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I love chocolate! Not just for the taste and the variety available. Walk into your nearest chocolate shop and the whole world opens up to you, like Forest Gump said;

Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gunna get.

My box of chocolates runs around my backyard like a fanciful, frenzied fanatic. My box should have been born with a tennis ball in the left side of her mouth. It never seems to move, unless it’s in the air, waiting for her to jump, four feet off the ground, and catch it like an Australian Rules footballer, in the exact spot where it stays as she rests.

Rests? Huh, now there’s something she doesn’t do often. And when she does it’s for a moment, before she gets up, ball in mouth, and finds her ‘master’, for want of a better word, and chases him quietly, persistently, around the house until he gives in and says;

Okay, okay, I get it. It’s time to play ball

No, no, you misunderstand. Not baseball. Just ‘ball’. Up she flies, over she runs, there she stands, eyes looking up at me expectantly, as if there is nothing else in existence at that moment but the three of us – me, her, and the ball.

And not just any ball. It has to be a ‘real’ tennis ball. Thank God, across the way from my house there is a tennis club, where retirees go to freshen up on their not-so-perfect tennis.

Oh, once I was a star. Could beat anyone that challenged me to play

I hear one old retiree say to his ‘friends’ from time to time. Like me telling people I’m a millionaire, this ‘gentleman’ is not-so-believable. But one thing we can all believe is that he provides access to a club with an array of quality balls, of great use to my box of chocolates running and jumping in my backyard.

Feel that ball, see it bounce. Feels good in the hand, even better in the mouth. There she goes again, flying like a kite across the way, like a footballer jumping for a mark. Yet there’s just one difference. She’s better at it. Watching the football last night, the players dropped as many marks as they caught. My box of chocolates catches them all.

It’s just good luck, I hear you say. Aww, c’mon, she can’t possibly catch them all – she must drop the odd one.

Okay, so I lie. Yes, I’ll admit. She drops the odd one here and there. But I’d have her on my team any day. See, she has a benefit over us humans. She’s a dog. And there are numerous reasons they are better than us at ball-catching:-

  1. She is more agile – Dogs have a crazy amount of athletic ability
  2. She is far braver – Dogs put the task before themselves
  3. She has way better sensory perception – Dogs don’t take their eye off the ball
  4. She is more focussed – Given a task to perform, dogs will prove they are more focussed than humans on the task at hand

Couple this with the fact dogs are happier than us, smarter than children, and help keep us healthy, and it’s no wonder us dog-lovers are happy with our box of chocolates.

Please slow down

Sometimes we move so fast that life just can’t keep up with us. Always running, faster, harder, to get to that next meeting, that next doctor’s appointment, to be there for our loved ones or to pick our children up from school. When can we ever find the time to just slow down?

Recently I was in a town in Queensland, Australia, called Eumundi. The picture that you see with this publication was taken as I entered the town. The town itself was like returning to the 1950’s. I don’t say that in a bad way but rather an affectionate way, for I’d jump in the car to go to Eumundi again tomorrow – if only I could find the time.

Time. Have you ever tried taking your watch off and judging the time by the sun? In days gone by that’s exactly what people would do. The only clock was the one in the Town Centre on the Clocktower. Otherwise, the sun would tell those of yore that it was time. Even today, I’m sure some of those we hold dear judge time the very same way. Take my dog, for instance.

Needless to say she knows when it’s time for breakfast ‘cos the sun’s up. She knows it’s time for a walk ‘cos breakfast is over. She knows it’s lunch-time ‘cos the sun is strong, and the shade in the backyard has moved ever so slightly. And, most importantly, she knows when it’s dinner-time, for the sun is getting ready to set. As it falls dark she knows the day is over and it’s time to rest.

But we keep moving at a hundred miles an hour, failing to take in the beauty of the day, the sunset’s rich colour, and the bay of sparkling water with moored boats that we pass on our way home from work. When did we get ahead of ourselves?

Does it make you wonder how we ever survived without those gadgets we use to divert our attention from impending boredom? Do you ever stop to think we seem to be heading in the direction of ‘losing time’ for ‘sitting and thinking’, as rare as it might be, has taken over from, well, just ‘sitting’. So we turn to our gadget. Each and every day when I try and find the time for a bite to eat, I walk up the street and see people walking toward me, head down, hand around their gadget, checking their latest text message, or looking at their latest photo sent from a friend they used to catch up with most weekends at the bar but now – yes, you guessed it – just don’t seem to be able to find the time for.

One time it so happened I was in a Shopping Centre and the girl walking near me was walking toward a water fountain, her head down attending to her gadget. She kept walking far enough that she fell right into that water fountain, her dress soaking wet, and another shopper bringing her shoes to her that had been floating around the other side. Luckily, no harm came to her that day. Nor did it come to the young man who tripped and fell on the sidewalk near the CBD because he was too busy texting to look up and face the day.

Every day I try and wake up, pull the curtains, look at the woman beside me, and then look out the window at the sun shining, as if to say; ‘Good morning’ and then I stare at the palm tree in the front yard and, to use a colloquial expression, thank my lucky stars for being a part of the day that lies ahead of me.

After all, we love our kids, we love our town – let’s slow down.

NB: First published on https://mytrendingstories.com/admin/publications/article/26423/ 

Times they are a changin’

Well, well, well.

I was going to make this blog about emerging authors and how to make the most of your opportunities as a writer but I’ve erred in my mission. I posted a couple of poems of late and you guys seem to have enjoyed reading them so I thought, why not?

Why not keep it up? Why not post more? Why not treat you all to a little bit of what I’ve been up to of late? And I’ve been up to a few things of interest.

The second book is in manuscript form and I’ll drop in to post a few poems from it in the next few weeks. It’s been a real joy developing my poetry into something I think you’ll find to be a little more sophisticated than what you found in ‘Prism’. I’ve even taken to drawing. Faces.

And I’m here to tell you, don’t ever let anyone tell you ‘you can’t’. Can’t draw, can’t paint, can’t write. I used to think drawing was such a difficult task, but then I took a couple of lessons via my good friend Google and, lo and behold, the cartoonish drawings you find here accompanying my poetry have come from none other than yours truly.

See, it can be done. Even Van Gogh took a while to believe in himself.

Walk that extra mile if it means you’ll find belief, for it will set you free – and the world will truly be, colloquially speaking, your oyster.

White – the ‘blush’ of new beginnings

Some say we must experience loss before we can truly love another. If that’s true then the two go hand in glove, like a picture in a puzzle, like the final piece of that uncompleted jigsaw. Like the face without a frown, like the red nose on the clown.

The two sit there, ever so quiet, one chair for each as the moon shines and the stars are seen in the brightest night.

“I love you,” he says to his sweetest, holding her soft hand.

“Me too,” she replies, blushing, rushing to maintain a semblance of what is real.

But this is real – now – the only real thing to her is him: a life lived with him beside her, and within.

She lived a life of solitude until then – a life never to be in solitude again. For tomorrow is the beginning of a life ‘conjoined’: brought together, forever and until…

Grey – the colour of compromise

Compromise lives in uncertainty’s world: a sense of not knowing what path one should take: to look forward with a smile or back with a solemn frown.

Who’ll guide me, who will listen? Does anybody care? I look left, I look right: is anybody there?

Trudging through the mud each day, after rain: its heaviest of all. I shout out to a shadow – hear my call! I just want that shadow to hear my voice, to listen and accept. The first to accept my point of view is my best chance yet…

Of finding my way to the whiter side of grey. I face many bends in the road that lies ahead. Yet find my way I will and I’ll live to love again. The road ahead’s the ‘whitest’ road I’ve seen.

Black -the symbol of grief

A sense of losing what, once, was held so dear: what, once, was held so close to the heart. Oh, how to live, to begin again: to start to feel life hasn’t ended yet?

But how to leave this path of loneliness? How to see a bright light shining through? How can one love again after such a loss: how can one put aside the memory of you?

Yet memories need not be e’er forgotten: they are as much a part of our soul as of our heart. Without cherished memories, what is life to us but an empty, shallow chasm filled with dust?

Happy New Year!

A bit late, I know – but better late than never, as they say.

I hope you all had a good break over the Christmas (okay, the ‘holiday’) period and didn’t overdo it on New Year’s Eve. I happen to come from the best harbour the world can offer and every year it makes the top city list for NYE fireworks. Google ‘Sydney New Year’s’ and you’ll see what I mean.

I went to a little town called Eumundi just before Christmas to talk poetry and came across a couple of people I’ll remember always. A little ten year-old girl named ‘Charlotte’ came up to me with my book, ‘Prism’ and said:

“Can you sign this for me please?”

She was on holidays and told me she’s taught poetry at school. I was so pleased! I didn’t know they still taught poetry at school. There’s hope for us literati-types after all.

Soon after, an attractive young woman named ‘Nicole’ came over to me and said she was looking for the poetry workshop. We had a chat about verse and lyrics, poetry and song-writing for about an hour. Out came her notebook and, with pen at the ready, she started writing. I hope she got something out of our little chat. “Vibrant,” she called it.

And so here I am – back on WordPress after a family break and another wonderfully merry Christmas.

Welcome to you all! I hope 2017 is full of well-written fables and famous phrases.

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