Tuesday, 30 April 2013


Sometimes it is the simplest things in life that are the most beautiful and yet we pass them by without so much as a second glance

Look how pretty this pumkin flower is as it  creeps stealthily through the fence from my neighbours house

Sunday, 28 April 2013


Anzac Day passed with its tears, and flag waving, prayers and pride and the heartening news that our troops will soon be called home from Afghanistan.

 I read of the new service to be instigated at the Australian War Memorial each evening when the last post has been played.  How they intend to read the story of a different servicemen each night. 102,000 of them.  The 102,000 names of men inscribed on their memorial role - enough for 279 years of nightly honour.

And yet war continues, our men and women are still lost, and I wondered did any of those who instigated wars ever take the time to perhaps look through ................


Beneath the pine a piper plays in puttees and khakis
atop the bluff a bugler blows The Last Post, setting free
the old lament that bids one rest, for it is end of day,
the tattoo known to all men here as one mate’s sent away.

The duty of the dead is done and they can rest in peace
in serried rows with other mates – for them at least wars ceased.
They fought the fight and gave their all, no more of them is asked
but those they left behind remember, every day that’s passed.

The notes hang in the evening still, a lingering refrain
of other places, other times, and others without name
who fell upon far foreign shores and never made it back.
Each man was surely loved by someone.  Each Tom, Bill and Jack.

Gallipoli and Ypres and the trenches on the Somme
the deserts of Afghanistan, where rifle shot and bomb
have taken life forever, the jungles of Vietnam.
The killing fields still lust for flesh, and we the fervour fan.

I find it quite ironic, that we gather and we pray
world wide to pay our homage to the dead.  Those gone away.
And yet as one war ceases and we bring our troops back home
another war is starting up as if it must atone.

So when pray ends this madness?  When will we be at peace?
Is war the God to whom we sacrifice both man and beast?
In Pagan times they did just that – we claim we’re civilized.
To me it doesn’t seem like that.  I look with Mothers eyes.

Maureen Clifford © 04/13

Wednesday, 24 April 2013



An old man now, stooped and frail – skin like parchment,
hands that trembled,
eyes misted blue with age. 
 Watery or perhaps teary from remembering old mates.
  Those young lads from country towns who fought so bravely.
Fearless larrikins, who fought and died
 and offered their comradeship far from home.

As he looked across the wild flower meadow he remembered it as it was.
Pock marked with shell holes 
with the traces of gas still in the air,
Coils of barbed wire
 Festooned with bodies - khaki and red .
Caught just like the wool on the fences back home.

But there the distant horizons stretched into infinity –
 the air was crisp and clean,
mellifluous bird -song permeated the air,
 and the gentle sounds of ewes calling to lambs
Water trickling down the gully into the creek bed below
  was calming and soothing
and cleansing.
At home he found the peace he craved – 
respite from the memories.

He didn’t want to remember the battle fields of France
 ablaze with red poppies,
but every year he did – 
the unbidden memories creeping into his head,
the tremors shaking his old bones. 
 He was soldiering on – 
but longed for peace.
For the world,
 for himself 
and for those who rested now in wild flower meadows.

Maureen Clifford © 



I came across the following article which I considered to be noteworthy and something that should make Australians proud.  Blessings to Brendan Nelson for instigating an idea that is so simple in its concept and yet will deliver such a strong and meaningful  message

Taken from an article by


Anzac Day 2013 – Lest we forget.  The Australian War Memorial begins a new nightly ritual.
As the memorial begins closing down for the evening at 4.50pm, a piper will play the

Lament, and the story of one of the 102,000 names inscribed on the memorial's honour roll

will be read. One evening it might be the life story of a nurse, the next a sailor, the next a

soldier or an airman; plucked from any of the wars in which Australians have fought and

died. Finally, a bugler will play the Last Post.
The idea for the ritual came to the memorial all the way from Ypres.

Night after night those stories will unfold, and then the Last Post, the traditional military

signal of the end of the day and, for the dead, a reminder that their duty is done, will be

The war memorial will not easily run out of stories to tell - certainly not in our lifetimes, or

those of our children or grandchildren. The 102,000 stories behind the names currently on

the Roll of Honour are enough for 279 years of nightly rituals.  The evening closing ceremony

 will be streamed live on the memorial's website: awm.gov.au/

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


Today is beautiful, the sun is shining, the air is crisp and clean and no matter what dissension there is in the world one can give praise for the beauty that surrounds us, free of charge and courtesy of Mother Nature.

Monday, 22 April 2013


When things don't go the way we plan it is easy to find fault and point the finger at others and yet sometimes perhaps the problem is closer to home.

Friday, 19 April 2013


If you are getting a dog - and they are the only love that money can buy - please go to your local dog rescue organization or shelter.

All +RSPCA dogs and +AWL - Animal Welfare League dogs are already speyed, vet checked and temperment tested.  You can be sure that the dog your are getting will be just right for you and not only that you will have saved a life - and isn't that


This picture always reminds me of the Whyalla Feedlot out at Texas Queensland for no other reason I suppose than that we had a red and tan Kelpie called Ralph Patrick who looked like this little bloke and that Texas was a town I was familiar with. 


I’m watching you watching me watching you.
No way am I making a move.
You’re mooing enough for the whole herd,
but I think that you’re stuck in the groove.

I’m not scared one bit by your size Mate
for I’ve got the best kelpie genes.
You’re lucky I can’t get through the gate
I’m restrained by a lead so it  seems.

I’ll just stand and watch you there watching me.
You’re lucky I don’t snarl or bite.
I’m lucky that you don’t bite either?
Well OK - lets be friends then.  All right?

Maureen Clifford ©

Thursday, 18 April 2013


I bet you are just like me and if you don't know how to do something your first stopping off point these days is Google -  My son always tells me  Google is your friend, and I admit that like a good friend Google is always ready to share knowledge with you and will often even show you pictures or offer little video clips giving you step by step instructions on how to do things.

Well good friends are always happy to share so I thought I would share my favourites with you.  Here they are, and I know you will be just as gobsmacked as I was when you perceive this wealth of information

Wednesday, 17 April 2013


You will love this version. TURN YOUR SPEAKERS ON LOUD!

Waltzing Matilda sung in Kriol, a mixture of local aboriginal dialect, pidgin English and a smidgen of Chinese.  The mix of languages is a bit like us  Australians for we are truly a multi-cultural nation and I for one am proud of that - wouldn't this be  a great National Anthem?  I bet you are smiling as you listen to it.  Love that Aussie humour
This is really good and entertaining .  

Listen for the pronunciation of sheep. It is very catchy.


Tuesday, 16 April 2013


A little slice of life from my perspective as the Bremer River flows quietly for now between her banks just a hop skip and a jump from my home.  The trees in my garden are alive with birdlife, the neighbours chooks are cackling - no doubt laying their daily offering of gold centred goodness.  A pair of mating butterflies drift by and the scent of my mock orange 
trees (Murraya Paniculata) fills the air, and all is right with the world.


Down by the river the Magpies are calling . 
The river runs languidly by.
On the banks in the sunlight, Grevilleas bloom
 and honey bees bustle and fly.
The blue sky above is scattered with clouds
 like spindrift or white errant sheep.
Stretched on his swag, he lies in cool shade, 
as slowly somnolence creeps.

The bright green of rushes reflects in the water,
 as small ripples ebb to and fro.
Two wild ducks in passing, both paddling softly,
 movement to the water bestow.
A long legged Crane stands in dignified silence 
surveying the scene passing by
whilst a single Black Swan glides with elegant grace,
 perusing the world from his eye.

It's peaceful down here on the banks of the river
 away from the bustle and thrust
of the city.  A nice place to dream just a little
 then return to it if you must.
A slower pace here at this place of repose
 a break from the everyday strife.
A chance to replenish the quietness of soul
 before you continue with life.

We're all busy people, living busy lives.
 All tied up in stressed knots it seems.
Does anyone take the time to be still, 
to appreciate life and to dream?
Attached to lap tops and ringing mobile phones
 by a hidden umbilical cord.
So shallow we feel if uncontactible
 that perhaps we are being ignored.

Take yourself to the river or seashore today
 but please leave  technology at home.
Try to let your soul commune with nature,
 and enjoy your time being alone.
Seek calmness of spirit and sweet solitude, 
listen to natures  gentle song.
The whispering breeze, the trickle of water,
  the notes from the fine feathered throng.

Kookaburras maniacal chuckle and laughter
 echoes through the bush as we speak.
The warbling crescendo of caroling Magpies
 brings delight to all those who seek
to listen to natures choir in the treetops, 
the chirp of the Superb Blue Wren,
and hark, there's a Bellbird, by still waters calling,
 its crystal notes heard through the  glen.

As evening steals in, with the stealthiest steps,
 sunset skies shaded, softly with pink.
The birds go to roost, the air loud with their chatter
 until into silence they sink.
The Fruit Bats depart from their roost up the river,
 a  rhythmic and regular release
of sylph like dark shapes, on wings quite transparent,
 as day fades to evening peace.

Maureen Clifford  ©

Monday, 15 April 2013


Elea 'Albert' Namatjira was a western Arrernte man and a famous Australian artist who despite winning world wide acclaim for his art and being awarded a Queen Elizabeth Coronation Medal in 1953 and being a member of the Royal Art Society of NSW found in 1949 as a result of racial discrimination that he was refused a grazing licence and in 1951 was refused permission to build a home on land he owned at Alice Springs.

He died in August 1959 at Alice Springs Hospital but had lived up until then despite his financial earnings from his paintings in a fringe camp at Morris Soak on the outskirts of Alice Springs.

You can read more of  Albert's story here and it is a sad story in so many ways as you will see, a story of racial prejudice that caused great heartache to this man and his family.  A man who was at that time one of the greatest artists in Australia, but lived in abject poverty.   At one point in time he was solely responsible for the financial care of 600 of his people  ---  http://courses.u3anet.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Famous%20Australians/Namatjira%20Albert.pdf

His legacy lives on today as he has family members who are also artists.  His grand daughter Elaine is one who has also made a name for herself with her great art works, and she was the inspiration for my poem 'Colour Me'.

The sketch I have used for an illustration was done by Neville Briggs, a fellow ABPA member.


She was  the cutest baby with a head of tight knit curls
and long lashes, black and lush on dusky cheeks.
Her mouth just like a rosebud in the sweetest shade of pink
and brown eyes like chocolate pools at you did peek .

Her smile was like the moon and stars and sun all put together
and  she loved  the world into which she'd been born.
A contented happy baby, held safe in her Mother’s arms
brown eyes surveyed the Krantji spring at dawn.

She was  a  little girl, devoid of wealth and fancy trimmings
and her home it was a very humble place.
But love  she had in plenty and nature provided toys
with which to play and she knew both her skin and race.

With love she grew, and came to know the culture of her people
all those  she knew in return loved her too.
There were no paintings on her walls and indeed none were needed
when outside, MacDonnell ranges captivated with hills blue.

She had a love of colour and a sharp eye for detail
and would paint her pictures of this magic land
in colours rich and vibrant, burning reds, and deepest indigo
 softest sage green of wattles and deep gold of desert sand.

She studied hard, learnt shape and form, used acrylics, oils, charcoal.
Water colours like Grandfather Elea once did expend.
And never once did she consider colour as a problem.
Nature made everything different, all colours merge and blend.

Now her paintings hang in galleries and homes across her nation.
They’re  the object of many people’s desire.
And each canvas tells a story – of men hunting, women gathering,
tribal traditions and stories, selling to the highest buyer.

And the little mission girl once devoid of wealth and trimmings
who saw beauty all around her now across her world does roam,
travelling in Jets displaying a loved symbol of her country
the Aranda peoples totem - that red Kangaroo of home.

Maureen Clifford ©

Sunday, 14 April 2013


For any out there who are interested, the +Ipswich Poetry Feast 2013 is kicking off again, and entries are being taken.  This is a great poetry event that is centred around the poem by +Henry Lawson - The Babies of Walloon.

This is the 11th year that the poetry feast has been held, and there are many sections in which to enter.  Last year I was lucky enough to score a 3rd placing in the Local Poets section, and this year I hope to do better.  No guarantees of course but I will be doing my best.

There are always a great number of entries received from schools and children, and it is so heartening to see our young citizens of the future taking up the poetry baton and running with it.  The competition is open to all, and the grand prize winner receives a small version of the statue of The Babes of Walloon  that is the focus of the +Henry Lawson Bicentenial Park at Walloon.  Last year 2012 the statue was badly vandalized and one of the sisters was removed, but thanks to support from many people the  bronze statue was recast and replaced.

  Now that scaled down version is something I would dearly love to have on show on my bookshelf.

And by the way if you go out to Walloon  the +Walloon Country Bakehouse serves up just the best coffee and pies and the staff are lovely and friendly.  You can either eat at their outside area or get them to take away and go and enjoy the ambience at the park with the girls, and should you then fancy a cold beer on a hot Ipswich day you'd be hard pressed to find better than that served up in the +Walloon Saloon, just a stone's throw away at the roundabout.  There you have my personal recommendation .

Here is my version of the story of the two sisters of Walloon..................


Winter Approaches

There is a definate chill in the air, and the daytime temperatures are dropping to a pleasant mid twenties as opposed to the mid thirties we were experiencing only a few weeks ago.  Life is altogether more comfortable without the heat and humidity.

Winter approaches.

Friday, 12 April 2013


We have had so much rain over the past few weeks that everything feels damp, smells musty or has drowned and gone to God as is the case with my beautiful lavender bush that has finally succumbed and given up.  It just couldn't take having wet feet for so long.  Such a shame as it was a gorgeous plant that flowered so freely every year it was an absolute delight to see.  But alas - no more.

I am not a lover of rain - even when on the property in the middle of the worst drought Australia has seen in 100 years - rain when it eventually came along with the jubilation of seeing it, hearing it and feeling it, always made the black dogs lurk nearby.

Here are some of my rainy Haiku ........

My two gorgeous girls Ellyssa and Mahalia - they like rain about as much as their Mum does  

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


These are some photographs that I have digitally altered a little - you can't always believe what your eyes see with todays modern technology.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


Ipswich is a beautiful old town with a very interesting history.  Many of the old buildings are still in existence today and sit side by side with the more modern buildings rubbing shoulders quite comfortably.  I came across these old engravings dating to around 1890 - 1900 on the Bremer River looking upstream towards where I live.  The old railway bridge is still there with the big Riverlink Shopping Centre on one side of it now and the Ipswich CBD on the other.

The typical workers cottage as seen in the photo here are very much in existence today all over Ipswich and many have been beautifully restored .   The photo below was one I restored and shows a cottage at Booval.

Monday, 8 April 2013

There are always benefits

Whilst I am cursing the ongoing rain which is making it impossible to get my grass mowed there are benefits.  My beautiful dahlia that has been beaten down by the rain and is now lying higgledy piggledy has produced a bumper crop of these beautiful burgundy dahlias.  They are divine.  That is Mahalia posing in the background.

Saturday, 6 April 2013



Golden wattle scents the air, it's blossoms froth amongst the boughs,
the waterhole reflects the sky, the silver gums and passing clouds.
A large lace monitor wanders past; by our presence he is not fazed
and all seems right here with the world on this  the loveliest of days.

Above we hear 'keeyew, keeyew' and spot a kestrel flying high,
soaring on wings so gracefully , suspended 'gainst the azure sky
and Crows are flying on the wing...with raucous cry, discordant note.
Until they land upon a long dead stinking carcass full of bloat.

A breeze has caused the shivery grass to shake and tremble, bow and feint,
and stirred a little willy willy, twisting dust filled to the gate
where it collapses, disappears and casts the dust and leaves aside.
No longer wants to play it seems. I wonder where it's gone to hide.

Along the rutted, dusty track, with all its lethal turns and twists
are Cypress Pines.  The track itself festooned with rocks as big as fists.
Across the causeway near the dam a small trickle of water slides.
Must go and check that out some time, before the whole dam wall subsides.

And as we drive into the camp we see beside the donga there
two juvenile emus head out, quite unconcerned, showing no care.
Still baby plumage they display, two soft and fluffy feather balls.
Hurrying on stage like ballerinas running late for curtain call.

With tutus in soft autumn hues of cream and brown and softest gray
urgently both run down the track -  ' Go straight ahead the stage's this way.
No use now darting to the wings we have the audience enthralled
So pirouette and entrechat' - Two emu's await natures call.

Too soon they exit to stage left...the track is empty once again
and we continue on our way looking for words that would explain
how beautiful we found the sight of our emus and their display.
Our spirits were uplifted by Nature and the Emu Ballet.

We paused a moment just to take in all the beauty close at hand
the lengthening shadows cross the scrub, roosting Corella's noisy band.
And then down by the dam we saw our two emus both with heads down
Responding to applause no doubt...they bowed, then gracefully sank to ground.

A fluff of feathers, flutter flutter...like the Dying Swan they sunk
to rest beside the reed filled dam whose muddy  waters they'd just drunk.
No doubt quite thirsty from exertion and their run along the track
we left them peacefully together...we'll see them both next time we're back.

Maureen Clifford ©

TAKE A BOW - Photo by  +Gabrielle Bryden  ABC Pool

Heading on stage to perform.

Thursday, 4 April 2013


I have been very lucky to be able to combine the talents of a young song writer in Sydney with my own poetry and between us we have produced a couple of pretty good audio clips.  This piece is one where both Tim and I wrote verses, and I then set them up to music and cut and spliced the audio together

You can hear the audio using this link


and here are the words.

Send Off

I send off the day with the welcoming fire
inviting the night to be taking me higher
burning away all that went wrong
and saving some pieces a place and a song,
calming myself I open my mind
to a new day, a new night and what I will find.

I send off the day with a wave and a smile
and thankful I am for the hours that beguile
with laughter and love and good neighbours, good cheer
Give thanks for good health and another blessed year.
Calming myself as I open my mind
and give praise for blessings so freely consigned.

I send off the day as the daylight expires
inviting the night to be taking me higher
enjoying time far from the maddening throng
and saving some pieces, a place and a song
recalling the joy.  Wishing peace to mankind
a new day, a new night, and what I will find.

And what will we find as a new day is dawning?
As night time retreats and we welcome the morning
When moon and the stars beat retreat from the sky
and birdsong breaks forth and the sun ventures high.
We’ll discover that life brings its own awards sweet
a friendship costs nothing but makes life complete. 

I send off the day with the welcoming fire
inviting the night to be taking me higher
with laughter and love and good neighbours, good cheer
Give thanks for good health and another blessed year.

a collaboration between
Tim Bishop and Maureen Clifford