Latest Poems

Shane Potter

30 November 2021

Crazy Sort'a Thing

First hot day before summer
Only thirty two
Back in the day wasn't really hot
Didn't raise a lot of ta' do

But you know how ya' get that feeling
Under a cobolt haze
That it wouldnt take much to kick things off
And set the world ablaze?

There's a bite in the sun quite stinging
There's crackling dry in the air
And deep within you feel it stir
That old trauma buried there

But its only the start of summer
Or should I say, last day of spring
And surely I shouldn't be worrying
Its a crazy sort'a thing

Warm wind rustles the branches
Grasses turning brown
Wish the neighbours would slash their weeds
And knock that hazard down

Hidden fears start rising
Cos bad memories like to cling
And surely I shouldn't be worrying
Its a crazy sort'a thing...

Stephen Chinnock

21 May 2021

A milestone

I reached a milestone
In my troubled life today
There was settlement on my property
The block which burnt to ashes
All of my momentos gone

Should be a day of celebration
Money in the bank
New prospects to envision
But it’s not so easy you know
To let go at this final moment

There are still fingers of love and connection
Holding tight to that place
That defined me for decades
So many memories
Connected to place

It’s a battle Royale
To finally let go
And accept a new reality
Even when the new place
Is comfortable and well established
Nought to complain about

So eighteen months
After the Armageddon
That took such a price
On the lives of so many
I’m hoping that we can move forward

So much verse beautifully
And heart felt written
Moves us all to new horizons
Helping me to face
The new milestone !

Stephen Chinnock

8 April 2021

Echoes

What echoes reverberate
In my mind at times
Revisiting the verse of my Conjola soul mates
Wanting to borrow so many
Well turned and polished phrases
Too many gems to choose from

Such precise images painted
Unable to be printed with the click of a button
Translated on canvas by our painters
Forged in steel by our sculptors
Potted exquisitely in clay
Shown to the whole world in film

Some calm has settled long awaited
The bush regenerating
Along with our hearts so burnt
Creativity never relinquished
The Phoenix carrying us
On her splendid wings

May the Gods of all time
Drift down a smile
On those who hold up that mirror
Of broken bits
Being put back together
While our community heals!

Caroline Yabsley

2 April 2021

Last night's false alarm.

“Can’t find the courage,
I had last time”

The feeling that accompanies that thought,
Expressed last night,
When we thought we had
An out of control bushfire.

Or, rather,
The feeling that precedes the formulation of the thought,
Is what still haunts me.

An unwillingness, inability,
To dig deep
Find the fortitude
To enter the fray
Of defending from fire again.

Can’t even contemplate
A situation so extraordinary
As being monstered by fires
For so long.

Last time,
The fire plan helped.
Kept us sane,
Kept us calm,
Enabled us to do what was necessary.

We need to prepare another,
But up till now,
Have been unwilling or unable,
Too numb,
To go there again.

This coming winter
We must prepare
For fire next summer.
Start with a written plan.

Small steps.

Consider a cool burn,
With our neighbours.

Yes, practical steps,
But also small steps
To prepare, train, the mind,
Make it strong again.

Wish me luck!

Caroline Yabsley

1 April 2021

Fires near me.

Out of control fire, you say.
3 km away, you say

My body responds, and tightens
The way it did back then,
Last fires.

Go outside and look

But it’s cold, and damp,
My mind says.
No wind.
No smoke.

Can’t be fire!

Don’t care, says my body
I feel the fear

Only trouble is
I don’t have the courage I had last time.
It was all used up, last time
I can’t respond again, as I did.

It turns out....
There is no fire!

Try to sleep.
Dream once again
Of fire.

This time I am the fire
Trying to find my way into a house
Round and round the house
No way in.

Fire gives up.
I wake up
Again.

Stephen Chinnock

21 March 2021

Stock pot

I made a pot of chicken stock
Last night
The perfect aroma
On a rainy day

It’s just that touch
Of star anise
That sets off
Tastes and aromas divine

That whole poached carcass
Will provide the protein
To a dish of fried rice
Complete with vegetables and herbs

It’s my way of seeking redemption
Feeding the family I love so much
After I have hurt others
That I sought to keep within the fold

To sit and eat with those you love
Is such a blessing
As the sound of surf
Reminds me of time passing!

Stephen Chinnock

19 March 2021

How are you?

They ask well meaning
I’m fine I lie
Hiding the truth
Of a heart shattered
Not only for the total loss
But what has driven me
To destroy a love
I had but now gone

That bloody PTSD leads
Down an unmanageable path
Hurting those even close and loved
Regrets piling up
To make a mountain of grief
Layer upon layer
Creating a mountain unassailable
Of terrible pain

All the blessings counted
Don’t seem to balance out
That madness in the mind and soul
The breathing in of the salty air
Provides temporary relief
But disappointing at every turn
While the heart burns

Guilt adding up
To create a huge stone
Too heavy to carry
Wondering why it has to be this way
Where to find the release
To let it all go
Hoping after troubled sleep
It will seem different in the morning????

Stephen Chinnock

10 March 2021

Why does that pain continue

Many months after the event
That so changed our lives
We have started to rebuild
Or moved on to greener fields

In my case i have so much
To be grateful for
A new house, a new car
Grandchildren blessing my days

But yet that spectre of Armageddon
Infuses my dreams
Leaves no peace
Of all that was lost

Daily triggers spark darkness
Even in a day of bliss
That library lost
Grandma’s bowls

The road to recovery
Seems so long
Will it ever end
Perhaps yes

Rebuilding a new reality
Will win in the end
New memories replacing the old
An album of new photos of now

The children will continue to grow
Amazing us all of their resilience
I’ll learn from that
Loving them as teachers!

Serena Scarlett

22 February 2021

Somewhere

Somewhere it all gets reconciled
The fragmented comes together
The forlorn comes into love
The broken Whole again
Pain is suffered no more

Separated now in our silos of anguish
Doesn't need to be
Its part of a prophecy you see.

There is a Place
If you listen very carefully
In the Stillness in between
Its hidden there
Just waiting for
You & Me

Us and Them will no longer condemn
The misjudged
used and abused
will find Healing
A grand golden Giagantuois Healing

More powerful than any calamitous raucous riotous ruckus
That this human race
Keeps trying to Fuckus

Somewhere it is reconciled
The fragmented has comes together
The forlorn have found Love
What was broken is perfect and whole again

The pain too many had suffered is no more

The Peace that passeth all understanding is the new and solid Foundation.

Somewhere Angels are singing this in Exultation.

Stephen Chinnock

14 February 2021

The corn stalks

Blowing in the breeze
Are growing higher than
The two metre fence
Planted with their sisters
Beans and squash
That miraculous combination
That fed nations so long ago

It’s my homage to them
While providing sustenance
For my family now
To forget ancient rhythms
Denies our future

So much of our nutrition and taste
Comes from the “ new world”
Beyond the boundaries
Of a greedy god centred European focus

So easy to forget
The consequences for them
While celebrating new wealth and knowledge
Stolen away without permission

We can sit here today
In our Eurocentric state
Believing that we introduced them to Jesus
That will cover our sins

I think not
We need to accept that they
In the “third world”
Saved our lives
While we slaughtered theirs!

Stephen Chinnock

14 February 2021

Upon which floor shall I alight today

In this multi-tiered life
The elevator is in constant motion
Never sure on what floor
I should alight next

The basement is where I reside alone
Even lonely, while trying to solve riddles
But then a bell rings
The kids are coming to play
And need to be fed the best of foods available

The soul elevator carries me up quickly
To the penthouse where my grandfather persona resides
He gets busy in the kitchen, cooks delights
Lays out the table for feasting
After much running around noisily
Those beautiful children settle at the table
Eat hungrily in between much talk and laughter

They leave with hugs and thanks for the dinner
We love you Tio
My heart is content
I’ve fulfilled that role well

The elevator doors open and wait
To take me down to another level
Where resides the broken heart
Of someone I loved so well
But hurt so badly
Through foolishness and unrelenting expectations
Cannot stay there beating myself
Black and blue with regrets

Ding goes the bell
There are other levels yet
And I enter into the blessed space
Of on line poetic conversations
Very comfortable here
I craft my words so easily
Others respond with such encouragement
And go on to craft their own stories
Openly and honestly written
Adding to our ongoing narrative
Of life after trauma

On that level exists a treasure
Of recorded heart felt truths
An archive of shattered hopes and dreams
Of anger, frustration and abandonment
But where the Phoenix flies through
Those corridors pointing always upwards
To new aspirations for now

The arts are flourishing there
In many diverse forms
So many new interpretations
Visually, in sound and on what was
Once paper but on screens now
That works for me

Ding again, the last bell of the night
Back to the basement to contemplate
Cogitate trying solve riddles again
But remembering that
The gods of all time
Have given me the blessing
Of seeing the kids again
Tomorrow morning on Mollymook beach!

Stephen Chinnock

13 February 2021

I stand

I stand on that jetty
Where i stood many times before
Fishing with little boys
Or just sitting soaking up the beauty

That view of beauty and peace
Is etched in my heart
Sustained my soul for so long
Was the very fabric of my heart
Friends and family too

When the indescribable fires came
Our hopes, our peace, our hearts
Were crucified
All turned to ashes
In that terrible conflagration

But out of those ashes
The Phoenix of our souls
Rose up to reconnect us
To love and compassion

The creativity inherent in all of us
Brought forward miraculous expressions
Of reflection and the way forward
We were not vanquished
But held out hands
Holding and making a barrier
Of protection as we continue
To rebuild our lives

The power of the arts
Has never been so evident to me
Whether it be through film or dance
Song, painting, pottery or poetry
It brings us all back together
To face the next battle!

Stephen Chinnock

12 February 2021

In the zone!

From reading
All the well penned verses
Of my poetry mates
It’s apparent to me
Although unexpected
We are all in that zone
Of a massive aftermath

I’m holding your hands tight
As you find anger, hurt yet
Disconnection from the land
Damage done to those close
Hearts still struggling to pick up
The pieces so shattered

Ive reached out for more help
From Shoalhaven Health Services
They are there for me
But overwhelmed
By the demand on the ground
Under staffed, underfunded
Where have we heard that story before?

Local psychologists needing
Group support
For the load they are carrying
There is a huge crisis of mental health
In our community so distressed still

And where are the responses from above
A blind chain of command and responsibility
While suicide rates , potential self harm
Dramatic escalation of domestic violence
Whole connected communities are suffering
What fate will the children suffer in this scenario?

No wonder people cry out in anger
Are we abandoned again?
While politicians play the familiar tunes
On their untuned fiddles
We’re ok in our bubble
And what about that beautiful lump
Of black coal
That great metaphor of your hearts!

Kris Brennan

7 February 2021

The anger inside me

The anger inside me
Sits within my core,
Witness to wrongdoings
Will open up its door.

When it first came to visit
On that unforgettable day,
It crept into me slowly
And has never gone away.

I’ve seen so many
wrongdoings,
I’ve heard so many lies,
The authorities at all
levels,
The truth they deny.

Money can divide us
A man-made commodity
But look at the cost,
Is it the unfairness of
how its shared or
the lies to get the most?

The government allegations
of funding to be spent
on those fire affected,
But the money has ended up in the
pockets of those blue, blue electorates.

We are living in the result
of the attributes of our leaders,
Ignorance and arrogance
Are what they have shown us.

But shouldn't good beat evil?
That's how the story goes.
When will the people fightback
And the government overthrown?

My anger has injured me,
And ended friendships too,
My voice, loud and strong
in calling out the wrong,
No longer lost, no longer
content, to sit in the quiet
with all the rest.

The story is never ending
and so my anger will thrive,
Until I learn not to feed it
But how do you turn a blind eye?

The support and the care
Is available all there
in the myriad of agencies
The letterheads on my table
a maze to get through
Ive lost count of them all.

Why, you ask, are you angry?
Why, you ask, do you
carry on?
Because I have seen much
greed, young man,
Much more than I can bear.
Have you looked into the eyes
of those who have lost
and witnessed their despair?

And while I feel powerless
to correct what I think is wrong,
My anger will always come forth
like a force from beyond.
To question your ego,
To question your goal,
I cannot shut down
these emotions of mistrust,
While they continually sit silently
within the pits of my gut...

Stephen Chinnock

6 February 2021

Reaching out

Reaching out
A large skink just passed by
In my food garden
An encouraging portent

The latest round of truly heartfelt words
Bolsters my spirit, my heart
Adds power to our collective contributions
I’d be lost without it
As i stand on the bank of the eternal river
Perhaps I don’t need to offer
The gold coin for the boatman

Holding hands across that chasm
Gives me courage to move forward
To a new dawn with the sun arising
Shining on the blessings in our lives
Challenging the losses

Brittle fragility I tell myself
Is not a permanent state of being
But can be sent away
As we grow and accept
That it was not our fault
We can mend in togetherness

The terrible pain of trauma
Will be carried away in the arms
Of loved ones
Especially the little ones
Who certainly don’t need
To carry our distress

I’ll try my best to become
Healed so that I can give love and support
To all that I love
And not be a burden
For the loss of material goods!

There’s so much more to life
Don’t you reckon?

Phillipa Hollenkamp

5 February 2021

The Cost

The dulcet tones of the chainsaw
Breaks the cacophony of cicada
Worshipping the heat

The winds have felled
Yet more of the tree
The dead, the dying, the dangerous

More work to do, the list is endless
The willing hand, the empty purse
The excavator roars to life

The generator adds to the din
The shovel, the saw
The crunch of timber

The man-made fire
Continues to consume
Our time, our money, our minds

The acres of wire and wood
That need repair
The hedge, that retaining wall

My willing neighbour
Always at the ready
Helping with the load

I wish to join the fight
And help restore what's left
But work with self employ

Prevents my time at best
The weekend is all I have
For effort, sweat and grime

The mess, the weeds
The scorn of it
The many tree to replant

Its a funny thing
You work to live, live to work
I'm not sure what I do

I need time for it
To restore what's mine
I need a load of sleep

I want it back, as it was
Before my time was taken
By the beast, that is
That was

Stephen Chinnock

5 February 2021

A pair

A pair of powerful binoculars
We all need both real and metaphorical
At least with fifteen magnifications

To see a Southern Emu Wren
Up close before your eyes
With its unique filamentous tail
On Little Forest Plateaux
Will challenge your standards of beauty
And the mystery of the natural world

Take those other glasses
To delve into your heart
To see what lies in the depths
Not always on the surface of consciousness
Grasp that deep seated confusion
Bring it to the light
That will diminish it
Shout it out loud
And the breath of it
Will disappear in the wind

Go back to watching the birds
The waves breaking eternally on the shore
Knowing that victory is yours
You’ve conquered fierce dragons
Never letting them have their way!

Stephen Chinnock

4 February 2021

Jigsaws

What masters we have become
Of putting the pieces together again
One at a time painfully
But precisely placed

To reconnect the panorama
Of the lives we knew
The dark bit belongs there
Not solving the puzzle

That beautiful blue piece
Completes the sky
Creates a vision of beauty
On the eternal beach

But wait there are pieces missing
Dropped on the floor of our hearts
Pick them up one at a time
Complete the picture of resurrection

Never doubt that the puzzle
Will be completed
Time and patience
Will suffice to bring those pieces
Together again, I hope!

Stephen Chinnock

4 February 2021

Fragility

Fragility is what’s left
Of my charcoal soul

The fires burned away
My very existence
Turned my life to ashes

Fragility is all that’s left

I gather up the pieces
Of my heart
Counting the days
When it will hurt less

Fragility is all that’s left

The days don’t come
The pain continues
Without respite
No down time for my heart

Fragility is all that’s left

My heart tries to mend
Desperation wont let it go
The ashes still burn in my mind
Searing so deeply in my soul

Fragility is all that’s left!
Fragility!

Melissa Neve

4 February 2021

The White Sticks of Conjola

Ghosts of trees now
The long drive out, means looking at them... and is just the memory, of what once was
Spiny limbs reaching to the sky
While ever I see those sticks, the memories will remain
And long into the future, seeing those senior citizens of the bush, there'll be pain in my heart, remembering that great conflagration
'We're ravaged' they say, 'exhausted', 'really trying to do our best to grow and cover our ordeal, our nakedness, our vulnerability'
Just like young ones, full of energy, those young shoots and trees are trying to take the baton from their ancestors
We're here
We're alive
We're growing
We're coming and in years to come we'll have grown right past you grandmother, grandfather
And the circle of life goes on
Life cut short, before due time, but everything that they were, ripples through the next generations
Be soothed dear heart

Caroline Yabsley

4 February 2021

Reconnecting to Mother Earth

I thought I could do it
On my own.
“Just cry a lot.
Let yourself grieve”.

The anniversary will come.
Yes, a catharsis.
You’ll feel much better though
After New Year’s Eve.

Awake New Years morning,
What’s this new feeling....
What’s this sensation.....
I just don’t like it.

......dispossession....
That’s the closest name I can give.
I’ve been severed from Mother Earth
My roots have been cut, by that fire.

By the decision I took
To walk away,
From my burning home.

Still can’t sleep,
Now there are nightmares too.
And panic attacks by day
What to do.

Can’t function,
Forget things,
Walk around in circles,
What should I do.

You know what to do...
Help is there, waiting.
Reach out for them
Let them in.

This is a full time job now,
It’s serious now.
We’ve gone to the next level.
Listen, you know what to do.

Whatever it takes.
Whatever works.
And don’t feel guilty
About taking the rest you need.

Talking therapy,
Shaking therapy,
Spiritual therapy,
Bodywork therapy.

Exercise,
Swim,
Rest and laugh with Nature,
Make music.

And sleep when you can.
During the night if you can,
Or late in the morning,
Or the afternoon.

Don’t listen to the voice
That says you should achieve more.
You are like a baby again
With what, for you, is in store

For its a full time job
To build new roots.
To reconnect to Mother Earth
Takes time, patience, and love for yourself.

And the reward will be yours
To enjoy for yourself
And to enjoy with others.

A gentle solid connection
A feeling of belonging,
In a way you’ve never felt before.
The love of Mother Earth.

Now rest……

Phillipa Hollenkamp

4 February 2021

Conjola

Seeing our story
Up in lights
Tears well up
I don't feel right

My heart beats fast
Pounding my head
Breathe the count
To relieve the dread

To see our General
And hear his words
His heartfelt love
His dedication, cause

We lost our soldier
His family too
We should be angry
With those, the few

I cannot dwell
On other issues
I have my own
Many a fissure

The film is true
It explains to all
I feel relieved
I need not recall

Justifies my heart
My head as well
The year that was
I struggled in hell

Our work at home
Is far from done
I see no end game
For me, no sun

I need to change
To see some worth
It will come, I know
I'll repair my earth

So thanks my Ash
You told it well
The slog still hard
The lake, the spell

We're not forgotten
Its hard but true
Learn from loss
Now that's true blue

Lygiah Anne

2 February 2021

Your words

I cannot begin to express how strongly your words resonate
Feeling the fragility, pain and crumbling heart that lay hidden behind near bursting flood gates
Again and again I feel I’ve nothing of value to offer or portray
My uninvited anxiety and sadness leave many retreating to such a blinding distance away...

My bleeding soul and broken spirit lay barren and unyielding
I feel the constant need and desire to bury and hide such raw, unattractive feelings
I never wished to spawn such a burden of hurt and trauma from this cataclysm
I forge a daily battle to overcome the angry encumbering fuelled cynicism...

I feel reality slightly easing from the unwanted downward spiral
Trying to rebuild what has seemingly unraveled with a thinly veiled smile
Whilst ferociously trying to find a meaning and purpose in these devastating daily battles
We will rise again, as we all search for our own personal Phoenix inspired gavel!

Stephen Chinnock

2 February 2021

Fragility

Brittle fragility
Seems a glaring
Result of PTSD
Take a piece of charcoal
From the remains
Push on it and it crumbles
Into its basic elements
Anxiety, fear, endless sadness
Without hope of reconciliation

Guilt of not being “better”
Becomes the seed
That sows the perfect storm
Raging destructively in the mind
If I can’t love and respect myself
Then no one else will be able
To care for me either
Better that i drive them away
Before i hurt myself definitively

But I’ve tracked that journey now
Understand the signs and triggers
Revelation through pain
Some clarity reached
Some strategies given me
I will endure yet

The support of my fellow poets
Makes it possible to face another day
Knowing their pain
Alleviates my own
Their successes at rebuilding
Encourages my own

Keep on good folk and true
I know from you
That a bright new day
Will arise
Even if it's a long journey!

Kris Brennan

24 January 2021

It seems

It seems the grief is ongoing.
It seems it won’t disappear.
It seems our longing for our “before” will never go away...

It seems sharing our poems
Is that which connects us
It seems it reveals our ongoing pain
The open wounds for all to feel
again and again...

Stephen Chinnock

24 January 2021

It seems

It seems I’ve not understood
The power of that fire
In other peoples lives
How they are resurrecting their world

It seems from the brave words
Of Caroline and others
That we have a very effective way
Of connecting on the page

It seems that poetry
Is not a one way thing
But a dialogue
Connecting us all

It seems that the conversation
May be longer than expected
Becoming more treasured
As we rebuild our lives

It seems that my wanting to stop
For fear of repetition
Is unwarranted
Given the requests to continue

It seems that words
Might just be the weapon we need
To confront full on our despair
And write it away

It seems that poetry as conversation
Is a blessing much needed
There’s no difference between the two
So please keep writing and talking!

Caroline Yabsley

24 January 2021

I hear you

I hear you
I hear your anger
You’ve been raging at me
But I haven’t wanted to hear you.
I feel you

I feel your anger
Raging in my solar plexus
How can I not feel it, for heavens sake!
But I haven’t wanted to acknowledge it.

You’re angry at me
For turning away from the house
And letting it burn

You’re angry at me
For turning away from you.
You whose existence required
All those material possessions.

All the treasures, large and small
That evoked memories.
Memories,
That kept you alive.

Shall we look at some of them now.
The Bunnykin plates and cups
Our babies learned to eat from
You would never allow me to discard

The old old lounge suite
You stopped me from selling
So instead we restored it
And I became grateful we had.

The tablecloth my grandmother embroidered
Remained in our possession too
Despite the fact we never used it
It comforted you, knowing it was there.

And there is so much more,
No wonder you’re hurting
Without all these reminders
You think you cannot exist.

I admit I’ve been dishonourable
Believing I can just grieve, then forget.
I’d been ashamed of who I was
Thankful the fire took you away.

I can feel from the ease in my chest now
This is what you’ve been wanting from me.
To be honoured, remembered, and included,
In the new person I am coming to be.

No relaxation, massage or meditation
Can free me from the pain.
But when I listen to you

I feel easy again.
Even though we’ve had tough times
Walked through many dark valleys
Experiences I would rather forget
I see they’re important for you.

For this is who we are.

************

I see now where this is heading.

I will include you, consult you,
As we build our new home
Acquire new possessions.
Reflecting the you and me of me.

And hopefully
You will release your grip
On my solar plexus,
And let me sleep at night.

Stephen Chinnock

24 January 2021

Dear Deidre Maxine

Thank you so much
For your kind comments
I’d love to continue to share
Not so much poetry
But an ongoing conversation

I fear when i write
That i expose too much pain
Who’d have thought
It would take so long
To mend our hearts

Apparently the journey is long
But joining hands helps
And if others continue to write
I’ll take that as a signal
That this process might help
As time goes on
And I’ll continue to contribute
If it helps others!

Stephen Chinnock

22 January 2021

Dear friends

A final note
Before moving on
I had another massive episode
Of PTSD discussed with my psychologist
Classic symptoms he says
Of self-blaming
For not being able to leave it behind

Falling out with those close by
Not understanding that these words
I spoke in rage
Are not the real me
But a heady concoction of guilt and fear
Brain chemistry and grief

Anthony’s wonderful documentary
I’ve seen three times
I applaud him for his success
But i cannot see it again
Let alone in a cinema

I cling to advice
Don’t ruminate on the past
Don’t fantasise about the future

Move now into the present
With strategies to keep you there
The other dimensions are illusions

Thank you so much for your company
On a terribly difficult journey!

Caroline Yabsley

17 January 2021

Cool breeze

Stuck in a time warp
The fires, ages ago now
Where can I feel home.

Where can I bring friends
When it rains or it’s too cold.
Very cramped inside.

Cool breeze on my skin
“I see you feel much anger.
It is safe with me."

“..I will not judge you
Why don’t you just let it rip.
Soon feel much better.”

Cool breeze on my skin
“Now you can pause, and you’ll see
Your home is in me.”

Cool breeze on my skin
Reminds me I am alive
Time to create more.

Positive thinking
Leaves me feeling much lighter
So much to love here.

Acknowledge the dark
It needs to be expressed too
Then look for the light.

Serena Scarlett

13 January 2021

The Pot

Complicated grief is a thing they say
If true I have that on many a day
I feel loss from this and that
I have grieved,
mourned and pained.
Its now though ...
so much I have gained
All lack is filled by Love
Its about finding new ways to love
Placing those lost loves and things in new spots.
New spots in mind,
in heart and soul.
Its not whats lost
its ...well...
Look at the Lot!
Easy for me to say
Lucky I have you my darling Steve
I give and enjoy love
My mind lingers less on what loves and things were lost
And beams and smiles on our bountiful pot.
I followed the rainbow to the pot of gold.
Focus on what I can do
not what I cant.
Being
Being who I am
Not what I aint.
This way I have a whole new picture to paint.
Coloured by emotion
I am a Rainbow in motion

Stephen Chinnock

13 January 2021

Thank you

Thank you so much
Those of you who responded
To my crying out
My guilt is assuaged
About hurting still
So far down the track

Your words are poetry too
So reassuring and beautiful to me
I’d love to have a section
On our wonderful website
Just of the comments
You’ve added
To this long and intimate conversation

Today rebuilding again
I went with a six year old
Nishant Anil by name
With his boogie board
To play in the waves
Of Mollymook beach
The smile on his face
As he caught a wave
Is treasure never to be forgotten

He and his brothers build often
Not knowing that they are also
Rebuilding my heart
Giving me hope for a bright future
Helping me so much to put aside the hurt
Which I don’t want them to carry
The future of this fragile world
Depends on us loving them and teaching
The values needed

My dearly loved boys already
At four, six and ten
Have a profound relationship with
And understanding of the natural world
As they grow up it will be their reason
To be active in holding on to the earth

As I grow older and fade away
Into the infinite cosmos
I’ll know the world has been left
In clever and knowing hands
I’m grateful for that
And if tears flow now
They are tears of happiness and love!

Caroline Yabsley

13 January 2021

New Roots

That moment when I turned
From saving the house
To walking away.
How could I choose that so lightly!

The fire had threatened
For three whole hours
You fought so valiantly
Go easy on yourself.

The roof was on fire
The roof window was twisting
“What’s happening to me”
It said to you.

You knew it was game over
Your life was more precious
Don’t be so hard
On yourself.

I do know that logic
But that’s just too easy
There’s something more
I have to explore.

In walking away
I severed my roots
To my place on this Earth
Where She keeps me most safe.

From my home and my connection
To all that I am
From my Earthly belonging
I walked away.

The circumstances don’t matter.
I made that choice.
Something in that moment
Has changed me forever.

Would that I could know
That something a bit more.
That I could put down
New roots.

Stephen Chinnock

13 January 2021

Dear Ristin

Shall I try honesty again
Thank you so much for valuing that

I had a great day
With the littlest
Of my three much loved boys
Sunjai Amandeep by name

That gorgeous child lives in the moment
Ever present and commented on
Never a blip in his perception of right now
What lessons he teaches me

We ate ice cream at that overwhelming
Wonderful chocolate shop
On the corner in Milton
Took a gift of chocolates divine

For my much loved Filippo
Chef extraordinary
At the Guild Restaurant
Well received in a typical busy twelve hour day

We moved on to that wonderful community pool
For Pin Drops into the water
Twenty times at least
Each producing the best smile

Onto to Mollymook
For calamari and chips
Fresh orange juice with ice
Vacuumed up with great pleasure

Home at last to the rumpus room
So full of possibilities for little boys
To create and build, read and paint
Play Chinese checkers and Chess

Papà came to take those boys home
After conversations of his relocation from Venezuela
Dearest man who has created
A wonderful new food garden for me

So why Ristin do I sit here now
With my glass of Chardonnay
Tears streaming down my face
A heady cocktail of confused emotions

Perhaps its just a final rinsing out
Of the ashes in my heart and soul
Learning the hard way
To let go of loss

I like all of us bushfire survivors
Need to stack up the beauty
To send that despair packing away
Loving the day as the little ones show

But wait there’s a portent
Two beautiful fat white headed pigeons
Came to drink from my bird bath right now
That’s a blessing I can’t ignore!

Stephen Chinnock

11 January 2021

Broken time

And broken hearts
Don’t mend so easily
Even in time long it seems
The loss of all i held dearly
Over many decades of time
Those innumerable icons
Of the memories of other generations
Gone in a flash
I grasp still to hold those articles
In my ageing hands
Wanting to caress the past
Turned to dust

A new house better suited to my needs
I have and love sharing it
With much loved grandchildren
Blessing each day with antics and laughter
We had that before in the other house
They’ve moved on loving each day
Tomorrow will never come
While there is the beach, the bush
And bicycles to ride
Wonderful feasts to be eaten
Such a variety of fruits for dessert

Nonetheless I sit late at night
Can’t digest it yet
That terrible moment
Of losing it all
It’s not just “things” as some say
It’s the whole fabric of my life
Gone in that terrifying conflagration
The clear illustration of who I was
Shown on the walls of the house I loved
The garden and orchard lovingly grown
Twenty years of nurture all burnt

So forgive me
My continuing hurt
I know I’m not alone in this
From others that write
Their real and heartfelt responses
Maybe we are this time
All in it together!

Much love to all
For those who’ve lost!

Phillipa Hollenkamp

10 January 2021

Disheartened

Disheartened
Disgusted
Dismayed

The healing has sown
Bitterness, venom
Hate

Selfish
And the
Selfless

Yet another home
In ashes, gone
A family broken

From consequence of others
Blindly following
Self belief

My own sadness
Now amplified
Eternally ashamed

You can reject my sorrow
I see your hurt, pain
Your tears

I will wear the shame
For them
My shoulders are strong

I hope your hearts are full
You have plenty to give
For those willing to receive

Thankyou for your
Service

Stephen Chinnock

7 January 2021

Sit

Sit if you can
On the shores
Of our coast
Quietly
Eyes wide open
Attentive to detail

Look at a rock
It’s shape
The colours decorating
In lichen and moss
Think about
It’s geological story

Notice the others
Unique in eternal design
Infinite detail
Delighting your vision
Creating a narrative
Of beauty divine

Move on to the rock platform
Washed over by the salty waves
Splashes of white foam
Against the deep green
A myriad of creatures
Benefitting from that moment

Spot the sea birds
So perfectly adapted
Doing their days work
Flying off
To secret destinations
Supporting their young

Listen to the endless rhythms
Of the vast ocean
Battering our shore
Since time without end
And wonder if
This a world worth preserving!

Stephen Chinnock

4 January 2021

My heart

My heart rebounds at last
With the wonderful company of little ones
Those who care for them
New loving friends
Especially one from Italy
Where a large part of me resides
In memory and desire

Who knows in uncertain times
What the future might bring
So i hold myself in a blanket
Of care shown to me
Count my blessings
As my mother always said I should

There’s a new horizon arising
Like the sun at dawn over the sea
Casting a bright light on reality
I bathe in that light
To mend my soul
So terribly burnt

Those bright smiles and laughter
Of those I love
Will keep me yet
From the edge of the river
Before I must pay the boatman
To take me over!

Stephen Chinnock

3 January 2021

Ah my dearest Fra

(This poem was written on 30th January 2020)

I want to sit with you tonight
On a simple wooden bench
By your garden of herbs
Surrounded by the safety
Of those protective stone walls
And your blessed presence

Can you hold my hand and heart gently
Reassure me that the plague passes
In the fullness of time
While the tides still beat
On the endless shore

Will the fields be planted again
Will the wild flowers bloom again
Will folk rejoice again the passing of seasons
Will love and compassion rule hearts again
Will there be a new horizon long forgotten

These questions and more
I want to ask you my constant companion
As i look up to that cold mountain in time
Wondering about your divine wisdom
Wanting to take my share of that

Guide on my Fra
Lead me up to the summit
Rocky and treacherous
As the path may be
I know the view will be a revelation
The final epiphany in life!

Rod Milliken

2 January 2021

The war of the environment

The war of the environment
is evident in these hardened harsher climes,
where cramped and clinging trees are found encamped on hardy ground,
pressed into the earth, disparate in the decay, messed in disarray
like unshaven whiskers on the jowls of the soil.

Jostled amid the elements
by swinging storms, wring wringing wind and rampaged by rain
weaving swathes of stubble with the blunted razor of water raging
through the terrain to leave a maze of lustre and bluster behind.

The fittest are the freshest,
regeneration surging separately,
with the desire to merge together in a strangled survival,
an acknowledgement that hope belongs alongside the damage and the despair.

Rod Milliken

1 January 2021

An inland stream awash

An inland stream awash:
a constant seam across a spartan scene of green;
a width of water flushing life along its length.
Even in death the tree is not crushed, is not bereft,
not a tragedy, but testimony to an inner strength.
Defiantly retaining its place, though deprived,
the trunk still proudly stands its ground
with the grace gained while alive.

Stephen Chinnock

1 January 2021

On this day

I pin my hopes
On the new generations
Growing up
With more knowledge
Than we ever had
Thank you David Attenborough

Clear perspectives are needed
To nurse this once beautiful blue planet
Back to a sustainable balance
From the overwhelming presence
Of too many of us

Too little space
For all the other wonderful creatures
Evolution has given us
Say a prayer for the little ones
Teach them well
To love the land
And share the bountiful possibilities
With all on the earth
It’s not ours to own and exploit
But to nurture for the benefit of all

The presence of Earth
Is just a lucky happenstance
In the history of the universe
What a pity it would be
To destroy it now
In the name of self interest and greed!

Stephen Chinnock

31 December 2020

What to say

On this auspicious day
Even if it’s just
A blink in the eye of eternity

I would just say
An enormous thank you
To all of those
Who chose
To make creativity
A road to redemption

So many wrote, painted and sculpted
Made music and created pots
Made splendid documentaries
All of great beauty
A salve for our hearts

Go on in 2021
To create beauty in our lives
While reflecting on
The precarious state of our planet

The battle is not finished
But we may have new strength
On the wings of the Phoenix!

Stephen Chinnock

31 December 2020

My recovery poems friends

What a year that was eh?
An extraordinary roller coaster ride
Of emotions and material considerations
We came through with lots of Brownie points
You all earned lots of badges
For resilience, courage and moving on

Well done you all
For managing so well
Despite the deeply felt hurt
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart
For joining in to an intimate conversation
Revealing what was really happening

To our hearts and souls
I’m spending this first day
Of a new year of hope
Reading all that you’ve written
Stunned by the beauty
The perspicacious depth
Of your verse
I’ll go on to read it many times over

My dear friend David from Melbourne
Who created our wonderful website
Will be here in the near future
To discuss publishing possibilities
For there is a document
A history of hearts
Worth sharing!

Stephen Chinnock

30 December 2020

Where did it go?

That bloody year of 2020
Passed by in the blink of an eye
Leaving us breathless
Struggling to mend broken hearts

We reached out for support
Found a blanket of comfort
In the overwhelming generosity
From so many quarters

Reconnected with a shattered community
Held hands
Never held before
Felt care and compassion

Felt the blessings of that
While scrambling around
To rebuild a life
In one way or another

Solace found so needed
In the arms of dear friends
Old and new
Feeling blessed by love
So readily given

In 2021
Let’s make a tally
Of what’s been gained
Determined to live a full life again!

Stephen Chinnock

30 December 2020

I sit and wait

I sit and wait

For New Year’s Eve
A construct pretending
To be important
But really is just
Another moment in time

Phillipa wrote of tears
For no reason
With reason for tears
How well i relate to that

I sit on a precipice
Of confused emotions
Not knowing where
My heart will fall
On that particular day

I pray to the gods
Of all time
For a clear and precise
Turning point

A celebration of what I’ve gained
Letting go of what I’ve lost
Holding those most dear
The little ones
Managing the future

May they forgive
The world left to them
Learn to heal quickly
This once beautiful blue planet!

Phillipa Hollenkamp

30 December 2020

Tears for no reason

Tears for no reason
With reason for tears
What was, what is

A year is past
Souvenir and relic
Idle reminder

Like yesterday, my
Smoke tainted heart
Tears prick the eye

The weariness
Of the soul
Deeply ingrained

Community divided
Once firmly clutched
In its bosom

Hearts remain crushed
Tears for no reason
With reason for tears

Stephen Chinnock

30 December 2020

Thank the gods

For the lack of red skies
This festive season
We had our fill of terror
Last year
keeping us uncomfortable company
For a long period of grieving
With little respite

I for one on this NYE
Will stay home
Quietly reflecting
Drinking too much wine
Go to bed early
Wake up the next morning
Saying goodbye

Trying to build again
A life full of love and laughter
The children will help so much
To mend broken hearts
Letting go of the hurt
So that they don’t carry the burden
Of our misfortune

Raise your children well
Sang Crosby Stills and Nash
So many decades ago
For they are the key
To unlock the future
To save our much threatened world!