Sunday, 25 October 2015


… Maureen Clifford © The #Scribbly Bark Poet ...

He took off on a mystery tour along the beaten track
three hours to head around the world – to get there and get back,
but first things first, ‘twas something new and he must be prepared …
the essence of a tuna hot pot drifted up the stairs.
He thought that he might sneak a bit and stash it in his pack
always good to have sustenance, a little midnight snack.

A mournful cardboard pig stood watching silent from his desk
its eyes appeared quite questioning. Would this bloke pass the test?
He showed enduring promise; he had spirit but was young
and typically as most kids do he thought this would be fun.
You can’t put ancient wisdom onto shoulders newly formed
MARKET DAY... painting by Edwin Lord Weekes
and bright ideas have never yet kept a cold body warmed.

His head was filled with pictures bright of vastly different shores,
bazaars and deserts, camels, mules and pyramids and more.
Rich red and tasselled carpets woven there in dusty streets
where men in jalabiya strolled and people meet and greet.
Arabian nights had filled his dreams more nights than he could count
and somewhere in those desert dunes galloped his Arab mount.

He was only a little bloke – but oh he dreamt big dreams
and who’s to say where they might lead – if taken to extremes.
Did Lawrence of Arabia whilst resting in his bed
have dreams of glory visualized and running through his head?
Each journey of discovery that has ever been made
perhaps began with little boys whose dreams, life’s path conveyed.

Friday, 23 October 2015


Every year here in Australia over 20,000 racehorses are destroyed because they couldn't run fast enough, don't have potential,  get injured or were unable to be sold for enough $'s ... they are the wastage of the racing industry, the side the racing industry would like to see 'hushed up' ... but a fact regardless.

Prunda - One of Harry Hattons top performers in the 60s
Some might get reclassified and used in steeplechasing, the end result often the same and a high risk of injury and death.  Some are taken for use by the mounted police - and some of course do find buyers in the private sector just looking for a good hacking or dressage horse,  a better outcome for these, but % wise the number is very small.

 As a kid I spent every spare minute strapping racehorses,  hanging out with the up and coming jockeys at the stables of Harry Hatton and Fred Best and only saw the glamour of the industry and the hard work put in by the strappers and other stable staff.  Was this wastage a problem back then?  I don't recall it.  I am thinking that today it is a greed driven factor for the $'s.  Chasing after another Phar Lap - in its way no different to puppy farming and our overcrowded animal shelters across this country.  Horses are now throw away animals.  Racehorses, brumbies, unwanted kids ponies, old stagers that have done the hard years - all treated as 'wasteage'  Very sad.

Maureen Clifford © The ‪#‎ScribblyBark‬ Poet

They were once somebody’s darling they were once somebody’s dream,
they were once feted by thousands urged on by whip, hands and scream.
Now they wait in dark – dejected and they’ll no more hear the call
of “they’re off” because tomorrow is the last day for them all.
They don’t sleep in stables stately, they don’t get the brush and gleam
of a fine thoroughbred warmblood – now it’s rough – they hear the scream
of the fallen gone before them, and they know not yet the foe
but they fear the fate awaiting – and they know. Oh yes! They know.
It is hard to be unwanted; it is hard when one falls short
It is hard when expectations don’t equate to dollars sought
So just turn your back and leave them – sell them off and let them go -
they were once somebody’s darlings but seems now none want to know.
As the rows of Flemington roses pale and drop confetti blooms
the champagne, chicken and chance crowd have departed in the gloom
leaving a trail of trashed tickets, and a divot speckled course.
It is doubtful if one punter gives a stuff about the horse.

Thursday, 22 October 2015


… Maureen Clifford © The ‪#‎ScribblyBark‬ Poet ..

The Kookaburras chortled and called in the sun
as the legends tell us that they do
and the dark midnight sky faded out to soft grey
tinged with lilac, an interesting hue;
and old Mother Nature an artist apart
splashed her colours like paint on a canvas – her art
is breathtaking and always strikes right at the heart
of the people who live in God’s country .

All the colours of the rainbow are gathered here
there’s the soft pink of Sturt’s Desert Rose
and the yellow blossom of the wattle you see
whilst round Spinifex clumps tickle toes.
The Perentie display colours grey, green and brown.
Red grevillea share their sweet nectar around
after rain tiny daisies and ground flowers abound
each one adding colour to country.

She paints ancient deserts in rich golden hues
inland rivers she paints ochre brown ,
whilst her oceans are tinged in soft turquoise and cream
with their shorelines in silver, and down
in the depths she has coral in carmine and green
with clusters of pink brain coral to be seen,
sunlight penetrates through the watery sheen,
illuminating the depths of God’s country.

There’s a rock in the centre that’s bright fiery red
but it changes its colour at whim.
Sometimes it is purple at other times blue –
likewise Kata Tjuta her twin.
This is Anangu land and all are welcome here
but please show respect to the rock they hold dear
she is sacred to them – do not climb her for fear
of offending their Gods in their country.

 There are flocks of Piyar-Piyarpa wheeling round
 pink and white, bright against a blue sky.
And a Papa-Inura howls often at night
as he sits ‘neath the stars - hear his cry.
As Malu – the red kangaroo thumps on by
the ancient ones hear – and their voice is a sigh,
a mere whisper of breeze as they bid you goodbye
Palya Piranpa from God’s country.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015


… Maureen Clifford © The #ScribblyBark Poet ...
landscape by william Davies

His words were the words of a poet
His picture was the landscape of dreams.

The language of the landscape spoke through his pen.
His words captured the sunlit uplands,
portrayed the sheep longing to escape the cropped grass
for the green sward in the distance.
The pen is mightier than the brush sometimes.

His words portrayed the orphan’s tears,
that swirl of the kilt and the dark grey cobblestones,
where a stray cat sat, watching the shadows.
Rusting paintwork of a filigreed arch set in the old stone wall
where lovers said farewell was almost tangible.

Hidden gems of amber beads caressed an angora neckline
beneath a Scottish plaid.
Lowering clouds, fought envious feuds , tossed on the storm front
that promised rain – yet delivered nothing.
A redheaded woman walked a white Scotty dog
 on a tartan lead , along the cast iron shore.

His words were the words of a poet

His picture was the landscape of dreams.


… Maureen Clifford © The #ScribblyBark Poet ...

They worked because none wanted to play in the hunger games
and charity was thin and sparse they found.
They worked to bring earths riches to the daylight up above
and gleaned her wealth from deep beneath the ground.
The work was hot and dirty and every man was scarred
and every face was blackened when they surfaced in the yard
and every man and boy had calloused  hands  and arms as hard
as Ironbark, from pick and shovel work.

Here lives were caught between days long and nights of endless heat,
their days were spent in darkness underground
with nought  but just a carbide lamp to shed a gleam of light
and the endless ring of picks the only sound.
Railway Bridge over the Bremer
Beneath their feet were iron rails on which coal wagons ran,
a pit pony was in the shaft when each new shift began,
a padded cap on each small head to help avoid the pain
to furry heads bumping against rock ceilings.

The Rhonda Colliery at Ipswich had its share of these
small ponies with short thick legs like small trees,
though what they lacked in size they had in muscle so it seems
for they pulled the laden wagons with such ease.
And every pony had two men ministering to its needs,
two blokes who thought the world of their little valiant steed.
At knock off time each pony followed the one in the lead
up tunnels to daylight at the surface.

At times the Bremer River would have a hissy fit
and spread her muddy waters cross the town,
the brown and turgid waters would flood low lying shafts
Palais Hotel at Ipswich
in the Eclipse mine seven men were drowned.
The Bremer rose a foot an hour – rose more than thirty feet
it lapped the Palais balcony up there on Nicholas Street,
inundated the Railway station, man could not compete
with the floodwaters of 1893.

And now we still mine coal here but no longer underground.
The Rhondda colliery has long been gone,
and Aberdare and Prior’s Pit are merely names now heard
though few who hear them know where they belong
in the history of Ipswich, where our town is built on blood
of those hard men who defined us,  gave their lives to coal and flood,
and the Bremer still  can turn our red dust into viscid mud.
It’s a working town, it’s my town – this is Ipswich.

Saturday, 17 October 2015


These are true stories - Dilladerri was our 2nd property and I named it for the tall timber there as the rough translation of that name is a place with a lot of tall timber. It carries mainly cypress but also a lot of Ironbark and Box which we cut and milled but very selectively. Just over 4000 acres with only the front 1000 acres ever cleared many years ago as it was originally a soldier’s settlement block, out the back of Texas/Inglewood. Because it was so secluded and you had to pass through 3 other properties to reach it - it was ideal for the Wildlife Land Trust who bought it. dilladerri

The property was originally known locally as Stone Fireplace as that was all that remained of an old hut built by Chinese prospectors who did have a gold mine on it. The old windlass was still over the shaft but there was no worthwhile gold there according to recent geological aerial surveys that were done. The area in its day did have gold taken from it but the discovery of rich gold fields in Gympie saw a rush of miners to that area and the gold fields throughout the Warwick, Stanthorpe and Inglewood areas were abandoned.

We had a caravan and a donga there and big machinery shed - bush style. It was a magical place. I wrote a lot of poetry about it – it was that kind of place – it moved one to write, sketch, or photograph it, and since writing was my thing – I did.


A PLACE TO HANG HIS HAT … Maureen Clifford © The #ScribblyBark Poet

‘twas miles away from nowhere but to somewhere was quite near,
a traprock block of shaly soil with history unclear.
That it was old was not in doubt - as old no doubt as time
and one time Chinese folk lived here – he’d found the old gold mine.

Along with stoppered bottles that now had opal sheen
and blackened kerosene tins where the ant-bed stove had been.
A pick head minus handle, plus a pan battered and worn,
a sluice for shale and gravel, which from upstream floods had torn.

A sudden shower of water, cold, had soaked him to the skin.
A drownpour unexpected, out of nowhere, caused a grin.
His Akubras brim poured water, in a steady downward stream
and mist rose o’er the paddock as hot soil turned rain to steam.

But everywhere around him there was beauty, there was peace
and up above two eagles soared. A skein of magpie geese
with honking cries were heading north in V formation, like
a well drilled air force squadron embarking out on a strike.

He thought this place would do quite well – a place to hang his hat.
His children’s children could run wild, unfettered and look at
the beauty nature offered in real life not on TV,
learn yesterdays old skills which he would teach them willingly.

He named it Dilladerri – from the language of the tribe
of Ancient ones who long ago in this place did reside.
A heavily timbered place was the translation of the name -
it was covered thick with cypress, good for timber not for grain.

And so it was – it came to pass –for a good while at least.
His hat hung on a hat rack in this place of blessed peace
until the winds came blowing through - his life to disarrange,
the land continued slumbering, oblivious to change.

POBBLEBONKING … Maureen Clifford © The #ScribblyBark Poet

Out past the first dam, just near the low hill
where the gums cast their shadows, and evenings are still
‘mongst the reeds and the rushes a sound can be heard
Bonk, plonk ,bonk,plonk -  is it frog or a bird?

His voice so insistent it echoes around
like a star picket being hammered into ground,
the evening concert is all he’ll attend,
my little star picket hammering friend.

I think technically he’s a Pobblebonk frog,

who hides in the mud or beneath a damp log,
where he feasts on the insects and grubs that abound
and hides very quickly if man comes around.

Some say Eastern Banjo is really his name
and like Banjo Paterson his claim to fame,
are his faithful renditions, delivered with spunk.
of a loud and explosive and resonant bonk.

At night when you’re drifting to sleep in the bush
you can hear my small mate in the night’s silent hush
calling to his mates in a demanding tone
‘I’m out here and bonking and I’m all alone.’

But soon the dark night’s serenaded with song.
There must be a hundred frogs bonking along.
And one hears an occasional sqwaaaaak as a snake
passes by and takes a frog as his dinner mate.

So just listen quietly, relax, close your eyes,
and be serenaded till morning’s sunrise.
As you drift off to sleep to the cacophony
of Pobblebonks bonking wherever they be.

DILLADERRI DREAMING … Maureen Clifford © The #ScribblyBark Poet

Somewhere out in the country, somewhere out in the scrub
Is a block of land well hidden, far removed from prying eyes.
Whilst the track you need to find it, is rocky and quite rough
high above the wilderness the eagle flies.
No stock is running on it, unless you’re counting goat and pig.
In September when the wattle blooms it fills you with surprise.
For it’s just a rough scrub block, with Ironbark, Cyprus and wild Fig
but above this wilderness the Eagle flies.

This is 'Dilladerri ' dreaming in the warmth of summer sun
'neath a sky of azure blue and mare tails white.
It waits in isolation on a road where few do come
and holds a magic that enthrals in mornings light.

In its solitary splendour it has stood for many years,
where once bush was cleared it now is overgrown.
The feeble efforts made by man to tame its rampant growth
have been by nature mostly overthrown.
Its creeks are all dried up now; the water is long gone,
and in the manmade dams remaining water's low.
Strata soil is now eroded, by the harshness of the drought.
Up above the Eagle surveys all below.

This is 'Dilladerri' dreaming on a frosty winter morn
when a heavy mist is drifting through the bush.
And a wallaby or two with a mob of kangaroo
slowly graze on winter grasses without rush.

When the rains eventually fall, bringing greenness to it all
washing dust away from scrub, and bush and tree.
Filling dams and filling creeks, Spotted Marsh frog starts to speak
as earth regains her long lost vitality.
Little rills, become a trickle, joining up become a rush,
soon a brown and foamy torrent starts to flow.
And the sight of so much water, after years of drought or longer
is a wonder to behold, for those who know.

This is 'Dilladerri ' dreaming, as she’s once again reborn
as the water, precious water, soothes her heart.
Now she’ll rise in all her glory, no longer dry and careworn.
Joyful wedge-tail eagles soar a skyward path.


Maureen Clifford © The #ScribblyBark Poet

The grey and grainy texture showed faces from different times
though some things there were familiar to me.
I recognized the outline of the range of distant hills,
the gnarled twisted limbs of our old apple tree.
The photos showed a little boy in fancy pants and collar
with a sailors hat perched on his white blond hair.
A boy and dog together posing in their Sunday best
both spruced up a treat  - a much loved family pair.

The boy was my great uncle and the dog his faithful friend
who he often drew, which caused a bit of strife.
For his father thought that drawing was a sissy thing to do,
there’s no time for fripperies in farming life.
But the boy would never settle down to farming things and such
he planned to farm the world when he grew up.
He scribbled horses onto walls and drew on scraps of paper
and many, many times he sketched the pup.

And now, sitting here quietly with a fresh coffee in hand
and the scent of new mown grass around me drifting.
I turn the pages of his book and marvel at the drawings,
at their beauty and their style, truly uplifting.
Lorikeets, with plumage red and green, on nectar feasting
leap from the pages with such clarity
with every feather quite detailed, and every blossom drifting
downwards sketched with details  very clear to see .

But then I come across the sketch I really love the best
I have known it all my life - it’s an old friend.
An outline of a prancing horse, he scribbled on a wall
of the shearing shed, where still our sheep are penned.
And though we’ve never met in life – in spirit we are joined
and I feel his presence very close today .
I marvel at a talent that war cut short in its prime,
 leaving us with just photographs and sketches aged and grey.

Friday, 16 October 2015


How well I remember the first real house that we had when we came to Australia and the traumas involved to my parents in re settling their family.

Having arrived in Australia aboard the ‘SS Iberia’ from England as new totally bewildered migrants in 1960 our first hurdle was to find that although we were supposed to disembark at Perth where our sponsors were – we were in fact going to be shipped to Sydney.  Seems that whilst we were at sea things had gone belly up, the country was in a depression, and work had dried up. The second shock was finding that half of our belongings had been unloaded at Perth.  Big tea chests full of family photographs, Mum’s Wedgewood collection and treasured Apostle Spoons, linen, clothing and other household treasures lost forever.  We never saw them again.  We often wonder who ended up with them because all our efforts to trace them came to no avail.  Wharfies were renowned in those days for their light fingers.  

Upon our arrival we were sent to a migrant hostel at Rooty Hill which to us was a one horse town miles away from anywhere.  I think Australians saw it in a similar light then.  My brother and I attended a one teacher school, amazed at these Aussie kids who must have been really poor because they didn’t wear any shoes.  Mum tried to be cheerful about living in a tin Nissan hut in the middle of an Aussie summer, and caring for her baby daughter.  All meals were eaten army style in the mess hall along with other migrants and we were all issued with cutlery and pannikins.  We – the kids – thought this was great fun – oodles of food and seconds if you wanted them.  Don’t recollect what Mum thought of this, but suspect she saw her well mannered children turning into little ferals and running wild.  We eventually were moved to Villawood migrant hostel which is now the Villawood detention centre.  It was a bit closer to Sydney but Dad had no hope of finding work despite spending hours every day walking the streets and looking.  Thousands of others were doing the same.  As our sponsors were thousands of miles away in Perth, we were effectively on our own.

My Dad had been Master at Arms on the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth  cruise liners for many years and in the course of his travels had met many Australians who had said as we do – if you are in town look us up.  So letting go his pride he did just that and contacted a couple who lived at Caloundra who remain family friends to this day…and they,  God bless them,  in good Aussie style reached out the hand of friendship to a family in strife.

We moved to Caloundra – the long trip on the train was a source of excitement to us, but must have been a nightmare for Mum and Dad.  We couldn’t afford the luxury of a sleeper – but who wanted to sleep anyway?  We arrived at Landsborough station about 60 kilometres north of Brisbane around midnight – it was as black as the ace of spades with not a streetlight or security light to be seen.  Dad’s friends were waiting for us and after bundling us and our meagre belongings into the two trucks we set off for Caloundra.  The Donaldson family owned  the local caravan park and the school bus run and made us very welcome with a lovely hot cuppa and some supper, then drove us to the little rented furnished home in Bombala Terrace,  just below the lighthouse.  Being very tired we all slept well that night, with the beam from the lighthouse flashing over our bedroom walls.

With the resilience of children, we kids were up bright and early exploring our new home.  My first and lasting memory of Caloundra was the laughing Kookaburra that greeted us new chums that morning as he ushered in the sun.  Mums problems were more immediate.  Wanting nothing more than a cup of tea and breakfast for her brood she was faced with the daunting task of using a wood stove, a big black monster, that ruled over the tiny kitchen.  Being young we took no note of her difficulties which she must have overcome as we never went hungry, it was only when I went out to live on a property in my later years I realized what a daunting task this was for her – as I then walked in her shoes.  

Mum then discovered cockroaches, hordes of them and these I think were almost Mums undoing.  We didn’t have them in England, but then she discovered the final indignity in the old backyard dunny or thunderbox.  This was not what a well bought up middle class Englishwoman was used to.  Dad didn’t care so much, he came from up North in England and they were tough working class folks in Preston and they had an outhouse anyway which was hardly any more civilized than the Aussie long-drop.

As Dad had walked past the rusting old water tank outside the back door he noticed a dribble of water – investigating it further he had touched the spot and the tank being rusted now sported a larger hole.  The dribble became a flow, the flow became a flood and Dad in true Dutch boy and the dyke tradition was trying to stem the flow with his fist whilst yelling for Mum to bring buckets or jars to catch the water.  Even the dumbest pommie knew that Australia had chronic water shortages and droughts and to die through lack of water after working so hard to get here was not part of Dads plan.  Meanwhile the next door neighbour stood laconically leaning against the fence rolling a smoke and watching the antics in amazement.  Once he had ascertained that this was not some strange tribal dance we were partaking in he pointed out that we were in fact on town water and the tap was around the side of the house.  You’d never know we were new chums….not much. 

Time for us kids to attend school.  A fair walk along dirt roads – and we wanted to be like the Aussie kids and we were not going to wear shoes – despite Mums horror.  The pain inflicted on our tender feet by the sharp gravel was horrendous.  But we bore it stoically and even grinned.  We were Aussies now.  We lined up on parade every morning at school for assembly, the hot bitumen of the playground starting to cause a bit of discomfort to our feet, but like the Aussie kids we bore it, standing hand over our heart as we repeated the ode to our flag.  I honour my God, I serve my Queen, I salute my flag.  Then we marched back into school with the school band playing a rousing if tuneless march – their enthusiasm making up for their lack of expertise, and then before classes started we were all given a small bottle of milk to drink.  It was disgusting.  Warm from sitting in the sun, often times verging on being off or just on the turn and slightly curdled, but it was the Governments way of ensuring every school child received some nutrition to get their little brains up and working, and grew up big and strong.  Sometimes the magpies had beaten the kids to the milk and pecked through the foil tops to get at the cream layer – that was back in the days when milk wasn’t pasteurized and all milk bottles had a layer of cream floating on the top.

Mums first morning tea organized by the neighbourhood ladies was a ‘bring a plate’ affair – with no explanation of that truly Australian saying given.  Presuming the hostess to be short of china, Mum obligingly took along six of her best plates – all empty.  

Over the course of the years we moved to Nambour where Dad did cane cutting - lasting all of three days in the blazing sun before the heatstroke and the beer got the better of him.  Dad was never a drinker but the cane cutters always went to the pub on Friday night so they took Dad along.  They also delivered him home - smashed - and asked Mum if she would like a hand putting him to bed.  Dad had drunk four beers.  I think the cane cutters were truly amazed.    Dad managed to get a blue collar job on the local council, doing painting, and carpentry and such.  One of his first jobs was at Cotton Tree on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.  His claim to fame was the toilet block at Cotton Tree just near the still stands...a constant source of amazement to us as Dad’s bricklaying skills were at the best dodgy.

We then moved to Ascot in Brisbane where we attended Ascot State School - my one memory of being there was a bitch of a teacher who took great delight in sending me out to stand on the school verandah after announcing in a loud voice that I was useless, stupid and would amount to nothing.  I ran away from that school several times in the first week.  After she slapped me across the face one time and Dad took her to task over it, not mincing his words, she thankfully left me alone.    I lived to prove her wrong.  I even manage to be an editor these days for The Australia Times Group Poetry Magazine.

 Dad and Mum bought a corner store at Stevenson Street, Ascot in the days before it became popular with the trendy set and when trams were still running into Brisbane.  The little corner shop -  was what was known back then as a Mum & Dad store, although Mum ran it on her own as Dad got work at Claude Neon’s as an electrician installing the big flashing Neon advertising signs around Brisbane.   Because Mum could buy all of her stock at wholesale prices she managed to keep us all fed on very little $'s - she was a good cook and also made lovely little shortbreads and cupcakes and fruit slices that she sold to customers and very popular they were, although not so much with the Jockeys who were around that area as they were constantly dieting to get to their racing weight.

I was in seventh heaven living at Ascot ...a teenage girl surrounded by horses and jockeys.  I had a crush on Danny Frahm who worked at Fred Best's.  He was Prunda's jockey for most of his races, and Danny himself went on to be a champion jockey and eventually a trainer himself.  He was a  couple of years older than me and not really interested at all in a silly horse-mad kid, but I recall him being a nice young bloke.   I worked for a while whenever I could for love of the horses and the opportunity to ride them at Harry Hatton’s stables and had for a while the care of Prunda, a gorgeous bay horse with the temperament of a lamb. He was blind in one eye - something that not many people knew, and of course today there was no way he would be allowed to race but things were different back in the 60s.  He was a pretty good horse too in his day - still remembered.  I have seen streets bearing his name.  

Dad bought us a red heeler pup called Rusty - unbeknownst to me at the time, Rusty killed a lot of the neighbour’s chooks and jumped the fence and started rounding up the racehorses as they were being walked through the streets to the racecourse at Doomben.  Dad took him to the pound but told me he had run off.  I searched for that dog for weeks and broke my heart.  I was about 30 before Dad actually told me the truth.  Poor little bugger, he was only doing what he was bred to do.  I hope someone gave him a loving home.

We then moved to Redcliffe and Mum and Dad both worked as nursing attendants at Eventide until they retired and moved out to Glasshouse Mountains.  That was an idyllic time for all of us I think - I continued to attend Hendra High School travelling by bus backwards and forwards each day.  I was in the first intake of students to Hendra High and somewhere in that school library is my name on a wooden plaque.  These days it is called Aviation High School.

Many years have passed now...My Dad has gone, Mum is now  into her nineties and living in a Nursing Home on the Gold Coast close to my Sister –   All of us kids have grown and raised our own families and now our kids are now raising their families.  Our family gatherings now sport four generations of Australians.  Between us we have covered a fair bit of our country.  We are dinki di Aussies and bloody proud of it, and we all love our country with a passion.

When we were at Rooty Hill with no car we used to go on ‘constitutionals’ venturing forth in Indian file out along country roads, and I remember Dad stopping to talk with an old farmer who said to him ‘Mate – welcome to the land of Milk and Honey - but hope you bought your own cow and bloody bees.’  I found that hilarious and it stuck in my head and many years later wrote this for Mum and Dad as heartfelt thanks for Dad’s foresight in bringing us to the land of Milk and Honey.

Maureen Clifford © The #ScribblyBark Poet

Welcome to Gods country, the land of milk and honey
but hope you bought your bees and cows as well as heaps of money
He said it with a grin and no doubt it was a joke
but as I sit reminiscing I recall that Aussie bloke.

It’s a land that’s harsh and brutal but it breeds its people strong.
Its Bushmen are exalted in poetry and song.
This land we call Australia, an island large is she
and I’m bloody glad to be here.  She’ll do me.

Whilst some still call me Pommie the majority don’t twig
that I’m not Aussie born and bred and true blue ridgey didge,
‘cause I guess I seem fair dinkum, like a true blue Aussie Mate,
and by crikey that is true an’ all – I think this country’s great.

So to all you British Gentlemen with your Palaces and Halls,
you’re most welcome to come visit and stay within our walls,
but remember us Colonials in our land of milk and honey
have a lifestyle others envy – bought with sweat and toil not money.

Thursday, 15 October 2015


Mahalia had been an abused dog prior to me getting her.  We believe she had been beaten and kicked and think that caused her liver cancer/lymphoma which was diagnosed nearly 4 years ago.  At the time the vet told me to take her home and love her – she has maybe 2 months.  But my girl was a fighter, she never gave up and neither did I.  We managed another 4 years, and every day was a blessing.  The last few weeks I noticed she was really slowing down and just wanted to be near me all the time, we both knew that the end was coming I think.  She has done the hard yards many times over and is one of the bravest dogs I know.  She overcame every hurdle and always gave of her best.  No one could ask for more.

Pets at Peace came and took her body away.  Gently they placed her in a bed, cocooned her in a pink blanket and gave Ellyssa a little bear to comfort her as well.  Elly and I said our farewells and Mahalia's ashes will return home next week. 

Tonight she will sit beside another chair.  Hopefully her Grandpa will have found her and all her other cousins the ones that went before her will make her welcome, for they have all been together in my heart for many years. 

Goodbye my gorgeous girl until we meet again.  You will always be loved. 

   REQUIM FOR MAHALIA – 15.10.15

Your eyes are opened but don’t see , even though they stare at me.
You lie there in your usual place, relaxed, at peace and now that space
is empty.  You won’t rest no more, beside my chair or near the door,
for you my girl have gone, departed, and I am left here broken hearted.

You were the bravest girl I knew, and adversity had found you
but to the challenge oft’ you rose and overcame, and oh how those
days  played a part,  but to give up – not in your heart.
You can rest now – your soul’s in flight – my angel’s by God’s chair tonight

With Uncle Mike not long after I rehomed her in November 2005
One of the last pictures taken of her with her sister Ellyssa

She had blood tests done that diagnosed the lymphoma in 2011

A cruciate ligament repair in the middle of a cold Ipswich winter saw her downstairs for about 6 weeks as she couldn't manage the stairs

Looking gorgeous