Some Who Share Writers

This is just a brief shout-out to those, whom I’ve encountered, who share writers.

Some enjoy the sharing of stories on The Forge, @forge_litmag. Others are drawn into Narrative, @NarrativeMag with its sharing of stories and poems. Yet others fall into Spillwords, @Spill_Words, such as the example given here from Beth Tremaglio.

Have you enjoyed interacting who those who share the words of writers?


If you are interested in the sharing of everyday stories of good will, stay tuned for the We Are The World Blogfest. Follow the hashtag #WATWB


Guest Post via Spillwords – What If? by L.M. Giannone

A guest post from a regular on the Spillwords site What If? by L.M. Giannone. Spillwords can also be followed on twitter @Spill_words .

Poems That Changed Your Life

One of my friends (who, incidentally, used to work in a bookshop – what a job!) recently posted about books on another sharing platform.  The question posed was: “Have you ever read a book that fundamentally changed the way you thought or behaved? What was the book and how did it change you?”  I thought it a fabulous post and naturally joined in.

Here I thought we could ask a similar question: Have you ever read a poem, or poems, that changed the way you thought or behaved?  Can you share the poem, or poems, and what was the change that occurred? 

There have been numerous poems for me.  I keep returning to two specific ones:

Rudyard Kipling’s “If

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too; …… 

Oscar Wilde’s “The Ballad of Reading Gaol

I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every drifting cloud that went
With sails of silver by….
Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!….
Then there is Emily Dickinson’s “I heard a Fly buzz – when I died
I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –…..
For Kipling and Wilde there are two things that strike me.  First, is the quality of their writing.  It impresses me and challenges me to better expression.  Second, the depth of what they share.  They move to weighty matters of our very human struggles.  That also impresses me.
For Dickinson, I love the way she plays with the presence of such banal things. Someone is dying, meanwhile a fly buzzes.  This hit me with great irony when we were sitting for school exams. We had been examined on Dickinson’s “I Heard a Fly Buzz” and, in the background, flies buzzed, cars parked, the sun shone.  It struck me that Dickinson was teaching me that the poet can appreciate the weighty and the light, the sublime and the banal, all at the same time, and write of it to boot.  Wonderful.
Many years before that a poem changed me.  But I was the one who wrote the words down.  It was called “Drought” and has been posted on this site before.  What struck me about the process of that poem was that it was the first time I felt the rush, the animation, that comes as a poem emerges from the cocoon of our creative self. I loved that feeling and have loved feeling it again since then.
Have you ever read a poem, or poems, that changed the way you thought or behaved?  Can you share the poem, or poems, and what was the change that occurred? 



Best Australian Poems – Poetry for Australia Day

Poetry for Australia Day

We are approaching Australia Day, 26 January.  Since this is a poetry blog our minds might turn to familiar poets who have written over the years. Some classic ladies like Dorothea MacKellar and Mary Gilmore stand out. Perhaps some of the gents such as A.B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson (a reading of ‘Clancy of the Overflow’ here) or Henry Lawson spring to mind. Maybe the humourous, like C.J. Dennis, with his ‘Glugs of Gosh’, captivated other readers too.  But there have been many, many other poets since them.  I keep returning to Les Murray and Bruce Dawe.  But, I am always on the lookout for others.

    Black Inc. Publishing have been giving readers a selection of Best Poems for some  years. Although I have not yet finished reading through it, I would like to send out a  shout to Black Inc. and Geoff Page, who have given us the 2015 edition.  We look forward to the 2016 edition.

What are your favourite Australian poets or poems?






We have all had experience of compulsive and addictive behaviours. It could be us, or those we love. This little free verse touches on some of the insidious experience of addiction.

Comes in slows waves at first,
Just a social smoke
With mates after work.
Smell on the clothes triggers the lecture
From unimpressed others.

Years on:
Those quiet minutes,
In the garden
On the verandah,
The drawing in
Of the exhilarating exhalation.
Those minutes,
Those moments
Of restfulness and peace.

Cigarettes gone:
The dartboard gets a workout,
Pummelled by uncoiled tension
That used to be released
On smokey out breath.

That’s OK.
The exorcised anxiety found other shapes
And repossessed its host.

Now the keyboard and the monitor,
The apps on the touch screens,
Are the new fixation
For the frazzled.

It robs you of hours,
Drained away
Like a persistent leak
Or an unseen, internal haemorrhage.

Just when you are tired of it,
You succumb
And fall
And again,
Like an iPod on repeat
That never goes…
You are flat
From the shame
That flattens you
In its wake.
You become
Sick and tired
Of being sick and tired
And lack the get-up,
The will,
To change
Or be changed.

Simon C.J. Falk 5 August 2014

Finding your Voice

It is a delight to see writers finding their voice and then publishing that one, wild and beautiful voice.  The free verse that follows is dedicated to those just finding their voice and publishing now.

Finding your Voice

Our first sounds,

Those goos and gaas,

Enthral our dear ones

As they begin

The journey with us

Into the labyrinth of language.

In time

The tone,

the timbre,

and tenor,

of our own voice

will form

uniquely in each of us.

People will recognise us

By the sound

Of our one unique voice.


Seek to draw from the stream

Of their voice

Beneath their voice.

To dig and draw deeply

Into the well of themselves

Finding the expression

That is their source

Of refreshing our language.

They find a voice

That may be spoken


As if

Opening an inner ear,

They resonate

In recesses,


Into our hearts, minds and souls.


As we listen,

We are enthralled

Like those parents of little ones

As the sound

Of another voice

Drums on our inner ear

And we stop

And savour

Its tremoring vibration

Feeling deeply

Smiling within

Celebrating in our soul

That another voice rises

Into the fresh air.



Simon C.J Falk 11 April 2014

Rambled Writing from a Distracted Attentiveness


As a young lad in a little country town I first encountered Kenneth Graham’s book “The Wind in the Willows” in the Year 5 classroom.  Then I thought it tremendously boring!  Later, when studying literature at uni, I encountered the tale again.  That time I was captivated.  Recently, I heard an audio version while travelling along the highway.  This was a time when I was not in a good space personally.  The aside into the ravings of the riverbank and words on the wild wood brought me great solace. I heard an alliteration in some of Graham’s sentences that I’d not heard before ( ).  It reminded me, as I mused with pencil and page today, that those of us who love poetry, literature and writing often go there to get away.  It is our escape into a world that takes us to horizons that turn our faces from the treadmill of our days.  In some ways it is escapist.  But it helps us do the soul-work we need to do.  The poem that emerged is dedicated to all of us would-be literary lovers who need to get lost in our words!



Rambled Writing from a Distracted Attentiveness


Ratty messed about in boats,

He traversed moats

And fought with stoats,

As he paddled in his desire

With the Mole.

And as we face the life we’re in,

Searching for stillness amidst the din,

Boxing temptations into sin,

We seek a quiet spot within,

To stop

And still

Our soul.

So I trawl and troll through sites and blogs

On written things and our “Black Dogs”,

Wordy steps in encompassing fogs,

To fill the empty hole.

The hole that seeks its cavernous fill,

Tossing and jostling our tendentious will,

Tales and verses gristly in our mill,

From our pate down to our sole.

Sole of the feet that beat a retreat,

From all that troubles us in our street,

And pain displayed in the eyes we greet,

As we cast ourselves in our role.

A role that says: “do your job!”

And cop tough jabs of life upon your gob,

Only the silent shadows permit a sob,

As you lean upon your pole.

The pole that draws you into words,

Of verses and stories and loaded verbs,

And risks pinning on of labels like: “you’re all nerds!”

Living in a cage.

A cage of image, story and phrases,

A dreamy world of passing phases,

Attracting only certain praises,

From those of similar whim.

Yet to the written word we stand,

In narrative and verse we try our hand,

Joining together in the writers’ band,

For it does sustain our soul.


Simon C.J. Falk     26 March 2014



Dad’s Fishing Knife

Dad’s Fishing Knife

Even though we are often people who live in the ideas in our heads we can be very concrete. Specific people, places and objects ground us in particular relationships and memories.  A knife Dad used to keep in our fishing tackle box brought it all back to me. It was a symbol of times shared together, of his fishing before my time, and of what may happen in the future. 


Dad’s Fishing Knife

There it was

in the tackle box

in the boot.

Sheathed in timber,

an offcut of simple grain

that he had cut

just to the size of the blade –

Dad’s fishing knife.

It had lived other lives too:

cutting fine twine for plumblines

on garden edges,

or severing coarse and wispy jute,

to stake up veges and flowers

in the garden.


it was the fishing knife for some years.

It had cut lines,

beheaded fish,

and gutted them.

Pippis it had prised.

There it sits now,

out of the tackle box.

Tempered in a forge,


by time and tides.

It was with us

when we first fished together

by the banks

of the Murrumbidgee River.

It had sat on the pub jetty

of Merimbula Lake,

while we had fought off crabs

so tailor schooling by

could bite on our lines.

The handle of that knife

holds memories to its hilt.

They are reminders of Dad


one I first dropped a line with.

And now,

here it is,

Dad’s fishing knife,

slicing through

the marrows of my memory.

It awaits

The next fish

With one fisherman down.




Simon C.J. Falk 8 February 2014


Soft Rain Falls Over Fields and Hills

Soft Rain Falls Over Fields and Hills

A beautiful sojourn in the Southern Highlands of NSW  (cf ) earlier in the week butts up against the mundane duties of life back at work.  It is not as extreme as it seems at times.  Yet, the challenge to remain centred and integrated in the face of many demands is an experience many of us recognise.



Soft Rain Falls Over Fields and Hills

 Soft rain falls over fields and hills,

like a blanket.

Stitch by stitch

a gentle wet

covers us

In its bounty.

A peace descends,

and we rest

in the beautiful mounts of Mittagong.

United in one purpose,

we tell of each of our work.

Common cultural themes

rising in our reports

like a similar distillation

of a settled still.

Minds, ears and voices

come together,

to shape,

the task,

that moves us

towards the horizon

that we must go.

And go we do,

when our time is done.

But oh!

Those luscious green hills.

The docile cattle

grazing about their feeding,

disturbed so little

by our presence around them.

Now we have returned.

Back at the fray.

Calendar and diary,

they rule the day!

This event!

That appointment!

This person, that group!

Friend, family or fool.

All make their claim,

as we feel

set upon,

fed off,

like a carcass to the jackals.


still breathing,

we feel the bites.

Or, we are spun,

as on a wild windmill.

Bits of us flung off

at various intervals,

yet still attached,

leaving us

as a tangled, matted mess.

This feeling then,

Is one of being scattered,


If only the rhythmic axle

and the gravitational force

of the spinning

would hold us connected

to that one centre.


as we dwell

upon that windmill,

we think again,

of fields and hills

on the mounts of Mittagong,

where soft rain falls

as balm on our broken pain,

and feeding cattle

remind us

of nature’s rhythm,

of life and growth,

and of living again.

40 Something

40 Something

When I was a little lad (oops, am still little!).  We had a book at home called C.J. Dennis ‘Book for Kids’.  In it was all these rollicking, rhyming tales about if I was a postman, baker, tram-man etc.  I was greatly taken with these tales and with Dennis’s style.  Later I would learn of and hear a reading of Dennis’s ‘Glugs of Gosh’.  In that epic poem, Dennis applied generous coats of cynicism and satire, with loads of imagination.  All of this clearly influences the poem I’m blogging here called ’40 Something’.   For more on C.J. Dennis see . The other influences on ’40 Something’ are my own observations of life and oblique references to spiritual reading from Richard Rohr, OFM on Carl Jung’s work on the first and second half of life.  This poem is meant to be light, humourous and tongue-in-cheek, with a measure of meat mixed in here and there.  For Rohr’s work on the first and second half of life see his book ‘Falling Upward’.


40 Something

Forty something

Left behind.

Another life, another kind…

I could’ve married someone,

But they married someone else!

I could’ve had some kiddies,

But I’m on another shelf.

I could’ve been a journo,

And wrote for the local rag,

Doing local gossip,

But I would’ve been a dag.

I could’ve been a teacher,

Teaching novels and poems and stuff,

Some cut n’ paste on school reports,

But I’d find whingeing families tough.

I coulda been a travel agent,

There’d be no end to my roam,

But if a customer lost their baggage,

I might not answer the phone!

I haven’t got a wife now

To tell me what to do,

To organise my where and how

When I don’t have a clue.

Might get me a new gay marriage,

But it could end in tears,

Lined up in the divorce courts

And still in relationship arrears,

If I were another mid-lifer,

I might’ve had three wives by today,

I think I’ll stay where I am,

For I’m getting used to this way.

Some say that in the forties,

There is a second half of life,

That you’re less competitive, and more mellow,

And can handle more of the strife.

I guess you just get better,

At fixing mistakes and covering your butt,

You learn to live with contradictions,

And when to keep your mouth shut!

So let’s put it down to experience,

And leave lost loves behind,

You are what you have lived thus far,

And are invited to be kind.

To be kind to your leaders,

And to others along the road,

You don’t walk in their shoes,

So you best not kick their load.

As life has its way with you,

The hurts might take their toll,

But in the broken pieces

You grasp a part of the beautiful whole.

None of us has all the wisdom,

Or the habits right down pat,

We can all learn from each other

To figure out where we’re at.

If it wasn’t for the gifts of grace,

Of family, friends and peers,

I’d have ended up going nowhere

For many, many years.

We all question our lot in life,

And give in to our doubts,

Then temptation speeds around the corner,

And our restlessness then shouts.

So, be gentle with your longings,

They can with your plans play tricks,

Acknowledge and understand them,

To get a better mix.

The coulda, shoulda, woulda, talk

Can make a disturbing din!

40 something

and you find

with yourselves and others

just be kind.


Simon C.J Falk 8 December 2013



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