Ne’er to go

The wind shakes –

the ground breaks –

your eyes wake and blink

 

a joyful string

your baggage light

delight in spring and build

 

create God’s guild

love, laugh then chide –

before I lose my alibi

 

I reached the wall –

a no-through road –

yet in your arms I fell

 

and all is well

 

for in you I’ve stayed –

devoted to your hand and heart

 

with you I ride – no more to stray

ne’er to go –

ne’er to go –

ne’er to go away.

what makes one a fairy

what makes one a fairy

give her a hedge to hide behind

bring lightning and the strongest fragrance

and she will have taller feet –

longer arms and bigger hands

and delve into the Never-never-land

 

a playmate remains a little girl

travelling to the evening star

by horse and carriage ride –

abandoning reality

for the thrills of dreaming

 

frolic one must – fancy-free

for the passing of time

and the fairy’s wish

will be a wish for all

who bid goodbye

 

smother happiness upon another

play like there is no tomorrow

and delight in the bewitching hour –

build a cherished home

filled with fairy dust and jasmine flowers

 

to away austerity and lure love

and lead from way behind the hedge

and share the fairy’s fragrance

in mere mortals’ smiles –

 

seen in(stead) –

mere mortals in her stead.

out of many

Because one said so

is it true

who else says it’s so –

do you

 

because one warrants

you agreed

who else will agree

with thee

 

because one stands tall

do you stand too

does anyone else stand tall

with you

 

out of many, one –

(e pluribus unum) –

thirteen letters

scattered some

 

emblazoned seal

in eagle’s beak

diversified –

it’s you one seeks

to be one day

 

though many tried –

 

it’s you the one

most deified.

the storm

What can I see

when I say I can do

and the bird in the tree

reminds me of you

 

and the little lake ponders

and paddles and pants

and the stars in the sky

over yonder way land

 

speak to the children

who chide in the snow

and the sleet turns to feet

on the ski-slopes on show

 

 

and the fire has embers

that keep lovers warm

cuddled and huddled

under blankets in storms

 

and when thunder breaks

and pets hide out of view

the thunder’s anger

reminds me of you

 

when I said; I don’t love you –

can’t take anymore

and you told me; get out

and you showed me the door

 

 

as I dangled my feet

in the water below

and thought of the time

on the ski-slopes

in the snow

 

it was you on my mind

my ‘one’ grown from ‘two’

the bird in the tree

under sky, clearest blue

The tree trunk brought him solace

The tree-trunk brought him solace
a place to rest his hand
the man more Irish than his whiskey
was not long for this land

and his bayonet and musket –
ingrained in him that day
on the ground called Little Round Top
lay with him, bleeding, as he’d say;

we fight for that man Chamberlain
(manly was his speech)
with majesty and guile
eye to eye, he cried, beseeched;

do it for me this day m’lad
fight for honour ‘cos you can
do it for me this day m’lad
this day become a man

their eyes pierced each others,
(so sincere)
as Chamberlain implored;
my men are angels, pure angels
great deeds they’ll do, be sure

his Irish friend spoke one last time –
they’re Killer Angels, barely read
they’ve got that killer instinct, Sir
they’ll fight until they’re dead

they’ll hold that hill
with guts and will
you’ll lead them ‘til they’ve bled

their soul will sing
the devil’s dance
the mainstay of the band
as Chamberlain reached out, so dear –
reached out, and held his hand

you may be gone my dearest chum
but in my heart you live
and strive to be the essence, we
of courage found within

I’m with you, Sir, I’m by your side
though from backgrounds, so severe
go forth and hold –
be brave and bold
away your Angels’ fear

you will return to Bowdoin, Maine
and live a life of large

and as you do
(may God be true)
and war be far apart

yet reflect – on boys to men –
for their mother’s, they shall weep

fight your good fight
and in the dark of night
think of me – now sound asleep.

————————————————-

Footnote: this poem is based on the only fictitious character, Buster Kilrain, in the movie, Gettysburg (1993), written and directed by Robert F Maxwell, and the novel, The Killer Angels (1974), by Michael Shaara.

dead poets

The teacher, on the table, stood

(to some a block), a plank of wood

yet there stood a scribe with task

to feed those beyond mere reasoning

 

a calculated world we’re living in

with textbook teachings of the past

think, my friends – with majesty

within you is the test to see

 

dead poets, yet immortal ‘sons’

quiet though their presence be

more than words – they sing to me

and to those who live beyond

 

rip it out, lads – go on rip, rip some more

the man stands proud – his text decried

dismiss and you’ll be better for

forefathers land yours to refine

 

there’s one way forward and one way through

arise young men, well read and true

choose your course and wisely too

for poets dead live on in you.

 

 

footnote:- this poem is a tribute to the inspiration derived from the movie Dead Poets Society (1989) and its main character, John Keating, played by the late Robin Williams (1951 – 2014).

Max

Max was a magical, marvellous man

hard as a nail

soft as sleet in the snow

 

done best he can do

‘til sleep surrounded –

miraculous Max – one day

found confounded

 

Max was ‘tall’ –

a drinking man? no

tawdry at times

a frugal face

once judgemental

 

with big heart

brave and bold

and views fundamental

 

Max knew things – more than most

markedly smart with sweet soul

family first, old or young

family always had been

 

home by six was his mantra

to play with the kids

luscious his love –

his smile, serene

 

gasping yet gracious

inviting pillow that night

the room was enveloped

the feeling so keen

 

gasping, so gracious

everything right

gaspingly gracious –

Max said;

Goodnight!

Now

Forever is ever

will never be lost

in trees in the woods

in the snow’s early frost

 

always is tomorrow

and days yet to come

now is the moment

we delight in the sun

 

the sky may be mourning

the wind saddened, it seems –

the tsunami of senses

that comes with the breeze

 

becomes something more

in the wings of the trees

from a bud to a blossom

in the Spring-time we see

 

no need for eyes –

our senses will tell

when we smell freedom

no longer under the spell

 

of life told to us

like a story-book, read

sitting upright

with a pillow

under blankets in bed

 

and once upon a time –

…the end.

 

we will cry

 

now is the time

that never says its

Goodbye.

The religion of football

Religion comes in many forms – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism – and then there is football. September is finals time for Australian Rules Football (AFL) and it is at this time of the year that this religion comes into its own, for it is a time all football fans celebrate the essence of togetherness, the discipline that football teaches.

AFL is followed by more fans than any other sport in Australia. It is the primary game we play in winter, and was originally derived by cricketers who wanted to play a sport that would keep them fit in the off-season. The people flocked to the game and it became the greatest of all spectator sports.

It attracted young men with a future that seemed all but lost before football came to town

Yet what type of spectator did this new-found game attract? It was the kind of game that gave young men a chance to pick themselves up from the ashes of unemployment and wealthy businessmen the ability to provide those young men with a future that seemed all but lost before football came to town.

It gave ordinary folk the chance to come to the game, sit in the pricey seats or stand in the standing-room only area, paying little to mix with those from a different background.

And there’s the rub.

AFL is a game that does not recognise colour or creed

AFL is a game, even today, especially today, that does not recognise colour or creed. It does not care whether you are black, brown, yellow or white. It has no concern whether you come from the rough  end of the sticks or the wealthy suburbs.

And neither do the spectators. With standing room a thing of the past, there is nothing left (other than the corporate boxes) to divide the rich from the poor. There is as much of a chance that the man or woman, adult or child, sitting next to you could be your best friend as they could a perfect stranger or an enemy in business, They may come from the other part of town, or a different town altogether. They could as well be a merchant banker as they could a carpenter, a retailer or a teacher. The child sitting in front of you could as well be educated in the public school system as he could the most toffee-nosed private school in suburban Melbourne.

These players have names like Christian Petracca, Travis Varcoe, Lin Jong, Mason Cox and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti. They come from many and varied backgrounds, like the spectators watching their every move

Looking out to the field, the 100,000 fans see the players, running up and down, kicking and chasing, hand-passing and following, marking and celebrating a goal. These players have names like Christian Petracca, Travis Varcoe, Lin Jong, Mason Cox and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti. They come from many and varied backgrounds, like the spectators watching their every move.

Petracca’s heritage is Italian, Varcoe Indigenous Australian, Jong is part Taiwanese, part Timorese, Cox comes from the Unites States and McDonald-Tipungwuti is a Tiwi Islander. Yet they are all footballers, accepted and celebrated for their talent, ability and prowess.

The fans ring out a cheer. Their fanaticism for their team is exhilarating

The fans ring out a cheer. Their fanaticism for their team is exhilarating. They are what makes the game great. Instances abound of a full house of fans, standing, to respect a minutes silence for the fallen on ANZAC Day. Or for the national anthem. No-one kneels at the stadium that is the AFL.

Togetherness, understanding, tolerance, sportsmanship

Togetherness, understanding, tolerance, sportsmanship. This is what we worship in September.

May it always be thus.

 

NB: Go to AFL.com.au for more information on the beauty that is Australian Rules Football

Finals football at the ‘G’

The ‘G’. The ground that draws a crowd.

This is the time of the year when everyone’s attention turns to football – in Australia at least. In the US they broadcast the game we love and created at 3am when you are all in  bed sound asleep but there are a few of you I know who are ardent followers of our great game.

Australian Rules Football (AFL) started as a sideshow, for cricketers to play in the off-season to keep themselves fit for the summer. The game sprouted from its fledgling beginnings in and around the suburbs of Melbourne, our second largest city, and home of ‘Aussie Rules’.

To begin with there were two sides, one from Melbourne itself and another from a nearby town called Geelong. In those early days there was one thing that surprised more than anything else – the game’s popularity.

That was 1859.

This weekend, over 91,000 people turned out to watch those two clubs (Melbourne and Geelong) fight out a tough elimination final. The night before, over 91,000 people attended the other elimination final. The first time in the history of the game that over 90,000 people had attended finals matches back to back.

You have to experience the game to understand it and even then it’s best to throw the rule book away and simply watch the game that is the definition of entertainment with the pleasure and excitement it engenders in us all.

In the US, the Superbowl is played at various stadiums around the country. In Australia we play the Grand Final, as we call it, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) – note the connection to cricket here, each and every year.

Superbowl XIV attracted 103,985 people to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the highest ever attended Superbowl. The 1970 AFL/VFL Grand Final between Collingwood and Carlton holds the record for any sporting event in terms of crowd attendance held anywhere in Australia. Today, the ground holds an official capacity of 100,024, so it’s unlikely this record will ever be broken.

The game was played between two of the ‘heavy-hitters in AFL history and at half-time it saw Collingwood ahead by 42 points. Game over.

Not so fast.

Carlton came back to win by 10 points. As explained by Wikipedia

Late in the last quarter, with Carlton leading by less than a goal, Alex Jesaulenko snatched the ball on the half forward line and sent a left foot kick bouncing towards goal. With no one guarding the goals, the ball bounced through for a goal, sealing the game for Carlton, [who] completed a recovery, to triumph by 10 points, 17.9 (111) to 14.17 (101).

That day, the MCG attracted 121,696 banner-waving, crowd-pleasing, cheering fans.

The ground has only ever seen one event surpass this in terms of crowd attendance and that was for a 1959 evangelical tour by the late Billy Graham when more than 130,000 people turned out to listen to the crowd-pleasing evangelist . One fellow, quoted by the ABC, in an article on ABC.net.au who was there that day, says;

I felt God speaking to me

So it took God himself to surpass a record that will never be broken. Go figure!

To experience the excitement of the last four minutes of that game, go to YouTube

And to finish, I must include my own experiences at AFL Grand Finals, having been twice, the most recent attendance being in 2010, on 25th September, when I was one of the 100,016 people that saw Collingwood and St.Kilda play out…

a draw!

A week later I was in hospital when the two teams went round again for a replay of the Grand Final to finally try and split them apart. And split them apart they did, with Collingwood victorious on a day when I was only semi-conscious.

Ahh, what a great game it is. I hope you get to experience it some day and enjoy a spectacle that is beyond words.