Sunday, 22 December 2013

Another great issue on line with lots of Australian poetry and pictures as well as some from overseas
There are now over 25 magazines on line in the TAT group and each one totally free for you to read

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Australian Brumby and the Australian Drover are synonomous with our country.  It was tough as nails horses and tough as nails men that opened up our outback country, went to war and fought for our country and once each year in November horses bring our country to a standstill .

This issue of TAT Poetry gave recognition to them both and contains some fine poetry from poets across the world not just our Australian ones - have a read why don't you and see what you reckon.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


I'm impressed - My poem read on air on the ABC National Radio National Program - just click on the Download button to hear it. These two blokes did a marvellous job

Tuesday, 12 November 2013


The smell of Pot-Pourri always transports me back in memory to another place and another time.  The smell of it in Department stores and gift shops draws me like a bee to the flower.

Monday, 11 November 2013



Maureen Clifford ©  The Scribbly Bark Poet

He stands for all the war dead in the future, present, and past,
an unknown Aussie soldier who fought and breathed his last
on green French fields of battle – but we don’t know his name
all we know is he's Australian and I bet that he died game.

He gave up home and hearth and job, he left his own country.
He left a grieving Mother and a grieving family
who never knew if it was their man’s body now  interred
below our nations fluttering flags, with honours now conferred.

He’s someone’s son, but who’s he is indeed we’ll never know.
Enough for us to realize that a Hero lies below;
who once fought on the fields of France, was buried where he lay.
At end of war, was moved again to rest some miles away.

None know with what Battalion this young Aussie bloke fought.
None even know where he was slain or what this young man thought.
But a nation remembers him every Remembrance Day -
a fighting Aussie – loyal and true – whose life war stole away.

So when you wear the poppy and you cheer at the parades,
remember this young bloke who rests alone now in his grave.
He is the ‘unknown soldier’ a young bloke who gave his all
returned now to his homeland, once exhumed from foreign soil.

And every lad who comes back home again from fields of war
is represented by this bloke and what he had fought for.
His tomb will bear the words that they took from his eulogy
He is all of them, he’s one of us’ – he fought to keep us free.

We buried him with bayonet and wattle for his toil
and laid his bones to rest again back in Australian soil.
We know he is Australian but we don’t know his name
but I’ll bet you any money Mate that this young bloke died game.

Sunday, 10 November 2013


A great selection of Australian Poetry in this issue specifically published for Remembrance Day - and it includes a poem written by my Grandfather who served in WWI - 'The Boys in the Billet"

Wednesday, 6 November 2013



Maureen Clifford © The Scribbly Bark Poet

There’s a blood red road ‘ neath a blood red moon, winding past the bloodwood trees
and it winds along in its own sweet time and it leads to where it leads.
There’s a plume of dust reaching to the skies as the old Ute bucks and skids
on the gravel road , corrugated deep , a mere track, for goats and kids.

Where the gum tree leaves hanging limp and grey, turn red ‘neath the rising sun
and their coat of dust adds a tinge of rust, left behind on this outback run.
Here the shadows cast by their stark grey boughs seem to almost duck and weave
as the Ute rolls under the dome of sky, that turns red as the moon takes leave.

There’s a taste that mingles with the dust, flavoured by mans despair
for the rains have ceased and there’s no release from the worry or the care.
With the paddocks dry and the stock long gone and the creek just stagnant pools
it’s a bloody shame but this farming game seems is for the rich or fools.

He had done his best, as had all the rest, every leaf they’d overturned.
He had lost the lot, and the gains he’d got, Mother Nature had now spurned.
With a mind confused, nothing else to lose, he had one last hand to play.
There’s a blood red pool, ‘neath a bloodwood tree where a life just ebbs away.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


Legend of the Wolf

Maureen Clifford © The Scribbly Bark Poet  

In the forests frozen heart she glided soundless through the trees
where the winter drifts were thick and soft and  white snow covered leaves.
Close at hand her two cubs followed they were frisky little pups
 black tipped ears their only markings and small bushy tails held up.

In the distance stars were twinkling and the moon put on a show,
all was quiet, pristine, ephemeral on the white landscape below.
Then a shadow crossed the landscape and soon everything was black
as the sun and moon eclipsed – blocking all light from the track.

Mayla stopped and called her children – come here now and stay by me
for this is something that you are so privileged to see.
Don’t be scared my little children – on the first star make a wish.
It will peep out very shortly, slippery as soap in a dish.

Soon you’ll hear  Nantuck  your father and your brother Wahya call
 if you sit and listen quietly you’ll hear  echoes  over all
the mountains and valleys, the song that Wolves do sing,
as they send their praise to heaven for  the bounty nature brings.

You will hear the little white one call - Ayasha is her name
and her son Salali, small and brown of squirrel hunting fame.
Tayanita from the high hills where beaver lodges dam the stream
and Amadahy his young wife , due to  pup next moon it seems.

If you listen quiet my children you will hear a wondrous song.
Soon you two will join the singers, once the winter snows are gone.
So Awanita and Galahi stood, though cold from head to toe,
and they listened to the echoes of the white wolves in the snow.

It’s claimed amongst the Cherokee white wolves are spirit voices
and the Cherokee know that their song is good, and thus rejoices.
White wolves bring to the tribe, peace, hope, and love.  Security.
Which is why you feed the white wolf.  The soul inside of you and me.


My girls are not too keen on the newest edition to the family - an almost life sized stuffed toy that was a gift.  They're just not into him.


I was lucky enough to pick up a Highly Commended in the 2013 Ipswich Poetry Feast with this poem - not bad considering I know nothing about fishing.

FISHING  -   © Maureen Clifford The Scribbly Bark Poet

On the outgoing tide the boat rocked lazily.
He recalled there were plenty of fish in the sea.
He watched swooping seagulls dive bombing the ocean,
as his kids built sand castles .  Had they a notion
of their Gramp’s philosophy ? ‘When you’re in strife
just remember the pebbles on  beaches of life.’

A bright flash of light quickly drew his attention
to cliff hangers climbing,  defying convention
in their struggle upward ’cross cliff faces  steep,
 their safety dependent on thin ropes to keep
them from plummeting downwards to sharp rocks below
but quite fearless, not once did they  falter or slow.

He sat quietly pondering the life that he’d led
It had been pretty good.  It was like Dad had said.
‘You come in with the tide and you go with the flow,
and you help where you can – for you never will know
if one day you’ll need saving  and hands will reach out,
so don’t you be lazy, share your help about.

In the good book it tells us we reap what we sow
and if we sow dissension then we harvest blows
but to sow seeds of kindness, compassion and love
brings a bounty of blessings for sure from above.’
He looked to the heavens - “I remember indeed.
Dad I’d best get back fishing, there’s people to feed.”

Maureen Clifford © 

Thursday, 17 October 2013


Shades of Grey 

Maureen Clifford ©
The Scribbly Bark Poet

Until the end of time she knew her heart would still return
back to where her love child was created.
It mattered not if fetters held her now against her will.
It mattered not if she no longer heard the whippoorwill
or rested ‘neath the shade of Ironbarks high upon a hill
she knew that union was by Gods feted.

She’d live her days in this new place - the work was not so hard
at least she received kindness and respect
and soon all thoughts of escape seemed to leave her troubled mind
no longer did she plan to leave, for here she found life kind,
no worries about food or drink and those she’d left behind
she could in truth no longer recollect.

Except for one. She thought of him on nights moonlit and clear
when shadows shifted soundless in the breeze.
She thought then of the son she’d born just as day was dawning
when wraiths of grey mist cloaked the hills, in retreat as the morning
sent gold sunbeams to warm her foal, the brand new day adoring,
until the stockwhips echoed through the trees.

He galloped close beside her over snow gums over creeks.
His smoke grey hide was lathered in a sweat.
She couldn’t cut and run for he would never stand the pace,
she slowed to keep him near her, letting the other mares race
in a mad dash for freedom. It was not her time or place.
She was captured. No time then for regret.

They were part of the brumby cull though that they didn’t know.
Too many horses running wild and free
in national parks across the land – a hard hoofed equine band
destroying habitat ‘twas claimed and compacting the land.
Removal was the answer, and the cure...cull and be damned.
A single shot had bought him to his knees.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013


The Last Hurrah

Again it seemed they‘d have to play along with hunger games
caught up between the days and nights on grassless empty plains
with nothing much to give them hope or ease their hunger pains
and only dirty, stinking, turgid water.

Relentlessly the sun burnt off the slightest tinge of green
from plants that struggled desperately some scant moisture to glean
as Mother Nature with no care at all vented her spleen
oblivious to every son and daughter.

White tipped with green, a last hurrah, the old gum tree bought forth
its blossom, sweetly scented. Did it sense rain in the north?
Did ancient secret instinct tell there would be rain of worth 
drenching the land alongside storm clouds laughter?

Too late for some, a single shot echoed around the hills
repeated time and time again – a kindly hand that kills
and ends the misery of those who’ve fallen and are still
with nothing left to give or even barter.

Maureen Clifford © The Scribbly Bark Poet

Saturday, 12 October 2013


A poem and video clip I put together sometime back.  The problem continues sadly - There has to be a better way - if you care...please share

Friday, 11 October 2013


One of the great things that you see when you live outside the bright lights of the city is the night sky.  It is always amazing to see just how brilliant the stars are and note the satellites moving across that great expanse of sky and if you are lucky you might see a falling star with its trail of light streaming behind it as it plummets through the universe to its demise.

I find it fascinating to think that this is exactly the same sky that we do see in our cities and towns but because of the amount of artificial light that we have created it detracts from the beauty of the night sky that you see in the bush, causing us to actually miss out on ones of nature’s most glorious spectacles.

The Yolgnu people are indigenous people inhabiting north-eastern Arnhem Land in Australia. Yolngu means “person” in their language.  They believe that when they die, they are taken by a mystical canoe, to the spirit-island in the sky, where their camp-fires can be seen burning along the edge of the great river of the Milky Way. The canoe is sent back to earth as a shooting star, letting their family know that they have arrived safely with their ancestors.

Shooting stars –
message stick
to Yolgnu family

Ancestor returned
Lights dance and blaze
lighting the night sky
in celebration.

Maureen Clifford ©
The Scribbly Bark Poet

Tuesday, 8 October 2013


Issue 5 of the poetry mag now on line and even though I say so myself there is some great poetry within its pages

Friday, 4 October 2013


Tuggalong Bob

Maureen Clifford © The Scribbly Bark Poet

You laughed when you saw him, this tiny wee scrap
of black and white fur edged with straw.
He sat on the grass and he hadn’t a care
for he knew that’s what gardens were for.
He’d dug up the mulch ‘neath the roses of red
and he’d buried there the biggest bone.
So now he sat guarding his dirty great prize
which he’d found and now claimed as his own.

On the wooden verandah where everyone left
their work boots, muddy wellies, and shoes,
were some chewed plastic forks, and a moth eaten toy
and a broken strap – all his to choose.
Each one was a treasure and precious to him
though he certainly tried to ignore,
the rag in the bucket along with the mop
used to wipe puddles up from the floor.

He was only a baby and mad as a snake
and quite often he chased his  own tail.
Just give me a minute and catch it I will
though he circled to no great avail.
Then he saw up the driveway a big shiny Ute
approaching at ponderous speed.
He was spitting the dummy right there at the fence,
fur erect, though there was no great need.

It was only a neighbour just, coming to call
and hoping to chat for a bit.
And she gave him a scratch and a pat and a treat
which was an immediate hit.
At the back of the house was his Mum’s studio
she was there right now throwing a pot.
With the wheel going round in slow time as she worked
on the clay, placing pattern and dot.

It was time for a break anyway, so they walked
up the path to the old cottage door,
where his treasurers were strewn in a tasteful display
on the worn boards of the timber floor.
He sat there and gazed at her with loving eyes
that were brown and would just melt your heart.
She noted the pair of shoes chewed round the edge
and the broken strap – now torn apart.

She could have gone crook but she’d had pups before
and she knew he’d abandon one day
his wilful destructiveness, once he was working.
It was such a small price to pay.
She gave him a cuddle and rubbed his pink belly
he wriggled and squirmed in great joy
and his little tail wagged when he heard her voice say,
‘Bob you’re Mums really beautiful boy’.

And everything then was just right with his world
Oh it was just as right as could be.
He knew that she loved him and he was secure
this was home – she was his family.
And this story ends happily as some do
and ‘Tuggalong Bob’ became feted
at local dog trials – he was known far and wide
for his  genes many  a  bitch waited.

And the world went full circle and time moved along,
the sun rose, the moon set cross the land.
Bob fathered a litter with Tuggalong  Bess
a pregnancy somewhat unplanned.
But each little Pup found a home, fetched good prices,
the demand for these pups was quite keen.
But they kept one, a tiny wee black and white scrap,
who bred true to the Tuggalong gene.


Issue 4 of The Australia Times Poetry mag now on line - I am having so much fun producing this mag each fortnight and it is amazing the number of great poets that I am coming across who so generously share their work.

Hope you enjoy what is in the mag

Friday, 27 September 2013


He was heartsick for his country and homesick for his land
inside he felt he walked on foreign soil.
Still vivid were the memories though many years had passed
and all of them were spent at honest toil.
His face was dark and weathered underneath the shady brim
of his worn stained hat.  His eyes rheumy and red.
One heard the sadness deep within his soul when he did speak.
I never will forget the words he said.

“Life is about balance and it’s hard to get it right
to stay focused and on an even keel.
Let go of hurts and insults and move on and live your life
refuse to anger, despite  pain you feel.
Some folks do things because they can – others do them for good.
At times perhaps their thought process is flawed.
A stolen generation child I am and I tell you
 it hurts to see that problem still ignored.

As a child I knew great sorrow and  knew I did not belong
where I was, far from my family and home.
A child  taken from mother, cruelly torn out of her arms.
Many kids were stolen - I was not alone.
Mothers tried making light skin babies look darker somehow
by rubbing charcoal into skins too light.
It took quite some convincing the authorities to fool
but some were saved by this tactic all right.

And some folks they don’t understand where we are coming from
when we say we want justice for our plight.
They say ‘you’ve had a good life Mate’ and can’t see nothing wrong,
they don’t get it at all  - that's because they're white.
It’s a feeling deep inside and there are no words to explain
about lost culture – some don’t know their song;
or ancestors or totems or even their native home
they’re outcasts who don’t know now where they belong.

They’ve no knowledge of family for they were torn apart;
as wars tear families apart today,
no matter that we’re all old now – that fear remains within
we’ve no family to see us on our way.
I’m a stranger in my country, and still I search and pray
for family   – I'm sure you understand;
I'm old with numbered days, and at night the dreamtime calls me
I don’t want to die a stranger in my land.”

Maureen Clifford ©  07/11

The Scribbly Bark Poet

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Some more great poetry in Issue3

Some more great poetry in Issue 3 of The Australia Times Poetry Magazine and another great cover from Sandy at
A little Piece of Heart Photography

Wednesday, 28 August 2013


Pleased to see the 2nd issue of The Australia Times Poetry Magazine go on line.  Even though I say so myself there are some terrific contributions within its pages all generously shared with me from Poetry friends on different forums I frequent across the world.

You will find it located here -

Have a read and I think you will be pleasantly surprised - and if you would like to contribute please do so.

Sunday, 25 August 2013



The blood red moon mimicked the colours of the desert sands.
They too shone blood red in Australia’s red heart
where Uluru stood.
A magnificent monolith
whose colours were constantly changing
from gold to red to deep purple hues
and now with the rain
she was gray,
streaked with black algae and white foam
as rushing waters bathed the dust from her sides.

The keeper of the stones sits on the red earth
beneath the shade offered by the bloodwood.
He is Anangu.
The spirits of his ancestors are here.
Their ancient paintings adorn her.
The paints made from what the Mother provided.
Ochres, calcite, ash and charcoal
mixed with animal fats –
as has been done since the Dreamtime.

The same symbols and paint are used during sacred ceremonies
to paint their bodies
to represent their Tjukurpa ancestors.
For the tourists
he paints Lungkata the blue tongued lizard. 

He paints Kuniya , the woman snake
and Lira, the poison snake
and tjali the honey ant.
His ancestors once painted the same symbols.

Uluru stands,
unchanged, serene, inscrutable
as she has since the Dreamtime.
He is the keeper of the stones.
He is Anangu.

Maureen Clifford ©
The Scribbly Bark Poet

Wednesday, 21 August 2013



Maureen Clifford ©  The Scribbly Bark Poet

There are six crows flying up above, high over the ridge
Death is around.  You smell its sickly taint.
Smoke drifts across the paddock where the bushfire has been through
those paddocks painter wants to paint.

High on the ridge the gum tree stands, a skeleton in black.
It’s stark and naked ‘neath a molten sky.
The smell of smoke is acrid, lingers everywhere.
Six crows in unison caw as they fly.
A silver river, ribbon like, wends its way ‘cross the land,
between granite rock banks and river scree.
Above the sky is sullen with no wind of change in sight.
No remedy to ease nature’s fury.

Dead woollies lie untidily together at the fence,
ran through the wire instead of running by.
Panicked and trying to escape and lacking common sense
they didn’t find the open gate nearby.
Black harbingers of death are here, a chance like this not missed
by them,  they strut ‘mongst  carcasses today.
Loud shots ring out, as more injured animals are put down.
The farmer’s working paddocks far away.

The smouldering paddock fence posts clearly mark where fire went.
Dollars and hours for fences to replace.
Reality of more stock losses, after years of drought
is clearly written on the bosses face.
But distant thunder rumbles, lightning's seen behind a hill,
the scent of rain is carried on the breeze.
Life will  go on tomorrow as undoubtedly will he.
The land is all he knows and all he needs.

There are six crows flying up above, high over the ridge.
Opportunistic scavengers of blight
Dark eyes survey the bloated, blackened carcasses below.
Six crows, the undertakers of the night.