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