AUSTLIT POETRY READING AT WORDSMITHS.

PETER is coming to the end of his term as Research Assistant with AUSTLIT on the 7th floor of the Duhig sandstone tower at University of Queensland in St Lucia, Brisbane . Early in the morning on March 25th 2008, he hosted a farewell breakfast and reading of Australian Poetry at Wordsmiths’ Cafe with his AustLit comrades on the campus grounds. The weather was perfect Brisbane Autumn with blue skies and a soft shadows.

He looked in vain for Cathy – his workmate of 2 years but either the thought of reading poetry aloud or finding parting from Peter too sweet a sorrow had taken flight for Italy on the night plane leaving behind a Snoopy card.

“Arriverdecci and Ciao” – said she, ” Its been a real pleasure working ( and not working) with you . I will really miss our volumes of Ms Walker , our macadamia shortbread , Godfrey Daniels , Kraft Cheeses and that other bloke I don’t remember …

Good Luck with your Melinda. Take Care and Keep in touch. Cathy.

snoopy.gif

When everyone had settled in with beverages and food Peter took the stone podium to read the poem with which he is introducing MELINDA KENDALL to the world .

BELLAMBI’S LAKE

by MELINDA KENDALL

Tired out and quite weary; sick of the strife

Of this hard, bitter war, this fierce battle of life,

I wandered about through wood and through brake,

Till I found myself near Bellambi Lake.

It is true that the heart its own bitterness knows;

What stranger will care for its throbs or its throes?

Indeed, it’s a solace to some when they try

To hug their own sorrows, when no one is nigh.

I thought of my loved ones that were, and are not,

When we stood all together on this very same spot.

It was well we knew nothing of what was in store,

‘Twould have marred all the joys in those gone days of yore.

I felt quite alone, like an old withered tree,

With a leaf scarcely left that might shelter a bee;

My boughs have been gradually lopped one by one;

Thus, despoiled of my branches, I stand here alone.

Now a murmur came up from the blue looming sea,

And the weirdlike Gobburras laughed loud on the tree;

While a glamour unearthly seemed stealing around,

And broke up the silence, before so profound.

A strange feeling came o’er me; I felt something near,

And the winds were all whispering loved names in my ear;

I started, and trembled, I looked round, afraid,

As I fancied a hand on my shoulder was laid.

Pale shadowy phantoms stood round me in tears,

I knew them – the ghosts of departed dead years;

Ah! yes, we were part of your substance, they said,

But despised and neglected from you we have fled.

Now we dwell in the limitless spaces,

Far away in the ether sublime,

Where is no upward or downward,

Nor record or limit to time.

I stood up and looked round, there was nought to be seen,

It was only a part of a hideous dream;

I looked down at my dog, and saw with surprise,

There were tears in his loving, pathetic brown eyes.

This thought gave me comfort – his friendship is true;

And the true friends we find in this world are but few;

We could not exist on this earth without some,

So the love of a dog is far better than none.

I turned to the mountain, ‘neath which stood my home;

To this ghoul-haunted lake, never more will I come.

My dog understood, and walked briskly behind,

So I shook of this glamour, threw care to the wind.

(Illawarra Mercury, September 6, 1884)

Next to his feet was Roger with a stirring rendition of

BALLAD OF BEER.

I do a brief stock-taking of my writing desk at times,
‘Tis followed by a burning off of old and useless rhymes;
and in these half forgotten lines – a poetaster’s dreams –
a vast and varied store I find , a multitude of themes:
I’ve written of celestial and likewise mundane things.
Pigs, porcupines and polar bears , and cabbages and kings;
Most subjects I have touched upon but surely it is queer,
In all these realms of rhymes of mine there’s not a line on beer.

Written by Thos V Tierney and date stamped at the National Library as 20/2/1940 it remains a timeless classic as relevant to Aussie Society as it was then.

BALLAD OF BEER.
Carol carefully selected a poem known as THE WORST AUSTRALIAN POEM EVER WRITTEN and a tasty piece it was.

CHEESE JUMPERS

(Poem read by carol H)

They hop o’er your plate
And go as you please
The little white jumpers
Whom live in old cheese.
Some people loathe ‘em,
And others don’t care
If they swallow a mouthful.
The truth I declare.
They hop, twist and leap,
And go as you please,
The jumpers, white jumpers,
Whom live in old cheese.

(From The Book of Bellerive edited by Douglas Stewart.)
(Poem by Bellerive, or Joseph Tishler.)

INVALID
(Poem read by Kerry Kilner):

Raid, raid, go away,
Dote cub back udtil I say,
That wote be for beddy a day.

Ad wot’s the good of sudlight, dow?
When I ab kept id bed,
Ad rubbed ad poulticed for to cure
The cold that’s id be head?

I’ve beed out od the kitched lawd,
With dothig od be feet,
Ad subthig’s coffig id be deck
Ad all be head’s a heat.

Tell Bay to dot bake such a doise;
Dote rud the cart so hard!
For tissudt fair, just wud of us
To rud arowd the yard.

Ad wed I try to say a tale,
Or sig a little sog,
The coffig cubs idtoo be deck
Ad tickles dredful strog.

Ad wed is father cubbig obe?
He’d dot be log he said –
If this is jist a cold it bust
Be awful to be dead!

Oh what a log, log day it is!
Ibe tired of blocks ad books;
I’ve cowted all the ceilig lides,
I’ve thought of sheep ad chooks.

I’ve drawd a bad’s face with a bo,
I’ve drawed a pipe to sboke;
Just wed I thought I was asleep
I wedt ad thought I woke!

Wot’s the good of sudlight dow,
Ad wot’s the good of raid?
Ad wot’s the good of eddythig
Wed all your head’s a paid?

Raid, raid, go away,
Ad dote cub back udtil I say,
Ad that wote be for beddy a day.

(by Furnley Maurice – from The Bay and Padie Book, 1917).

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  1. March 27th, 2008

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