In life as in the dance, grace glides on blistered feet. Alice Abrams

– Quoted in Revised Edition, St. Martin’s Press, NY, NY, 2003, p. 285



When love awakens in your life, in the night of your heart, it is like the dawn breaking within you. Where before there was anonymity, now there is intimacy; where before there was fear, now there is courage; where before in your life there was awkwardness, now there is a rhythm of grace and gracefulness; where before you used to be jagged, now you are elegant and in rhythm with your self. When love awakens in your life, it is like a rebirth, a new beginning.

John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom


The Dormouse attended, but cold and forlorn, And the Gnat slowly winded his shrill little horn

And the moth, who was grieved for the loss of a sister, Bent over the body and silently kissed her.

“BEAU BRUMMELL.” The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal (NSW : 1888 – 1954) 30 Dec 1911: 4. Web. 31 Jan 2014 <;.


They were learning to draw,’ the Dormouse went on, yawning and rubbing its eyes, for it was getting very sleepy; `and they drew all manner of things–everything that begins with an M–‘

`Why with an M?’ said Alice.

`Why not?’ said the March Hare.

Alice was silent.

The Dormouse had closed its eyes by this time, and was going off into a doze; but, on being pinched by the Hatter, it woke up again with a little shriek, and went on: `–that begins with an M, such as mouse-traps, and the moon, and memory, and muchness– you know you say things are “much of a muchness”–did you ever see such a thing as a drawing of a muchness?’

`Really, now you ask me,’ said Alice, very much confused, `I don’t think–‘

`Then you shouldn’t talk,’ said the Hatter.

This piece of rudeness was more than Alice could bear: she got up in great disgust, and walked off; the Dormouse fell asleep instantly, and neither of the others took the least notice of her going, though she looked back once or twice, half hoping that they would call after her: the last time she saw them, they were trying to put the Dormouse into the teapot.

In our home, something like being a poet would be thought of as putting on airs




They are not devious, and they fear lies as they fear fire. They don’t tell lies even in the most trivial matters. To lie to someone is to insult them, and the liar is diminished in the eyes of the person he lies to. Civilized people don’t put on airs; they behave in the street as they would at home, they don’t show off to impress their juniors.

From a letter to Nikolay Chekhov, March 1886
― Anton Chekhov, A Life in Letters

Behind the Dendroglyph man – ABC Illawarra NSW – Australian Broadcasting Corporation

South Coast artist Warwick Keen (WOK) is renowned for his vibrant contemporary paintings, constructions and carvings.

The canvases include three dimensional works mixing acrylics, foam core, PVA glue and sawdust, as well as Aboriginal-based designs painted in both traditional and non-traditional colours.

The carvings are modern-day representations of Dendroglyphs; carved tree designs found in eastern NSW, Victoria and some parts of Queensland that were created in the past to signpost the burial places of highly regarded Aboriginal males and initiation sites.

Warwick\’s artistic calling is a reflection of his childhood, but quite opposed to the dynamic nature of his work, his past has left him with many hidden scars.

via Behind the Dendroglyph man – ABC Illawarra NSW – Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

via Behind the Dendroglyph man – ABC Illawarra NSW – Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“There is an old German fable about porcupines who need to huddle together for warmth, but are in danger of hurting each other with their spines

When they find the optimum distance to share each other’s warmth without putting each other’s eyes out, their state of contrived cooperation is called good manners. Well, those old German fabulists certainly knew a thing or two. When you acknowledge other people politely, the signal goes out, “I’m here. You’re there. I’m staying here. You’re staying there. Aren’t we both glad we sorted that out?” When people don’t acknowledge each other politely, the lesson from the porcupine fable is unmistakeable. “Freeze or get stabbed, mate. It’s your choice.”

― Lynne Truss, Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door

redfoxstoryofhis00robeuoft_0161 The Register (Adelaide, SA - 1901 - 1929), Saturday 26 April 1913


The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), Saturday 26 April 1913

See – chaos spark, struck from flint and the plunging distemper, flare in the dawn’s dull seep of milkcart horse, morning horse chaos horse



Mithridatum of Despair

We know no mithridatum of despair
as drunks, the angry penguins of the night,
straddling the cobbles of the square,
tying a shoelace by fogged lamplight.
We know no astringent pain,
no flecking of thought’s dull eternal sea
in garret image, of Spain
and love…now love’s parody.

See – chaos spark, struck from flint
and the plunging distemper, flare in the dawn’s dull seep
of milkcart horse, morning horse
chaos horse, walking at three to the doors of sleep
with the creamy poison.
convulsions endure
from nine to five,
all life immure.
and still alive.

we know no mithridatum, nor the remembered dregs of fear,
the glass stands dry and silted; no end is near.

The World's News (Sydney, NSW - 1901 - 1955), Saturday 23 April 1927


The World’s News (Sydney, NSW : 1901 – 1955), Saturday 23 April 1927

There came an old man down the road, And, O, he whistled fine



Whistling Men


by Mary Gilmore (1865-1962)


Australian writer


There came an old man down the road,

And, O, he whistled fine,

He brought a tune from out the wind –
A wind as cold as brine;
He took the pain from out the world,
And saved this heart of mine.


And down the stairway by my door,
Two days ago I heard
A whistling boy come hopping by
As if he were a bird;
I felt as though I were a leaf
A happy air had stirred.


God gave the whistling mouth to man
That he old griefs might drive
Back to the dens from which they came.
And keep his soul alive.
A whistling man makes life as sweet
As honey in a hive.



Queensland Times (Ipswich) (Qld. - 1909 - 1954), Monday 20 June 1949,


Queensland Times (Ipswich) (Qld. : 1909 – 1954), Monday 20 June 1949,

And ev’ry morn he walked to town.




The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), Friday 30 May 1952The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. - 1848 - 1957), Friday 30 May 1952


Brown’s Tram

by C. J. Dennis (1876-1938)

Australian writer

A city clerk was Henry Brown,
Whose suburb knew nor tram nor train;
And ev’ry morn he walked to town.

From nine till five, with busy brain,
He labored in an office dim.
Each eve he walked out home again.

And all this tramping seemed to him
A waste of time, for, ‘mid the strife,
He could not keep his lawn in trim.

It clouded his domestic life –
This going early, coming late –
And much distressed his little wife.

Then some wise man declared the State
Should put in trams, and for this scheme
Brown was a red-hot advocate.

At last he realised his dream;
And daily in and out of town
He trammed it with content supreme.

For, though it cost him half-a-crown
A week in fares, the time he saved
Meant much to him and Mrs. Brown.

And so they lived and pinched and slaved
And their suburban happiness
Seemed all that they had ever craved.

The little wife began to bless
The trams; nor grieved their meagre dole
Was weekly two and sixpence less.

Then Brown’s employer, kindly soul,
Learned of this tram-car luxury,
And promptly rose to take his toll.

He sent for Brown and said that he
Should now contrive to come at eight
Since trams blessed his vicinity.

He also deemed it wise to state
That idleness begat much ill,
And it was wrong to sleep in late.

Yet Brown contrived to tram it still,
And trim his lawn with tender care,
And pay his rent and baker’s bill.

His little wife vowed it unfair;
But bowed to stern, relentless fate,
And smiled and sewed and worked her share.

Just here, the landlord wrote to state,
Since trams improved his property,
He’d raise the rent as from that date.

“Three shillings weekly will not be
Too much – an equitable rise,
Considering the trams,” wrote he.

What profit oaths or women’s sighs?
His “sacred rights,” of wealth the fount,
A landlord has to recognise.

To what do poor clerks’ lives amount?
An extra hour of slavery
Swells an employer’s bank account.

The wealthy boss thanks God that he
Has saved some money out of Brown.
The landlord smiles contentedly.

The trams run gaily up and down,
A sight Brown sadly notes as he
Plods daily in and out of town.

The length of a frog can only be determined after it dies. Ghanaia



Ali Cobby Eckermann

she sits on a rocky ledge
overlooking frog song
puncturing a choked river
at dusk

it is only here native birds sing
their evening lullaby
echoed between red banks
overgrown with weeds

it’s like life slips away in the evening
a resounding of Salientia castanets
soon to fall silent
like flaking moss

she listens for earth song
under the algae and foreign reeds
and just as darkness falls
a fish jumps rippling memory


The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Saturday 28 November 1925

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW - 1842 - 1954), Saturday 28 November 1925,

Michael was a monkey, and a lonely chimpanzee, Trying hard to find a lady chimp to share his tree.

There was but one hiccup in this quest to soothe his heart:

Every time he talked to monkey girls he’d start to fart.

1 autobiographyofm00pain_0005

Queensland Figaro (Brisbane, Qld. : 1901 – 1936), Saturday 4 October 1930,

Queensland Figaro (Brisbane, Qld. - 1901 - 1936), Saturday 4 October 1930,

Better a handful of dry dates and content therewith than to own the gate of Peacocks and be kicked in the eye by a broody camel.


When far across the desert
Shines the first hint of light,
And scarce the sun has banished one
Clear star away from night;
With bales and packs and boxes
Lashed on securely, then,
The lengthy trains of camels
Prepare to start again.

Camels poem by Rex Ingamells



Sunday 1Times (Perth, WA - 1902 - 1954), Sunday 7 May 1933, Sunday Times (Perth, WA - 1902 - 1954), Sunday 7 May 1933,2


Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 – 1954), Sunday 7 May 1933,

SHE wears a bathing suit of blue, And to the beach she goes, With pretty giggles of delight, To dip her dainty toes.

“Surf Siren.” The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933) 1 Mar 1930: 22. Web. 31 Jan 2014 <;.


Jack Roberton. Lennox Head, NSW.

“The Mother’s Day Swell.”

No-one knows from where it came
This rumour as it were
But for the tribes of the Northern Rivers
Disbelievin’ was a slur
For only once or twice in any surfers life
do not words such as these betray
of a great southern swell
of what size who could tell
was arriving the following day
Now preparations for a challenge ahead vary in personal choice,
And who should say of another man’s way
Can any soul sound his voice?
For the pulse of the ocean played a different beat to those that slumbered that night
Some were serene,
others frantically dreamed,
most tossed and turned ‘til first light.
Dawn revealed an almighty sea,
Of one like never before,
For some she was a temptress,
For some a banchong whore.
From ‘Angas’ to the ‘Shine’,
And all the bays between;
For each man and his indicator,
The sight remains unseen.
This beast of a sea disfigured the shore,
It pounded the rocky heads!
Now decisions take time,
And for many that’s fine,
And some cowered back to their beds.
But there’s always a few who know what to do,
Where to go, and to whom to speak…
And a handful had gathered to hear the old man,
For none had done more time on the peak.
Ol’ Brocky had lived at the point,
For god knows how many years
And he had ridden with the best of ‘em,
Yet he was fightin’ back the tears
“To this task I am no equal,
Yet to the edge I’ve had my trips.
And as all of you know, when it comes you must go,
Or the seas bitterness will remain on ya lips.
I’ve tasted her many flavours,
I’ve seen her in every light;
But this battle is yours my brothers,
And to the ‘button’ you must take the fight.”
A few of the men shuffled to and fro,
Some glanced around at their feet,
“Her morning sickness is over,” he said,
“It’s time for you to meet.
But one thing you must know
before you go confronting such a test;
Wave selection is critical boys,
So paddle for only the best!”
…..T’was the wild man from down Yamba’s way,
That broke the ol man’s spell;
“I’ve waited all my bloody life to challenge such a swell!
I’ll ‘ave a crack at anything,
Just you watch me ‘ave my fun.
An abit o’ advice if yas was thinkin’ twice –
Out there you need a gun!”
Well, Baddy glanced around ,
To see who was in for a show.
A couple o’ locals who knew the point thought they might ‘ave a go.
The Goldy boys looked doubtful,
Their boards were mighty thin……
“If ya think y’all catch one with those,” he scoffed;
“Ya gotta be bloody kiddin’.”…
And there were two big boards that lay away,
Of whose names he hadn’t seen;
And he met the gaze of two young lads; one solid, the other lean.
And over the rumble of another set,
He yelled, “Let class begin…..”
And he noticed that the one lad winked,
The other gave a nod ‘n grin.
Now, half the battle in such a sea,
Is getting out through the foam;
And for some they battled it bravely,
…..’til she turned their heads for home.
But the crowds of people, who lined the hill,
Excitement it did not lack;
For the sea ‘respects’ the patient,
And a handful had made it out back.
Now the worth of many a good surfer
Is in the number of waves that he gets;
Yet it is in the wisdom of the waterman,
That can read between the sets
For the nervous ones caught the first that came,
They were itchin’ for a ride;
But only a few sat out on the peak,
Waiting – for a change in tide.
Few words were exchanged, each deep in thought
It was Baddy who cleared the air;
And he turned to face the two young lads,
That sat to meet his stare.
“There’s a few locals ‘round ere you boys will meet,
An’ me you’ll get to know.
But it don’t get like this too much
So when it comes you must go.
Be sure to ride with style ‘n savvy,
This is no place for tricks.
I know you boys ain’t from round ‘ere
Cos’ i’m unfamiliar with ya sticks.”
“They’re from Hawa….” one began to say
But he stopped in his reply
For the horizon had taken on a different shape
And the sea had become one with the sky.
They started scratchin’ for the horizon
Each deciding where to wait
But Baddy’s experience had told him
Just to resign himself to fate.
He made it over the first two
On the third he got to his feet…..
But his strength in his paddle was lacking
And he knew that he was beat.
He was pitched from crest to trough
‘n it made the people wince
‘n he was washed up onto the beach
And his board ain’t been seen since.
But the two young lads paddled further out
They knew where they wanted to be
For back in the islands they’d heard from a friend
The existence of an outside bombie.
He’d told them of the line-ups
The right conditions were hard to find
“But if ya ever get it on,” he said.
“It’ll be sure to blow your mind.”
It was as they topped the tenth wave
That they knew they’d found their place;
And that the wave after the next one
Was the challenger they would face.
It was the biggest of the set,
T’was the ‘peaking’ of the swell
It’s line reached across the bay
…..It looked like heaven and hell!
It drew its water off the reef
But the two lads held their ground
And it wasn’t until it started to feather
That they turned their boards around
And paddling hard and paddling strong
They stroked into the peak
And a ‘roar’ could be heard as they got to their feet…..
Yet not a spectator was able to speak
They could be seen riding down the face
But were lost then they reached the trough
And by the ‘explosion’ of the white-water
It was assumed they were knocked off
Well moments passed
The anxiety grew
The tension hung in the air….
And it took some time for the mist to clear
To reveal the two lads…..
Still there!
They leant on their inside rails
Each responding to the cue
And crouching low, its energy drawn
Up in to a high line they flew
Well it’s “Mozart” that comes to mind when recalling the line
that they drew before i say more….
for they glided across that feathering wall…
like in a canyon does the great condor.
They seemed to know each others’ style
Criss-crossing with arcing cutbacks
And when one’d soul arch
The other ‘strokin’ the cat’
Their lines resembled rail-road tracks
They rode right outta sight
And still nobody spoke
And it was Baddy who broke the silence
….. “Who the fuck are those blokes?”
“From an island up north,” the old man replied
“Out off Moreton Bay.
I heard they grew up surfin’ outer banks
But where exactly it’s hard to say.
An’ I once ‘eard a rumour of an open lagoon that I believe gets bloody good
An’ there’s some long left only those boys have surfed
And they called it
The ‘Bay of Wood’.”
Little more is known, though much has been said…..
Of that day back in May
And the events have gone down in the archives…
And are still spoken of today
And should you ask the ‘ol man
Who still lives at the point
If he has any stories to tell
He’ll recall the time
The ‘Bribie Boys’ drew the line
On that memorable
‘Big Mothers’ Day Swell’!!
Jack Roberton. 2000

Whatever wave you’re riding, no matter how big or powerful it might be, remember God’s promise – If He brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it.





I would that with sleepy, soft embraces

The sea would fold me—would find me rest

In luminous shades of her secret places,

In depths where her marvels are manifest ;

So the earth beneath her should not discover

My hidden couch-nor the heaven above her—

As a strong love shielding a weary lover,

I would have her shield me with shining breast.

The Swimmer

Illustrated Sydney News (NSW - 1853 - 1872), Saturday 30 January 1892,