s best friend protects us from

Dangers we’re unaware of


Listen – to us, the sound is silence

See what to us is blind

Sense what we can only dream

Awake to love of all mankind


Inspired by my choc lab, Kahlua, pictured as a puppy here.

The gift card

The gift card said not what I meant –

Hard to emphasize

A child born this day in Lent –

Parents’ newborn alibi


What’s lost is handed back to he

Despair replaced with what amazes

Life events served up unknowingly

In many unknown places


What’s yet to come –

What’s been and gone –

What has one to look forward to?

What happened to that well-known smile?

Lost between the mazes


Come join us – bestow joy upon

A place of brevity, in essence

A place resolved to virtue

With he within her presence


I’ve seen illusion pass me by –

I’ve seen it gather dust

In times of yore, another world

Controlled what now, upon us,

Has been thrust


Yet have we seen the best of it?

In present time we travel

To see what lay before our eye

If not – untie, unstitch, unravel


Untangle me and shy away

To a place of enhanced thought

And build upon philosophy

Articulating what one ought to


In articulation, cry aloud;

‘Behold the joy of life –

Forget despair, illusion, brevity –

Bring child in, to a day,

Otherwise contrite


For to affect the life of one

Espouses trust in all

A life unchanged is a life untouched

Ne’er to run, e’er, always, to crawl


Ask is it the joy of many?

At what is our time better spent?

Parents share a newborn alibi –

Their child, born in Lent.


first published on


Held together – elasticity

Frail – loosens – breaks

Durable – invested care

Broken – stumbles – shakes


Outer wall – extremity

Injured – punctured – hit

Inner sanctum standing tall

Candle – burning – lit


Hand once soft and supple

Hand becomes forlorn

Self – trickster – knowledge – bow

Simple conjures worn


Tired – tattered – sunset – near

Twilight reflects affray

Brittle, batter – needless – matter

Nearer end of days


Quiet into this goodnight

Shout, fight then disabuse

Noise – victory – silence – prayer

Radio on mute


Harpsichord sounds sweetly

Orchestral – in good tune

Trumpet – buzzing – breezy

Haunting – droning mood


Days – long gone, forgotten

Days – ahead, concern

Aggravate – surroundings

Ponder – protest – muse – unlearn


Fortune – future – time to think

Peter – Heaven’s gate

Nicer, kinder, gentler, fairer

Yesterday – too late


Away – beyond – emote – anon

Behold – appear – affect – repeat

Regret – surpass – degustate – fast

Allow – surrender – cease!


Postscript: a poem that deliberately leaves out conjunctions – those special words which connect words or clauses to make a sentence.

NB: The odd conjunction still finds its way in at times.

The clarion call

The river rows the oarsman

Like the mountain moves the climb

The sunrise heats the day

Like the lectern stands and cries;


I stand before you all, beholden

To convey, what promised, I doth say

Deliverance be sent ahead of time

And the sunshine rules the waves


The lake lends its ears to listen

And the fountain, trickling, falls

And the distance, prone to what’s been tried

Before twilight heeds the call


Sunset trestles the table

And his reflection keeps them out

And the speaker speaks the way he knows

And the highway lends them doubt


He had no way of knowing

He had no chance to suppose

The resultant shock to all and sundry

As he sensed he’d be deposed


The people moved the mountain

The sunrise and the sea

Delivering a treatise

To those who thought they’d be


Above, beyond, the common call

Safe in harbour, from the sea

A greater being than those with voice

Substantial, by decree


Yet in droves they came from far away

To record their true feel

Would power lend its ear to hear?

Or would the hook, prize fish, by reel?


Or, tone deaf, would power speak to them?

Above, their clarion call

The river, mountain, sunset

Led to the lectern – the voice of all!


Postscript: Inspired by the recent Australian federal election, won on a knife’s edge by the Coalition Government.

NB: first published at

With gritted teeth – the Australian Federal Election

“With gritted teeth.”

That’s how one Liberal Party member described the way voters should approach the ballot box on Polling Day. Come 2nd July and the voting public of Australia had other ideas. At time of writing, votes are still being counted in a number of seats. The final result will not be known until week’s end, at the earliest.

The Australian federal election has just been run. We don’t have anything like hanging chads, we just have a short piece of paper, a very long piece of paper, and a pencil. Once complete, our votes go into two separate ballot boxes that look like they’d break down at the first touch. But they don’t. The system works. The volunteers do a sterling job. And democracy is the sure winner.

Malcolm Turnbull, who took over the leadership of the Liberal Party in a leadership spill nine months earlier, could have been described as over-confident in his exuberance on Polling Day. It seemed clear to him, in particular, but to all and sundry, in general, that the government would be returned, some said with a small majority, others thought comfortably.

Everyone was proved wrong.

Neither major party was able to get more than forty-one percent of the primary vote. Put the major parties together and they only obtained a little over seventy-five percent of the vote. The voting public thought both parties were ‘on the nose,’ devoid of leadership ability, not speaking to them, speaking over them.

The Prime Minister was referred to as ‘The Great Communicator,’ a term used often to describe Ronald Reagan. This election proved him to be ‘The Great Ex-Communicator.’ The look on his face in the early hours of Sunday morning as he faced his supporters from behind the lectern was one of anger, frustration, and contempt for what had just happened. It looked like he thought the people of Australia did not appreciate what he had done for them, did not appreciate his great leadership skills.

It took him the better part of three days to deliver the speech he should have delivered on election night, his ‘mea culpa’ speech. The volunteers were not recognised, his opponents were not recognised, and the members of his party that had just lost their seat to a minor-party backlash were not mentioned. Words used to describe the speech included ‘lousy,’ ‘pathetic,’ and others unable to be printed here.

The question on everyone’s lips was; ‘why?’

There was clearly a conservative ‘revolt’ against the Prime Minister’s leadership. Mr. Turnbull comes from the ‘moderate’ faction of the party and his ability to disenchant those on the right began with his leadership spill of Tony Abbott, the former Liberal Party leader and Prime Minister. From the same party but opposing factions, their views were differing in many ways – on issues such as the republic, gay marriage, even whether or not Australia was ‘invaded’ or ‘colonised.’

The attitude of the moderates, though, was that the conservatives could not vote for a minor party, they could not vote for the Labor Party, a union-backed political organisation as old as Federation. In fact, in their view, they had no-where to go.

The abrasiveness of this attitude was clear for all to see. And the fact was it was foolish, for the disaffected conservatives did have somewhere to go – from One Nation to Family First to the Christian Democrats to the Liberal Democrats to the Australian Liberty Alliance – take your pick.

And, in fact, this was proved to be the case as the numbers were counted and the votes started coming in. In 1951, 2.5 percent of the voting public voted for minor parties. By 1975, the figure was 7.5 percent. With eighty percent of the vote counted, in 2016 the percentage was 23.2. Over the last four federal elections, those voting for minor parties had risen from fourteen percent to eighteen percent to twenty-one percent to almost one-quarter of all votes tallied.

I call that a trend, and a significant trend at that. But do those voters believe that the major parties are not for them or have they just ‘parked’ their vote there until they like what they hear – from the Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader, and so on?

In Australia this week many commentators are saying that the major parties and their leaders have lost touch with their voter base, they are arrogant, over-confident, speak down to the voters, question decisions made at the ballot box, and have an inability to discuss real issues, from job security to pension entitlements, from securing our defences to gay marriage, from freedom to associate to securing our borders against potential terror threats.

Enter Donald Trump. Enter Brexit. Enter Pauline Hanson.

Ms. Hanson is back in the Senate after an eighteen year hiatus. Back then she was well known for her declaration that ‘Australia is being swamped by Asians.” Now she wants a Royal Commission into Islam. But she speaks a lot of sense. Even sitting, watching her on talk shows this past few days I’ve caught myself nodding my head as she speaks about job security, about climate change, about the Coalition being the best party to lead this country to economic health and well-being.

In essence, people like Ms. Hanson say what a lot of people out there are thinking. She’s just got the guts to stand for public office. That’s democracy!

Couple that with commentators descriptions of major parties as tired, unrepresentative, with little idea what they stand for, no understanding of what they really offer the voting public, plus the regular infighting the major parties carry on with, and how can one be surprised at the ascendancy of minor parties as a way for voters to express their displeasure?

In Australia over the past four and a half years we have had five Prime Ministers; Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd (again), Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull. This seems to reflect an ‘Europeanisation’ of Australian federal politics. Is it here to stay?

I think not. What is required is a leader who can speak to the people, not above them, who sees themself as first among equals, who can speak the language of the voting public and understand most people aspire to something better than what they have, are ‘aspirational voters,’ and look to their leaders to articulate their vision for the future.

Personally, I’d like to see a return to the core values we hold dear, the values that were centripetal in the creation of our Federation; to aspire to improve our ‘lot,’ hard-work, a ‘fair go,’ a ‘hand-up’ not a ‘hand-out,’ and a freedom to pursue our interests without intervention.

Smaller government may be a stretch too far but certainly a more efficient government, and a quieter one. Ideally, we could benefit from a government that stands back and allows the people, the voting public, to take the lead in their own lives, incurring praise when warranted and interjection by the powers-that-be when needed. A government that believes it is their role to govern by the rule of law but not to moralise or to lecture.

A return to a philosophical base would be a fresh start for politics in this country. We need to give the people a clear choice, a clear vision, so they can go to the ballot box with a smile rather than gritted teeth, showing their pearly whites rather than their frustrations.

Are we up for the challenge?


first published on

The hall of darkness

He walked the hall of darkness

Toward where the light had shone

But the headlamp of the coming train –

Was on


He strolled with tunnel vision

His eyes deceived by rain

It was only a short shower –

Umbrella’s sweet refrain


He dawdled down the road less travelled

He heard thunder – more like hail

His hearing was imperfect –

He was frail


He crawled upon the avenue

To the parkland – hear the band

His sight showed him perfection

Then he ran


For he could not face perfection

Even excellence could be

Pristine in the valley –

Unspoiled in the sea


And he could not bear consider merit

It did not sit well with him –

Though hard-fought, his achievements (such as they were)

Had been


But those were for others to judge

When they had the time

In the tunnel, in the parkland,

In the valley, in the rain,

The light, once bright, like sunshine –

Whence it came.



first published on