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My Country

Australian Children's Poetry

Today is a tribute to Dorothea Mackellar.

“On the 24th November, 2017, the Society of Women Writers of NSW, along with donors to the memorial, will gather in Waverley Cemetery at 6pm to ‘unveil’ the substantial marble plaque. This honours the poet, Dorothea Mackellar (1885-1968) with the 8 lines of her most famous stanza from her poem My Country, there for all to see in perpetuity. Her gravesite is close by the ’jewel sea’ of the Pacific Ocean she so lovingly describes”

poet Dorothea Mackeller

My Country – Poem by Dorothea Mackellar

The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies
I know, but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and…

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The day I cheered Robert Mugabe

mistakenforarealpoet

It was around January 1982. I had gone to Zimbabwe in 1981 to help the company I was working for, Memory Ireland, to establish a branch there. Memory was a fast growing Irish computer company. I was a software developer. They had a director who had been raised in Rhodesia. When Rhodesia became Zimbabwe in 1980, Memory thought it would be a good base from which to expand sales into developing African economies. Their intentions were not philanthropic. Memory was an entrepreneurial company in the worst sense of the word.

So I put my hand up for a four-month stint in the recently independent Zimbabwe. In my early days in Zimbabwe, I stayed in various house-shares and house-sits. I recall this particular time doing a house-sit for a bloke called Derek Bardot. I remember the name, of course, because of the beautiful actor of the same surname. I also recall…

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The Tiniest Fish

Spelk

by Robert Scotellaro

Gil mentioned his job at the rubber ball factory, and she told him how that would explain why he bounced back so quickly. He liked that, and let her know it with his best Bozo the Clown smile, all dusted off after leaving his wife of 24 years for another woman, and the woman leaving him for another man.

It reminded him of a cartoon he’d seen as a kid, of a small fish being swallowed whole by a bigger fish, then a bigger fish swallowing that one, and a yet bigger fish gobbling up that one, and so on … Till the last fish was enormous. There was always a bigger fish waiting.

They were in a hot tub at a roadside motel under a corrugated plastic overhang, and it was raining. “But what I really do,” he said, “I mean, where my heart is, is…

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Bye Bye Baby

Spelk

by Damhnait Monaghan

Even though I’m almost fifteen, my mother still walks me to the bus stop every morning. I stare at the splotches of gum on the tarmac while she adjusts my collar or fusses over my perfect black plaits. Then she puts her index finger under my chin, tilts it up, and moves back a few feet.

“Smile,” she’ll say, pointing her phone at me.

Most days I do as I’m told. But if I’m “in a strop,” she’ll add, “Is that how you want to look on the ‘Missing, Please Help’ posters? Is that the face you want flashing up on social media?”

Really Mum? Like I’ll care how I look when I’m lying dead behind a skip? Or locked up in a shed by that creepy bald guy who lives two doors down?

But she never lets me get on the school bus until I give…

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In Vietnam : the Dumpling Man – “Bánh Bao Đây”

mistakenforarealpoet

In Vietnamese cities, there is always something happening. The streets hum all day and into the night. People are on the street cooking and selling food, eating food, drinking coffee, drinking beer, playing cards and Xiangqi (a draughts-like board game), riding motorbikes and bicycles, selling lottery tickets; on the move or just hanging out. There’s nearly always a background buzz, a babble of voices, a drone of engines, a beeping of motorbike horns, a clatter of construction activity, cocks crowing, dogs barking, geese honking, people shouting, call and response.

One  of the first things I noticed was the regular amplified announcements from blokes on motorbikes. At first I thought these were party political slogans on behalf of the communist party, and I think some of them might be e.g. reminders that the capitalist imperialists were defeated, or that a party meeting is coming up.

But the more common announcements, night and…

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