And The Rivers Rose


These poems were all written in May 2019. The poems are about people and the weather. The ideas each contains may be different but there is that common thread. Young people in particular these days seem to be passionate about global warming. Recent examples of this emotion in young demonstrators have actually helped inspire me to write. At the time of writing at least, the weather was fine. What lies ahead remains to be seen.

An Unexpected Journey
I caught a bus yesterday
To Davy Jones’ locker
The rain I must say was an endless patter
That was to my eyes a serious matter
It was the reason
The street became a river of no return
That torrent abhorrent defied all human concern 
As watery hands to my consternation
Changed the bus’s destination
Then it suddenly became a toy in a bath 
Bubbles on windows as the aftermath
As we swirled in the water to Fate’s decree 
White foam flew
Furrow followed free
Next I saw
A V-dub Beetle
Swaying and swimming like a boat afloat
Then unexpectedly like breakfast on toast
Our bus stuck fast against a post
Just as a cow a tree and a bin
Floated by midstream
We remained transfixed on the beam
So I fumbled towards the door
Through the water on the floor...
Just as those rescue arms reached me
I caught sight of
A house spinning past
Adrift like a swan
And then it was gone
As the little group of passengers set free with me 
Wondered what our next cataclysm would be
As the globe warms
It is so still lying there
Life gone
Almost alone and motionless on the cracked earth 
That spreads everywhere these days
On the treeless plain
The other creature hovers beside the body 
Sniffing the death
Motionless for a while
Sad eyes blinking in the heat
And then glancing suddenly afar...
With a despondent motion
The still living thing hops away
Like a torn paper tossing in the stale wind
Death is not unusual in these times
It touches many creatures
Especially the young
That kangaroo babe is stiff now
And linked forever to the past
Its mother accepting reality
Moves off in a hopeful quest for water
Two Kookaburras
Danger has no depth like blazing wildfire
A monster with dragon breath
Those flames leap fiercely torching scorching 
Glazing any protoplasm put to death
Two kookaburras are about to die in the pyre 
Birds turned to ashes
As the fire maims
Dead relics of life
Caught in the updrafts of the flames
The moving wall of heat-bound space
In its cruel vibrating race
Lashes flashes scorching every other thing 
Time disintegrates as fire bells ring
Can you hear them you gods of CO2? 
Do my thoughts scorch your minds? 
Global reflections on false dissections 
Longing for wise corrections

O what did that scientist say?
The Wind Unseen
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I
But when it has you in its grip
That wind is flouncing by
This knowledge is my wont
Now you feel it now you don’t
No I have not seen the wind
Yet it must be there
Playing with air
As all that dust mummifies the sky
The wind does more than pass you by 
Yes it is really there
Glowering everywhere
No problem at all
When young leaves fall
The culprit remains unseen
At the pummelling of the green
But other upshots meet the eye
Of damage bills far more high
Invisible malpractice
Sins of the wind linked to coal
Now look at that house with a giant tree 
Thrusting through its roof
Roots embedded in the air
As the wind stays there aloof
No you cannot see the wind
However hard you stare
Though the world stands maimed
You know
The wind is always there – untamed
Hail Poetry
Old Jack was a farmer from ancient days derived 
Who understood the seasons and the reasons crops survived
But the times they were a’changing
And life needed rearranging
As past things had to give way to the new
The old man was an owner
And he was a loner
So no one ever told him what to do
No one that is till Ginger Mick appeared
So full of guile, a patron to be feared
Ginger was a cunning chap from the rich fraternity 
Who taught Jack what was needed
To catch up with modernity
Down came the gum tree that shaded the old dunny 
All pests were poisoned with a speed not funny
An additional plan so life could thus pass muster
Was a costly contract with a crop duster
Next came the bank
Old Jack not alone
Was helped by Mick raise a dubious loan
Clearly now farm life was going well
But good intentions line the road to Hell
Said Ginger Mick we’ve achieved the norm
But he ignored a violent storm
The hail came fast and never seemed to stop
Until in the end with a tragic trend
It had ruined the whole crop
Goodbye Little Yellow Bird
Goodbye little yellow bird
The branch of your tree is dead. 
Goodbye little yellow bird
There is little more to be said. 
Goodbye little yellow bird 
You are but two inches tall.
Goodbye little yellow bird
You tremble as you fall
Into the arms of dead things
Decaying on the ground
With the ghosts of Graylings and sweet Silvery Blues * 
While lifespans of extinct things do not make the news. 
Where the wind after felling those forsaken trees 
Now makes not a solitary sound, 
While you, little bird about to die, 
Are now to Heaven bound. 
* Graylings, Silvery Blues: butterflies facing extinction. 
Let There Be Light
“Damn and blast!” said Grandpa
As all the lights went out
He fiddled in the dark to find a torch
And felt an urge to shout
Then the air whistled
And all his hair bristled
As the wind blew the roof off the house
So Grandad in fright felt as weak as a mouse 
And then he let fly with a curse
That has no place in this verse 
That oath would have lifted the ceiling
Had not the wind with no fellow feeling
Done its job and got there first
So there stood Grandpa believing the worst
Under the light of the stars 
He shivered in fear till the storm had passed 
To the sound of his grateful hurrahs 
Plus the few subtle words he said at the last: 
“Our future is now our past.” 
A Hatter’s Matter
Mercury on hats is toxic
It renders the brain anoxic
No matter said the Hatter in his turn 
Our job rights are now clear
It’s our career
We must be allowed to earn
Arsenic’s a dangerous shade of green 
Once used on gloves to preen*
Don’t ban said the glover in his turn 
Our job rights are now clear
It’s our career
We must be allowed to earn 
Sandblasting of clothes may be a neurosis 
And a possible cause of silicosis
Don’t get stressed 
Stay well dressed
Said the clothier in his turn 
Our job rights are now clear
It’s our career
We must be allowed to earn 
Elizabeth I used vinegar with lead 
To cover her smallpox sores 
This rotted her teeth and thinned her hair 
And yellowed her ageing pores 
Said the Royal Supplier in his turn 
Our job rights are now clear 
It’s our career 
We must be allowed to earn 
* Arsenic was also used to make artificial flowers.
The Last Koala
Thirty-third tree on the left
Just past the big wattle 
Residence ideal
For a worthy community member 
Splendid dwelling place
Off the beaten track
No postcode here
Thus its beauty is well preserved 
Completely furnished residence
With appropriate fittings
Provisions easily obtainable
All timber construction
Excellent landscape views
Surrounded by a fine garden of natives 
Predominance of Eucalypts
Vacant possession
As the last koala is dead
Fire Alarm
Little boy with a grown up mind Jamie
An endless talker
No trace of guile or self praise 
Just trying to enrich his days 
Lots of questions out of the blue 
What is wrong with C02?
Why did all those river fish fry?
What is the reason good things die?
Some of those questions were answered at school 
Reading his homework’s my constant rule
I helped him a lot with sentence creation
And filled in the gaps of his punctuation
Read some stories with him too
Some were old and some were new
Some I chose and some were set
And we both shared time on the internet
Funny thing that
When you look at your son
You see yourself
In a new life begun
There is something free
With his POV
It becomes your destiny
You feel extended
Life is amended
As time stands still
Against your will
Since you enquire
I lost my eyes in a fierce bushfire
Read and write now only in Braille
Still keep trying afraid to fail
Lost the house too
And Jamie so clever
Now I’m alone
Alas forever!
Can you hear the winds a’calling?
Can you see the trees a’falling?
What you gunna do now man?
Can you hear the voices crying?
Can you see the people dying?
What you gunna do now man?
Over the mountains the fury rages
Not seen before in history’s pages
Along the streets everybody’s dashing 
Scared to death by the lightning flashing 
Can you hear the winds a’calling?
Can you see the trees a’falling?
What you gunna do now man?
Can you hear the voices crying?
Can you see the people dying?
What you gunna do now man?
Over the plains the air splits asunder
Ten thousand sheep go mad with the thunder 
Down by the river the dingoes seek blood 
But it’s all washed away now in that flood 
Can you hear the winds a’calling?
Can you see the trees a’falling?
What you gunna do now man?
Can you hear the voices crying?
Can you see the people dying?
What you gunna do now man?
The world’s unfurled and falling to pieces 
Trouble in the air and the pain increases 
Stop all the rain and end the pollution 
Get it right now and start a revolution 
Can you hear the winds a’calling? 
Can you see the trees a’falling?
What you gunna do now man?
Can you hear the voices crying? 
Can you see the people dying?
What you gunna do now man?
What you gunna do now man?
What you gunna do now man?
Can you feel it?
All around us
Changing existence against our wishes 
Cooking us like little fishes
In a packet waiting for the chips 
Temperature rising
How does it work
This ephemeral lurk
Known as global warming?
How is it forming?
This season of eternal summer?
Or should I say infernal?
Well is it or is it not the norm?
That appears to be the question
The answer seems likely to raise a storm
Frogs are musicians don’t you know? 
Love songs are their game
In the marsh at night
Where each species is defined by decibels 
All the sounds tell a story
Light and hoary
Of a quest in the night for a mate
Have you heard them? “Kok – Karock 
Darling will you be my date?”
Do you see what I mean about romance 
When the season’s alight
In the marsh at night
And each species is defined by decibels? 
It’s a chorus of love
From nirvana above
Just a quest in the night far and wide 
Have you heard them? “Goo – Garoo 
Sweetheart will you love me true?”
But things are not what once they were
In the marsh at night
When the season’s right
Where I recently had my fill
I returned to the place I used to go
And heard the silence roar
Yes all the cries were still
No musical encore
It seemed that the place was close to Hell 
Completely without a decibel
For the river was dry
And the marsh it was no more
Little Fish
Little fish
What are you doing attached to my line? 
You would bring me a sizeable fine 
Below the legal size
I am not slack
So I’ll put you back
Back into the troubled waters
I know it is hard for you
You who do not thrive
Who may not survive
Endure the drought
Or the algae
Or the cotton grower’s flout
But this I must do
Just wish you well
No other choice for you
So farewell little perch
May pure waters be your church
As I say for you with a sigh
Old Joe
Old Joe was a man of the plains
Knew the land in drought and rains
Sheared the sheep with a willing hand
Was well known throughout the land
None of his sheep ever needed tar
But alas his wages were spent at the bar
Joe’s week’s work went for eighty hours
Didn’t have time for shaves or showers
As life went on, things were going well
Until the year the big rain fell
Said the boss it’s a blow alas and alack
I have no choice but to give you the sack
Now that was the way old Joe was dismissed 
So he searched for work with hand over fist 
Though nothing came his way
Save hunger I’m sad to say
Days went by and turned into weeks
Such a life is what no man seeks
Then jobs acquired a whole new range
As a consequence of climate change
So folk came running with the planet reforming 
To the halls of government all were storming 
While Joe old Joe got a fresh invitation
The chance to work in flood mitigation
Memories are flimsy things 
Frail as air
Yes air
How fragile it is
This invisible essence of life 
Entering our bodies
In every moment of our time 
Do you remember
Back in the good old days
The sudden joy of fresh air
Brought by the wind’s cool change
At the close of a sultry day?
Once in another time our air
Was as pure as a nymph is fair
Even though the wind was still
No molecules at Hades’ will
No particulate matter
Was in the scatter
And every breeze was a friend at play 
No tainted air to blister life away
That was true then no one denies
But now we sing another song
As smoke gets in your eyes
Bush Fire
I am old but still I have a tale to tell
Now walking brings me pain
And I cannot move too well
Heat affects my breathing in a nasty way 
Pain comes to stay
That is why fire’s a phobia for me
’Twas a grim foe in the past you will agree
Ask any saint
While In modern times it is not subtle
It tells you it is coming
First smoke on the horizon
A nervous thing to put your eyes on
Then it darkens the drab sun’s glow
Glowering over things below
You smell its breath like a garlic feast
Next you see the light of the beast
Gleeful fingers too big to miss
The hose of a fireman is a Manneken Pis 
Nullified by smoke, swishing off
And then with a scoff comes the wrath
The house cries out as it falls apart
Digits of fire strike through its heart
Throwing bits of what once was a home
Killing even the garden gnome
This fire is a rumble in the jungle
Even the world appears to crumble
Small pieces fly up one at a time
While the heavy wreckage completes the crime 
And turns the carpet of ashes
To smoky mist with a hundred crashes
And blooms of fumes that swiftly redden
Make the site an Armageddon
Until the rage goes free
Leaving behind the tattered remainders and me
Flight of Swans
See how they fly
Majestic birds
Helping each other in a pattern 
Of windswept ease
A V for victories
See how this one flies 
It’s V for venadium
Dust and fumes in the air
They cause pulmonary despair 
And oedema everywhere
Dear lovely birds
Why do you fly?
Is it attraction or distraction? 
Does the atomic number 23 
Turn turn the present into history? 
Can you trust the air’s rungs?
Is the steel they harden
More important than your lungs? 
Questions without answers
Are a part of life today
Answers without questions 
Mean the world has gone astray
Lonely Man
There is a man
We’ve been in touch for several years 
Though I have not seen him of late
He is forced to live in solitude
A pathetic victim of hate
Let us be more direct –
Internment without walls
That’s better
That meets the alignment
Of this man’s confinement
It’s the truth about him
For he is Left-Green
That isolated friendless one
Maligned as a clown
Cast aside by his family and others
In this mining town
His mind is crushed by unjust abuse
As he is blamed
For the ploys that others use
Forced to live on alone
Light years away from true allies
Where constant hate is his fate
As all his life dreams dissipate
Hate wins political contests too, thanks to 
The guile of torts
That conjure resorts
To villainous thoughts
And surface values
Back to him the solitary one:
Lonely man
Cast aside by your failure to conform
I want to lead you beyond the norm
And if I can visit you in your town
To help bring injustice crashing down 
And make your torture end
It will be my lasting joy
Just to be your friend
Footprints On The Floor
We lost the sky one day
Though the sun was shining bright
It was dust
And the morning turned into night
The birds flew away
Without delay:
White ghosts of drama
Sky cyclorama
Get inside quickly said Mum
Close the windows
Close the shutters
Close the doors
Close everything
This we did
Like well drilled men-at-arms
Before a battle
You could smell the urgency
Then the dust hit our noses
Unimpeded by the closures
First through the eaves
And down through the ceiling holes
Then past the windows shutters and doors
Were they really closed?
We began to cough as the dust
Debased our living space
Into eyes and nostrils throat and lungs
Then the wind rapped on our windows and doors 
As if demanding entry
Go away I thought
As I covered my face with a handkerchief
Not that it gave me much relief
But ’twas a good idea at the time
Time that ended in about an hour
As the dust storm moved away
Leaving grimy fingerprints in the kitchen sink
Dust marks in the bath and basin 
Footprints on the floor
Where we had scurried
Then as we hurried and opened the door 
The sun was peeping through
That was the time we young folk knew 
There was much more work to do
Spencer Tracy’s Ghost
Spencer Tracy
For me an actor unsurpassed
I remember in a film from the past
On a quest for the Northwest Passage 
When the coda came
Tracy made the claim
That the search would not be in vain
So he set off on his journey again
As the film ended
But failure was adrift in the air then
Hope died with the word
Everybody knew
Everybody knew
That his scheme was a dream absurd
Not so today
Let me say
By the views of aficionados
Everybody knows
Everybody knows
Tracy’s ghost would enjoy times changed 
For a hot North Pole and the ice rearranged 
Have proposed a pathway through
And the climate will make this come true
Benjamin Franklin’s Kite
Benjamin Franklin my teacher said 
Took electric shocks In a storm
My Dad
Wouldn’t let me fly my kite
That night
In the last big storm at our place
So I sat on the porch and watched
First the thunder comes
Like bugaboos playing drums
Then after that noise has rent the air
The lightning arrives
How it startles
With the thunder clashing
White sheets flashing
Like strobes with the staggers
And then come the daggers
Carving up the black sky
Hitting hard somewhere nearby
More sudden thunder
Tears me asunder
And after the flash the peal
That is so real
I begin to feel the fear
I know the strike is somewhere near
You are always afraid and glad it’s not you 
In your final hour 
Hit by the power...
I learnt things in that electric world
So small I had suddenly become
I shrank back into the night
In fright
Huddled scared beside the wall
Trying to get away from it all
As things for me were so adverse
Little me
Just a speck a dot in a hostile universe
Pen Friend
My pen friend Nasheed
Writes often to me
From his home in the distant Maldives 
He’s a true soul mate
So I long for his news
Whenever a letter arrives
We talk about life
In our two different lands
So often around global warming
He tells me his fears
About future years
And the sad way the world is performing 
I have learnt from my friend
How his land will end
Underneath the ocean’s dark waters
Just a mere thirty years
When his home disappears
According to reliable reporters
So what can I do
In my impotent way
To stop this evolving sadness?
Shall I tell the truth
Or just say, “Forsooth”
And accept the world’s current madness? 
So I meditate on the life we share
And I wonder what future is waiting there 
Scientia: How I worship science!
A true hope left to me
The powerful belief that has to be
As at skeptics I hurl my defiance
Dearly Beloved
We are gathered here to give thanks 
For lives alas departed
Though sadness fills our troubled minds 
We shall not be fainthearted
So let us all together
Give praise to those now gone
Today we wish for better times
For all creatures living on
The American Passenger Pigeon 1914 
The Barbary Lion 1942
The Mexican Grizzly Bear 1969
The Caspian Tiger 1970
The Asian Kouprey 1979
The Costa Rican Golden Toad 1989
The Fijian Levuana Moth 1994
Dear friends who will be next?
The tide is fast now rising for other deaths to come
Up to a hundred thousand soon may hear the fatal drum 
So let us work together as we strive to stem the tide
As we cast the unbelievers now and forever aside

_____________** ______________

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