Wednesday, 28 December 2011


With head of brilliant blue
And composition bright and fair,
The fairy wren with jaunty flit
Hops and bounces through the air.

With head of brightest red
And flight of speed and swerve
The rosella glides on brilliant wings
In dipping, parabolic curve.

In his suit of black and white
And rising heavily from the ground,
The magpie flies with a swish
Of muscular, purposeful sound.

His song is a monotonous caw,
His feathers are dull and black,
But the crow still rises into the air
In slow, direct and functional flap.

O some pour forth liquid song,
Some have plumage bright,
Some do flit and some do soar,
Some are blessed with speed of flight.

Crow, wren or hawk, I love them all,
So I raise my head to stare
In silent praise and wonderment
As they slip and glide through the silken air.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Into the Light

Feelings run like water from my mind.
I try to catch them as they stream
And pin them permanently to the page
But they, elusive as a dream,
Slip away and run down cracks
And scorn attempts to bring them back.

Others stand dumbly at heart’s door
Lacking the words to give them voice.
Existing as things dimly sensed or felt
They can neither cry, laugh, nor rejoice,
An impotent, half sensed longing ache,
From the mind’s bars unable to escape.

If I could reach to where they dwell
And bring them out into the light,
Nurture and polish and shine them
Until they sparkle and are bright,
Then could those words dance and sing
Of all the richness mortal life can bring?

Some voices indeed can do such things,
Like great  Keats on death, or Owen war;
Their voices soar in transcendent sound
With words of beauty to admire or adore.
Such voices are pure, deep and long
And with them they pour forth exultant song.

But I must sing in notes that I know,
And not strain recklessly beyond my range,
So I will tell of faith, love, joy and hope
In words that are simple, direct and plain,
And with pleasure sparkling and bright
I bring these songs out into the light.

A Dream

I dreamed a dream
That a great King ruled in justice and peace.
His reign was like soft showers that descend
Upon the cracked, parched and barren earth
And bright, new, green things sprung to birth.
Of that freshness and joy there was no end,
Nor did his righteousness ever cease.

I dreamed a dream
That his helpers, all dressed in shining white
And mounted on the wings of the wind,
Travelled in the splendour of the King’s name
And to the earth’s corners and isles did proclaim
A message of freedom to all mankind
And their work was peace and joyously bright.

I dreamed a dream
That poverty and inequality were swept away
Along with the oppressive grip of famine,
And degree by degree through his great will
All people had their needs happily fulfilled.
It was the King’s desire to determine
That this equality would always stay.

I dreamed a dream
That war was abolished by his decree
And weapons were beaten into farmer’s tools,
So that a mother’s tears would no longer pour
From the black billowing waste of war,
For peace was the characteristic of his rule
And it covered the earth as water the sea.

I dreamed a dream
That even the enemy death he defeated,
As well as the allies of sorrow, sighing and strife.
Tears were wiped from everyone’s eyes,
The water of life was given to the wise,
Who joyously embraced the gift of life
And in this conquest his work was completed.

I dreamed a dream,
I dreamed a dream,
I dreamed a dream.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Great Teachers

For Ron Smith and Joy Bevan, wonderful teachers.

“Great teachers make a difference”
Is a cliché but it’s also true
And I’ve been lucky in my life
For of great teachers I’ve had two.

There are many mediocre minds
In the world of education
Who labour and plod through the day
In drudgery, conflict and resignation.

How lucky then for me that I had two
Whose impression has never passed:
One was my guide through realms of gold;
The other led me into the distant past.

I’ve thought upon what made them great,
What characteristics they did share-
Intellect, knowledge and passion too,
But mostly it was that great word “care”.
They were as different as people could be
In their style, method and mind:
One was controlled, focussed and planned,
The other gentler, more warm and kind.

But these were only the surface things
Easily obvious to the eye.
It was the deeper things that lay beneath
That the superficial couldn’t belie.

What they taught was important to them
But so was the individual too;
It was that deep, personal approach
That most especially shone through.

They showed that care year by year
As students came and went.
Most like me turned and walked away
And never thought to turn back to give thanks.

I have long known the debt I owe
But sadly now one has died
And I have much regret that I never said
That in my heart her legacy abides.

But to the other I acknowledge my debt
For skills both unique and rare
And thank him with all of my heart
For his talent, commitment and care.

So whilst it might be a cliché to say
And abused by being too freely dispensed,
I will spread far and wide that I know
That great teachers do make a difference.

Haiku on Mother and Child at Piano.

Light spills through the room
Where Prue sits at piano,
Eleanor on lap.

As the fingers touch
In light skilful patterns
Chords fluidly flow.

The sweet sound is as
Liquid, clear and delicate
As running water.

The baby gurgles
Her new, innocent delight
And waves her small arms.

What greater beauty
Than Mother, baby, music
In this harmony.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Haiku on Home

The butcher bird pours
His liquid ripple of song
Into the blue sky.

From the stone bird bath
The rosella dips and drinks
In alert delight.

On the verandah
We sit in deep contentment.
I reach for your hand.