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Reflections In Time Here a Moment Then It’s Gone

Short Stories & Poems by Joan Mary Duffy


Reflections In Time Here a Moment Then It’s Gone

Short Stories & Poems by Joan Mary Duffy

Kharis Enterprises Publishing A Division of Kharis Enterprises Pty Ltd ABN: 61 831 018 044 8 Parkdale Court Robina Queensland Australia 4226 Phone: +61 7 55 930 360 Fax: +61 7 55 930 367 E-mail: info@kharis.com


Š Copyright 2012 Joan Mary Duffy. All rights reserved. Joan Mary Duffy 1/7 Ash Court Arundel Queensland 4214 Australia Ph: +617 5594 6041

Book Publisher: www.kharis.com. Email: info@kharis.com Cover Artwork: Mark Viney Sketches and Cartoons Joan Mary Duffy

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system, or transmitted in any way by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright holder, except as provided by International copyright law.

ISBN 978-0-9872073-1-9 RRP AUD $75.00

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Dedication This book is dedicated To the One who gave us the Breath of Life And The incredible creative gift Of our imagination

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Acknowledgment I would like to thank with much gratitude, Tina and Mark Viney for their brilliant expertise as Publishers in the printing of my book "Reflections In Time" Your ideas and perspectives have helped me achieve my dream. May the Lord of all Life and Love bless you both in every realm of your life.

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Did I really write these poems?

Did I really write these poems I can't believe my eyes As I read the pages in this book I'm the one Whose most surprised

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Imagine

Imagine walking through the clouds Of precious opal hue Reds and greens and so it seems To disappear from view To rise again a diadem That rests upon each cloud And catch a glimpse of solitary love Sweet peace allows Drawing deep, celestial sweep Of spiral glowing light Suppose it leads on to a place Of gladness, yet not quite Walk on! Perhaps through open doors Another world to see Beyond imagining A lasting place of certainty

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A Moment

As mountains hide the setting sun It captures for a moment The glory of the height and depth of Heaven Flaming, golden Winter clouds all burnished, lacey, racing To somewhere beyond Birds are flying, light is dying Here a moment, then it's gone

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Above the Clouds

I could have danced across the clouds Danced with a million thoughts The liquid gold of sunlight glinted through each cloud and sought ... To thread a path of golden light A bridge from earth to sky It seemed as if I soared above the clouds to drink with eyes ... of wonder at the glory of this golden glow of Heaven And become a part of Heaven's heart Join with joy forever

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Today

Today becomes a brand new page Yet unwritten of our life We can choose to write upon this page What brings blessing or makes strife To live just one day at a time Is how Jesus said to live Let us listen to His wisdom If things go wrong, learn to forgive He came that we might have new life A joy in life worth living He is the Way, the Truth, the Life His love is always giving Whatever things are lovely Whatever things are true Let us fix our minds upon His Word Do what He would have us do For now is the accepted time His salvation brings new life The day you first meet Jesus Is the first day Of the rest of your life

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The Glorious Harmony of the Heavens

Our universe is intriguing I well remember the first Astronauts, the TV coverage of the first Lunar landing and watching spellbound, as the astronauts walked on the surface of the moon. But what an experience for the men themselves as they beheld the Heavens as never before seen by mankind. The effect on them was quite extraordinary. There are several stories of how this momentous event changed their lives. We had known from science many years before this great event, that there are beautiful and harmonious sounds in the Universe. Regardless of distance the planets and the stars, or spheres, attract waves of sound from each other, creating a most unusual harmony. I call this “The Music of the Spheres� Incidentally, I actually heard these sounds some years ago, as they had been recorded from space. The sound is strange and somewhat eerie, but totally harmonious. Music like I had never heard before. The sound also struck a responsive chord in my heart, making me aware as never before of the Creator of all things. As is my want, I began to think and meditate on this Celestial phenomenon.

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Come with me and listen To Eternity So harmonious the sound Strange illusive notes rebound This is the music of the spheres As they to one another sing A song of loves creation With joy the Heavens ring Locked in timeless light years Vibrating throughout space Eight - the octaves music number Tells of awesomeness and grace The music of the Heavens Chords that touch our very being As the spheres sing together Universal law decreeing

We also know from the Word of God that there are great waves of praise, worship and singing in the Heavens. We are told of the Angelic choir. How the shepherds heard the Angelic Host praising God as the Angel announced to the Earth the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, there is glorious harmony in the Heavens In the Heavens there is a great continuous sound of Majesty and Praise before the Throne of God. Those of us who belong to the Lord Jesus here on Earth as His Church, sing of His mighty power and Shekinah Glory. We are told that even when one sinner repents and accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour there is great rejoicing in Heaven. In the Psalms we see great emphasis on worship and singing. Music is repeatedly emphasised in the use of the many musical instruments named.

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Some of our greatest composers have written the most wonderful music about the things of God. Handel's Messiah would have to be the greatest of all, based from start to finish on the Bible, the written Word of God. Such music could only have come to Handel under the power and anointing of God, the Holy Spirit. There is music expanding through time and space, joined together in Celestial harmony of perpetual motion, in eternal thankfulness. Kessler said: “The planets are held together by the music of the spheres in harmony” The Bible says the spheres sing together. Job 38:7 Great is the power of Truth Galileo was being persecuted, mainly by the so-called religious people of his day because he said the Earth was a sphere and not flat as they then believed. But there it was, written in the Bible in Isaiah Chapter 40 verse 2 more than a thousand years before it became known scientifically. This verse refers to the “circle” of the Earth, the word circle meaning sphere or globe. Yes, there is glorious harmony in the Heavens. But, here on the Earth there is discord. I have read in some reports that one of the most amazing things the Astronauts heard as they were approaching Earth on their return journey from the moon, was the sound coming from the Earth itself. The sound was like a high pitched scream

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We know and understand that because of sin and the presence of evil The Earth is out of harmony with the Living God. But that it actually emits a sound like a high pitched scream, to be heard throughout the Universe is quite incredible and awesome. We, His Church, long for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ when all things will be made whole again and the glorious harmony of the Heavens will be restored to the Earth. FOREVER

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Firmament of Joy

Transcending music, spiralled sound rebounding from the spheres Transposed through cosmic mystery measured by light years Sounds of glory so extraordinary Firmament of joy Love's eternal power nothing can destroy There is a place time cannot change no eye has ever seen Nor mind conceive or comprehend Before that which has been Alpha and Omega The beginning and the end The Heavens roll back like a scroll Mind cannot comprehend that

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In the twinkling of an eye the anguished cry from earth will cease There will be no more death or pain God's reign of justice will bring peace Heaven rings with His magnificence A sound without alloy As Earth joins the sound of heaven In the Firmament of Joy

It is a recorded fact that the spheres in the Universe rebound or “sing� together with unique sounds akin to music. There is also reason to believe that in space, the sound coming from the Earth is like a high pitched scream

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Fearfully Made

Formed from dust we were created to multiply and fill the earth Minute generative cells procreating, giving birth Fearfully made in God's own image The Triune God gave triune man The priceless gift of freewill and Everlasting Life began Every breath of life was pure Every heartbeat filled with joy But man chose to know of evil and their Paradise destroy Fearfully made we live upon the earth our fallen nature glorified Headed for cyborg utopia through schizophrenic genocide Deceived, beguiled, the tragedy of mankind's fall from grace Satanic forces screaming at a dying human race

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The future always yearning for salvation of mankind Without God's way of Truth and Life mankind will never find But, God sent His Son to conquer Sin and death upon the Cross He won back Life in God for us every breath that we had lost He conquered death, rose from the grave Gave us all a new beginning By faith in Christ, the Son of God we have life filled with new meaning Not in mankind's religion basis of all selfish error Will we listen to His Gospel and end this reign of terror Then once again God will say that “It is good� For we are fearfully made

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Time

A glimpse into the pre-existence of The Lord Jesus Christ The same yesterday today and forever. Heb. 13v8 Before Abraham was I AM John 8v58 The most difficult thing for us to do is live in the present. We tend either to be thinking of the past or of the future, but find it difficult to live to the fullest “NOW” this moment The shortest concept of time we have is “a moment” But even as we speak those words are gone. Mysterious Time As the words form this rhyme It is gone! Just a moment away.

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But the mystery lies where all thinking defies How to live in this moment each day Chained in the passage of time as it passes Restless with thoughts never ceasing Is time the enemy in life's extremity Even though life is so fleeting? So, where are the thoughts that were spoken Where are the words that were said Are they recorded forever in time Though the speakers of those words are dead The Word of God also tells us that the Living God knew each one of us even before the foundation of the world. John 17v24. How amazing! “Our times are in his Hands�

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Continuous Present

When I can see with all my mind and hear with all my being The moving scenes of time will find time really has no meaning As the passing of the day and night move backwards into time I saw that all that happens, ever was The present only mine Time is always measured by restraint of human thought Either looking back to yesterday, lost tomorrows, ever fraught ... With restless thoughts that bind us in a never ending search For contentment, peace and happiness all that money can't purchase

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In time's illusive moment the secret can be found Continuous the present an enigma, yet profound

Inspired by the knowledge that so much of the Bible is written in the present continuous tense.

“Now is the accepted time. Now is the day of salvation� 2 Corinthians Chapter 6 Verse 2

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Water – Elixir of Life

When 60 trillion cells combine to form the human body with double helix human DNA Surprisingly we're mostly water atoms, minute solar systems though we take all this for granted every day Two thirds of Earth is covered with salt water from the sea Yet, fresh water springs from oceans deep that flow continuously Mighty glaciers, gigantic icebergs an enigma as they float solid yet are lighter than the water they denote Water the existence of all life's most vital elements Science now gives credence to the planning of our firmament

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Was there once a band of water encircling our earth with constant mist within the atmosphere? Scientifically tested this hypothesis has proved that a place akin to paradise was here The miracle of rain, of snowflakes never two the same The priceless gift of water! An elixir by any other name would never taste so sweet

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Irish Eyes For Me

When I was 17 my parents suddenly decided to move house. In those days one didn't live away from home and so, although I had a good job as a receptionist in a photographic studio in Sydney town, I went with them. Jobs were easy to get then too and so to fill in time until I could find a similar position, I just walked in off the street to the local fruit shop and came out with a job. Incidentally, my wage was one pound, eleven shillings and sixpence, [$3:15] a week for 44 hours, back in 1946. There was no self service either then, so the shop employed eight staff, mostly girls. Up until then I hadn't really had a boyfriend and so when I heard the other girls talking about Phil, the good looking Irishman, who was coming to take over as the new Manager of the shop, I pricked up my ears. Next day, the day of his arrival, I went to work dressed in my best clothes, complete with green suede shoes that had stiletto heels. This was not a good idea as the potatoes etc. were covered in rich brown dirt and my pale yellow dress quickly began to take on a mottled brown hue, along with nice smudges to match on my face and long blonde hair. Suddenly there was a buzz of excitement as a big black and white Harley Davidson pulled up out the front and this gorgeous hunk came striding into the shop wearing a black leather jacket – really way out in those days. I caught a glimpse of black curly hair and laughing green eyes as he disappeared through the back door.

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Several minutes later he reappeared and was introduced to the staff. Did those laughing eyes linger a little longer on me when we were introduced? Maybe it was the green suede shoes with the stilt heels that did it. Now all the girls were “setting their cap” for him and although formality required us to call him Mr. Duffy, he called us by our Christian names. But for some reason he called me Miss Traynor, not Joan. After a couple of weeks an outing to the “pictures” was planned by the staff after work one night. Six of us were going in one car and Mr. Duffy was invited. No seat belts were required then so guess who sat on Mr. Duffy's lap. I fell madly in love with this handsome Irishman and stayed on working at the shop. A few weeks later I turned 18 and he asked me out. My Mother was invited to come as well, which she did. Phil arrived with a box of Winning Post chocolates for each of us and off we all went to the pictures together. He captured my Mother’s heart as well and became like the Son she had always wanted. I was the eldest of four girls. Poor Dad! One night, a few months later, I offered to stay behind and help clean up after work. I was standing on a box cleaning the inside glass of the shop window with a big old bucket of soapy water on the floor next to me. Very conscious of Mr. Duffy's eyes on me, I gracefully arched my back as I stretched forward to wipe the glass. Then I very daintily stepped down from the box to put my green suede high heeled foot right in the middle of the bucket of soapy water and over I went, bucket and all. What a cartoon! As Phil rushed to help me to my feet, laughing, with such a look of love in those Irish eyes, I will never forget what he said. “Miss Traynor I think I'll marry you”

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And so we had 34 wonderful years together. But when my handsome Irishman had to leave me I thought I would never be able to live without him. His death in 1984 left such a void of emptiness inside me.

Without You I see your face before me A poignant dream of love Touch my heart awake me From dark sleep my dearest one Bring your life about me Take me in your arms Join my soul forever with your own Love's healing balm The years are long without you Who could take your place Come, drink the cup of life with me Enter into grace Your loving arms I long to feel I look but you're not there This lonely wound your touch could heal I weep with lost despair I miss you most at eventide When all is hushed in peace A place my troubled soul can hide When quietly I weep I think now of your laughing eyes That reached within my own To find a place where love and grace could grow, Where love is sown And at your touch desired so much I trust myself to Thee Come, be my love, my endless love You were my destiny

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I stand alone without you Only you could light this hour There is no place to meet you I'll come, please tell me how. “Not yet� the Lord of Life declares Your time has not yet come You will learn to live again Your life is not yet done Phil and I were both born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and the memory of Phil's courage and love along with the knowledge that I will see him again, has given me the courage, not only to live again, but achieve amazing things. At the age of 70 I went to India on my own to work for three months with the children in an Orphanage and also write about them. I might add I had never been out of Australia before. I am now 83 and in the year 2012 I am wondering what else God has in store for me to do.

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Always Wear Your Handbag, Hat and Gloves

When we are children there is always a favourite “Aunty.” My favourite was my Mother's sister, my Aunty Bet. I was seven when she was married and had the wonderful experience of being the flower girl at her wedding, a memory I will treasure all my life. Our extended family spent most of their leisure time together and this particular Saturday the two sisters, with all the kids in tow, were off to Luna Park for the day. In the 1940's it was one of Sydney's star attractions. Whenever we went anywhere together it was always an opportunity to “dress up.” The blue jean hadn't as yet made it's appearance. Our dresses were very feminine and pretty, quite long with full skirts and several petticoats underneath. Boys always looked spic and span in shirt and slacks and our gender was never mistaken. My Mother and Aunt added handbag, hat and gloves to their outfits. Both hats were made of fine straw. My Aunt's little number was black, perched jauntily on the side of her head. Mum's was a pretty blue, a bit like a halo. That makes me laugh whenever I think of our Mum, with her fiery Irish temper. Sydney Harbour looked magnificent that day as we boarded the ferry to take us across the water to Luna Park. It's garish clown face over the entrance beckoning us with a toothy perpetual grin of welcome. On arrival the first thing we wanted to see was the “big dipper,” though none of us had ever been brave enough to ride on it. Standing underneath at ground level we could hear the screams

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echoing above us as the carriages dipped and plunged recklessly along the tracks. On seeing it again I vowed never ever to change my mind. The giant merry-go-round was our next stop for the littlies. Our excuse for riding it was to look after them. Then it was time for the “barrel”. It really was hilarious getting through the barrel as it slowly turned, reversing halfway through, with our arms and legs tangled together, sometimes with perfect strangers. My Mother and Aunt watched this sedately from the sidelines. Their handbag, hat and gloves hardly suitable attire for such a skirmish. I think we spent more time in front of the “funny” mirrors than anywhere else, where one's shape changed and distorted from fat to thin in an instant. One moment Aunty Bet's black hat looked like a mosquito perched on the side of her head, the next like a giant praying mantis. With so many of us overweight nowadays, maybe having these mirrors in the bedroom would be good psychology. As the day progressed we covered just about everything the Park had to offer, but one of the cousins from my Uncle’s side of the family, who came with us that day, kept pestering my Aunty Bet for a ride on the big dipper. Now I thought she was just fooling and if Aunty Bet said OK she would change her mind quick smart, but I was wrong. My Aunt finally gave in, but there was a dilemma. It didn't seem right for a twelve year old girl to take a ride like that on her own. Who was to accompany her? All eyed turned to me. They had to be kidding! They wanted me, who had never even swung on the monkey bars or done a somersault, to risk life and limb on a crazy stunt like riding the big dipper. No way! So in the end Aunty Bet said she would go. We all crowded around as they were strapped into their carriage. Aunty had relinquished her handbag to my Mother, but she still had her gloves and that jaunty straw hat on. Just as the carriages started moving we saw Aunty Bet whip off her hat. And then they were off, slowly climbing higher and higher to the first dip. A little wave from both of them was the last thing we saw as they ay up, round and over dip after dip, going so fast we couldn't see either

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plunged down the other side. The carriages pelted their way up, round and over dip after dip, go i n g s o fa st we couldn't see either of them, only the echo of screams left behind. After an eternity, actually just a few minutes, the carriages slowly rolled to a stop. The ride was over. The attendant had to help my poor Aunty Bet climb out and her white face and jelly legs told the story. But not all. There, clutched tightly in her gloved hands, screwed up and twisted out of all recognition, was what remained of her beautiful straw hat. I will always remember the look of surprised dismay on her face as she looked down and caught sight of it. A strong cup of black tea was in order before Aunty Bet could begin to recover, vowing she would never, absolutely never ever, go on the big dipper again. Not wearing her best straw hat anyway. But what of Aunty Bet's young companion. While we were all laughing over the demise of the hat, our poor little cousin had had a slight accident before she could get to the bathroom. OOPS!

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Please Don't Let Me Laugh

It never ceases to amaze me how a beautiful instrument like the violin can sound like celestial notes from Heaven when played well and yet equally sound like screeching cats when played badly. This is not just an observation on my part but from personal experience. When I was 13 my parents moved to the eastern suburbs of Sydney into a rented “semi.� Today we call them duplex units. But there was a marked difference. In the 1940's the dividing wall between two semis had only a single wall of bricks. This meant sounds and even conversation could be heard clearly from both sides of the wall. If you wanted to have a private discussion it was best to go into the bathroom on the far side of the house and shut the door. WE learned to practice tolerance at an early age. I was part of an extended family and except for my Dad who was an Englishman, we were all born and bred in Sydney town. Our weekends consisted of family picnics at Bondi and Coogee beach, a visit to the local picture show and sometimes a trip to Manly on the ferry. Beautiful Sydney Harbour and it's famous bridge were pretty much taken for granted by us kids as part and parcel of everyday life. Our neighbours in the adjacent semi were Italian. Quite a large family of them and were they voluble. There was always a strong smell of garlic permeating from their side of the wall. They were a nice bunch though and we got on well with them. The daughter Maria was 14 and both she and her younger brother Angelo played musical instruments. Maria excelled at the piano and Angelo played a pretty mean trumpet. We also had a piano

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which my Dad played beautifully and we regularly enjoyed singing together around the piano in the evenings and on Sunday afternoons. Sometimes it became almost like a contest, with one side trying to outdo the other and we would all finish up laughing. And then it happened! It was early one morning when we first heard the most dreadful screeching noise coming through the wall. We thought at first it was a cat, maybe trapped somewhere, but quickly came to realize that someone next door was assaulting the violin. The sound fairly put your teeth on edge and your ears in disbelief. We suffered this in silence hoping that as the practicing progressed the expertise might improve. But not so. The culprit we discovered was Maria and although her aptitude for the piano was excellent she had absolutely no ear for the violin whatsoever. As I had inherited the family singing voice the time had come for voice training. So between Maria assaulting the violin and my arpeggios, forbearance was sorely needed. Maria's 15th birthday was coming up and her family were organising a party for her to which I was invited. The invitation requested my presence on the following Sunday afternoon. All her rellies were coming and numerous cousins and I was looking forward to meeting them. Mum curled my long blonde hair and I was to wear my best pink dress and black patent leather shoes. Promptly arriving on time I was ushered into the lounge room and introduced to Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and endless cousins. Being part of an extended family myself I was used to crowds of rellies but this lot outdid mine. We were packed in like sardines. The table was groaning with food and heady garlic smells. They were all friendly and loving and made me feel very welcome. After a few choruses of tarantella, with some of them leaping into the centre of the room to dance, it was time for the items. Angelo outdid himself on the trumpet, then a piano recital from Maria was brilliant and finally my turn to sing Ave Maria went down really well.

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Then I heard a chorus of voices entreating, “Minni, Minni” (their pet name for Maria) “Play the violin, play the violin.” I couldn't believe it! She was actually going to play the violin for them. In the few moments of silence before she started I remember praying, “Lord, please don't let me laugh.” I thought she was tuning her violin but I was wrong, she had already launched into her performance. One couldn't possibly have recognized the piece she was playing. I could feel the laughter bubbling up from the pit of my stomach as my eyes wandered from Maria to the rapt faces listening eagerly to this caterwauling. They actually thought it was wonderful. I was stunned! Apart from clamping my hand over my mouth to stop from laughing I didn't know what else to do except sit there, holding my legs tightly together, hoping I wouldn't disgrace myself. After all I was only 13. Suddenly a string broke on her violin and the recital abruptly ended amid cries of disappointment and robust applause from the rellies. I felt weak with relief at my reprieve. Two more seconds and I reckon the biggest peal of laughter ever heard in all creation would have come out of me. I excused myself as quickly as possible for fear the broken string might be replaced. My Mum and Dad, who were sitting outside and hadn't heard the “concert' wondered what on earth had happened as I rushed to the bathroom, where I screamed with laughter for the next ten minutes. Eventually Maria gave up the violin because of her school studies. We heaved a huge sigh of relief. But I kept on with my arpeggios. I wonder what they thought!

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When You Toss Your Salad

One of the most inviting places on Sydney Harbour is secluded Balmoral Beach with stunning well designed homes and apartment buildings taking full advantage of the panoramic views of the ocean from the surrounding hills. While our new home at St. Ives was being built we were living in one of these apartments just a few minutes walk to the beach. The days were glorious and full of promise, with clear blue skies caressing the ocean's curving horizon. And so our stay there became a joyful interlude with family and friends joining us. On this particular day our friends coming to lunch were expecting their first baby. I remember saying, “Don't forget to bring that hospital bag with you, just in case.” They promised they would. The apartment was spacious, opening onto a delightful sunroom with comfortable bamboo furniture. Colourful cushions and indoor plants created a tropical atmosphere and it was here we spent most of our time. A sense of ambience settled upon us as we laughed and talked together, taking much pleasure in each other's company. In a generous impulsive moment our respective husbands offered to prepare lunch. We listened to the most alarming sounds coming from the kitchen and fully expected every dish and utensil in sight would be used. But we weren't complaining, after all they were preparing lunch for us. Suddenly the door from the kitchen flew open and both “chefs' with teatowels tied around their waist, danced into the sunroom. They had bowls full of salad held high above their heads like castanets, tossing the salads upside down and singing with great gusto in the most dreadful mimicry of Italian tenors. Simultaneously, as though orchestrated, both lids came off the bowls, with the salad cream and contents cascading over both their heads, oozing slowly down their astonished faces.

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A split second of shock passed before we began to laugh and then we couldn't stop. Little pregnant mother laughed so much she was on the floor. We were all slipping around in the salad cream trying to help each other up, when suddenly her water broke. All I could scream was “Get the hospital bag” and we still couldn't stop laughing. Getting little mother into the back of the car was both scary and hilarious. By now we had salad cream and little bits of beetroot, egg and lettuce all over us. We literally had egg on our face! My ears were pounding and my heart crying, “Please Lord help me, I've never had to be a midwife before.” Our two husbands were in the front of the car and little mother was perched on the back seat with me counting the contractions. By now we were laughing and crying at the same time. I heard someone shouting over and over, “We're not going to make it. We're not going to make it.” Suddenly I realised it was my own voice. The way to the hospital was a nightmare, with every traffic light against us. As we rounded a corner, much to our relief, we saw a police car parked at the side of the road. After explaining our predicament we were soon being escorted through all the traffic lights, with sirens blaring, to the maternity wing of Hornsby Hospital. Little mother did make it, but only just. A beautiful baby girl. I wonder if laughter helps with labour pains in childbirth? Our new little mother thinks so. Her labour was incredibly short for a first baby. Maybe it was because of all that laughter. But, on reading this, if there are any expectant mothers out there who want to experiment with laughter therapy for childbirth, I would strongly suggest you wait until after you arrive at the Hospital. So, now I'm a midwife. Well, almost.

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Let’s Be Fashionable

Curly hair was the fashion when I was in my early teens. It was the era of Betty Grable and Lana Turner, who both had long blonde curly hair. This was the image every young girl wanted and yearned for. Anyone who had naturally curly hair was the envy of all and woe betide them if they complained that their hair was more curly when it rained, because that was a nightmare for those of us with curled straight hair. Rain, wind, cold damp air or mist, all sent our curled hair limp within minutes. No hairsprays, gels or glues available back then. So we wore head scarves quite a lot and “snoods” that were like string bags that you put your hair into, drew it together and tied it at the top of your head. Sounds odd I know, but they really looked quite nice, made of wool and came in all different colours. Then it wasn't so bad if the curled hair inside the snood went straight. My Dad, who happened to have a beautiful head of curly hair, which I might add none of his four daughters inherited, couldn't begin to understand why his four daughters and his wife went to bed every night looking like a hardware store. With five women in the house poor Dad didn't stand a chance. He could never get to the mirror in the bathroom except very early in the morning, so then at least he could shave before the day's crimping and curling began. We went to bed every night with our curlers and butterfly clips, to sleep with our heads hanging over the side of the bed. All girl children with straight hair were conditioned from an early age to having their hair curled. Part of the ritual of “going out” or any important occasion meant sections of the hair being rolled up in pieces of cloth called “rags” and tied at the scalp. The result when unrolled, were long sausage curls that would spring and bounce up and down when you walked. Take a look at some of the old photos you might

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have tucked away in those family albums and you will know what I mean. Then suddenly, almost overnight, the problem of having straight hair was solved.

The world had “The Perm” It was like a miracle! The permanent wave, or the “perm” as it was called, had nothing to do with surfing the waves at the beach or surfing the net. It simply meant, a permanent wave in your hair.

Hooray! At that time the perm could only be done at the Hair Dressing Salon and one had to have great confidence in the Hairdresser because the set-up for the “perm” was pretty scary. It went as follows. First, you were introduced to the operator who seated you in “the chair” and when all the rolling of the hair was finished you would then be hooked up to long cords hanging from the ceiling directly above the chair. Each roller had its own cord. Can you see this in your mind’s eye? A head with around 50 long cords dangling from the ceiling attached to it. Finally the big moment would come and the operator would connect the current. It was like throwing the switch at an electrocution but, No! you weren't being electrocuted, it really wasn't dangerous at all, though it did look ridiculous.

Anything could be endured for permanently curled hair. The success of the perm depended on the skill and expertise of the operator and the timing of it, which was all important as to how tight a curl you finished up with. My first perm was for my 15th birthday and when the big day arrived I presented myself at the salon with my sisters and my Mum in tow. My long blonde hair reached half way down my back so it took the girl over an hour and a half to wind it before I was hooked up and switched on.

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switched on. Several times the rollers were randomly checked and finally I was pronounced done. After more solution was applied to set the curl the unrolling process began. At first I was amazed because my hair only seemed half its previous length. After several rinses and shampoos I had the final set and then went under the dryer. When at last I emerged, apart from looking a little like a poodle dog, everyone was pleased including myself. No more concern about wind, rain or damp air ever again. O what joy! Three days later I washed my hair. Most everyone reading this will have heard the term ”Frizzie Lizzie” Well, I was the epitome of this. But what Frizzie Lizzie had was comparatively straight compared to the bird's nest that was mine. All I could do was cry while Mum plastered oil all over my hair it could have been castor oil too from the memory of the smell. After several applications and shampooooooooooooos my hair began to resemble a giant fairy floss. So I went around with it in a scarf for the next two weeks. Well, we know that eventually the “perm” did improve out of sight. We no longer have to be “electrocuted” It’s all done with lotions nowadays. And in this present day mostly used by the older generation or for body waves. Straight hair is now the fashion.

As for me, I now wear my hair bobbed and YES straight. I saw a girl the other day who looked like a poodle. I thought she must have had a bad perm somewhere, but it turned out her own hair was naturally curly.

How Awful! Let's get the straightener, quick!

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The Enigma Of Trying to break “A Habit”

How to change a habit Do it by degrees? crossing out the “a” before a habit “habit” leaves when the “h” has disappeared “a bit” will still remain to tantalise, demoralise drive us all insane Cut the “a” still there's that “bit” to bring us to our knees O give me strength I'll try much harder Do it by degrees Cross out the “b” And there is “it” right up there in your face Never to be free of “it” self censure and disgrace

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How then to be free of “it” frustration and depression hard to break a habit when there only seems regression Remit the “I” and see the

T Contains a metaphor Enigmatic to a frightened world Life Eternal to the poor. The poor in spirit. Those who recognise their utter dependence on the living God for their Salvation and spiritual prosperity in every realm of life including “habits” Blessed are they who are poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God. Matthew 5 Verse 3 Many thanks to Glenys Hovey for the idea of “a habit”

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Why Does the Dolphin Smile?

Can we learn the mystery of the dolphins odyssey or is it just coincidence he smiles Can he perceive the travesty that we don't live in harmony our pecking order desecrates, defiles Unique in his intelligence streamlined in his elegance his voice communicates the sound of joy Leaping, arching, graceful darting tolerance of us is startling for him a way of life without alloy Built-in sonar system, sophisticated as we listen he locates an object sharper, clearer Yes, we may learn if we discern what Dolphins give us in return I think he smiles because he feels superior

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Who Are “They”?

Have you noticed in discussion how the blame is often fixed on the plural “they” for getting all earth's problems soundly mixed How “they” become the reason that all politics are wrong And “they” can bring about destruction Even of the strong You see, “they” are all responsible for every earthly woe And why don't “they” fix every little thing we'd like to know Of course, “we're” not responsible for any of this anguish “They” have caused the sorrow, death, starvation world that's vanquished

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Why is it “they” can't understand how completely wrong they are See the error of their ways and see how very “right” we are “They” haven't got a name but it's more comfortable you see to blame “them” all for everything It's plain “we're” not guilty

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This Land

I walked today upon this land where mountains reach the sea Familiar to my heart the many sounds that call to me A land that throbs with life and song of legends, mystery Your heartbeat lives within my own your brave identity

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The platypus, the crocodile Kangaroos and wallabies Reptiles in their habitat Koalas in the trees I listen to the Kookaburra's Predatory glee A timeless land where dreamtime sighs echo from history

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Gumtrees reaching tall and strong guard the mountain ranges Beyond, the plains sweep endlessly much further than the eye can see, to lure the bushland sages How merciless the blazing heat Parched land deprived of rain From drought the naked fevered earth Cracks! In silent pain Then La Nina gestures heralding her flood Devastating to the land turning fields to mud But there are times of perfect azure skies sunset flames of fire Myriad coloured native birds pay homage with a choir

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A land of strength of golden wealth clothed in Shekinah glory Unique this Island continent revealing nature's story I never cease to marvel as I walk upon this land at your awesome, ageless beauty You were meticulously planned

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Our Days at Birrabang

The gumtrees glistened from the rain The river wound a sweet refrain Remembering our Mother’s name Our days at Birrabang We talked of times so long ago How time moves on though years may go The hopes and dreams Could we but know Our days at Birrabang The pastures green, the mountains, dales Memories blest with folklore tales Of people gone, to speak again Our days at Birrabang The schoolhouse stood as it had stood With blistered paint and weathered wood The fair-haired girl before us stood Our days at Birrabang

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We wondered how she laughed and cried She rode that grey, joy in her eyes Her laughter rang with child's surprise Our Days at Birrabang We saw the place where she had lived A child of grace, with love to give And almost felt the past forgive Our days at Birrabang She walked with us down memory lane The captured past a window pane Through which we looked to see again Our days at Birrabang The magic filled us like a dream A place called Thora, golden scene There's gladness here where we have been Our days at Birrabang

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A Walk into the Past of Brisbane

I walked among the shadowed halls of history, time had made The hallowed past that now outlasts where bricks and mortar fade And all at once a time long gone became so real again And whispered names of great and small spoke from the sandstone paves Lives outlived by ancient stone Leaving memories to atone Ghosts of lives that left behind their dreams, their hopes, their loves, to pine Convicts planted old gnarled trees their lives were linked in destiny Gowns of satin, velvet, lace burnished hair, unpardoned grace

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Riches dressed by poverty Genteel hands will never see a heritage that left behind this legacy both cruel and kind A longing rose within my heart to heal this past entrusted But if the past returned would we learn from those before us

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If Only Cats Could Laugh My little cat is a very handsome sedate Siamese cross Tonkinese named Solomon. There are times when he appears to ruminate just like an old sage. With classic cat stance, sitting upright with his tail curled around his little body, he will fix his two marvelous blue eyes upon me in contemplation. But, if I keep him waiting just one minute for his breakfast there is a distinct air of disapproval. This also happens when his creature comforts are not met with immediately. When he wants to sit on my lap and be stroked he will lay at my feet and lightly tap my ankle with his paw to get my attention and then comes the most soulful, the most appealing gaze from those two blue eyes, you could ever imagine. Could I possibly resist. Of course not. There is a very ancient saying about cats “No one owns a cat A cat owns you�

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I'm sure Solomon thinks the whole reason for my existence is to wait upon his every need. Since I have a good sense of humour this very precious little cat brings me much joy, happiness and laughter. At times, when his air of disapproval reaches it's highest level, his little face looks so serious no one could help but laugh. But I often wonder if he has the last laugh. Recently, a young friend with her two children came to visit and Solomon discreetly disappeared as he is not at all impressed with little hands. Sometime after they left I wondered where he was. So after calling him several times with no response I began looking for him. His cat door was closed so I knew he hadn't gone outside. I looked under the beds first, where he often goes to sleep, but there was no sign of him. So I began searching through the house for him calling his name, “Solomon, where's My beautiful boy� But still no sign of him. Total silence.

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I finally gave up and started going about my usual daily chores still crooning and calling to him as I went. As I walked into the bathroom, still muttering to myself, I happened to glance in the mirror to a pair of dazzling blue eyes fixed intently on me from the top of the shower recess. There he was nonchalantly watching my every move from his lofty position and not a peep out of him. He had been silently listening to me calling “Where's my beautiful boy” over and over again without making the slightest sound. Solomon, I could tell, was enjoying every minute of this cartoon. I must have looked as silly as I felt. Suddenly I could see how comical it was from his point of view, but Solomon continued to survey me with a very disdainful air. If only cats could laugh! All I could say to him was “what on earth are you doing up there” How ridiculous did that sound. It must be the silly season. Well, he eventually jumped down with graceful dignity, even from that height and stalked off without even a glance my way, his tail high, with me still laughing. But I think he probably did have the last laugh. I can just imagine him now, holed up somewhere outside, privately laughing his little Cat head off at me.

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Solomon – The Siamese Cat

My precious little Siamese cat Do I own him, or he own me His name is Solomon the wise And he reigns with dignity His enigmatic little face Has never learned to smile But the joy of living in his life Comes with panache and style So handsome with his big blue eyes His fur is thick and sleek He cleans and grooms, while in a muse Of ancestry elite He rules with wisdom from his throne Protects his territory Beware to other lowly cats Who would dare to share his glory

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Communication is amazing His instincts sharp and clear Without a word conveys to me Everything I need to hear If only cats could laugh Solomon, you have such a sense of humour Your nine lives will surely outlive mine But, I'll get to Heaven a bit sooner See You There!

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Post Script

When Solomon, my Siamese cat, fixes his two blue eyes on me I have the strangest feeling that he knows exactly what I am thinking. He sleeps with one eye open Hears a pin drop in the next Suburb Eats like a horse Runs like a cheetah Defends his territory like a lion And is as wise as King Solomon, his namesake. Solomon is quite unique even among his fellow feline friends. He really does own me and I am delighted he condescends to do so. Sometimes my life with him is like being in a silent movie. He is so silently eloquent. And he doesn't miss a thing.

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What a privilege for me to share my life with this beautiful little creature. His skills of communication are a legend. Better than many human beings. I am totally besotted with him and He knows it!

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When You Own Your Own Jalopy

My parents lost all their possessions in the great depression like so many others and as a result Dad didn't own a car again until I was around 14. We kids nicknamed it “Blast-Off.” I never knew the make of it but I can describe it. I think it was called a tourer, which meant there were no side windows, just flaps that could be let down to keep the wind and rain out; headlights that jutted out at the front and a bonnet that opened from the side like a concertina. It also had huge mudguards with a horn that loudly blurted, A-roo-hah! A-roo-hah! A-roo-hah! You would be booked for that today However, “Blast-Off” my Dad's very own jalopy, was his pride and joy. Every moment of his spare time went into nurturing strange looking objects under the bonnet. The house we were renting at that time had a hallway from the front door through to the back door, with the kitchen at the back of the house. Every weekend Dad would be heating his soldering iron over the gas jet of the stove in the kitchen and charging up the hall, out the front door, along the path and out the front gate to the road, where his pride and joy would be parked with the bonnet open, ready for all the loving care of the red hot soldering iron. This operation was repeated countless times every Saturday

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afternoon, while Mum acted as lookout so that no one got in the way. We kids, convulsed with laughter, would be hiding in the front bedroom, vying for a position at the window to watch. With the glowing soldering iron held high above his head, heralding every charge Dad would yell “Coming through” and like a gladiator the charge would begin. My Dad, who was an Englishman, was not a tall man and also dressed very conservatively, so this exercise, with Dad often wearing a tie, was hilariously funny, not only to his four young daughters, but to the neighbours as well. This didn't worry Dad at all. At least he owned a car and many of those laughing , didn't. Almost every Sunday afternoon we would all get ready for “the drive” Mum in front, the youngest sister on her knee with Dad at the wheel and the rest of us in the back with our sixpenny song books. No seat belts in those days. But then, there wasn't the traffic on the road either. Geographically, we didn't go very far although it would seem like a marathon journey and was never without some crisis for “Blast Off” The radiator invariably boiled so we always had a can ready to beg water from a nearby house. And there Dad would be, head stuck under the bonnet on the side of the road, with us kids singing our hearts out to our sixpenny song books, in the back of the jalopy. Many are the times Dad would ask for our chewing gum and bobby pins and by some miracle he would get “Blast-Off” going again. Well, our good old jalopy served us well for many years and I'm sure built Dad's character into the bargain. Next to the car, untangling our fishing lines in a rowboat when out fishing at Botany Bay, made my Dad into the remarkably patient man that he was. He never lost his sense of humour either, which you badly need, when you own your own jalopy.

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When Busts are “Out” they're “In”

When I was around 13 years old I was the tallest girl in my class at school and into the bargain I was very thin, skinny is a better word to describe my appearance, although my Mum preferred the word “slim”. Poor Mum was always trying to fatten me up. Egg flips were permanently on the menu. I wish I could remember now what it was I did back then to keep me so slim. Actually, I had a really good healthy appetite then and still do, but nevertheless there I was at 13 tall and skinny. Funny thing is, I haven't grown a fraction since then and a number of the other girls finished up much taller then me. My nickname during that period of my life was “legs eleven” or by the very cruel “Ollie Oil”- that was Popeye's girlfriend - need I say more. But at that time busts weren't in fashion either so at least in that area I was fashionable. There's a saying that goes “When busts are “in” they're “out” When busts are “out” they're “in” So I was fashionable. My Mum and Dad had come through the great depression and lost everything they owned like so many others, including their home and furniture, so we didn't have much in the way of material possessions, but we were rich and prosperous in the things that money couldn’t buy. Mum was good at sewing and was a great knitter. She would even knit dresses for us girls and did the most beautiful smocking. I was never much interested in either sewing or knitting, but around that time I decided to knit myself a cardigan.

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I chose a soft jacaranda blue coloured wool and large gold buttons for the front. It was the fashion to knit with very large wooden needles that looked like meat skewers and very thick wool so that every row knitted produced a very encouraging increase to the length. This was very exciting as I could see that cardigan grow right before my eyes. The pattern also called for a cable stitch down each sleeve and within a week it was finished. It was stunning and I wore it everywhere, accompanied by sundry compliments as to my expertise in having produced such a work of art. Therefore it wasn't long before the cardigan was ready for its first wash. We used sunlight soap for everything we washed and this included ourselves. Even today it takes a lot of beating. Squeezing the water out gently and using an old stocking through both sleeves, my work of art was then hung carefully on the clothesline. By pegging the ends of the stocking one avoided any peg marks on the garment, a great idea. As I arrived home from school later that afternoon I could hear the little girls, my three younger sisters, giggling and laughing in the backyard. Being curious as to what was going on I made a beeline for the backdoor. I saw it immediately. My blue cardigan. But somehow it had mysteriously turned into a long blue tube. In fact it was almost touching the ground. The littlies began screaming with laughter when they saw me, demanding I put my long blue “dress” on, but even though I was so tall it would have still been trailing on the ground. In the end I had the last laugh though, because Mum unpicked the “dress” and knitted three blue jumpers and my sisters wore the nickname to the song “three little girls in blue” for several winters. And then it happened! I fell in love. I didn't even know his name, but I'd never seen anyone so beautiful. Marvelous curly hair (mine was dead straight) and laughing eyes. I think they were green, maybe a little cross-eyed, but that didn't bother me. I just knew he felt the same way about me although we hadn't actually spoken to each other. I would see him on the way to school every day and I began writing little notes to him in schoolgirl French that never got posted because I didn't know where he lived. And then just as suddenly as he had appeared on the scene he disappeared. Of course my heart was

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broken, but I felt very grown up now because I had experienced my first love. I never did find out his name. How innocent we all were back then compared to our children today, having to be informed at such and early age of all manner of unspeakable things, for their own protection. As the years have passed I've seen a lot of life and have come to the conclusion that the most important thing that ever happened to me was finding personal faith in the Living God through the Lord Jesus Christ. In spite of adversities I will always trust Him. And always keep my sense of humour. By the way, busts are now “in” So that lets me “out” Oh well!

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The Sandbank

Days were lazy, hot and hazy It was Summer's last encore The boat was gently rocking as we pulled out from the shore The channel deep and sweeping kept the current moving fast Anticipation on our faces we see our fishing spot at last But suddenly as life can be a sandbank came in view With flying sand, our entry grand we landed half askew Now our Uncle, thinking he should take authority in this matter thought he would step off from the boat so he yelled above the chatter

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With a little leap on dexterous feet lightly jumping from the boat to push us off that sandy bar so we could safely float But he disappeared without a sound right before our very eyes We stared in utter disbelief He'd gone! What a surprise

So, when you step out from a boat on a sandbank, please don't guess Make sure you pick the sandy side or you'll be christened fully dressed

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The Saga of Botany Bay

Back in 1945 to be out fishing in a rowboat on Botany Bay was for us kids the greatest thrill and excitement of our lives. There was Dad sitting in the middle of the boat, arms straining at the oars, Mum with the two youngest girls huddled together at the back, leaving myself and my next Sister Glo with all the room at the front of the boat. Before leaving home Dad would prepare our hand lines, each with just the right hook and sinker needed to land just the biggest fish in the Bay. In those days Botany Bay was full of fish. On this particular day in question we had chosen our spot, let down the two anchors, one off each end of the boat and had tossed in our lines. Our bait was usually green prawns or for the not so feint hearted, live wriggly worms. As there were six of us Dad always tried to organise three fishing from each side of the boat. This worked well until one of us got a bite. Amid shouts of excitement, tendency by the little ones to stand up in the boat, madly pulling in their lines with moans and cries of disappointment if no fish appeared, Dad was then faced with untangling everyone's line for the next ten minutes. One thing I remember so clearly with great love in my heart, is my Father’s patience. For this happened continuously. My poor Mother was always crying out in frantic alarm to the young ones not to stand up in the boat or fall overboard. And when one of us actually did catch a fish, the pride and joy was kept in a bucket of sea water, to be brought out, held aloft at regular intervals and duly admired. Of course we all insisted that the largest of the catch was the one we had caught. On this occasion we had been fishing for about an hour, when the youngest sister, who was only five at the time, pointed her finger towards the back of the boat and just stared without making a sound.

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We all turned our heads to look, but we couldn't see anything. Then our little sister kept repeating “big fish, big fish” over and over. I remember Dad telling her to sit down and that she would catch herself a “big fish” in good time. And we all went back to concentrating on our own particular daydream. The day was beautiful, the bay like glass, with the water lapping gently at the sides of the many boats out enjoying a days fishing. It was a perfect Australian Summer’s day. Contentment rested on all the boats dotted here and there in this peaceful scene of tranquil blue water and azure blue sky. I lazily trailed my hand in the water at the side of the boat and then, right before my eyes, out of the water, began to rise the biggest fin I had ever seen in all my life. I remember I couldn't speak from shock, but could only point my finger in disbelief. The fin was now about six feet out of the water, My Father's eyes followed my gaze and I heard his swift intake of breath. By now all the others had seen it too. My Mother in times of stress or fright always referred to my Father as “Tommie” [his name was Thomas] and this she now did over and over. Hysteria reigned! At first the fin began moving away from us, but suddenly it turned and headed straight towards the boat. Dad grabbed for the oars and started rowing, big veins standing out on his temples from the strain, because both anchors were still down. “Pull in the anchors” Dad yelled above the din, but he was still rowing, which made this impossible. By now the “fin” was almost to the boat. Mum was still screaming “Tommie” the littlies screaming out “shark Daddy, shark” and I was still speechless with terror. Desperately I tried to pull in the anchor, to no avail, trying at the same time to tell my Father to stop rowing, with no sound coming out of my mouth at all. All this before we had ever heard of “JAWS”. The boat tilted dangerously as the shark passed so close I could have put my hand out to touch it's gigantic fin. We were making no progress and it was impossible to pull in the anchors with Dad still rowing with all his might. At this point he thought both anchors were in.

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As the shark moved away from us I managed to get one of the anchors aboard and we started moving, but only in a continuous circle. Some of the other boats closer to us had also seen the huge fin and screams of horror and terror began reverberating all over the bay. Just then the fin turned again and was on its way back towards us. A vision of a gigantic mouth to match the size of that gigantic fin coming up out of the water and biting the boat in two flashed into my mind in vivid detail. My sister with my Mothers help finally got the other anchor in, but our poor Dad who was almost exhausted, was now rowing towards the shark and in endeavoring to reverse this and row forward he lost one of the rollicks. So now we had only one oar to row with and a paddle. What a nightmare! Except for my Dad absolute panic reigned. I couldn't believe how calm he was. We could see people gathering on the shore yelling and screaming and pointing towards us. All I could see was my Mother's white, tear stained face, arms clutching the two littlest girls, while my other sister and myself crouched down together at the end of the boat with our arms around each other waiting for just what to happen, we didn't quite know. And there was our brave Dad kneeling in the middle of the boat with the one remaining oar raised above his head, ready to whack that thing over it's head if it dared to show itself. Suddenly, as the fin was bearing down on us yet again, a motor boat miraculously appeared and took us in tow What relief flooded over us all. We were soon standing on dry land again. By now the shark was coming closer to the shore and as it swam into more shallow water we were able to get a better view of our pursuer.

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Our “Shark� turned out to be a Sunfish which, although large, has quite a tiny mouth in comparison to its size. But it has one enormous single fin. Quite harmless we were told, but I don't think our Mother was convinced. Apparently, the poor thing was sick and that was why it was in the bay. No doubt as frightened of us as we were of it. The story made the newspapers the next morning and we were quite disappointed there was no mention of us. However, the Sunfish was towed out to sea and hopefully recovered. As for us, well, we bought some fish and chips on the way home. In those days you could feed a whole family of six on fish and chips for just two bob. That's 20 cents in today's currency.

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Two of You

I often wonder at the most amazing things one hears When I was listening today this funny phrase fell on my ears “I'm really quite beside myself� a voice did brightly say As she stepped outside her front door only one of her displayed Now if she was beside herself I ask you, where was she And if she were beside herself Two of her, which was she You couldn't be beside yourself Even if you were a twin Or if side on, you would still be two Even if you're very thin

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Think how embarrassed You would be To know what both of you were thinking You couldn't keep a secret from yourself And that's head shrinking So please don't be too anxious To be beside yourself my friend Because one of you is quite enough To cope with in the end

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One of Nature’s Architects

Kind after it's kind natures architect creates a network web to lure and so the spider waits His masterpiece demolished with one sweep of the hand Rebuilt in the darkness where genetics understand ... their pattern of creation in compulsive repetition Blueprints locked within the genes that spin with swift precision ... a web of glistening beauty to entrap a varied menu for a predatory feast in the spider's silken venue

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What Will I Give?

In the hustle and the bustle of Christmas gaiety Children carol singing gather round the Christmas tree People milling everywhere So many gifts for buying Some look on with longing eyes But one young heart is crying O, what to give my loved one O how I long to buy That very special gift for him My love to dignify Her hair is long and lustrous a crown of burnished gold Her most cherished possession Could her golden hair be sold

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She hears his voice, he calls her name his step upon the stairs She reaches quickly for a shawl to cover her shorn hair Her eyes caress his loving face his strong, yet gentle hands The vows made on their wedding day their hopes, their dreams, their plans Trembling hands untie his gift wrapped with so much care She holds a pair of silver combs for her golden hair His gaze falls upon her gift bought with all she owned A golden fob to hold the watch that bought the silver combs

Inspired by the story “The Gift of the Magi� By O Henry

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Into the Stillness

Tender fingers of dawn draw back the night caressing the sky with day's first light And with the dawning love whispers your name Into the stillness The end a beginning the silence, the stillness Heaven alight jeweled flashes of brilliance Passion a requiem returning your name Into the stillness Flickering candles Silent they lay Tragic the courage As life ebbs away And in the darkness the silence descends Into the stillness

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Listen, O listen the silence of night Gone like a dream Of lovers in flight But listen O listen the lovers reply Into the stillness. ……….. Inspired by the death scene from Romeo and Juliet

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In Morning Light

Zinging through the languid air One dragonfly grins back a stare With vibrant life so unaware and I have Eyes to see Minutiae in morning light Greet the world in pure delight Escaping from the dark of night to joy and liberty One water drop of life in motion Infinitesimal teeming ocean A pilgrim's crystalline devotion while watching prayerfully “It's not me� cries the guilty bird His poignant cry is undeterred I can forgive him, but unheard If only he could hear

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Praying mantis, predatory Preyed on by lizards greedily Shang-ri-la reality Is awesome when in harmony In darkness stirs the sleepy earth Awakened life is giving birth From micro dust of priceless worth Profound diversity With every sense and feeling heightened Spirit, soul and mind enlightened In tune with life my heart unites to all Eternity

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A Sonnet – One Pair of Hands

Hands express our thoughts, our words Perform great acts of kindness Hands give love, cause tragedy Hands express our blindness Tender hands touch children A tiny hand is curled The Hand of God's great power Holds the atoms of the world Our fingerprints, unique Identify in every land Outstretched hands of old and young Help me to understand That throughout life, for good or bad One pair of hands is all we have

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To Meditate

If a grain of sand were as a rock to infinitely smaller Would a mountain be a grain of sand lost in the cosmic order Locked in the atom, solar systems orbiting their suns Expand to planets, quasar stars. when the Universe began And mankind, though a tiny dot Comprehends this awesome sight Creation becomes reason To a mind accepting light And, what if time and light unite Become eternity Philosophy become eternal Truth Reality

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What if Truth became an entity Transcending even thought Infinite, beyond description With understanding, wisdom taught Then Truth embraces concepts Beyond the human mind To live within this realm of Truth What if this Can change mankind

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‌. about such matters

Silence filled the empty night within the great cathedral Bowed heads in the muted light seemed ageless, medieval Is it here we find the answer to the suffering of mankind? In grandeur filled with emptiness emotion versus mind Christ living in the human race moves mountains here among us Miracles of love unseen manifest to show us How to walk in His compassion Touch the heart in sorrow, crying Speak with wisdom, words of comfort to the grieving and the dying

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In city streets, in villages among the rich and poor His feet walk in our stumbling shoes He is the open door The door of understanding that brings peace instead of strife Voices pleading, clamoring multitudes Seek for the Tree of Life Your Life destroyed thanatos, O death where is thy sting O grave where is thy victory. Lord God of everything But, walls of stone and mortar! Stained glass glorified! Hymns swell the great pipe organ majestic, mummified Dust particles dance and shimmer from reverberating notes, poised as pen from paper long before this poet wrote ... about such matters

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Out Walking

It's amazing when out walking On a bright warm winter’s day How we bump into the nicest folk And pass the time of day How we smile at one another Stop to pat a dog or two There's a freshness in the air we breathe So good for me and you Time to look around Take pleasure in the warmth Of winter's sun To see each others faces Hearing laughter just begun Feeling so alive And thinking of the day Things to prepare Content and happy Just to be out walking anywhere

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The Father’s Heart

Every day is a new beginning when we choose Your way to go As we make the most of every moment our hopes and dreams will grow As we learn more of Your great love We see Your Father's heart Your heartbeat is within our own teach us how to be a part‌. of taking Your salvation to the hurting and the lost Thank You Holy Father for Your Son and what that cost For as we grow in knowledge and in grace we praise Your Name Yesterday, today, forever You will always be the same

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I give my life into Your Hands where better could I be I will trust Your Father's Heart forever Through all Eternity

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The Ward

Meet Dr. Smart and Dr Feelgood Walking thigh to thigh As they make their daily rounds The nurses quake as they pass by Run and shut the doors please nurse I hear they're in the building Tidy all the beds And turn the fans on in the ceiling See the floors are spic and span Quick, grab that kidney bowl Don't give out those bed pans Let them practice bladder control Put those lovely long stemmed roses By each bed for good effect Comb the patient's hair you fool We're expecting the elect Put the screen around bed ten Please, don't let that be seen Hide those drips and dressings Keep them out of ward fifteen

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Don't answer those infernal bells Let the stirrers wait If they can't hold on for the day Change the sheets if it's too late Here they come the short and tall of it Gliding oh so gracefully A rose tucked in each smart lapel Stethoscope slung carelessly

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Conferring close together Reading charts and looking clever But never look a patient in the face Or knowing ever, whether Mrs. Jones or Mrs. Brown Has had an operation Keep the patients in their place Don't let them rise above their station Illustrious and glamorous With slightly curling lip They glide on sleekly through each ward, Out the door, joined at the hip Everyone is so relieved Because it went so very smoothly Let's have a break and just sit down Look after patients! Don't be silly

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Let’s All Go To The Royal Easter show

One of the most exciting events of the year on Sydney's calendar is the Royal Easter Show. It has always been there, even when I was a small child, which is quite some time ago now. My Grandmother, whom I adored, would always take me with her for the whole day. Just the two of us. We had so much fun together. We always followed the same routine. Arrive at 10 a.m. to inspect the animals, then on to our personal appraisal of the arts and craft display, with the big pavilions left until later in the morning, when I would decide, which show bags I would buy that year. When I was very little Nan always bought me a cupie doll on a stick, but I outgrew that into the giant fairy floss on a stick, that left you with a big pink clown's smile on your face. Around 12.30 we would buy our lunch and take our seats for the ring events. Lunch was usually a meat pie with tomato sauce, some fruit, soft drinks and the boiled lollies Nan always had in the bottom of her bag. We sat together spellbound, watching the jumpers in the Equestrian events, judging of the massive bulls wearing their ribbons with disdainful unconcern, dogs being put through their paces and the “Grand Parade.” We always stayed into the evening for the trotting events, both of us choosing a winner for each race. It amazed us just how often we picked correctly.

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Yes, to go to the Royal Easter show with my Grandmother was the highlight of the year for me. After I had been working for a couple of years at General Motors Holden, I decided to do a bit of “moonlighting. In the positions vacant column in the Sydney Morning Herald (with four pages of jobs available, I might add) I spotted a job looking for waitresses to work in the restaurant at the Royal Easter Show. So I trotted along for an interview and got the job. I was told I would need a black dress, with white cap and apron, so off I marched to my Grandmother who was able to borrow them for me from the laundry where she worked. I really did look the part. The first night I waited on the tables where the cheaper meals were served. It was a huge place and there was a constant queue for seats at the long trestle tables. I know it's a cliché but I was literally run off my feet. For the waitresses, hands and fingers were the main utensils for dishing out most of the food, including bangers and mash. I still cringe at the memory of it, but laugh a little too, because the serving of mashed potato depended on the size of the hand that served it. The experience was certainly an eye opener for me, especially when one of the girls came to tell me someone else was pocketing the tips left on my table. We finished cleaning up around 10.30 p.m. and my boss asked me if I could be there at 10a.m. the next morning. I was needed to wait on the guests and dignitaries, who would be served with food and drinks at the reception after the official opening of the Show. It had to be my saucy cap and apron that won me that “promotion.” The next morning I was shown how to remove the lettuce leaves from the top of the sandwiches laid out on enormous silver trays and how to carry the trays of expensive fine bone china cups and saucers.

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The women were all elegantly dressed “playing ladies” and the men were in dark business suits with white shirts and somber looking ties, standing around and talking in subdued tones. It was all somewhat amusing. But there I was hobnobbing with Sydney's high society, or sort of, even though I was only playing at being a maid. I felt a little like Monica Dickens in her book “One Pair Of Hands.” Several years later when my sisters and I were all married, our husbands agreed to babysit, while the four of us had a night out at Sydney's Royal Easter Show. We had a ball. The highlight of the evening came in the contemporary art pavilion. We didn't use a catalogue, but decided instead to guess what each painting meant. Several influential looking men were standing in front of a particularly large canvas deep in thought, almost stroking their invisible proverbial beards. They were obviously making a very critical and learned judgment of the magnificent work in front of them. The canvas in question was totally blank except for a big round bright yellow disc in the centre. We jokingly named it “The Big Fried Egg” and when we looked it up in the catalogue, That's exactly what it was.

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By Any Other Name

The ability to remember names is a distinct advantage, but if you own your own business dealing directly with the public, it is essential.

When we were young my husband and I opened a perishable food store in a village shopping centre of a well populated working class suburb. This was before pre-packed self service shopping originated. Fresh perishables, better known as the old fruit and Veg. shop, was a breeze for those who understood the product they were handling. Many people who thought all they had to do was open a shop and get rich quick went broke every other week. Sydney produce markets opened at 5 a.m. and earliest there secured the best parking position so my man left home at 4a.m. every morning and usually arrived back at the shop by 9 a.m. with a truckload of ultra fresh fruit and vegetables, most of it picked in the late afternoon of the previous day. We made a really good living although it was hard work with long hours. We were a good team. My side of running the business was looking after staff and our customers. My ability to remember names helped establish a good clientele of well satisfied customers. WE did free home delivery for orders over fifteen shillings. That was one dollar and fifty cents in today's currency. For $1.50 a family could buy a whole weeks supply of fruit and vegetables.

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I recall a particular day when one of our customers who had been shopping with us for quite awhile said she would like to have an order delivered. She was a very good customer and it was most unusual that I didn't know her name. I glanced at the order form briefly to thank her by name before she left the shop. And there it was: “Mrs. Bugges” I ask you, how would you pronounce that! So all I managed was a quick stutter but no name. I was stunned. After staring at her name for the next five minutes I was still none the wiser. All I could think of was that from now on I would have to call this customer by her name and all I could come up with was Mrs. BUGGS or Mrs. BUGG-EZ How on earth was I going to be able to say it with a straight face. Even now, after all these years, thinking about it, has me in stitches. The rest of the staff couldn't come up with anything other than Mrs. BUGGS or Mrs. BUGG-EZ either. How was I going to look this woman in the face without even the trace of a smirk and say “Good morning Mrs. BUGGS” or worse “Good morning Mrs. BUGG-EZ” Well, I finally opted for BUGGS and practiced saying it over and over. A couple of days later in walked our customer and to my own credit I was able to greet her with a big smile and a confident. “Good Morning Mrs. Buggs.” I was perfectly composed although the staff all had their heads buried in boxes. I felt very pleased with myself but my dear customer went red to the roots of her hair.

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All she could say was: “Oh Joan - How could You!” “Bu`gges please.” Emphasis being on the first syllable “u” I felt about two inches tall but after a split second of silence an eternity for me We all began roaring with laughter, Mrs Bugges included. I'm certainly glad I didn't opt for my second version though. Anyway, how many of you out there can pronounce

YACHT

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Anyone for Twins?

Twins for a first baby is unbelievable. Back in the sixties my Sister gave birth to twin boys – her first. They are not called double trouble for nothing. And these boys were no exception. By the time they had reached their second birthday my lovely Sister was totally exhausted. So when the opportunity presented itself for a long weekend away, I offered to look after the boys so that she and her husband could have some time together to recuperate. I was glad I had my teenage daughter to help. She was tirelessly patient with little ones, so altogether I was looking forward to having the twins with us. The day finally arrived and after a happy and somewhat nervous goodbye from their parents they were “all ours” for the next three days anyhow. The twins behaved like little angels. In fact, everything was going so well, I was beginning to think all this “double trouble” talk regarding twins was a myth. As it was approaching Christmas my daughter and I decided to take them to our local Departmental store to see Father Christmas. The ground floor of the store was decked out in a way we don't see these days. Carolers were strolling around singing our traditional Christmas carols and a wonderful nativity scene depicted the Christ Child with Mary and Joseph and the Three Wise Men, with several little lambs and sheep. All life size. It created a wonderful atmosphere of the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas trees with coloured lights ranged from the front of the store to the back and Father Christmas was waiting with his “ho ho ho,” ready to listen intently to all “good' little girls and boys, as they told him what special gift they would like to find under their tree on Christmas morning.

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Because the twins hadn't been exposed very often to large crowds or stores of this size, they were a little taken aback and were rather quiet at first. But when they spotted the toys things instantly changed. Talk about needing eyes in the back of your head. I'm just glad I had my daughter with me. They didn't know what to grab first. The aisles were soon littered with everything from teddy bears to tricycles. My face was getting redder by the second. Then they spotted the ride in toy cars and were off in two different directions at once. My daughter took after one while I ran for the other.

Double Trouble! And then it happened. Just as I was about to grab my little racing driver he hit one of the Christmas trees full on. I just stood there helpless, as the tree started to topple, hitting the tree next to it as it came down. Then pandemonium broke out as the next tree went as well. Suddenly it looked like being a domino effect. I was praying, “Please Lord, no more, please.� I stood there dumbstruck. Everyone around us started to applaud. Well, the Manager of the store was very gracious and I was extremely grateful for that. I thought perhaps my face would stay red for the rest of my life. I offered to pay for any damage, but after inspecting the chaos there was surprisingly little. Just a few broken lights, but and awful mess. I also offered to help clean up, but with a yelling and kicking two year old under one arm and my daughter trying to control the other one, the staff discreetly declined.

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Amid further applause we managed to remove ourselves from the scene, with the culprits still kicking and yelling their heads off. Awe gee, and they didn't even get to see Santa “ho- ho- ho� Here's a smack on the little rum, tiddly um tum, tum tum. If anyone out there wants to report this to the Department of Child Welfare Be my guest!

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Thoughts

Thoughts of clarity and colour drop into my mind so clear Can my homespun philosophy make life's problems disappear

Thinking As I contemplate my navel While relaxing in the bath With water right up to my chin It really makes me laugh This is where I do my thinking And I wonder if it's true That all the great minds of the past Used this technique too

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Perception

To measure the worth of a new morn's birth or the stillness of eventide Or the call of a bird with such clarity heard The virginal sound abides To perceive with delight each measureless sight of sweet life throbbing through the earth There's magic to share alive in the air How could we not treasure such worth

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One Language

I heard a dog bark yesterday A merry bird was whistling When I looked around so many sounds As I just stood there listening To all God's creatures great and small Yes, they all have their own language It doesn't change from shore to shore Never causing Him deep anguish As man, with great pride in his heart Once built the tower of Babel And brought upon himself such cost For he never then was able To speak one language on this earth But animals still do I pause to think, every sound distinct From each creature, yes it's true

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If you go to any country Upon this earth today You will hear A universal sound from animals I pray... You will take note of this great truth And wonder as I do At the miracle of spoken words That change for me and you

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A Glimpse of Creation

Expanding light of brilliant colour spirals at Creation Piercing through the darkness setting galaxies in motion Forming stars that sing together in harmony profound The Word speaks forth, atoms join so glorious the sound Beyond all understanding light years, time and space unite Life, from the Word is spoken formed from dust and clothed in Light Here upon the Earth We contemplate the Heavens Beyond all comprehension Designed in multiples of seven

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More wonderful than any thought mind ever could conceive More marvelous the galaxies than all science can perceive Far greater still than any sound that ever will be heard When Elo`him spoke forth “In the beginning was the word ... And the Word was with God And the Word was God” The Gospel of John, Chapter 1. Verse 1. Inspired by Dr. Grant Jeffrey’s book Creation.

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Immortality's Crown

Come, Walk through the galaxies Into the sound Of life at Creation Immortality's Crown Beyond every thought Into Light that is freedom Where the smallest of thought Transcends earthly reason Panoramas of glorious colour Bequeath Pure light to the heart Of all who believe Breathe Holy fragrance The essence of love Soar through the Heavens In light years to come

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Behold Heaven's glory Love and Grace were combined When the Word became flesh In pre-ordained time The Glory of Heaven Rings with the sound for His Name at creation Became our Salvation Immortality's Crown

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Love’s Musing

Can I reach inside my mind to find a grain of wisdom And leave the sanction of my thoughts behind to walk in reason The patterns that are ruled by sight overruled by learning Returning to a lesser muse of life of longing, yearning Of all the dreams my heart would know when overwhelmed by love I find within the world of truth outside of life's confusion

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Fool’s Paradise

I don't know where it comes from But tradition has a rule That says Caught in a joke on April first Makes one an April fool Presumably we all are wise For the rest of the year But, If I am a fool Yet think I'm wise Then surely THIS Is fool's paradise

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The Armchair Golfer

Steady hands, strong nerves of steel Akubra hat with sex appeal First to swing from off the tee Crowds applaud in ecstasy Club connects - I hear a roar Can I make course record soar? I know I can shoot under par hole-in-one and win a car Here I am in big sand trap Fellow golfers take a nap Play-off ends with bogey put Think I must have had eyes shut Presentation wear gold jacket Cheque in pocket, make a packet Fantasize that the “Shark� is me I'm the armchair golfer on TV

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I Remember my Auntie Bet's Buns

I remember my Auntie Bet's buns perched one on each side of her head Like old fashioned ear phones Doomed to listen forever even at night when in bed I couldn't decide how she kept them in place So one day I peeked to my utter disgrace Auntie plaited and twisted her hair round each ear With those brassy gold earings alarmingly queer I used to pray hard that when I got older my hair wouldn't grow down past my shoulder And then came the perm we were all in a tizzy Tho' I'd rather have buns than be called frizzie lizzie

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Nowadays hair is straight not a perm is in sight Spikes and streaks are the fashion Gels and glues our delight So do WE dare laugh at the trends of those days When my auntie Bet's buns were the fashion and craze

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My Spa I wish everybody had a spa In their backyard like me Jets a’flowing bubbles blowing As we all sit gracefully I don't even get my hair wet And my makeup stays intact I wouldn't swap it for a swimming pool That's a right fair dinkum fact

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Of course the water’s always heated I don't like it when it's cold Someone suggested recently That's because I'm growing old I was naturally indignant For I'm spritely as can be When I had my birthday last year I was only eighty three

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Getting Ready I raced around like a circus clown Getting ready for the luncheon I was to speak My knees felt weak Lord, please give me some gumption So I rolled my hair with such frantic care Rushing to and from the mirror But what to wear! This bulge, not fair In your black skirt you'll look slimmer

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I grabbed that brush, I was in a rush As I brushed and combed and primped Grabbing for the spray This will make it stay Nice and smooth, spray I'll not skimp So I spray lots on, nice to look upon Ducking quick into the bathroom My hand quite shook When I took a look For my hair stood like a cartoon My mind went numb O, what have I done! Peering at that can of hairspray To kill insects, flies Label didn't lie I'd just sprayed my hair with fly spray

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Idiosyncrasy Aboard a cozy liner somewhere in the South Pacific a young man passed the drinks around To be a little more specific He waited on the tables passing finger bowls around A sweet young thing, ripe for a fling just looked him up and down But he could see she didn't know Just what those bowls were doing on the table there in front of her he sensed a faux pas brewing

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She nervously put out ringed hand and picked that bowl right up draining every drop of it she used it like a cup With her little finger crooked up high looking ever so respectable she asked him for a refill His peel of laughter was regrettable Now she covertly admired this young man who looked so classy smilingly she said to him Its just my Idio-Syn-Crarcy He gaped at her for he could speak our language very well “Would you mind just repeating that I didn't hear you very well” “Of course” she said her smile was wide he really was so classy “Don't be alarmed” she coyly said “It's just my Idio-syn-crarcy” This actually occurred when my Dad, as a young man, was a steward on board one of the big ocean liners

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The Good Luck Pelican Don't sit under the lamp post near the Broadwater my dear If you do you'll be in danger of an accident I fear You see, a pelican sits on top and you might have to duck 'cause you could just get splattered on the head Is that good luck?

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But if you do please just make sure you wear a bomb proof cap For pelicans have droppings that can give a mighty whack If you're sitting in your car make sure the windows are closed tight I know a girl who put her little head out for a sight She lifted up her face to get a better look at him And copped the lot right in her eyes all running down her chin Now she goes round everywhere warning far and near Don't sit under the lamp post near the Broadwater my dear

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Just A Little More

Here comes that stressful time again when bills come thick and fast If I only had more money it could make the moment pass The rates are here, the rego and insurance on the car The bank cards due, to name a few the money won't go far But every year I manage my finances with a juggle When times get rough, I just get tough and shape up to the struggle One year I did a paper run 5 a.m. is not my scene In knitted cap, my paper bag I must have looked a scream

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And when it rained, the neighbours blamed a widespread superstition On the raincoat ghost that appeared at dawn bedraggled, wet and quite forlorn a startling apparition I know we're told that love of money is the cause of strife But if I had just a little more I'd be grateful all my life

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The Ocean Walkers

Come, join with all the walkers runners, cyclists and scooters Beware the frenzied health fanatics ringing bells and squeezing hooters Flashing eyes and waltzing feet glide swiftly by on roller blades and the baby stroller paces with the dogs on leads in races flex your braces, take your places for the Broadwater parades The modern mother rollerblades her stroller out in front in an unpaid voluntary extraordinary circus stunt With her helmet on and hipsters dressing just right for the part Unpredictable and scary an unclassified job start

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But the walkers are much more sedate as they briskly walk along They support the Heart Foundation know that walking keeps them strong They chat happily while walking What a great pastime this is! Meet the nicest folk mostly girls, some blokes Join the Ocean Walkers Group they are a whiz Just every shape and size will pass before your very eyes and everyone is grandly deemed a winner When you walk more every day you'll soon be feeling A.O.K. What's more you just could get a mite bit thinner

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The Mighty Fire Fighter

Where the updraft leaps and the wild winds rage We watch as the giant flames plunder Men fight the might of the bushland blaze The men from the land downunder These men toil on from dawn 'til dark Fighting flames as the gumtree crashes The unwritten law of the dreamtime sage Written in black smoke and ashes There's no time to backburn or start a fire break And planes drop water bombs to no avail The wall of fire rages, people pray for a reprieve As a breathless sky pleads for the Holy Grail In the smoke and blinding heat, havoc reigns in earth's defeat Angry flames destroying all before their path And the Mighty Fire Fighter thinks that this could just be hell as he fights the searing flames of nature's wrath

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Eucalypts explode leaping, tongues of raging fire sweeping As the fire front spreads out it's treacherous arms But the Mighty Fire Fighter stands before his foe unvanquished with a heart and soul that beats in stoic calm Then the kangaroos and wallabies and every living thing come leaping, barely keeping, just ahead of racing flames Like an army, bugs and beetle, snakes and every crawling thing marches out to play their part in natures gladiator games Heartrending cries of anguish Grieving people watch in dread As they see their homes, possessions, all ablaze Brave acts of heroism, fire fighters saving lives Their deeds go down in history inspire and amaze

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Day and night the battle rages as these weary men toil on And remain to fight the fires 'til the battle has been won They come ‌ From the Land Downunder Of great courage they are made They deserve the highest honour Australia's Gallant Fire Brigade

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Green Fingers

A garden filled with harmony Green fingers celebration Anticipation generating Every colour in Creation Queen Sarikrit in glory Rhododendrons to behold Maidenhair ferns fill each crevice Under palm trees swaying, gold Hanging baskets, bougainvilleas Cascading purple waterfalls While Bromiliads, Camellias Watch Hibiscus rare unfold Scarlet, green, and so it seems Every rainbow hue belongs Colour, vivid every Season Every seed produced is strong As I cultivate my garden Of such beauty and delight My heart is filled with wonder What then did paradise look like?

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A Journey of the Senses

Come, walk into a golden light where earth and heaven meet Through the door of joy and peace to love that is complete Feel the power of a love that breaks through all defences Drink of pure holiness that magnifies the senses Become as one with light and time and knowledge to perceive such wonders of eternity Wisdom's mind receive Experience a freedom transcending every thought That passes understanding where love is wisdom taught

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Journey to the source of Life where evil cannot reign Hear the words of love decree “No more death, nor tears or pain” Join with Agape-Elo'him where the soul is free Touch the centre of all Love Hear this love decree

And He Was And Is And is to Come

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Eyes that Met

Transparent clear and lovely no guile in eyes of love Without a shadowed thought that's narrowed mirrored love has come Eyes conveying thoughts betraying feelings deep within Other eyes to see and know when the look of love begins To say without a word the thoughts a yearning heart can feel To speak with eyes of longing to the eyes of shy appeal Perhaps to never speak the love reflected in those eyes But just to let the eyes that met linger on in love's surmise

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Where Does War Begin?

The things I do I would not The things I would I do not Conflict wars within the heart of man Honesty admits to struggle Inner battles, pecc`ant trouble Self asserts it's will in every man Goodness conflicts with self interest Sometimes winning sometimes losing Suffering from acts that bring remorse Family love and sibling rivals Battles rage in courtroom dramas Turning love to hatred in divorce Neighbourhood disputes surround us Often acts of love confound us Education hasn't helped us Progress really hasn't changed us Climbing up the money tree with happiness no guarantee Drowning in philosophy Playing with psychiatry

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Politicians, diplomats Words of war Aggressive acts Until the Nations war against each other Where then does all war begin Does the answer lie within The question is Am I the keeper of my brother?

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Help Me Hear

I hear the crying, dying They don't even know Your Name So lost in fear without You Looking for someone to blame For the sorrow and the suffering Life's faรงade a mask of death With endless false philosophies crushing hope with every breath I hear the lonely silent pleas that echo from the lost Earth crying, tears of anguish Darkness laughing at the cost Waning life that flickers Mute despairing eyes Broken hearted pleading Hungry children, empty cries

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Help me hear their crying Be Your voice, Your outstretched hand Feed and clothe them in Your Holy Name Give them hope to understand ... Your heart of love compassion drives me from my comfort zone to heed their pleas of anguish Help me make Your mercy known.

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India – Land of One Billion People

For three months I lived with the people of India at a place called Dorathota. Dorathota, which means garden, is not far from Bheemunipatnam on the Bay of Bengal in the State of Andhra Pradesh. The surrounding countryside is very fertile, undulating and tropical, with rich red soil. But the contrast between the richness and beauty of the land with the dreadful poverty of the people, melted my heart with such compassion that I will never be the same again. The trip by jeep from Visakhapatnum airport to Dorathota is a story in itself. How the many “vehicles” don't collide every second is a miracle. There were little motor scooters, odd vehicles of all shapes and sizes, pushbikes and what looked like rickshaws, beautiful young women with baskets balanced on their heads weaving in and out, horns constantly beeping, and

“No Road Rules” My first impression of the young women was quite extraordinary. Their immediate acceptance of myself without reservation surprised me and touched a chord in my heart. Both the young men and women showed me the utmost respect. I found Indian people to be reserved but always courteous. In the surrounding villages of Agraharam, Vellanki and others, the people are very poor, but I am told not the poorest of the poor. These village people live by necessity close to the earth. Their life is spent in survival. They live in thatched huts without running water or any kind of sanitation. Things we take for granted every day. They also seem to be happy in spite of having no material possessions and they would give you their last mouthful of food.

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A generous hearted people I met a group of children walking along the road and endeavoured to teach them my name by sign language. They soon grasped it and when I pointed to myself they all said “Joan” Then I proceeded to find out their names and much to my delight they were all called “Joan” So now there are about 20 children in a village in Andhra Pradesh called “Joan” Oh well, it's a good name. My first trip to Bheemunipatnam in one of the little auto vans – a small three wheeled vehicle was both exciting and hair-raising. After negotiating the price of my fare to my destination and making myself as comfortable as possible in the tiny back seat, open to all the elements, we set off on a very bumpy journey. A few yards further along the road the driver stopped to pick up two more passengers. Apparently my “taxi” was available to all comers. Within a few minutes there were eight more passengers on board including several chickens. I found myself in the middle of all this, fighting for air. All my protests were lost in hilarious singing and dreadful smells. Well, I wouldn't accidentally fall out anyway. When we arrived at Bheemunipatnum the price of the fare remained the same, in spite of my protests. I resolved to learn some “Telugu” the local dialect, although I suspect the driver understood me quite well.

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The town of Bheemunipatnam, called “Bheemily” by the locals, was teeming with people. The “shops” are like little cubby holes, with a thatched roof or asbestos roof, located on each side of the dirt road, rubbish everywhere, with goats and cows wandering around and pushbikes, rickshaws and little motor scooters vying for position. A happy smiling sea of faces and colourful saris, created a picture that had my camera constantly clicking. The local “hairdresser” invited me in for a haircut, but I decided there and then, to let my hair grow while in India. Local produce was spread on the ground for inspection. Bananas being the most prevalent. This is their livelihood and for many of them survival especially the women. After seeing the meat hanging in the market place covered with flies, I decided on the spot to become a vegetarian while in India. These people don't have ref r i ge rat i o n , s o fo o d i s consumed on a daily basis in the villages, rice being the staple diet, cooked outside their thatched huts, in big tins over fires using “sticks” gathered from the surrounding countryside.

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Some of the villages have up to 5000 people with just one well for water. One day, when I was in one of the villages with the medical team from Dorothota, I observed a young girl of about seven whose job it was to draw water from the well and cart it to the surrounding huts. The people don't have to send their children to school and a girl child often receives little or no education, even if there is a government school available. This child worked steadily for hours carting water and then proceeded to carefully wash herself and her clothes, modestly going behind a tree to undress. Then, when she was re-dressed, she spread her wet clothes on a bush to dry. This child obviously had but one change of clothes. I was struck by her diligence at such a young age, but I wondered what the future held for her. So many children in India end up begging on the streets or worse, especially in the cities. Many, girls and boys, become prostitutes by the age of seven or eight in order to survive. How dreadful! But what of those who take advantage of them. Many of the “shops” in the market place sell saris of every colour and description. The sari is one of the most elegant and graceful of garments. One long length of material skillfully arranged and folded around the body without so much as a pin in sight. The Indian women bend, stretch and move throughout the day with complete ease, while the sari remains intact. When they dressed me in one, strategically using large safety pins to hold everything in place, I trod on it every time I sat down or stood up, making me very uneasy in that I might, at any moment, find the sari “gracefully” sitting at my feet, while I stood in all my glory without even Lady Godiva's hair to cover me. Awful thought! I really felt more comfortable in a “Punjabi” a tunic with long pants underneath.

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One of the reasons I was in India was to write about the children in the orphanage at Dorothota in a effort to gain more sponsorship for them. years ago now, but his wife and two sons continue the work. They do a wonderful work amongst their own people. The orphanage, part of the Church on the Rock mission, was run by Dr P.J. Titus and his wife Mary who are Indian people. Dr. Titus died several years ago now, but his wife and two sons continue the work. They do a wonderful work amongst their own people. The Orphanage has over 550 children from the age of three and there is also a school. The children from the outside villages attend as well. I was quite taken aback when I first saw where the children live at the orphanage. They do their best with such limited funds. Compared to the villages I visited outside though, the orphanage at Dorathota is the Ritz Hotel. My own quarters, where I had two red plastic buckets to wash out of and a rickety toilet was also like the Ritz hotel compared to most of India.

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Many of the children come from broken homes or homes of such poverty the parents cannot provide for their children. But for the sake of the children the parents ask people like Dr. Titus to take them. How heartbreaking. Make no mistake about it, these people love their children but will do what is best for them, even if it means being separated from them. I was also able to teach in the school about Australia, using material I took with me. The children loved hearing about our native animals and I was able to illustrate this by using hand puppets I had taken with me of many of our animals and birds. The most popular, without doubt, was the kookaburra. I do a pretty mean kookaburra laugh and we had a “kookaburra laugh� competition. They all won and Mary Titus bought tiny bread rolls for prizes. The reward for children in India is food. Every time I walked into a classroom I was greeted with the Kookaburra call.

The children are a delight Many of these precious little ones would end up begging on the streets of India or worse, if it weren't for people like those at the Church on the Rock. I also had the privilege of accompanying the medical team from the hospital at Dorathota into the surrounding villages. It was here I saw the real poverty of India. If there was a government school of just one room in any of the villages the children had to vacate it for the benefit of the doctor. Because of the enormity of the population it might be three months or more

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before the medical team could visit them again, so the doctor always had priority. These “schoolrooms� only have a concrete floor where the children sit and sometimes an old blackboard. That's all. The people who need medical attention crowded around as soon as we arrived, but behaved extremely well and formed a long line, to wait patiently for their turn to see the doctor. I think the worst case in all the villages of India that I saw was of a little boy of perhaps two years of age who was covered all over his poor little body with a dreadful skin disease that looked like red sores. He had apparently been born with this. The doctor didn't know what it was, only that it wasn't contagious or he wouldn't have been able to stay in the village. His grandmother looks after him as both his parents disappeared. Because of superstition and fear he is pretty much ostracized and should anything happen to his grandmother I don't know what would become of him. It would not be possible to take him into an orphanage because it would frighten the other children. Poor little mite. There was one thing about the women of just about all ages that impressed me greatly. They are just so feminine. In spite of being so submissive. They all have the most glorious hair which they will adorn with a simple flower even in the most poverty stricken areas. As the day for my departure drew near I knew it was going to be a wrench for me to leave. I had grown to love these people of India and part of my heart will always be there. I might add I was 70 when I went and had never traveled out of Australia before. I also traveled on my own and had some amazing and often very funny experiences. But that will be another story.

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From Silent Eyes

Silence echoes through the days where dark eyes hide in mute despair Black limpid pools with trusting gaze ever searching for someone to care Tragic eyes without a sound cry for help through day and night Silent fear within those eyes there is not hope, there is no light Hunger rides on winged despair astride a promise broken But only those who know and care hear cries from eyes unspoken Unheard the silent weeping Unheard the silent cries inditement smiles sweet greeting while hiding in disguise for In the eyes of just one child lies evidence from the ages History has forever filed the proof within it's pages

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The Incredible Human Mind

In the aftermath of the first landing on the moon the Astronauts experienced amazing changes in their creativity. One of the crew began painting beautiful landscapes and images. Another began writing poetry. All of them creating and doing things they had never done before. The impact of the experience prompted thought patterns totally unknown to them prior to the Moon landing. The thought of man, a dot on a dot, being able to contemplate and intelligently investigate the Universe is awesome. The human mind is so incredible. Potentially far greater and capable of thought patterns way above all that we dare to dream or think. We know from Science that we only use a small part of our brain, but it is understood that amazing experiences can enlarge the mind's capacity to expand the boundaries of thought. My Mother-in-Law used to call her Christian experience the “Broadening of the Mind” You don't often hear that expression these days. Science is always coming up with new thought-provoking ideas. Recently, I saw a program on television dealing with cyborgs called “Cyborg Utopia.” It took me a few minutes to realise it wasn't a “sendup” but that they were actually serious. It seems that a husband and wife in America decided to have micro chips implanted in each other’s brain to read each other’s thoughts. I can say with complete confidence and certainty, if that were the case,

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they would definitely NOT be married any longer. How absolutely dreadful to know what someone else was thinking all the time, especially your spouse. Then there is the new invention of the phone that rings in your head (same program) – an amplified tinnasis. No more need for mobile phones. On the positive side no more “forced to listen to” conversations in bank queues, busses, or supermarkets either. Hooray! That would be a big plus. How often are we a captive audience to more than one, one sided conversation at the same time, from mobile phones. But just imagine the strange preoccupied and thoughtful expressions on people’s faces as they pass you by, talking to one another in their heads. Well, I can live with that as long as the phone doesn't ring in my head. Utopia! Sounds more like a recipe for insanity. What do you think?

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Thankfulness

Thank you for all goodness for all kindness that is pure Thank you for the love that stands forever to endure Thank you that you called me by my name and that I heard Thank you Lord for everything and thank you that you cared For everything has worked together for my endless good I thank you for each circumstance this life has brought and should I walk a little longer I will thank you Lord each day for the light your love has given me to shed along the way

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To Hope

Hope sings in a lilting heart Is like an eagle’s wings Bringing to the futures path Bright hope for everything Hope lifts the spirit high aloft To soar above mundane To rise above a mountain top Give substance to Faith's name Hope can meet each day of life And live beyond all dreams Never wanes or loses sight Of what that hope can mean Hope looks beyond each circumstance To positively see The hopes and dreams of all the world Hope springs eternally

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He Comes

I hear the silence spreading All creation holds its breath Getting ready for the Bridegroom Who defeated sin and death The Universe pays homage To its Wonderful Creator Returning now to claim His own He comes with jubilation Great sound defies description The sky is split asunder The Glory and the Majesty His Angels, countless numbers The praise of all Creation Sings of melodies untold To consummate the mystery becoming visible Behold

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Every eye will see Him As He comes in Mighty Power Time ends in a crescendo Ceases in this final hour The Heavens ring with harmony The Prince of Peace is here Love and Joy will meld together As all evil disappears Every knee will bow before Him Jesus, Name above all Names Marvelous and Wonderful Lord God of Everything

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Enter In

Trembling joy of Spirit soaring Lost in awe of soul's dimension Where all light and thoughts are forming Senses living in redemption Time to leave this mortal body And go forth to greet new life Leave the shadow of heart's yearning See with clear and pure delight Thrilling clarity of colour Earth's time is left behind See at last without Earth's dimness Longing visions of the mind Eyes compassionate and gentle Look deep into my own Hands outstretched in welcome gladness Enter In For you are known

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No more crying tears of sorrow Earth's lost longed for love is shed Every memory of sorrow Gone The door of life instead Passing through into Eternal Life The first Eternal Breath Behold with joy unmeasured Enter In There's no more death

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Life's Call

When dreams become reality audacious and heroic When unafraid and undismayed self controlled and stoic Life is one adventure not just Fabian mimicry Full of strength and courage heroic gallantry Such make history's pages whether great or whether small With feats of bold accomplishments undaunted by Life's call

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A Muse of Life

Can I reach inside my mind To find a grain of wisdom And leave the sanction Of my thoughts behind To walk in wisdom The patterns that are ruled by sight Overruled by learning Returning to a lesser muse of life Of longing, yearning Of all the dreams my heart would know When overwhelmed by love I find within the world of truth Outside of life's confusion

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From Dust

All is thought captive in time even though it can't be seen Atoms joining all together make a world to live and dream From the largest to the smallest all is basically the same From dust thou art, to dust thou goest all that's left then is your name

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A Bit of Nonsense

The friend I live with Is myself I am a great companion I agree with everything I say It's because I'm very sanguine There is joy in my own company I never argue with me at all And though I'm talking to myself I'm really having quite a ball

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I Can Do That

Doesn't everybody want to go water skiing? Well, I for one didn't. Water skiing, snow skiing – to my way of thinking much of a muchness when it came to the possibility of broken bones. So when my husband Philip announced we had been invited to go water skiing the following weekend, I was less than enthusiastic. It seemed the event was to take place at one of the beaches in Sydney's middle harbour. I must pause here to say that this husband of mine had never learned how to swim, even after taking several swimming lessons as a grown man. Why was it that he moved backwards when he kicked his feet his instructor never could fathom? However, off we trotted the following weekend, Phil full of anticipation and me just along for the ride. Our friends had only recently acquired the boat and although we had heard a lot about it, we hadn't actually seen it. The boat was moored in Sydney Harbour and the idea was to cruise to middle harbour, enjoy lunch together on the boat and then try a spot of water skiing. I had to admit, it did sound fabulous. Azure blue sky and smooth glistening water made Sydney Harbour a breathtaking sight that morning as we boarded their “yacht”. I think they were joking, their “yacht” being somewhat reminiscent of Hyacinth Bucket's sailing exploits in the TV series Keeping Up Appearances. The boat was quite roomy though, with a half cabin, so at least we would be sheltered from the sun and much to my relief it didn't move too fast either.

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What neither Phil nor I realised was that underneath that new coat of paint the boat was old – very, very old. Approximately an hour later we arrived at a delightful cove in Middle Harbour, we let down the anchor and settled back to enjoy lunch. Good company and good food what more could one ask. This surely was the good life. It was some time before the subject of skiing came up and then our friends produced life jackets (much to my relief) and the skis. Fortunately, I was to be exempt as I was five months pregnant. This was the boats maiden voyage with regards to water skiing and the new owners seemed pleased with its performance. Then it was Phil's turn. They were taking off from shallow water and he was being instructed what to do and how to do it. His first attempt began with the skis taking off without him. On the second attempt, much to my surprise, he actually stayed on the skis, but couldn't get off his bottom. It looked like a cartoon with his derriere bouncing up and down, making an awful whacking sound every time it hit the water. I thought to myself, tomorrow he is going to have the sorest rear end in town. He declined further lessons that day. As it was getting late we decided to start for home. The trip back to Sydney Harbour was slow as the current was against us and by the time we began to make our way across the open water of the heads it was getting quite dark. There was also a much bigger swell coming in through the headlands, from the open sea. Suddenly, the motor stopped dead. When it comes to mechanical things all men love to tinker, be it car or boat, and this occasion was no exception. The only trouble was we had no lights on board and no torch either, so they couldn't really see what they were doing, but one thing was certain, the motor refused to start, possibly because we had been pushing it too hard for the skiing, our friend suggested. We found out later the motor had burnt out. Soon we began drifting towards the bombora opposite the Heads. The anchor was of no use in deep water and we were also in the path of the Manly ferry that we could see coming our way. We started yelling

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and shouting, but it was now very dark and several boats passed by without even noticing us. In the darkness we could see waves breaking over the rocks in white foam as we drifted closer to the bombora. At this point we started shipping water. Well at least we had life jackets. Our men kept reassuring us everything would be OK, but it didn't sound very convincing. We were all pretty scared. Suddenly, a sailing boat loomed out of the darkness yelling they would take us in tow. We didn't even have a rope to throw them. By now the bombora was so close we could hear the waves crashing on the rocks and the sailing boat couldn't come any closer. Their Skipper shouted for someone to stand on the rail in the bow of our boat to catch a rope. I heard this husband of mine, who couldn't even swim a stroke, yell back at the top of his voice, “I can do that�, as he clamored up onto the rail balancing like a ballet dancer and yes, he caught that rope on the first throw. Soon we were safe on dry land again much to everyone's relief and full of praise and thanks for our rescuers. We decided never again to go on anyone's boat without first making sure it was seaworthy. I really haven't changed my mind about water skiing either and although my precious husband didn't have any broken bones, he did have the sorest derriere in town.

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INDEX Dedication 3 Acknowledgment 4 Did I really write these poems? 5 Imagine 6 A Moment 7 Above the Clouds 8 Today 9 The Glorious Harmony of the Heavens 10-13 Firmament of Joy 14-15 Fearfully Made 16-17 Time 18-19 Continuous Present 20-21 Water – Elixir of Life 22-23 Irish Eyes for me 24-27 Always Wear Your Handbag Hat and Gloves 28-30 Please Don't Let Me Laugh 31-33 When You Toss Your Salad 34-35 Let's Be Fashionable 36-38 The Enigma of Trying to Break a Habit 39-40 Why Does the Dolphin smile? 41 Who Are They? 42-43 This Land 44-47 Our Days at Birrabang 48-49 A Walk into the Past of Brisbane 50-51 If Only Cats could Laugh 52-54 Solomon – The Siamese Cat 55-58 158


When You Own Your Own Jalopy 59-60 When Busts are “Out” they're “In” 61-63 The Sandbank 64-65 The Saga of Botany Bay 66-67 Two of You 70-71 One of Nature's Architects72 What Will I give? 73-74 Into the Stillness 75-76 In Morning Light 77-78 A Sonnet – One Pair of Hands 79 To Meditate 80-81 ….About Such Matters 82-83 Out Walking 84 The Father's Heart 85-86 The Ward 87-89 Let's All Go to the Royal Easter show 90-92 By any Other Name 93-95 Anyone for Twins? 96-98 Thoughts – Thinking 99 Perception 100 One Language101-102 A Glimpse of Creation 103-104 Immortality's Crown 105-106 Love's Musing 107 Fool's Paradise 108 The Armchair Golfer 109 159


I Remember my Auntie Bet's Buns 110-111 My Spa 112-113 Getting Ready 114-115 Idiosyncrasy 116-117 The Good Luck Pelican 118-119 Just a Little More 120-121 The Ocean Walkers 122-123 The Mighty Fire Fighter 124-126 Green Fingers 127 A Journey of the Senses 128-129 Eyes that Met 130 Where Does War Begin? 131-132 Help Me Hear 133-134 India – Land of one Billion People 135-141 From Silent Eyes 142 The Incredible Human Mind 143-144 Thankfulness 145 To Hope 146 He Comes 147 Enter In 147-148 Life's Call 151 A Muse of Life 152 From Dust 153 A Bit of Nonsense 154 I Can Do That 155-157

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Each generation has its own traditions, tempo and rhythm on how life is lived and how things are done. The uniqueness of such traditions is often lost with the passing of time. Joan Duffy's book Reflections in Time captures with nostalgia the delightfully simple practices of past decades some of which no longer exist. Reflections in Time is a wonderful collection of short stories and poems that brings to life some of Joan's personal experiences – some are humorous and whimsical, while others are more thought-provoking, asking questions of the meaning of life and the relevance of faith, hope and love. This is a book you would take to bed with you to enjoy with a lovely cup of tea, or a hot chocolate, knowing that the experience of going through its pages will bring you much pleasure and joy and perhaps even change your life for ever. Tina Viney, Editor Aesthetics Practitioners Journal

ABOUT Joan Mary Duffy Joan Duffy was born in Sydney in 1929 at the end of the Great Depression and is the eldest of four girls. She became a born again Christian when she was 30 and this was a life-changing experience for her. Joan married Philip Duffy in 1950 and they have one daughter, Deborah (Debs) and one granddaughter Catherine (Cass). She has been widowed since 1984. Throughout her Christian walk Joan has led an active and adventurous life. She enjoys helping people and has conducted Chaplaincy work. Due to her amazing soprano voice she was a soloist with the Shekinah Singers for many years, while her creative flair led her to also enjoy being part of an amateur theatrical company. When she turned 70 Joan ventured outside of Australia for the first time, participating in missionary work to India where she stayed for three months working with children. This was a very moving experience for her that has impacted her life until this day. Joan lives on the Gold Coast, Queensland with her beloved cat Solomon, surrounded by her beautiful garden, where she enjoys life and continues her writing.

Kharis Enterprises Publishing A Division of Kharis Enterprises Pty Ltd ABN: 61 831 018 044 8 Parkdale Court Robina Queensland Australia 4226 Phone: +61 7 55 930 360 Fax: +61 7 55 930 367 E-mail: info@kharis.com

RRP AUD $75.00


Reflections In Time - Here a Moment Then It’s Gone