Monday, 30 June 2008 7 responses

Poet and children's author Lisa Gorton.

Poet and children's author Lisa Gorton.
Photo: Rodger Cummins

Without apparent difficulty, Lisa Gorton wrote a book of poetry simultaneously with a children's novel, writes Simon Caterson.

YOU HAVE YOUR HEAD IN THE CLOUDS, we might say to someone inclined to daydream. Lisa Gorton has her feet on the ground with a new baby and a three-year-old to look after. Along the way, the Melbourne author's fascination with the literary possibilities of the weather has helped inspire a children's novel and a poetry collection.

Belonging as they do to different publishing categories, the two books are the product of inspired multi-tasking. Cloudland is the story of a young girl who ascends to the ether and Press Release gathers poems, including a sequence set in the very real Mallee country. [Read more]

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The most famous poem written about Sydney.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008 11 responses

John Olsen (Australia, b.1928)
Five bells

oil on hardboard
264.5 x 274.0cm board
Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 1999

Further Information
Five Bells is widely considered to be one of Olsen's most significant paintings, and yet it was hidden from public view for thirty-six years in the house of George and Eva Clarke, who commissioned the work. [Read more]

Five Bells

Time that is moved by little fidget wheels
Is not my time, the flood that does not flow.
Between the double and the single bell
Of a ship's hour, between a round of bells
From the dark warship riding there below,
I have lived many lives, and this one life
Of Joe, long dead, who lives between five bells.

Deep and dissolving verticals of light
Ferry the falls of moonshine down. Five bells
Coldly rung out in a machine's voice. Night and water
Pour to one rip of darkness, the Harbour floats
In the air, the Cross hangs upside-down in water.

Why do I think of you, dead man, why thieve
These profitless lodgings from the flukes of thought
Anchored in Time? You have gone from earth,
Gone even from the meaning of a name;
Yet something's there, yet something forms its lips
And hits and cries against the ports of space,
Beating their sides to make its fury heard.

Are you shouting at me, dead man, squeezing your face
In agonies of speech on speechless panes?
Cry louder, beat the windows, bawl your name!

But I hear nothing, nothing...only bells,
Five bells, the bumpkin calculus of Time.
Your echoes die, your voice is dowsed by Life,
There's not a mouth can fly the pygmy strait -
Nothing except the memory of some bones
Long shoved away, and sucked away, in mud;
And unimportant things you might have done,
Or once I thought you did; but you forgot,
And all have now forgotten - looks and words
And slops of beer; your coat with buttons off,
Your gaunt chin and pricked eye, and raging tales
Of Irish kings and English perfidy,
And dirtier perfidy of publicans
Groaning to God from Darlinghurst.
Five bells.

Then I saw the road, I heard the thunder
Tumble, and felt the talons of the rain
The night we came to Moorebank in slab-dark,
So dark you bore no body, had no face,
But a sheer voice that rattled out of air
(As now you'd cry if I could break the glass),
A voice that spoke beside me in the bush,
Loud for a breath or bitten off by wind,
Of Milton, melons, and the Rights of Man,
And blowing flutes, and how Tahitian girls
Are brown and angry-tongued, and Sydney girls
Are white and angry-tongued, or so you'd found.
But all I heard was words that didn't join
So Milton became melons, melons girls,
And fifty mouths, it seemed, were out that night,
And in each tree an Ear was bending down,
Or something that had just run, gone behind the grass,
When blank and bone-white, like a maniac's thought,
The naphtha-flash of lightning slit the sky,
Knifing the dark with deathly photographs.
There's not so many with so poor a purse
Or fierce a need, must fare by night like that,
Five miles in darkness on a country track,
But when you do, that's what you think.
Five bells.

In Melbourne, your appetite had gone,
Your angers too; they had been leeched away
By the soft archery of summer rains
And the sponge-paws of wetness, the slow damp
That stuck the leaves of living, snailed the mind,
And showed your bones, that had been sharp with rage,
The sodden ectasies of rectitude.
I thought of what you'd written in faint ink,
Your journal with the sawn-off lock, that stayed behind
With other things you left, all without use,
All without meaning now, except a sign
That someone had been living who now was dead:
"At Labassa. Room 6 x 8
On top of the tower; because of this, very dark
And cold in winter. Everything has been stowed
Into this room - 500 books all shapes
And colours, dealt across the floor
And over sills and on the laps of chairs;
Guns, photoes of many differant things
And differant curioes that I obtained..."

In Sydney, by the spent aquarium-flare
Of penny gaslight on pink wallpaper,
We argued about blowing up the world,
But you were living backward, so each night
You crept a moment closer to the breast,
And they were living, all of them, those frames
And shapes of flesh that had perplexed your youth,
And most your father, the old man gone blind,
With fingers always round a fiddle's neck,
That graveyard mason whose fair monuments
And tablets cut with dreams of piety
Rest on the bosoms of a thousand men
Staked bone by bone, in quiet astonishment
At cargoes they had never thought to bear,
These funeral-cakes of sweet and sculptured stone.

Where have you gone? The tide is over you,
The turn of midnight water's over you,
As Time is over you, and mystery,
And memory, the flood that does not flow.
You have no suburb, like those easier dead
In private berths of dissolution laid -
The tide goes over, the waves ride over you
And let their shadows down like shining hair,
But they are Water; and the sea-pinks bend
Like lilies in your teeth, but they are Weed;
And you are only part of an Idea.
I felt the wet push its black thumb-balls in,
The night you died, I felt your eardrums crack,
And the short agony, the longer dream,
The Nothing that was neither long nor short;
But I was bound, and could not go that way,
But I was blind, and could not feel your hand.
If I could find an answer, could only find
Your meaning, or could say why you were here
Who now are gone, what purpose gave you breath
Or seized it back, might I not hear your voice?

I looked out my window in the dark
At waves with diamond quills and combs of light
That arched their mackerel-backs and smacked the sand
In the moon's drench, that straight enormous glaze,
And ships far off asleep, and Harbour-buoys
Tossing their fireballs wearily each to each,
And tried to hear your voice, but all I heard
Was a boat's whistle, and the scraping squeal
Of seabirds' voices far away, and bells,
Five bells. Five bells coldly ringing out.
Five bells.

Kenneth Slessor
Dave's Place

Kenneth Slessor.Photo: Glen Mccurtayne

FIVE BELLS, Kenneth Slessor's elegy for his friend Joe Lynch, who drowned in Sydney Harbour in 1927, is arguably the most famous poem written about Sydney.
But Slessor's own rarely seen notebook, meticulously written in his neat handwriting and recording every change of phrase, reveals his masterpiece was very nearly called Six Bells.
Likewise, another document which vividly highlights the frustrations of the creative process is the visual diary kept by the artist John Olsen between 1971 and 1973 while painting his massive mural, Salute To Five Bells, for the Sydney Opera House - a work inspired by the Slessor poem. [Read more]

The conundrum of Slessor's sixth bell
Steve Meacham
June 3, 2008

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Big price for a tiny portrait !!!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008 4 responses

A tiny token of Austen's big love
She described him as "a very gentlemanlike, good-looking, pleasant young man", and Jane Austen certainly fell for his boyish charms.
He was law student Tom Lefroy and the tiny watercolour portrait of him which is expected to fetch £50,000 ($103,000) when it goes on sale next week, was painted two years after the brief but highly charged dalliance he had with the novelist. They met at a ball, danced together over and over and sat and talked about their love of books and Henry Fielding.
Austen and Lefroy fell in love, but she was penniless and his family was poor - he needed to marry money. Lefroy went on to forge a successful legal and political career, becoming Ireland's chief justice "> [Read more →]

Mark Brown
June 11, 2008
Guardian News & Media

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New Blog on the Block

Monday, 9 June 2008 0 responses

'Rinkly Rimes'
is a daily compilation of verses, parodies, comic rhymes, childrens' poems and even, sometimes,'serious stuff' (but not often.)

About the Author
Brenda Bryant
Born in England in 1931. Evacuated in World War 2. Trained as a teacher at Brighton Training College, Sussex. Taught in London. Moved to Zimbabwe. Seven years later worked on a mail ship. Married in Capetown. Two children, Rebecca and Greg.Moved to Australia in 1974. After retirement worked for a publisher. Three grandsons, Blake, Harry and Max.

A daily dose of humour from writer Brenda Bryant.
This blog is a must visit.
Drop in and say hello to Brenda and read some of her daily 'Rimes'.
Brenda has written a poem called 'COMMUNITY' especially for me !!!
and it's Wonderful !!!
Thanks so much Brenda...

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Wednesday, 4 June 2008 3 responses

Sticky Post
big thanks to the gorgeous Catsy @ Catsy Carpe Diem for tagging me with this meme to increase your stats and readers
if you haven't joined up over at Mel's @ Attitude, the Ultimate Power then join up now !!!!

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Trav's Staying Out Of The Dungeon Trivia Meme

Sunday, 1 June 2008 3 responses


A Walk on the Wild Side: Hollywood Scandals, Rumors & Tragedies

I have been tagged by Mimi @ Mimi Writes....... who was tagged by Travis..

Here are the instructions for Trav's Staying Out Of The Dungeon Trivia Meme:
He said: A meme needs ''s your 'structions:
Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to:
1. Choose a category from one of these: Television, Stage & Screen, Nightly News, Publishing, Lives & Times, Music
2. Find 8 bits of trivia about your selected category
3. Be sure to let me know when...ok, decide to play along so I can see what you come up with.
4. You may tag, or simply offer the meme for borrowing or stealing as you like.

Here is my list of trivial facts (subject - Screen)

1. Sophie's Choice
Meryll Streep was the perfect choice for Sophie. Her performance as Sophie Zawistowska was ranked #3 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time!
2. Jane Eyre
Based on Charlotte Bronte's gothic romance, Jane Eyre is a film by Orson Welles who played the part of Rochester....
strangely enough I named my Daughter Charlotte....and her middle name is Jane...a friend who is a poet pointed out at the time that Charlotte Bronte had written Jane Eyre...
3. Ben-Hur was one of the most honored, award-winning films of all time. It was nominated for twelve Academy Awards, Best Picture, Best Actor (Charlton Heston - his sole career Oscar), Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Griffith), Best Director (William Wyler), Best Color Cinematography, Best Color Art Direction/Set Decoration, Best Sound, Best Score, Best Film Editing, Best Color Costume Design, Best Special Effects, and Best Screenplay (sole-credited Karl Tunberg). It was the first film to win eleven Oscars
4. In 1999 Jack Nicholson was presented the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes Award show. His reaction? To moon the crowd. Classic.
5. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was the only film to win the Golden Globe in all major categories (Best Motion Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay)?
6. In preparation for his role as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, Robert DeNiro lost 35 pounds, drove a cab and read books on Green Berets.
7. Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan were originally cast for the lead roles in Casablanca.
8. Pablo Picasso appears in a crowd scene in Jean Cocteau's The Testament of Orpheus [1962].

Mimi also royally tagged.....

I am leaving this tag open !!!

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