poetry, writing

Enjoy writing- moments

Listening to a music for writing playlist. A tray full of pumpkin, onion and tomatoes roasts in preparation for the next round of pumpkin soup to warm the core. Inspired to take moments away from other more pressing and productive chores and creative pursuits. It is autumn, 13 degrees Celcius outside and drizzly intermittent showers blow in and out. This is not the kind of weather that I would like to be a stockman on a horse.

I am now listening to a beautiful piece of classical music by Litvinovsky – Pelléas and Mélisande: I. Ils étaient comme des enfants. In English that translates to “They were like children,” and that reminds me what I am doing-writing.

For the time is often filled with trivialities and chores so in order to write, one must make writing opportunities. I live where I work, an old theatre one called the “Arcadia Theatre” but now home to the “Australian Poetry Hall in Fame” in Guyra, Banbai/Kamilaroi country. Living where I work and working where I live has both positive and negative aspects. One of the negatives is that it’s easy to fill the time with work and drudgery. The positive is that I have at hand a whole space in which to follow creative pursuits, a big child’s garden, in which to nurture the soul and the spirit and remind oneself that life is for enjoyment not suffering.

One of the simplest pleasures is writing. That’s why it is worth creating opportunities to write. Have a note book handy, write on a smart phone write on a computer to create a piece of literary art which echoes down through the eons for future readers to unearth nuggets of gold. Writing is not everyone’s cup of tea but for me it is a well drawn cup of Barry’s Irish tea with a dash of milk and the teabag left in.

Two hours after I began writing this piece the last third of a mug of tea is lukewarm but still strong tasty and drinkable, the pumpkin soup is blended and ready to serve and numerous interruptions have passed. These interruptions include Mediterranean field mushroom cups, avocado on toast, three glasses of fresh pressed juice and a delivery of an old radio, record player and a slide projector. The rain has definitely set in and I still do not envy the stockman Clancy of the Overflow on his horse in the rain.

Simple pleasures are life’s treasures like classical music on a rainy day

Simple pleasures are beyond measure, no price can be put upon play

Simple pleasures are diamonds of leisure, in a warm room writing away

Earlier this week I wrote a piece of poetry about a man who does all the enjoyable things twice but if it causes him pain then he goes and does something which he enjoys. The poem is simple titled “Double Dan”

Double Dan

There is a happy man who does everything twice

If it brings him joy and makes him feel nice

But if it makes him sad, feel horrible and mad

He doesn’t repeat it, he does things that make him feel glad.

He skied down a hill and skied down a hill again

Then he parachuted once and a second time my friend

He swam with a crocodile and a great white shark

Then he went and danced at a festival in a park

He rode a camel across a desert and then he rode it back

Twice took a submarine into a deep ocean floor crack

Then then he watched a horror movie and couldn’t crack a smile

So he played a game football with his friends for a while

If it makes him feel good he’ll do it one more time

He climbed a mountain twice to feel twice sublime

But he’ll only do it once if he shits his pants

Then to feel better he’ll play football or dance

There is a man named Double Dan, who’s a happy man

He does the fun things twice just because he can

But he’s no twit and if it makes him feel like shit

He’ll change what he’s doing and never repeat it.

There is a lot that I could write about doing the things that you love and not repeating unpleasant or harmful experiences. However time is limited. It is now 3:30pm and I have been writing this piece of content for over 5 hours. There are days where I want to write more than I have time for and when I have not written anything for a few days I start to get concerned that I am not being productive enough as a writer. The fact is that it’s not the writing that I don’t do enough of, it’s the publishing. It’s the part of the creative process where nothing new is written and the formatting, editing, uploading to Amazon etc. and it all seems like too much work. So I procrastinate, avoid and do the easier, simpler things like cook pumpkin soup or write a poem.

This week is the second birthday of the Australian Poetry Hall of Fame in Guyra, a place to celebrate poets past, present and emerging. There is always something to do and much more to be done so it is easy to be distracted and forget to write. However, April is the month of #TheDirtyThirty challenge on facebook. This is where we are challenged every day with a prompt to write a piece of poetry. I am looking forward to it as there is nothing as rewarding as creating a piece of random poetry from a random prompt.

animals, Life lessons, poetry

Question Everything Critically

Believe what you want. I am nobody to tell you what to believe but be aware that most of what you believe has been told to you by someone else who never questioned the source nor sough any extra information to back up their belief.

There are four main ways of “knowing. These are: facts, opinions, beliefs and prejudice. Somewhere along the continuum lies “faith” Faith is where we believe something exists without proof. The following 3 pieces of poetry have been written over the past few years as I ponder and meditate on life about beliefs that serve and beliefs that don’t serve.

Facts

I am about to destroy everything that you know

Please read this very carefully and slow

Is it a fact that you tell me, my friend?

Or is it a belief, that serves no proper end?

Is it a scientific factual truth that serves you,

Or preprogrammed belief that isn’t quite true?

How did you come that opinion my friend?

What information brought you to this end?

This belief that you speak about seems to cause grief,

Are you sure your opinion is not just a belief?

Have you researched the truth, critically looked at the fact,

or is this just a belief about how you learnt to react?

Have you researched and analysed all information?

Is this just a belief that’s causing you frustration?

I know that you only know what you know

So I will spell it out carefully and slow

There are things that you know you don’t know

And things that you don’t know that you don’t know

Things that are programmed that you can let go

Beliefs have no facts that you can show

A fact can be verified with real evidence

Providing support for assertion of arguments

Opinions are judgements based on facts

Opinions can be changed on how you interpret the facts

Beliefs are convictions based on personal faith

with no evidence or facts they are based on faith

Prejudices are reflections of narrow minds

having no place in argument at any time

Beliefs are based on values or morality

Cannot be tested with logic or rationality

Prejudices come from friends, family and media

Prejudice is when another plants a seed in ya

Acting on fears and pessimistic predictions

like that you need to get vaccinations

Believing that negative outcomes will get you

so you need to be prepared in case predictions are true

A belief is acceptance of something without proof

without empirical evidence to prove the truth

Is it a fact, opinion, prejudice or belief?

Only facts truely serve us and the rest cause us grief.

Only facts are factual and they are verifiable.

Linguistically this fact is undeniable. “be careful of bad spirits, they could harm you”

This is an example of a belief that’s not true.

Why am I even writing about this stuff?

Because of prejudice and beliefs, I’ve had enough

Beliefs are the foundation of our lives and our habits

Like chocolate eggs come from bunny rabbits

And if you believe in the Lord you’ll have eternal life

Religious beliefs cause much pain, war and strife

Like the prejudice that we need a nationality

is nonfactual and not based in rationality

Belief are for people who want to conform

It takes courage to go against the norm

Now hold your tongue and be careful what you say

Reassess your beliefs and have a lovely day

Please consider just what I have said

And turn the world upside down on its head, DISOBEY

Self affirming beliefs

A belief, and a value, opinion is just that. Beliefs are built in your imagination and not based on fact.

A belief is an explanation made in your brain to justify something you cannot explain

All beliefs are false and made up in your head not by looking at the facts, beliefs are the words that you said.

Made up from your programming fed into your mind, hypnotised by reinforced beliefs all the time.

You could believe in a god that there is no proof exists just because your mum, dad, a preacher and as an old book insist.

But beliefs are just purely abstracted nouns so you can drop all your beliefs and just walk around.

So you take control of your life ask what will I create and you drop your limiting beliefs then plan and then make living in the now and create a new plan to be famous world wide as the unlimited man

There is one more thing, believe in yourself to take control of your life, your destiny and health

I believe there are no beliefs to stop us achieve, every single goal that we write, plan and we believe

I have finished being a limited man and from now I’ll take action to do every dream, goal and plan.

The indoctrinated man

He believed everything the Bible ever said, read it and re-read it ingrained into his head

His beliefs were so outdated and morals very low, when he closed the Bible his mind became free though.

But it was not his fault, his indoctrination because the Christian missionaries colonised his nation.

Once upon a time he supported it, but now he’s homophobic like a hypocrite

If you’re spouting hate and lies, judgement and bigotry, whether Jewish, Christian Muslim, your mind is never free

If you take your cue from and old outdated book, you’d beat your slave and rape your wife, and sacrifice a chook (“chook” is Australian slang for chicken)

And take away the freedom of the people who you love, indoctrinated by an imaginary friend called “God” above

An imaginary God with human traits imposed, if god really existed there’d be no judgement I’d suppose

But you don’t have to keep the faith and blindly believe. Free will is what you have, you have the choice to leave

Behind the lies and fear of religious indoctrination. Think for yourself and change your mind and change the situation.

When he left behind the outdated book of fear, started being kind and admitted being Queer,

Poor little Rael was messed up in the head, believing that he would go to hell after he was dead. There is one more thing, “Be here now” and a photo for the Hindus of a big sacred cow.

The Big Cow at Yandina, Queensland, Australia

change, poetry, poetry

Data Harvesting

Data, the new oil

We’re going sequence every living thing on earth.

We’re going to sequence everybody in the world.

Are you being robbed?

Are you missing out?

Are you being paid?

Vapour trails in the ether

Location tracking

Date and time stamped.

Tracked by an Apple

Tracked by an Android

Ones and zeros obscuring dollar signs.

Facebook builds a history of….

Pop up advertising

Cross reference credit history, income statements and location

Providing a seamless experience in the metaverse

Data privacy and consent

There’s a lot of money in your data

Fitbit, heart rate

The price of Free

Your personal data is an asset to you

Or Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft

and what ever government or corporation decided to harvest

Your data

Your oil

Your energy

We’re living in a time when big companies want to exploit the information we’ve given them for free.

Market value per user

The privacy crisis

Accept cookies

Software and big data

The internet of things

Terms and conditions

Accept

book, ecosystems, Life lessons, poetry, writing

Happy Memories and Non-violence

Some memories last a lifetime. Like happy memories. My childhood was blessed and I was surrounded with happy people. My parents, grandparents and my parents’ friends. We used to go bushwalking in the Grampians in Victoria. I was only 2 or 3 years old and I would run off up ahead along the track alone. I would watch the birds flitting in and out of the small shrubs and admire all the wild flowers that blossomed everywhere. Then I would run back to where the walking party was coming. Sometimes I would crouch down behind a tree and jump out and surprise everyone who was walking towards me. They would all act surprised and I would laugh because I thought that it was funny. I knew not to stray from the path because I could get lost. I never did get lost and I have never lost these happy memories.

I am the little boy in the photo below and holding me is a friend of my parents’, Laurie O’Brien. I always remember Laurie as a happy man and he still is. Today is his birthday and I couldn’t think of a better way to thank him for the memories than to write a happy birthday poem for him.

Memories of the Grampians

Happy Birthday it is true, Happy Birthday just for you

Happy Birthday, you are great. We love the way that you act 8.

Happy Birthday with lots of money. You know I’m just being funny

Wishing you this birthday wish, I hope you get a sloppy kiss

From your darling loving wife. Who has stuck with you all your life

Happy Birthday dear Laurie. You never seem to ever worry

I wrote this poem just for you. Read it when you’re in the loo

Happy Birthday Laurence O’Brien. I hope you have a wonderful time.

My Grandfather

Another fond memory that has never left me is that of my grandfather. He was killed in a car accident when I was only 4 years old. However the memories that I have of him are only positive. While my parents were working I would go a stay with my grandmother for the day. I used to arrive early and watch him shave before work. He would put shaving soap on my face and then pretend to shave it off. We would drive to the airport sometimes and as we would approach and overpassing bridge he say, “no more bridges” then as we went under the bridge he would tap me on the head with a rolled up newspaper and I would laugh. He would laugh. We’d both laugh together. I loved him and he loved me.

I have been fortunate in my life to have had happy and kind men around me when I was young. My father is one of those men. He never hit or smacked me and was always measured in his discipline preferring to use his words than any form of violence. For this I am grateful and this has been reflected in my peaceful non-violent attitude to life. I have never attacked anyone and only ever stepped in between people who were about to fight in order to protect them.

One year I was in West End in Brisbane and there was a drunk guy who was causing trouble. Five other guys were ushering him away and he was getting increasingly aggressive and agitated and starting to swing punches at them. I didn’t want to see him or them get hurt so I walked over, took off my shirt held up my arms and said, “if you want to hit someone hit me.” He punched into my stomach which was tensed and I felt his wrist crack. He then took a swing at my head and I ducked backwards. He just grazed my forehead and then stopped. I looked him square in the eye and said, “Is that it? Have you had enough?” His friend walked over and said to him, “I think you’d better go” He left. Nobody was hurt, except perhaps for his pride and fractured wrist.”

After I studied Environmental Science at university I worked for Greenpeace. The Cold War ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and then the START-Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty on the 31st of July 1991 and the break up of the USSR 26th of December 1991. So by the time I worked for Greenpeace the Cold War was over. The only problem was that the USA had so much money invested in the war machine and arms production that they were addicted to profits and then had to create conflicts in through lies and deceit by dehumanising muslim people.

Now in 2021 we are in one of the most peaceful times in human history. If we get rid of armies and weapons we can truely create abundance, wealth, security and peace on Earth for all people.

We can finally thrive together, care for on another and live in peace on Earth. I wrote the “Legend of the Bombagun” as a post war vision of the world that I would like to see in the future. Below is Part 1 and the rest is available in the second of my “in Nimbin” books, Lust in Nimbin available on Amazon.

My grandfather served in the ADF in WWII and I have always honoured him and the ANZACS for the sacrifices that they made. My belief is that one day the only armies that exist will be responsible for planting trees and vegetable gardens so we can all have freely available healthy nourishing food world wide and live in peace and war will only be a memory. Thank you to all the peaceful men in my life.

Legend of the Bombagund Part 1

Henceforth the sloothan warp was hest. 

No more warp kiel est.

Legend of the Bombagund. 

Peace now reigns but the rivs were blud. 

Over there in future Earth, 

Father tells his son a story. 

“Long ago the rivs were blud”

“This story will be gory.”

Henceforth the sloothan warp was hest. 

No more warp kiel est.

Legend of the Bombagund. 

Peace now reigns but the rivs were blud. 

Warrender came in a gust of whoosh.

Against no warp did he push,

The Pushers and their rivs a blud. 

All lay down the bombagun. 

The bombagun henceforth no gotten

But the rivs a blud are not forgotten. 

The peace now rigns not the bombagund

Warps rivs a blud no longer run. 

Henceforth the sloothan warp will never. 

Warp kiel est no more ever. 

Legend of the bombagund. 

Peace now reigns and the rivs are love. 

Warrender stood between the others. 

He said, “Hey warps, kiel me yor brutha”

The Warps they answered, “Why? But no.”

“There’s rivs a blud upon the snow”

“ These bombagund no need have gotten 

but the rivs a blud are not forgotten”

Warrender came to heal the Earth 

And the rivs now run clear rainbow birth. 

Henceforth they stopped the rivs a blud. 

And the rivs now flowing rivs a love. 

Warrender stopped the Bombagund

And the rivs a blud no longer run. 

“ Tell me dad. What’s a Bombagund?”

“Twas a machine to make the rivs a blud run son”

Henceforth the sloothan warp was hest. 

No more warp kiel est. 

Legend of the Bombagund. 

The rivs now flow clear rainbow love. 

Legend of the Bombagund Illustrated on YouTube.

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biography, Humour, poetry, writing

Australian Bush Poetry and falling into the toilet.

Australian Bush Poetry, according to the Australian Bush Poets Association has “strict meter and rhyme.” I guess it is also about Australia. In 2019 I travelled to Orange to the Banjo Paterson Australian Poetry Festival and competed in the Banjo Paterson Australian Poetry Competition where I received third place with my poem, Our Darling is Dying. The poem speaks about how the Darling/Barka River was dry and the causes as well as the effects in the first nations people of Wilcannia, the Barkindji people.

In February 2020, I returned to Orange to have another go with a piece of poetry titled Happy Harry Koala. It is about a koala who loses his home to forest destruction and then his new home to bushfire before meeting a man who plants forest corridors and this allows Happy Harry Koala to become reunited with his family and allowed koala populations to recover. I wrote this as a solution to koala population decline with the perspective of an environmental scientist(which I am) in mind and also from the perspective of someone who has worked in forest establishment (which I have). My scores from the three judges were: 1. above 90% (from the 3 times bush poetry champion) 2. above 70% from the second judge and 3. a scathing review just above 50% from the judge representing the Australian Bush Poets Association who commented words to the effect, “this is not bush poetry and is more like a kids story.” I agree that Happy Harry Koala is a kids story however it is written with strict rhyme and meter and in the form of Australian bush poetry. I didn’t place in the top three but I did a fantastic performance and the scores of the first two judges reflected that.

You can please some of the people some of the time but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. C’est la vie (That’s life).

Yesterday, the 17th of June 2021 I got a couple of new rhyming lines stuck in my head. When that happens I know that I need to begin writing and that the rest of the poem is there in my subconscious ready to be “downloaded.” In fact I often think that when I am writing that I am channelling “divine consciousness” and that “i” am only the conduit. So I began writing about a man who fell into a toilet.

Here in Australia we have a slang name for our toilets which is the word “dunny.” Back in the day our toilets used to be detached from the house and you would need to go in a walk outside, down the stairs into the back yard. These days there are some “dunnies” which are composting toilets which save on water and are basically a hole in the ground leading to a large receptacle chamber. This receptacle can be above or below ground level but is full of poo, wee, toilet paper with a bit of wood sawdust thrown in from the bucket next to the toilet.

Another peculiarity of the bush dunny is that they are often places that frogs like to inhabit. It would not be a pleasant experience to fall into a toilet but thats precisely what happened to Phil McColl. Finally, the word “thongs” in Australia refer to a type of rubber sandal that you slip onto your feet and are NOT a piece of underwear. The SES is the State Emergency Service.

Phil McColl fill me hole

A peaceful place is Froggy Flat and my story’s funny

About a man called Phil McColl who fell head first in the dunny

It was a dark and lonely night and this is not a joke

As Phil walked to the toilet, the dunny made a croak

He turned his phone torch on and opened up the door

And as he walked inside, the dunny croaked once more

Then the dunny kept on croaking in the middle of the night

He shone the torch about to find everything all right

It was long drop compost with not a pleasant smell

As he opened up the lid he tripped and his phone fell

It was dark inside the dunny but he knew his phone was right

It had landed on the sawdust and Phil could see the light

He went back to the kitchen and got a pair of tongs

His feet were cold and so he put on a pair of thongs

In the dark he couldn’t see the thongs belonged to his wife

They were too small and the cause of the coming strife

His wife awoke to an empty bed and also needed to pee

In the dark she donned Phil’s thongs because she couldn’t see

In Froggy Flat the dunny is down the garden path

In Phil’s big thongs Mrs McColl slipped and fell flat on her arse

Phil was head first in the toilet and he was leaning in

Reaching for his phone when Mrs McColl burst in

Saw her thongs on Phil and she began to yell

And in surprise Phil lost his grip and that is when he fell

Head first down the dunny and landed on his phone

He wiped it off and that is when he found he wasn’t alone

There inside the dunny was a giant green tree frog

Staring him in the face and croaking on a log

Mrs Mac looked down the hole and said what can I do

I’m busting for a pee and I really need to poo

I’ve got a turtle head and it’s starting to poke out

Call the SES you stupid woman, Phil began to shout

Mrs Mac got angry pulled up her nighty and had a sit

The she let it rip and Phil got covered in more shit

She went back to the kitchen and made a cup of tea

Called the SES and all Phil’s mates to come around and see

They had to dig him out as Phil was firmly stuck

With a pump, an excavator and the local sewage truck

That afternoon Phil was feed and he gave a happy shout

He’d been stuck in shit fourteen hours before they dug him out.

A peaceful place is Froggy Flat but you won’t find Phil McColl

The locals now refer to Phil McColl as Fill me hole

Copyright 2021

Not everything is shit and as Thundercloud, I know that every cloud has a silver lining. After the Banjo Paterson Poetry Competition and festival in 2020 I decided that I was in no hurry to return to Nimbin and decided to take the slow road home and stop in the little country towns along the way. What is an 8 hour drive took me more than 24 hours. I left Orange late in the morning, stopped in Molong and saw the New South Wales over 50s cricket championship final and I was one of the only spectators. Then I stopped in Dunnedoo for lunch. It was late in the evening and I was tired when I reached Bendemeer so I stopped in a park, drove up beside a picnic shelter and rolled my swag out on the picnic table by the creek. I awoke early the next morning and continued to Armidale where I got a coffee at Maccas, then I continued up the hill through “the Pinch” to Black Mountain where I turned off and went to see Captain Thunderbolt’s Cave. Thunderbolt was a famous Australian bushranger a bit like Robin Hood in that he took from the rich and gave to the poor.

It was 6:30 am and a misty mystical morning with crepuscular rays of sunlight beaming through ancient yellow box and white box eucalyptus trees. Small white flowers lined the track and the beauty and silence of the Australian bush made me feel blessed to experience its tranquility while dainty birds tweeted, flitted and flew from bush to bush. Butterflies danced about in the air and dew drops glistened from spiders’ webs in the mist. I entered Thunderbolt’s cave and could imagine his big black thoroughbred horse in there with him waiting for the clang of tackle and chains and clop hooves of the Cobb and Co mail coach coming up “The Pinch.” In the distance I heard a more modern sound, a truck coming up the Pinch.

I returned to my car and there I found a necklace with a rocking horse and a wishbone. The next stop was Guyra ten kilometres up the hill and instead of passing through on the New England Highway I decided that I’d get another coffee and visit the town. It was 8:30 am and as I drove into Guyra I noted all the empty shops with “for lease” signs. I thought to myself, “this town has a lot of potential” I got out of my car at the Northern end of town near Kirks IGA and as I walked down the street looking for a place to buy a coffee I looked in the empty shops and thought about what business I could put there. Finally I saw a shop that I thought would make a lovely gallery, and then I saw this place I am sitting in now writing this blog.

I looked in the doors and saw a foyer with shelves down the side and behind that I could se a grand empty theatre and a stage. My jaw dropped. I walked on to the Council Chambers and spoke to John who was raising the flags. When I returned to the theatre I pulled out my phone and called the owner of the building. He came down and we walked inside. As soon as I got into the auditorium I said, “I’ll take it.” he showed me around and I knew I was going to something big. I got back into my car and started driving.

Then it hit me. “The Australian Poetry Hall of Fame.” We could celebrate all the great poets and the unknown poets of Australia. We could nurture poets. We could preserve Australian poets, poetry, languages (not just English but the first nations languages) songlines and more. We could make “The Greatest Poetry Show on Earth” That was February 2020 and I opened on the 24th of March 2020 the first day of COVID19 lockdown. It’s been a tough first 16 months, I sold my double decker bus “Atlantis” the Free blue Library to finance the Australian Hall of Fame but I am still here. You can support the Australian Poetry Hall of Fame gofundme page to help me continue to build this as a successful venture to celebrate Australian poetry and poets.

I started the Guyra Farmers and Craft Market in the theatre every Saturday morning and two of my stall holders have gone on to open businesses in Guyra. I started Wednesday Words open mic poetry night every Wednesday evening and have made a wonderful friend, Gladys Wilson who is my dad’s age and has been inspired to write poetry. Guyra is a cold town in Banbai Country, halfway between Sydney and Brisbane. At 1330m altitude it’s one of the coldest towns in New South Wales; but it snows and we can make snow people.

Guyra Strength

The sun shines and the winds blow

It’s dry, wet, there’s sleet and snow

If you live in Guyra you will get cold

Become tough and strong, live real old

Living in Guyra has wind and sun

People here walk fast and run

Frosty, brisk and wide blue skies

Red sunset and misty sunrise

Ice on Mother of Ducks Lagoon

Spring rains bring more ducks soon

Sunset and the fresh day ends

Sitting around fires yarning with friends

If you enjoyed this and would like more to read more of my poetry the you can support me at www.buymeacoffee.com/thundercloud

Guyra Strength by Thundercloud Repairian