Over another Hump

Friday, August 26, 2011

Trawool hills

Another poem from the collection. Can't find the painting but I think it works alone?

This area was a busy place in Australia during the Second World War. My Grandparents ran the railway station and we were always busy. American and Australian uniforms blended with our young childhood. It is still an area we call home.

Trawool Hills in November.

This range protects
a huddle of houses
sprinkled along the road,
above the river flats.

Their green gentleness,
now turning golden ,
as summer brings its
own enticements

to children who explore
the heights and slide
down granite rocks
spilled eons ago.

These hills fostered
exploration, love
for nature and freedom.
Independence grew.

Here, childhood days
were sunny, warm
filled with companionship
and - always adventure.

Old tracks scar the foothills,
station house long gone;
history flotsam where
lost laughter echoes.

But those benign hills,
remain. Benevolent,
silent sentinels,
they remember.


Friday, August 12, 2011

The Deep

This week I just finished an anthology of ekphrastic poetry based mainly on my sister's paintings. It was for her birthday and, I'm pleased to say, for once it got there on time. I'm not the most organized when it comes to posting parcels.

This is the inspired by the cover painting.

The Deep

Blue draws me, lifts me on a warm sea,
to float away on gathering waves.

The blue of summer seas, or winter skies
unclouded, shining on pristine snow;

Impartial blue, a deepening mystic,
infinity calling. Levels and depths beckon

but tight borders and sharp angles
corral, restrain wandering dreams.

Soul refreshed, mind cleansed,
I return to house-wife realities.

Thank God, and the artist for
the calming balm of blue.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ink's Blot.

He reclines on the table,
seeking sunlight
on a frosty morning.
Black as midnight
until the sun's rays burnish
his body, turn him
into a bronzed hologram.

Father of three, his confidence
assures him welcome as
he makes his mark in lives
of his servants.

Neutered now, but
he still thinks he's got “It.”
Creates mayhem
tumbling through
our home and hearts.
Mere humans, we swear,
then laugh at his audacity.

His only foe, his big mumma,
Queen Victoria of cats, snarls
her displeasure,
until a truce is made
and they share
the warmest bed to
sleep the day away.

Saturday, July 23, 2011



I've been planning to make my shopping list for a fortnight and here it is the day before we go to town and it's not started. Life seems to be taken over by trivialities; necessary, irritating routines that suck up free time. I haven't even checked my cupboards. I sigh, collect my note pad and move out to catch some winter sun. After the unusual long 'wet' the water table has risen and the ground is damp and cold beneath my feet, despite the frequent frosts we've had. I realize how I need that warmth, now I'm sitting still.

Well, sort of sitting still. Three kittens join me, investigate this invader in their territory. Crumble, the one with the crumpled ear, claims my pen only to be pushed aside by jealous Tutt, the bull-arab mastiff.

My son's dog, she thinks she's still a pup but weighs more than I do and tries to oust the kitten, scattering the other two as she makes her move. She loves her grandmother and is jealous of others who are getting my attention.

Overhead in the African Mahogany, blue-faced honey eaters vie with black and white butcher birds for food scraps tossed out by our caged ring-necked parrots. A skink scuttles up the trunk, followed by curious kittens. They scatter the birds momentarily, dispersing rivalry.

I smile and think what an equalizer nature is. The handsome honeyeaters, biggest in the world) have harsh calls while the more utilitarian butcher bird has a call so pure and sweet, and their true notes vary from region to region, even in Charters Towers, where we shop tomorrow. Their song is a show stopper and never ceases to enthrall me, as it does now.

I forget my list as I watch the theatre above me, luxuriate in the brilliant sky scape, happy just to be. Country sounds of cattle, geese and goats mingle with the rattle of rail cars and road trains moving through the town. My pets frisk around me and I feel renewed.

This is why we live here, I thought as my husband braved the cool morning and joined me. I began my mental trip through the house and began writing down supplies for another fortnight.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Writers Block

It's one of those days
when inspiration won't come.
The cat needs a cuddle -
from who else but her mum?
It rained hard all night
now it's cold out of doors,
PO hates going out
to get mud on her paws.
I've a deadline to meet
but she doesn't care,
I cannot refuse her,
she knows that, I swear.
I'll be patient and wait,
for lunch time is near.
When Frank gets his sandwich
she'll leave me, I fear.
Frances Mackay (c) 24-05-10

Saturday, March 27, 2010


(c) Frances Mackay, 17-03-10

Pothole was a young ringer
working his way out west
eradicating the prickly pear,
an imported cacti pest.

The cactoblastis grubs,
introduced to eat the pear,
became a bigger problem -
sugar cane its favourite fare.

To stop the devestation
of important cash crop earners
the cane toad was suggested
by scientific slow learners.

Cane toads over-run our state
from coast to western border,
ugly poisonous interloper
defying our natural order.

The cactoblastis has now gone,
prickly pear's an exotic fruit,
soon Pothole's prodigy will supply
the toads to China in exchange for loot.

Hidden Treasure

Have you seen a mud wasp's nest?
It's a natural work of art;
ignor the fact the wasp's a pest
with painful hidden dart.

Forget the mess this builder makes
in hidden awkward places,
the time and energy it takes
to remove and not leave traces.

I'd put mywinter clothes away
but now it's getting colder
I need to air them out today -
moist air makes them molder.

Each wollen garment I removed
from my storage closet
bore hardened mud that proved
my enemy did construct it.

These perfect shapes of coloured clay,
as a potter I bregrudge,
now sit here in proud display;
hidden treasure - you be the judge.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Our House

Jerry Built. - fictional/non fiction.
Jerry arrived in Australia on the First Fleet. He left the convict ship, 'Supply', shackled to the notorious criminal and lifer, Joseph Tuso. An archetect in the old world, Jerry had lost an eye and one arm in the troubles in Ireland. On his arrival in Australia he was emancipated but never raised enough money to enable him to return home.
He'd heard of a colony opening up north so, with a string of brumbies, he made his way to a small settlement on the edge of a wide sandy creek. He'd lost his way a few times and had been guided by friendly tribes over the ranges, learning quite a bit of bush lore on the way.
His horses became a byword in the area and people vied for his trained stock, but it was his buildings that made Jerry famous.
We bought our house sight unseen. At that time we lived in Victoria where homes marched down orderly streets . We found our new home entirely different, complete with resident ghost of the original owner/builder, Jerry.
He built the house in stages, one room first, for shelter against the harsh elements but he spent most of his time outside training his horses or building houses for other settlers. Jerry used everything he could lay his hands on as building supplies were scarce in those early days. Soon he developed a reputation for getting the job done - regardless.
As he became more affluent he extended his home to accomodate his partner and growing family: another room, a verandah, a kitchen, cement and finally, a solid outhouse and bathroom built of galvanised iron scavanged from the rural properties he'd worked. When building our builder often robbed Peter to pay Paul, utilising something he thought the other owner didn't need.
Jerry's style is distinctive: no right angles, windows with interesting slants and shapes. Floors tend to follow the contour of the ground. Consequently I start my ironing in one corner of the room, only to end up diagonally opposite at the end of the job.
Despite idiosyncracies, the house has out-lasted others of the era built on site. All others have been demolished by termites or blown down by cyclones. Termites visited but left without damaging the structure. Probably fell over themselves as they left, laughing at the final result of the 'architect's' style.
We've visited many of Jerry's homes and the owners are amazed that we recognise his work.
"How do you know?" they wonder.
"Because our house is jerry-built too," we reply.