Poem – My bird

The bird seemed to follow my roving eye
As he walked beyond where I lie
He seemed to know, with eye I spy - 
Sitting there that day.

He never seemed to have a care
No matter for how long I stared
Or how controlling was my glare
He was there, it seemed, to stay

He gave out a little chirp
Like page from a book, like an excerpt
Like a song performed at a concert
He flapped from chair to chair

He was regal in nature, and replete
He'd had a little bit to eat
He walked with ease, with those clawed feet
As I got the camera out

I realised the camera was obsolete
My phone would do better, would always beat
The phone's quality, the camera couldn't meet
Of that I had no doubt

The bird stood atop the chair, to reflect
I told him; 'stay there, don't neglect'
Attention sent, ne'er deflect
To bird sitting on the floor

The bird, he turned, to his right
Knowing the bird on the floor was within sight
He waved his wings, as if in flight
Before he moved away

Yet how was I to know he was a 'he'
He could as well have been a 'she'
So long as it was either 'he' or 'she'
'He' must be one or be the other 

Is this a poem or a diatribe?
For until now I've not described
What he (or she [or it]) looks like
And how it came to be...

I happened to be sitting in the rain
Under cover, (heat was hot), the day the same
Noiselessly the day begane
And then continued on...

As bird arrived, with clawed feet
'Hello', it seemed to say, 'we meet,'
Though nothing was said when we greet
We merely doffed our 'hats'

Black and white, with long neck
His eyes, no matter - oh, what the heck!
I still don't know, not now, not yet
Perhaps I never will

But somehow this bird seemed a friend
The way he'd look and turn his head
It's hard explaining, even when
I knew he wouldn't stay

He looked at me, right in the eye
Turned his head from left to right
Never went out of my sight
Well, not now at least, 
Not yet

Looking me right in the eye
Makes me wonder; 'Heavens, why?'
I didn't push, I didn't pry
To find the colour of his eyes
That day when we met

No matter whether rain or shine
With me laying, sitting, there, he's fine
Never once did he whinge or whine
We talked 'bout little things

'Bout the simple things in life
Weather, health, things of that type
Simple things bring pleasure, like
Bring happiness and fun

He's my bird, I hope you see
Black and white, he sat with me
Not away on some pine tree
But close to where I lay

My bird finally flew away
I said; 'bird, I'll see you another day
Even if I'm far away - 
I'll know just where you are.'

I returned and saw you 'round the bend
Beaked, clawed, winged, my feathered friend
We greeted, like only we 
Could comprehend - Our story - 

Close the book...

The end.


Herbert knew about the cocktail party long before Mary. “How did you find out about it so soon?” Mary said. “I don’t know, I just did, I guess,” replied Herbert. “Hmmm,” was all Mary could manage, as she walked away from the kitchen table, tossing her hair over her right shoulder, in anything but a state of contentment. Herbert could offer a wan smile to no-one in particular. He was never one to ‘compete’ for attention with others, especially not Mary, a young, attractive, brown-eyed brunette everyone knew could have had anyone she wanted. Why she chose Herbert was anyone’s guess.


And so it was that Herbert turned up to the cocktail party feeling a little sure of himself. Self-satisfaction didn’t sit well with him at the best of times but he tried to walk it through the door with a graceful belief he could carry it off. Needless to say he wouldn’t try too hard that night to make new friends. Rather, his strategy was to stay close to those he already knew and make for harmless chatter whenever it was deemed necessary.


Mary was on his arm that night. There was no way she was going to miss this one. The book launch had been something she’d been looking forward to for months, as she thought the author would still remember her from their high school days together – especially the days they spent behind the toilets by the sports grounds.


Mind you, she had room to make up, Herbert starting streaks ahead as the invitation had been to Herbert and partner rather than to Herbert and Mary – a slight, to be sure, but one she would shrug off with ease once in the surroundings she found familiar and to her liking. She started by walking about the room, purse in hand, as she tried her very best to make as many new friends as she possibly could.


Her strategy was to shy away from Herbert at every opportunity, preferring to be around guests of interest, to her and to others, pseudo-celebrities, so to speak. As Herbert’s old mate, David, Dave to his friends, came over to say hello, Mary whisked herself away from the impending gloom Dave brought with him to find her preferred company. Her dress that night was red, short but elegant, as if she wasn’t attractive enough already. She saw Jonathan and made a bee-line for him;

“Dear Jonathan, how are you this evening? I haven’t seen you in far too long. How are Elizabeth and the girls?”

Jonathan Reedy was a reasonably well-known weekend broadcaster on the local radio station where Herbert worked. At the last moment, Mary’s name came to him. “Well, thank you Mary. Sadly they couldn’t make it tonight.” Struggling, he found he was lost for words. What should he say to keep the conversation going? What did he know about this woman?


He had an idea. ‘You’re looking beautiful this evening, if I may say so. And those shoes.” “Oh, thank you. Yes, I haven’t worn this before. I bought it especially for the occasion. It cost an arm and a leg but I’m sure Herbert can afford it. I tried it on a couple of weeks ago and, Jonathan, it was like it was meant for me and me alone. The woman in the boutique at Double Bay was anything but helpful but by the time I’d finished with her I had her eating out of my hand. The shoes were just a last-minute thing. I just threw them on five minutes before I left the house. I think they look perfect, though – don’t you?”


Jonathan knew he had a cocktail guest for the rest of the evening if he couldn’t find a way to prize himself away from her. But for now, not thinking fast enough, he said; “And the girls? Who’s minding them tonight?” “Oh, Jonathan, I found this place called A+ Minders. They were recommended by my good friend Daisy Fairchild, you know, the news anchor at Channel 8?”


Mary was keen to drop the odd famous name, raising the stakes of her credibility with Jonathan and other guests he’d speak to (about her) later in the evening. Before Jonathan could get a word out, she was back on the job; “Oh, yes, they advertise on Channel 8. A+ says it all really. Of course, I had to interview the ‘minder’ a few times before I could be satisfied they weren’t some troll or tripe or something – you know, Jonny, the usual teenager who’s more interested in their mobile phone than they are in caring for my children. And most nannies find the door in a hurry when they find out I have twins. I don’t know why that scares them away. My kids are nothing but a bundle of joy. Just look at me. Ha, how could they be anything else?”


Jonathan was worried. ‘She’s started calling me Jonny,’ he thought to himself. Now he remembered where he knew Mary from – they had been high-school ‘sweethearts’ of sorts. God, those times behind the toilets! How could he forget? That was the last time she’d called him ‘Jonny,’ and we all know what that led to.


Jonathan had gotten in strife back then with his parents and the Headmaster because Mary had thought she was pregnant, all because they’d kissed. A real kiss too! It had taken months for ‘Jonny,’ as he was known back then, to live that one down – no-one believed his side of the story, even though, in time, he would be proven right. Now she was back doing it again. ‘Where would this night lead us?’ he wondered.


“Jonny, are you okay? You’re looking a bit, well, gaunt. Are you sure everything’s okay? It’s not the wine is it? I know they always serve up crap at these events. I try to be selective with what passes my lips at these things. Well, I’m always selective with what passes my lips. You know what I mean.” With that Mary gave Jonathan a little nudge, as if to imply she’d like to encourage a little, well, repartee.


But Jonathan really was started to look a little ill. As he stood there taking all this in he thought to himself; ‘how much more of this can I take? Someone come over and save me.’ But he had an out clause ready as he replied to Mary’s concerns.


“Thanks for your concern Mary, yes, I’m really not feeling well. I had a little something to eat before heading out tonight and I think it’s taken its toll. If you’ll excuse me for a moment, I might just visit the facilities. Do you know where they are?” For once all Mary could say or do was direct ‘Jonny’ to the men’s. “Round the corner to your left and up the end of the hallway,” she instructed him. “Thanks ever so much Mary. I’ll be back soon.”


Mary knew Jonathan wouldn’t return and so started looking round the room for more companions to talk with. She saw her beloved Herbert busy in conversation with the author she had come to see, who would be busy with book signings later in the evening. She left him alone for now as he looked jovial and otherwise engaged – she didn’t want to intrude. She’d find time for both men later on, Herbert at home under the covers and the author, well, she’d find time for the author outside behind the back entrance.


As she elegantly, curvaceously, strolled across the room she caught the eye of Josephine and Desmond O’Reilly, the poet laureate and her husband, a photographer, recently featured in National Geographic.


She was impressed before they spoke. Mary always loved hearing everyone’s news, and was keen to hear what the poet had been up to of late and what her husband had been watching and photographing – native wildlife or cityscapes, he did them both. “Mary,” Josephine and Desmond called out in tandem. “How have you been, my darling?”


“Oh, Jo and Des, what a surprise to see you here. I didn’t even know you’d been invited,” Mary lied. “Tell me all about your recent trip to Africa.” “You look ravishing, may I say?” Desmond said. Josephine gave her husband a dirty look and a quick kick on his foot. Her high heel could do serious damage when required. “Ouch,” Desmond cried. “How are your girls?” Jo asked of Mary, to avert attention from her aggressive act of jealousy. “Oh, seeming as you ask,…” Mary began, feeling the life and soul of the party once more. With sparkling wine in hand she was set for the next half hour.


“But that’s enough about me,” Mary said, after having spent the half hour telling these distant acquaintances her embellished life story, “let’s talk about you,” she said, wondering all along what they thought about her. Herbert could only look on from afar with a shy, not unfamiliar, wry grin. The night was still young.

the true story of Santa…

Once upon a time there was a man with a very big beard. He was a very jolly man. One day in his older years he thought it an idea to wear only red and white at Christmas time. And with it came a very big black belt.

As time had passed, his beard had grown and as he got older it turned white and fluffy. He thought it a good idea to grow his beard long and bushy, and as he did his moustache grew too.

Children in his village said ‘hello’ to him as he passed them by in town. Sometimes he would even stop and chat with them, especially during holidays. He brought a smile to their faces and good cheer to their homes and families.

The village was cold during the holiday period, and so he felt the need to wear a big, warm, woolly jacket, with matching trousers, of course, for fashion was important to him as warmth. He soon began to wear his woolly jacket everywhere he went. He even bought one for his wife. One Christmas she bought him big black boots, just to finish off his fashion ensemble.

‘Wear these when you go out,’ she said, giving him a big kiss on his cheek. ‘It makes perfect sense and will keep you from cold.’ ‘Thank you Mother,’ he said to his wife, for that is what he called her. He kissed her, and as he did his wife was tickled by his bushy, snowy beard. His new boots fitted perfectly, and as he walked through the village spreading Christmas cheer, he did so safe in the knowledge he would always be warm and cosy, inside and out.

The jolly old man kept a reindeer in his back yard. He lived at the North Pole and rode the reindeer through town. His back was mildly arthritic and his feet didn’t carry him as far as they used to.

Soon, the reindeer was as well-known as the jolly old man and people would cry out; ‘Hello, Rudolph,’ as he rode through Town Square.

Due to the cold weather, Rudolph developed a red nose and the villagers started referring to him as ‘Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer.’ It became a sign of affection in the village, and Rudolph seemed to like it, as he tilted his head to the left or right and accepted with warmth the strokes the young villagers would give him.

After more cold winters the jolly old man decided to share his good cheer with the villagers by climbing roof-tops on Christmas Eve. How he got up there nobody knew, as they never saw him climbing and they never saw him come back down, but word around town was that he climbed down the chimneys of the cottages in the village and left presents for the villagers to open on Christmas Day.

He gained a reputation throughout the village as a kind of Robin Hood with a difference, for he gave to all, whether rich or poor. Only those who had behaved poorly in the village would miss out on his kind-heartedness.

Some heard he gave only to children and that may well have been so to start, but as time went by it became clear he gave to their parents too, because he would leave them a note with the present he left – a card at Christmas, with an inscription wishing them a ‘Merry Christmas.’ Some of the well-behaved children’s parents would leave something for him in return, like eggnog or milk, with a whiff of something stronger, to say ‘thank you’ and give him the energy to keep going all through the night.

The jolly old man became a ‘father’ of sorts to the villagers and as his good cheer spread further, to neighbouring villages, the villagers from his home town started to give him a name – they would call him ‘Father Christmas.’

There was a great deal of love amongst the villagers for Mr. And Mrs. Claus, they were like the elder statesman (and woman) of the town. Yes, Father Christmas’ real name was Claus – Nicholas Claus in fact. The religious amongst the villagers thought he was a saint so they called him ‘Saint Nicholas.’

But for those who rarely went to church but still loved to take part in Christmas celebrations, they simply called him ‘Santa.’

And so began the story of Santa Claus, a story of a man whose kindness knows no bounds.


at the crossroads

Australian newspapers this weekend had but one issue in their ‘Commentary’ section(s) – Paris. For once I read everyone’s opinions.

By the time I post this, at least nineteen people have died in Mali. For once, media coverage was all over the hostage crisis, and our hearts go out to the families of those that died, as well as to those injured in the attack.

This past week has brought it home to me how truly lucky I am. I live in one of the safest countries on earth – Australia. We have never had a war on our shores, although we have lost many young lives contributing to them. We are one of the most reliable supporters of liberal western democracy and its ongoing place in the world. It could be said we ‘punch above our weight.’

Yet the very freedoms we take for granted are not supported in our Constitution. It does not protect our right to freedom of speech. However, Section 18(c) of our Racial Discrimination Act specifically says;

It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people.

To many of you reading this you may think this is reasonable, some may think it necessary. However, in a country such as mine which values the very freedoms we are not explicitly given, it serves to pare back from the classically liberal philosophy upon which nations such as mine were established.

Classical liberalism is a philosophy that assisted the Founding Fathers when they were writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson being a scholar. It espouses that individual members of society will have the right to go about their daily lives, conducting themselves in accordance with the rule of law, insofar as they will be able to speak, write, live, freely, so long as they cause no harm to others in the process. This leads to the primacy of individual thought, and government playing the role of protector of individuals against each other.

However, countries such as Great Britain, Australia and, to a lesser extent, the United States, have shied away from espousing the importance of classical liberalism as the basic tenet upon which free society was founded, erring in favor of a social construct that has led to government playing a far greater role in the lives of the individual than John Locke or Thomas Jefferson ever imagined.

This has moved individual thought from a sense of the need for self-reliance to a sense of the need for government regulation, a move from enlightenment to entitlement weakening the very framework of western civilization.

The further we shy away from classical liberalism, the weaker our free societies will become. The weaker we are the less the ability to effectively fight those that believe in anything but freedom. And if they believe in freedom at all, they believe in the freedom to think how they think, the freedom to believe what they believe, the freedom to do as they do, the freedom to say what they say.

In the West, the trend towards the espousal of political correctness as a basic paradigm can be seen as one example of our trend toward government reliance and a regulatory societal shift. The Learner’s (Merriam-Webster) Dictionary defines ‘politically correct’ as;

agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people.

This can be seen to be an attack on individual rights to freedom of expression. Taken to its logical conclusion, the politically correct can shut down discussion and/or argument in free society about issues of import and opinion on those issues that does not comply with the politically corrects point-of-view.

This is one reason why the West has been at pains not to mention the word ‘Islam’ in public speech relating to terrorist activity by terror groups such as ISIL and Boko Haram.

Political correctness has now graduated to the stage where it can be seen to be the ‘macro’ definition of what’s right and wrong. There’s a new word in town – ‘micro-aggression.’

Frank Furedi explained this very well in his excellent article of 21st November in The Weekend Australian, entitled ‘Whatever you say is highly offensive.’ Let me give you an example. I’m in a lift and say to the person across the way; “Hi, how are you? Where are you from?” That is a form of micro-aggression, for if they are from, say, the Sudan, and I’m from Australia, my comment could affect their sense of self-worth, for what I’m (apparently) really telling them is:

You’re a lesser person than me because you’re from Africa and you’re black.

The fact is, I just like having a chat to ‘break the ice’ in what’s almost always an awkward situation.

Go to http://www.microaggressions.com and you’ll see what I mean.

In essence, I welcome open conversation, disagreement, argument on issues of importance to us all in our day-to-day lives. The extreme left are trying to de-value those discussions by telling the rest of us there is only one way to think, one way to act, one way to speak.

These ‘trends’ in liberal, western, democratic society weaken our ability to fight for what most of us truly hold dear – the very freedoms upon which philosophers like John Locke and statesman like Thomas Jefferson built reputations and declarations.

Classical liberalism was the basic tenet upon which free society was created. It will be the basic tenet upon which free society will succeed. Let’s not put in doubt the freedoms our forefathers fought so hard to provide by over-riding those freedoms with regulatory restraints designed to reign in the free expression we hold so very dear.


She strove to be the best that she could be,

Her foresight led as far as she could see.

She never felt out of depth, too far out to sea,

She never lost her sense of being with me.

Release me to the world as the one I truly am,

Deep in thought, in feeling, all because

I knew who I’d become, what I’d achieve –

If only I would think, feel, hope, believe.

These things today and evermore, they mean the world to me,

More so than in days of yore, I thought.

Youth was immature, precocious, life immortal,

Things later life replaced with Heaven sent.

For sense, common or otherwise, I trust

To hold dearly like a bosom to the bust.

Pray step, if only once, backwards, in reverse.

Then one is surely made to sing an acid verse.

Thought, feeling, common sense, emotion, love

May carry one ever closer, peace to dove.

For trying to encounter, assess the world

May only lead one to contradiction, lead to void.

A void in one’s life, as poor as feeling null

And null and void will make one feel devoid.

What does one require to relieve all doubt?

Then, only then, one be enamoured when without.

Speak, pray, love, believe and hope.

Hope, believe, love, pray, speak the joke.

Is laughter truly one’s only reward?

Is happiness the essence of the world?

The world, it be the same as it ever was,

Small to oneself, broader to the whole.

As one moves through life searching for the truth

One finds, then loses, then finds again, that truth.

And truth joins laughter as our real reward,

From a love lost, and found again, can we go forward.

Onward passage, onward ever thus,

Our future lies unknown to all of us.


I have a plan to build on.

I know that it will work.

It means I’d rely on others

And on leaving Back ‘o Burke.

See, I want a kid, I know I do,

One of my very own.

But I need to find a fella

Who’ll not leave me, not disown.

So I went a lookin’ for my fella,

And I found one, handsome, awesome, cool,

On match.com. I wrote a novella

And I was not thought a fool.

His name was Ed, or ‘Handsome Hunk,’

Edward Brown it was in full.

The kinda guy who’d stay around,

More ‘pussy-cat’ than ‘bull.’

I thought; “Ah-ha. I got him,”

Reigned him in I did.

I’d opened a can, a can o’ worms,

I’d taken off the lid.

Within the can was a family man

Who’d earn something called a living,

Whilst I brung up my baby girl,

Good and proper, no misgivings.

Now, his family, I made them me own,

I was enchanting, really nice.

They’d be my fortune five hundred family,

So I acted sweet like…,well, once or maybe twice.

They called me ‘Darl,’ ‘Sweet pea,’ and ‘Honey,’

I felt part of their inner family.

“Better learn their name,” I thought

(for the record, it was Hamley).

They were so keen to bring me in

As part of their extended troup.

Almost made me feel guilty, like

When I took off with half their loot.

Not really, just fiction of sorts.

See, they’d give me lots of things.

It’s funny what being nice can do,

It’s funny what it brings.

But I wasn’t finished,

Oh, no, not yet,

I had so much more to do.

I had to apply at the Government Office

For that Social payment, as ya do.

The Government, it gives a hand-out

What’s referred to as an entitle-ment,

Where no-one even has to work,

It sounds absolutely Heaven-sent.

I’m pretty sure ‘Social payment’ is what it’s called,

And I know it does ya lots a good.

Better than goin’ out to work,

Answering phones, Jeez, I never would!

I’d heard so many people say,

In the form of a story, of a fable,

“Ya won’t look back girl, be the makings of ya,

Just don’t tell them you are able

To work a day or maybe two

Or they’ll have ya servin’ tea

At the local cafe, ‘Jimmy’s’ I think it’s called.

Luv, it wouldn’t do for me.”

They told me that I could get thousands

If I just played my cards right.

Dan ‘is name was, behind the counter

Handed me forms, in blue and white.

“What did this mean,” I wondered,

As I sat there lookin’ dim.

I got no idea what to fill out first,

So I acted on a whim.

I went for Sole Parent Pension

Cos it brought me the most cash.

Family Tax Benefits were a given

So through that I put a dash.

“Congratulations,” Dan said to me,

As I handed him my forms.

“You’ll hear from the Government, officially

But I’ll tell ya what’s the norm.”

“We encourage a big hand-out

To people like yourself,

Left alone by ya partner,

Left up on the shelf.”

I wasn’t ’bout to tell him

Well…you know…,the truth

If I did he might take me pennies back

Give others my hard-earned loot

‘Cos even though Ed, my man

Lived…,well, just around the corner,

I deserved that pension, that I did!

Not my neighbour, Wendy Horner.

Dan said; “We must protect ya,

That’s what the Government is here for,

To fork out cash to those in need

Not like it was before.”

“Before the Great Depression, see,

Ain’t nothin’ like this welfare

Each man (and woman) for themself

No Government could care.”

On and on, this Dan went

Talkin’ ‘bout the past.

I wasn’t really listenin’,

Wanted to get out really fast.

“God, this Dan,” I thought, “what’s he about?

He’s givin’ a history lesson.”

I stood there not takin’ it in

And not feelin’ like confessin’

I didn’t have a clue like

About anything he said.

It made me tired, gave me headache,

I should have been in bed.

But it sounded as he walloped on

Like Government’s day had come.

The story told of Government

Makin’ money on the run,

Off the taxpayer, payin ‘is tax (and mine)

On payin’ more than his fair share,

From them to me and others too,

Spent on those who couldn’t care

That they were bleedin’ dry the workin’ man

Who toiled all day long is all.

Hard-workers like Tom, and Wal…,and then Dianne

So sods like me, we wouldn’t fall

Below what the Government called a poverty line,

But me, I couldn’t see it.

Not likely to, it ain’t exist,

Was made up half the time.

I was a bit quizzical, like,

I’d taken money, other people’s.

Just ‘cos I didn’t want to work.

It sounded rather feeble.

Just ‘cos I could, was accepted practice

To make money off the system.

Encouraged I was, and better off too,

It was too hard to resist ’em.

And so my plan had begun,

Money was as good as in my purse.

What’s good for them is good for me.

Let’s face it, could have been lots worse.

What good for me is the welfare system?

Better in my hands than anyone else’s.

What good for me is that Money Tree

If I’m restrained from my impulses?

What good for me is social welfare,

Built on a bureaucrats obsession?

If I don’t get my share of it,

It may lead me to recession.

the Fire Chief…

The Fire Chief relaxed

As he sat down in his chair

He’d just come home from watching his son play soccer

“I can’t believe it,” he cried aloud, with a touch of flair

“My bloody son has had another shocker.”

“That boy,” he said, “I trained him,

Took him up the park

To play, and kick, and catch all day long.

It never sunk into him that foot went before the ball,

I always knew that there was something wrong.”

The Fire Chief, he reclined in chair

Good and bloody proper

Before he heard a siren near

Too late for him to stop ‘her.’

Brring, brring, it went, brring, brring again

The red phone woke him from his slumber

Realising his wife was not at home

He hoped ’twas a wrong number

“Alright, I’m coming,” he shouted at the phone

Knowing no-one could hear him.

But the phone went dead, “Damn it,” he said

“Bugger, Jesus, f_ck ‘im.”

The Fire Chief’s face had turned a frown

He now knew somethin’ wasn’t right

“Another bloody summer,” he thought

“They’ll need me there to fight.”

So the Chief hopped in his car that sunny day

And whizzed down the main street playing

‘Jerusalem’ on his radio

As he thought his villagers weren’t staying.

“Shit. There’s a fire in my village,”

He could see the burning embers

I must get down to help,” he cried

“Or it’ll be like last September.”

‘If I don’t take charge the villagers

Will think; ‘Where was our Fire Chief that day?’

And I’ll live to regret it,

I may as well just walk away.”

“Johnny, tell the villagers I’m on my way

To save them from their grief.”

“What’s that? You can’t hear me?

For God’s sake man, it is your Fire Chief.”

Watch and act alerts were now

Being posted on TV stations

Stay if you must, leave if you can

As the villagers lost their patience.

Arriving in t-shirt and shorts

The Fire Chief made a dash

For the change rooms where he soon got dressed

Ready for the ‘bash and crash.’

The Fire Chief was now in charge

Dressed in Fire garb

“Let’s work as a team

To save villagers’ homes,” he roared

“Like those of George and Debbie, Bill and Barb.”

As the day progressed, the bushfire

Attracted TV in all its glory

They’d come with newscasters galore

To create a big news story.

“I could be a star,” the Fire Chief thought

“It’ll be my fifteen minutes of fame.

I must get an interview with Seven, Nine and Ten

Before the fire starts to wane.”

“Fire Chief,” the stations asked him,

“What next for the red embers?”

“We’ll fight the good fight, toil through Hell we might

So we don’t revisit Red September.”

“Ahhh, yes, Fire Chief, that was Hell-ish for sure

We lost a few that day.”

“But think back further, to times of yore

And all we could do was pray.”

As Fire Chief stood, tall and straight

Talking to reporters

His team put out the fire, ‘Hoo-ray’

Giving not a quarter.

So the fire waned, saved by the bell

The Fire Chief’s team were fearless.

“Fire Chief, you’ve done well,” the networks said,

“Your efforts have been peerless.”

The Fire Chief said; “Thank you Holy Father,

Thank you Jesus Bloody Christ.

Now I can have a beer,

Better still, make it whisky, and bloody-well on ice.”

He’d saved the villagers after all (or so he thought)

His wife, she was so proud.

But that whisky, “One’s fine, maybe two,”

Any more she’d not allow.

The Fire Chief took all the credit,

His face appeared nation-wide.

He ‘thumped his chest’

“Man, I’m the best.”

Yes, he suffered from false pride.

Brring, brring, brring brring, The phone rang,

This time the private line.

“Fire Chief, is that you? It’s the PM here.

What’s that old man? Oh, I’m fine.”

“We want to share our love around

And throw your villagers buckets of money.

A hundred million, maybe more.

What? A joke? Man, this ain’t funny!”

“I’ll be making an announcement on Seven, Nine and Ten

That my government will spend a hundred mill

When will we disburse it you say? I know not when,

But my binding promise is to say we will.”

The long hot summer, well, it cooled

Global warming had failed the nation

The whole episode, the villagers thought

Had been one bloody big sensation.


He walked amongst the many and came across the one – the one who made him feel like he hadn’t felt before. The feeling was almost indescribable, it was like he was walking on a cloud.

She was…perfect. Her beauty was like that of a blooming camellia in the height of Spring.

She looked like she was wearing slippers, yet they looked so cool, so faultless. Leopard spotted happy shoes would describe them better than slippers, yet her feet slipped into them effortlessly. She was a slim little thing, five foot six at most, wearing black, skin-tight yoga pants that hugged her legs, and a silky beige shirt hanging out over her hips that showed her bare back when she bent down to check for a book on the shelf below her.

Her hair was black, long, drooping over the nape of her neck and rested half-way down her slender back.

She rested her hands on her legs as she lifted herself up from the crouching position she’d maintained for a moment, and as she stood up she threw her hair over her left shoulder and turned to face him, though he could hardly say she was aware of his presence. Her mind was elsewhere.

When she walked her shirt slipped open at the front to reveal her belly. Her soft, supple skin was like a baby’s bottom. Her face was to die for, silky smooth, surely gentle to the touch, and with no make-up, for there was no need to improve on perfection. She had a gold stud in her lip, but even that small admonishment to her beauty only seemed to add to it in some strange way.

He felt his body changing in ways over which he had no control. He felt short of breath. He felt an attraction, a physical attraction, that was out of his control. He was entering a place, a feeling, he was uncomfortable with. Yet the feeling made him aware he was alive, physically, mentally, and able to appreciate the finer things life threw up at him.

Whilst this transformation was occurring before his very eyes, within his very anatomy, he was perusing the shelves of the local book-store. Not just any book-store, this book-store was a cut above in every way. The presentation was truly superb, the books were categorised in a way he’d never seen before. And the people, oh the people!

BerkelouW’s was a place he always enjoyed visiting. And now he knew for as long as she remained there, he’d never tire.

He knew not whether to feel awakened and welcomed to a brave new world he’d previously been shut out of, or whether he should feel aggrieved by having been shut out of that very same world. Had this girl awakened a sleeping spirit or had she provided a teaser to something, like a rainbow, that was just beyond his reach?

‘Brave.’ Maybe that was the word he should take from his experience, however fleeting it had been, and build on it. For if he failed to alter his understanding of his feeling, his sense of attraction, maybe it would be lost to him forever. Losing something one had just found can be as debilitating as having never found it at all.

His sense of the laws of attraction were about to be re-configured, re-defined. He had experienced an epiphanous moment of sudden realisation, strikingly definitive.

One girl, once. He had found his ‘camellia,’ blooming sweetly in the Spring.