Some poetry and thoughts

As there is a break in my regular poetry readings, I thought I’d put up a few things that I have written with a bit of commentary.

Christmas was a tough time for my family; the first since we lost our beloved Sam, and some of us (including me) got a dose of Covid-19 as an added feature. The first time for me, though most others have had it before. I certainly found it a levelling experience, not as bad as some flus I’ve had in the past but the aching and lack of motivation were debilitating for a time. Not too many respiratory symptoms for me, though a croaky throat still persists.

So, I wrote the following poem about Covid for Christmas:

An Unwelcome Present

So, Covid for Christmas 
No joy in that
The sniffles and aches 
Coughing and low energy. 

Day 4 now and still 
The symptoms persist 
Though managed by pills
And enforced rest. 

I’ve had worse in the past 
Or so I think
But probably best not to compare 
Until it’s run its course. 

The strangest feeling yet
Like a good kick to the crotch
Part of the aches and pains 
All effects very individual. 

My wife coughing more
And losing her taste 
While I just doze
And self dose for the headaches. 

But, marginally better today 
And hopefully all good soon 
Thankful that not badly affected 
As so many have been. 

Brian Matthews, 30-12-22

A few days after Christmas we finally had some very hot weather and I had to write about this as the strange weather patterns in Australia persist. In line with recent patterns, summer then disappeared again but has made a few comebacks since and I even got slightly sunburnt yesterday after a few hours at the local beach and inadequate sunscreen application. This doesn’t happen to me often as I have olive skin from some of my Maltese ancestors and I usually carefully apply lots of sunscreen and keep out of the sun at the worst times. But, I usually don’t sit on the beach for hours without a tshirt and so the back, stomach, and shoulders are smarting a little.

Summer’s Finally Here

The temperature in the high 30s
The heat creeping in everywhere 
Not until after Christmas 
But arriving at last. 

Young grandkids on a bouncy castle
Able to turn the water on finally 
Exhausting themselves bouncing
Sliding and splashing, of course. 

Energy gone after a few hours
As the peak of the heat reached
Watermelon and drinks not enough 
The cool of the house sought. 

After some lunch, a nap/rest
The batteries will recharge 
The outside sought again 
And so the cycle goes. 

Brian Matthews, 27-12-22

And, as seems to happen with me recently, I had a brief Haiku spurt. one prompted by my 6 year old grandson Jack’s fixation on a new device he received recently and the second from the observation of our old dog, Riley’s, clear disdain for the high level activity of our grandchildren:

Concentration deep
Staring at the device’s screen –
But still shares his score 

The old small dog rests
Watching the children askance  –
When will peace return

I think Riley’s expression and body language says it all

Words to Share 20-12-22

An audio recording of my readings on the Words to Share segment with Jan Potter on
Happy FM, and the details of my readings.

Today’s readings dedicated to Ryder Matthews, one of my grandsons.

Happy birthday Ryder!!

So Ryder’s 10 today!
His party already over
Most presents received.

A bit boring I guess
To have nothing special on
But Pop and BaBa send their love

Thinking of the little baby he was
How fast he’s grown
Too soon launching into the world.

So many will think of you
On this your special day
Hugs aplenty come Christmas.

Love from Pop & BaBa


A Council Meeting
Such careful adherence
To rules of order
So many terms repeated
My eyes glaze over.

The dynamics interesting
Group against group
Denying a team effort
The optimal outcome.

The Chair manages well
Juggling the competing views
A very difficult task
No solution pleasing all.

Can there be a way?
To put the past aside
Or at least the emotions
Bubbling forth at will.

Can the goals be agreed?
A path laid ahead
The ways to reach this accepted
The community kept informed

Time only will tell
How the process moves
Whether enough good will
Can be garnered by all.

Suffering from certainty
On one side or the other
Can only detract from the outcome
Ensuring time is wasted.

Transparency a noble aim
Though difficult to achieve
Let’s hope for some semblance of this
In our District’s future.

Brian Matthews,  29-11-22

Politics Reimagined
It is so heartwarming to see
A Prime Minister we can respect
Reviewing his government’s achievements
In six short months.

While those on the other side
Scowl and grumble
Their former leader now pilloried
And covered in shame.

No government is perfect
But the former one is under a cloud
Preference for big business apparent
Concern for individuals absent.

May we stride forward with pride
Amending laws as needed
To encourage prosperity for all
And social justice for those in need.

A balance in views always needed
Regardless of where you stand
But the goal should always be clear
Equity and a voice for all.

Brian Matthews 2-12-22

Not a Perfect Man
And on this day I reflect
My Father’s birthday comes again
99 he would have been
But 34 years since he passed.

I wonder what he would have thought
About a world connected as it is
Yet simultaneously disconnected
As age old rivalries persist.

He would have still enjoyed a beer
Friendships and family to the fore
Enjoying the laughter of his kin
Taking each day as if his last.

Taken too, too young he was
Never to see his grandchildren grow
Yet a powerful legacy left
Of a warm and generous man.

And yet not all would agree
Those who could not see
Beyond an, at times, brash exterior
To the warmth and love within.

So grateful that I grew to know him
The love and respect beneath the shell
But most did this understand
His actions drowning his words.

A harsh life having made him wary
Of showing the softness within
His deep, deep concern
His generosity and love.

Not a perfect man
But a cut above most I think
There for me whenever needed
And for many others it was so.

Brian Matthews, 13-12-22

Counting the Cost

Sitting in a camp ground
Trying out our new van
The end of the river high
But nowhere near its peak.

So many people displaced
Crops lost aplenty
Stock shifted to higher ground
Houses and shacks flooded.

Months yet till the floods recede
Then a huge cleanup to come
Until all restored to as it was
Sharing tales of what was lost.

And so it is in our wild land
A place of such extremes
Nature gives in such abundance
Then whips it away in a flash.

Planning for such events
Beyond our feeble capacities
The weather, at times, has its way
Leaving so many to count the cost.

People cleaning and rebuilding
Crops replanted and stock replenished
And I sit here pondering
While not affected I feel the loss.

Brian Matthews, 13/12/22

Christmas Poem
Christmas comes once a year
The prelude well extended
While bells ring in the background
And the cash registers resound.

A time of family for many
And friends for others
A rare person where
No family/friend are present.

Sometimes family get togethers
Are uncomfortable for some
But a time of joy for most
Just being with loved ones enough.

And the children
Ah, the children….
Christmas excitement at the fore
Revelling in the little rituals

I hope all will enjoy others
At this special time
When work is put aside for most
And we focus on our kin.

Brian Matthews, 19-12-22

Some Haiku

After some sailing
A shower so welcome now –
Washing the salt off

The small dog jumps down
Too far his beloved Mum –
Dispenser of all

Thinking of a meal
In active preparation –
Taste buds soon will sing

The chilly wind blows
Clouds obscure the sun again –
Summer has hidden

Waiting on the phone
Recorded message repeats –
Reading a book helps

Hearing another
Reveal their tribulations –
Pleasing that it helps

Thinking of sailing
Such a slow day yesterday –
But still such good fun

Bugga the Annex
It is too hard to put up –
Have a beer instead

Rites of Passage
At a country pub
Quite a crowd
Kids all squeaky clean
Hair combed and good clothes

Turns out a primary school graduation
No such thing in my day
Shown the door promptly
And kicked into the high school wasteland

Maybe a tradition stolen
From our American cousins
Or just a natural evolution
Children more praised now.

Rites of passage change
As time marches on
And our world with it
The happy children absorb it all.

Brian Matthews 12/12/22

Another bit of Haiku I squeezed in

The bin sits lonely
It’s lid slightly misaligned –
A pong if opened.

A quote to end my session..

DCI Thursday, Thames Valley Police
Endeavour, Season 8, end of Episode 3

Sun always comes up.
Just gotta hold on for it for a bit longer sometimes, is all.

Words to Share 22-11-22

An audio recording of my readings on the Words to Share segment with Jan Potter on
Happy FM, and the details of my readings.

J Ward

A visit to a gaol
That then served as an asylum
Barbaric treatment of the vulnerable
Not so distant in our past.

When a gaol
The destitute sentenced
For no real crime
Other than their poverty.

When an asylum
Those different hidden away
And even though attempts at compassion
Life so different from others.

Until the very old man freed
To be found on the doorstep
Where else would I go?
That world is strange to me.

So many of these maladies
Now curable or treatable
But rejecting differences
Still deeply ingrained in most.

Brian Matthews, 10-10-22


The sun is shining
Bird calls everywhere
The flowers bloom
Bees buzzing furiously.

Spring well and truly here
The cold and wet now memories
The heat poised and ready
The cycle comes again.

And yet in the East
The rain still falls
The rivers still swell
A flooded Murray imminent.

A country with such extremes
Neighbours poised to help
Not knowing who is next
Nature never still for long.

Hard to remember the long, long droughts
Though sure they’ll come again
Fairy tale weather cannot last
Though enjoyable when it appears.

Brian Matthews, 22/10/22

A family gathers

A family get together
A birthday party this time
Little Jack’s six already
Such a lovely, sweet boy.

The bread and dips scoffed
Laughter and drinks consumed
Banter around the table
Children playing happily.

Some tears inevitably appear
But just a little accident
And the fun and games reappear
Conversations rolling on.

Though an unseasonal wet day
The afternoon gently unfolds
The company enjoyable
Joy an inevitable feature.

The barbecue to top it off
Sausages and chicken tasty
And so it slowly winds down
Guests departing amidst smiles and hugs.

Little events so meaningful
Bonds acknowledged and strengthened
Tales shared and re-shared
Thankful that we will do it again.

Brian Matthews, 25/10/22

A Fashion Parade

A fashion parade
Fundraiser at the bowls club
Our Choir providing a few songs

Fun had by all
Elegant, mature women
Strutting their stuff

Designs from the Op Shop
Culled from generous donations
Giving new life to the previously loved

And so communities act
Drawing all together
Making events out of the every day.

And people leave with a spring in their steps
Relationships re-shaped and re-forged
Reminded of the social needs we all share.

Brian Matthews, 25-10-22

Barbara’s Birthday 2022

Another birthday is here
To give my darling cheer
So, happy birthday is due
May it be a joy to you.

A year of turmoil and loss
The universe not giving a toss
But, fun has certainly been had
Not much from me, my bad.

I promise in the year to come
This will change if it can be done
A time of travel, fun and a laugh
Wrapped around you like a scarf.

So, to you I send all my love
And my hopes that from above
Good times will again rain down
Laughter replacing the long frown.

Brian Matthews 27/10/22

Below is a poem a friend (Mark Reimers) wrote:

I wrote this for the occasion of Jason’s 40th  birthday.

I first met Jason when he was a young child approximately 40 years ago.

The invitation:

Lying there like a Moonah tree, on the shore of Swan Lake, your twisted limbs confronted me…

lying there needing assistance to reposition and move I intuit your discomfort…

Lying there unable to speak your eyes communicate more than words ever could…

Lying there you look at me ,you REALLY look at me, and in your eyes there are questions

Lying there your look invites connection, free from the conventions of words rather than asking and the usual banter of where do you live?What do you do? And Implied questioning of your net worth, do you own your home are you renting? Are you married?what do you do?

Rather than that, your look asks…

Do you see me?

Are you vulnerable enough to connect with me?

Will  you commune with me?

Can you sit with me?

And as I process this inquisitive intent, communicated in a single, complex look of expectation you beam at me and I am drawn in to your world

I connect, but I am aware that others reject you, and you have taught me to accept rejection with such good grace as you continue to, with each new encounter, invite connection

Being with you, and bathing in your full bodied smile always delights

Thanks for being my teacher about connection and relationships

Happy Birthday to you Jason

Mark Reimers 2022

My Sister’s Birthday

I got it wrong
Phoning my sister the day before
But we had a good chat
And it reduced the traffic on the day.

Sibling relationships important
Though commonly fraught
With baggage from the past
Some things difficult to change.

Sometimes growing apart over time
Memories of the past obscuring
The relationship in the present
Gnawing old, old bones.

But value her I do
Though apart for lengthy periods
Work and family limiting contact
But there for each other when needed.

Acceptance of difference critical
Joining in support of our Mother
Leaning on each other
In her slow and painful decline.

Knowing that she was there for me
During the illness and death of my Son
Accepting her sincere prayers
Though faithless myself.

It is such a shame
That these connections
Do not always survive
Life’s confusion and misread intentions.

But accept this we must
And rejoice in that which remains
The love and support of another
Whose knowledge of you is unique.

What we can control in life
Is our love freely given
And to Margy I offer this
With best wishes for her special day.

Brian Matthews, 1/11/22

Reflections on the verandah

Sitting on the verandah
The spring day warming
Bird life in full song
Thinking of the weekend past.

Heart warming voices of grandchildren
Splashing in the water
While Pop drifts on the sea
A lovely day for all else.

The sailors congregate on the shore
Welcome activity after a long break
Sorting out minor challenges
Hopeful the wind will lift.

Alas, it does not
Just enough puff there
To complete two races
Then relax a while on the beach.

And the corellas squawk by
Reminding of the season
Stating, we are here again
To feed and breed.

Cars pass by, tires swooshing
The hum of a mower blending in
The smell of so many flowers
Has Spring sprung this time?

Brian Matthews, 7/11/22

The Sky opens

Thought Spring had sprung
Then clouds loomed again
And water sheeted from the sky
Gutters not coping anymore.

Photos and videos appear
Of areas swamped
Buckets and mops in use
A rare person with no incursion.

Hours spent cleaning up
And normality achieved
Then another day brings more
Downpour after downpour.

Such unusual weather here
The long dry so prominent
Old timers scratch their heads
Few having seen the likes of this.

Easing off it surely must
And eventually just showers
But more grief for many
Counting the storms’ cost.

Wishing again for milder times
Sunshine and lighter showers
Plants bursting forth
Water both friend and enemy.

Brian Matthews, 13/11/22

Sam’s Birthday

He would have been 39
Such a force of nature
Wrapped in a quiet cloak.

All who loved him
Today will grieve
Reality strikes yet again.

The roller coaster of emotion
Continuing still unabated
His face still smiling.

Our dear Sam still lives
In the hearts of so many
Leaves a deep, deep hole.

Today I remember him
As every day I do
Sending love to the stars.

Brian Matthews 21-11-22

Quotation from a recently read book

“There is this quote from Caesar that speaks to me,” he said, and then, looking into Sanya’s eyes, he said softly, “What we wish, we readily believe, and what we ourselves think, we imagine others think also.”

— The Copenhagen Affair by Amulya Malladi

The house that Jerry built

Made my head twirl. Great job Doug

Six Crooked Highways

This piece was written for the Six Sentence Challenge, with the prompt word of ‘structure’. What the hell it means I have no idea. 😉

To describe what Jerry had built as a ‘structure’ strained the definition to breaking point and made Escher’s multi-dimensional fantasies seem like a housing project blueprint in comparison.

The foundations, to the extent that they existed at all, consisted of a tissue of lies laid haphazardly on top of the quicksand of his adolescent fantasies of transcending his mundane suburban origins.

The walls seemed like Japanese-style internal sliders but were made of little more than recycled pizza boxes covered in a decoupage of graduation certificates, attendance records, little athletics participation ribbons and degrees purchased from the Oxbridge Online University.

The floors (or, more correctly, flaws) comprised remaindered books rescued from a rubbish skip, including ‘The Wit and Wisdom of Donald Trump’, ‘1001 Ways With…

View original post 86 more words

Words to Share 18-10-22

An audio recording of my readings on the Words to Share segment with Jan Potter on Happy FM, and the details of my readings.

To Sarah

To Sarah I say
Get on with your day
Avoid nagging your man
Just because you can.

A tipple or two
Makes sure you’re not blue
A joke could be included
Unless totally deluded.

Spread that smile around
Helping others to ground
Always there to help another
While others just don’t bother.

Brian Matthews, 30-8-22

Time with My Son
Some time with my son, Todd
Sharing of feelings and ideas 
Positive energy transferred. 

A feeling of fire in my belly 
Admiring his grasp of life
Hoping some of this came from me. 

So rare these times 
When we share freely 
Memories bounce around. 

It will live long with me
And I think with him
A special, special time. 

Brian Matthews, 11/9/22


I can’t do haiku
It’s really difficult
Think I shall give up

Original, Author Unknown
Amended to fit the 5-7-5 by
Brian Matthews, 7-10-22

Around wattles bloom
While still green surrounds us all
Reminding me of my son

See the stringy trees
The smells of nature so rich
Birds ever present

The long dead tree leans
Branches reaching to the sky
And yet it still stands

A gentle breeze blows
The insects play in the dam
I sit and reflect

Tiny blueish flowers
Such small  stars dotted around
Stating we are here

The roo bounds slowly
In no hurry to arrive
Seeking who knows what

The bee floats along
From one flower to the next
Nothing else required

Sitting on a log
Surrounded by nature’s sounds –
Subtle fragrances

Standing by a tree
Enjoying a quiet wee-
Yet hidden I hope

The colours flit by
Disappearing into trees-
But not the blue wren

The sun is warming
The heat shared by everyone-
Then the cool wind blows

How often I felt
The need to grieve suppressed-
So, for what purpose?

Brian Matthews, 29/9/22

And the rain comes down
Over an inch each day now –
The tent overwhelmed again

Brian Matthews, 13-10-22

The sun emerges
Ah, the sun at last
After so much rain
Even experienced campers
With good equipment
Come undone when the skies open.

Part of the problem
Setting up in heavy rain
Tent pegs poorly placed
Interior of the tent saturated
And still the tempest continued

Once the rain reduced
The structures tweaked
Excess liquid mopped up
A heater happily enlisted
And calm and comfort achieved.

And now with some sunshine
A relaxing walk is possible
Riley, our dog, snuffling smells
Bounding around with joy
Absorbing nature’s changes.

A metaphor for life in general
As we delight in the pleasures
After challenges and hardship
Always knowing deep in our hearts
To experience happiness we need pain.

Brian Matthews, 7-10-22.   

Miles and miles of gums
Misshapen and straggly
Rolling fields of grain
And bright canola crops.

Such a vast country
The road unfurling
The space between towns
Taking hours to travel.

Silos painted skilfully
A huge stick house
Built for grain storage
The size just unbelievable

All this interspersed
By regional centres
Both big and small
The rich earth abundant.

And areas so often beset
By the long, long dry
Now experiencing the opposite
A time of flooding rains.

Such variety our country has
To both displace and feed its fauna
To give hope then despair
Reminding people of their limited control.

But after rain there is always sun
After despair hope lingers still
As long as we can cling on
Better times will appear.

Brian Matthews, 13-10-22

A quote from a recently read book

“Of all the exams that she had sat over the years, her A levels had been the most stressful. She had truly believed that her entire life was on the line, that if she failed to get the grades to take the next step then everything would be ruined and her life would be over. How naïve and over-dramatic that felt now, but at the time she had been convinced it was right.”

— Impossible To Forget by Imogen Clark

Words to Share 6-9-22

An audio recording of my readings on the Words to Share segment with Jan Potter on Happy FM, and the details of my readings.

An audio recording of the segment

For Erin
Words are all I have
To explain and comfort
To help map a way ahead.

But now they fail me
No directions appearing
Support feeling superficial.

I wish I could do something
Nothing now appearing
The future a blur.

A brave young woman
Children by her side
Taking one step at a time.

And so it must be
For others can’t direct
Or choose her path.

All who know her
Would unreservedly agree
She has the wherewithal.

But the challenges abound
Rearing their heads
The expected and unexpected.

Standing alone now
Lonely in the crowd
The sounding board silent.

And yet a whisper exists
The things Sam said and felt
The love not lost.

Brian Matthews, 24-8-22

A night out
Such fun to be here
Live music and dancing
Songs in the air
Jostling with the laughter.

Smiling faces all around
An affirmation of life
Not just stewing at home
Gnawing the bone of grief.

Snippets of conversation
No subject too lengthy
Living in the now
Shaking the old bones.

A refreshing change
An important reminder
Of the need for joy
Fertiliser for the soul.

Brian Matthews, 28/8/22

The link
The bond between parent and child
Emotional and physical
Genes tugging back & forth
So many shared experiences.

The bond between partners
Again, shared experiences
Importantly, shared dreams
A path mapped out together.

These links are assumed
Though not always there
Needing to be fed and watered
Shrivelling if not maintained.

Care for another at the core
But that is not enough
Showing the love important
Heart on the sleeve.

Sharing the strengths
Appreciating the vulnerabilities
Always being there
Without overpowering their will.

Brian Matthews, 28/8/22

For my children
On this my special day
To all of you I say
Thank you for your sentiments
So much better than any presents.

Life is busy at your age
More so than any other stage
I did not fully realise it in the past
Too busy working at the mast.

Time is fleeting so it’s said
Best not waste it in your bed
Though sleep is needed and to be enjoyed
It’s also necessary to be employed.

In the constant work of life
Engaging with others no matter the strife
Showing love and concern
Not allowing bridges to burn.

Brian Matthews, 28/8/22

Goodbye Normanville Beach Cafe
So like a wake
Free food and drink
Tears and laughter
A sense of disbelief.

People gathering to share
Memories and anecdotes
Friends joking and reconnecting
But not at this place anymore.

The vocal few’s attempts foiled
Realisation of this reality
Now sinking in to those opposed
Guilty now that they did not act.

But it has been obvious to most
That this change was not wanted
The glass castle envisaged
And the debt now assured.

A Council that has not listened
Claims that objectors are few
Ensuring bad will in the future
As rates rise yet again.

And in its wake a family
Ravaged by these events
To be replaced by Food Trucks
All atmosphere gone.

Change is inevitable
That we all know
But casting aside loved assets
Should be done with care.

No amount of argument
Will convince all to agree
But a decision bullied through
Leaves a sour lingering taste.

Brian Matthews, 3-9-22

Father’s Day 2022
Four men at a table
Sharing their lives
Joking and laughing
But the deep pain is there.

The time passes too quickly
To a park they move
Not dressed for the weather
But difficult to draw apart.

Sharing tales of Sam
The man no longer there
Unwilling to end this time
Returning to their families.

For he cannot do this
Though his wife and children remember
In a visit to his beach
Writing in the sand.

The harsh edges of sorrow
Gradually worn smoother
By time and experience
The roots of love expanding.

These times can be hard
But losses are part of life
We must rise from the ashes of grief
Lest we betray the love of those lost.

Brian Matthews, 5-9-22

Joy does not arrive with a fanfare,
on a red carpet strewn with the flowers of a perfect life.

Joy sneaks in, as you pour a cup of coffee,
watching the sun hit your favourite tree, just right.

And you usher joy away,
because you are not ready for it.
Your house is not as it must be,
for such a distinguished guest.

But joy cares nothing for your messy home,
or your bank-balance,
or your waistline, you see.

Joy is supposed to slither through the cracks of your imperfect life,
that’s how joy works.

You cannot invite her, you can only be ready when she appears.

And hug her with meaning,

because in this very moment,

joy chose you.

Donna Ashworth

Words to Share 9-8-22

An audio recording of my readings on the Words to Share segment with Jan Potter on Happy FM, and the details of my readings.

Audio of the segment

Grief, a difficult concept 
No two griefs the same 
Individuals dealing differently
All sharing the deepest pain. 

Pulling selves up
Climbing a hill each day
One without a crest 
Continuing into the distance. 

And what’s ahead so hazy 
The topography shifting 
Shapes blurry to the vision
Emotions churning endlessly. 

Part of us knows the curve will flatten 
The path ahead will take shape 
Deep feelings explored
Answers no longer needed. 

For if this doesn’t happen 
Bitterness creeps in
Laying waste to the joy left
Ignoring the “sparkling moments”. 

When deep in this black hole
All seems so pointless 
But smiles, comfort and love 
Can drag us into the light.

Brian Matthews, 1/8/22

A Young Mum Bereft 
A young mum bereft 
Two young children 
But a gaping absence. 

How to move on alone?
Friends and family 
Cannot fill this void. 

Continuous reminders appear
Aggravating the wound
The emotions so raw. 

A future so full of hope
Now seems a landscape of despair 
All certainty stripped away. 

Populate that scenario she will
Nature abhors a vacuum 
Children’s needs calling. 

But this pain should not be minimised 
Cutting so sharp and deep
No easy answers forthcoming. 

A different calm will appear 
One without his being
Though always with his presence. 

Brian Matthews, 29/7/22

The journey 
Surrounded by loved ones
This is such a blessing 
Those with whom you share
The pain of this loss. 

Each grieving in their own way
But each aware of the pain
That others share with them
Not knowing how to deal with this. 

Focussing on the way ahead 
How to recover some joy 
Acknowledging what he gave us
Knowing we’ll never see his like again. 

He carved a path unique 
Saw the world in his own way
Peered beyond the veil 
Unwrapped new truths. 

For this I will always be thankful 
A novel view of the world
A quirky way of looking 
At what is common to all. 

Brian Matthews, 28/7/22

The Dust Settles
The dust settles 
As it surely does
After the storm. 

The sun fights through 
Clouds previously impenetrable 
Now merely wisps. 

Still cold the days
A month before Spring 
More rain yet to fall. 

And even in the midst of heat
A cold front may appear 
Casting its temporary shroud. 

Temperature goes up and down
And so it always will
Weather rarely constant. 

A metaphor for life
Nothing stays the same
Change an eternal feature. 

All that can be done
Is to hold on firmly
Seeking some stability. 

Looking for hope
That brightness will emerge 
Dispelling the settled gloom. 

Brian Matthews, 27/7/22

The reason my words I hide
Is fear of showing who I am
Opening myself to judgement 
Flirting with condemnation. 

I like to scratch my crotch in the evening,
Let out a loud belch or fart when alone,
And too many other things
I just cannot share with many. 

But are these little secrets
All that we fear examined?
Not likely I suggest,
It is really terror about all the rest. 

The deep inner uncertainties,
The feelings of guilt and shame. 
What if people truly knew
What this well practiced mask obscures?

You are such a lovely bloke,
Many people will say,
My loved ones may cringe at this
For they see more of who I am. 

Sometimes I think it might be better,
To wear a less appreciated face,
A misogynistic old bastard,
Or at least a grumpy mantle. 

The latter I can at times be,
The former just doesn’t fit me,
I guess I will just continue 
To open up more as time goes on. 

But something that I have learned,
Is that authenticity can be misunderstood,
Conveying a deep feeling to some,
Is not always a wise practice. 

Oh, that’s deep ‘professor’
Is something I’ve experienced,
Or ‘I don’t have time like some
To explore the issues you mention’. 

I try to never chide another 
For sharing deep concerns. 
Owning your feelings is paramount,
Examining them for clues. 

But endless circling is fraught,
With dangers contained in every thought,
Pulling it out for momentary examination,
Then stuffing it back to avoid the panic. 

The fright in finding dark, dark parts,
The face of self we like avoided. 
Confronting these bits is so important,
Done with those we value and respect. 

We all have frailties we prefer to hide,
Real and imagined gaps and hollows. 
The only way to change and grow
Is to weed and water the fallow soul. 

Not every moment is needed for this task,
As only focussing on long introspection,
Avoids the joy that we might find,
By examining the world and its direction. 

Brian Matthews, 6/5/2020

In the Telling
In the telling of a story,
The story changes,
How much and when
Is never clear. 

Questioning what has happened,
Is it a function of ageing,
Or a process of development?
The outcome is the same. 

No story is written in stone,
Nor marble, wood, or concrete. 
To describe me like this forever,
Is a mistake and must be disdained. 

Brian Matthews, 11/3/19

The Year Book’s out,
I’m with a friend. 
This person, and that,
This memory and not that. 

How it tugs at you,
The memories you have,
Or not at all,
It seems so strange. 

Some things will stick,
A face and name,
And others it seems,
You’ve not met at all. 

Thus it is with memory,
As with much of life,
We’ve not truly experienced it,
Without sharing something. 

But memories which are shared,
Are so often somewhat different. 
Objective reality seems a fantasy,
As does objective truth. 

Brian Matthews 11/3/19

A quotation to end the segment

“In my experience, nothing comes close to a mother’s grief at losing her child. It is a primal, terrible thing to see, a woman who has grown a child within the confines of her body, has birthed it in a ritual that comes as close to death as the living ever dare tread, and then lost it. Grief is not a competition, but if it were, this grief would win, hands down.

Close on its heels, though, is the grief of a father, of family, of anyone who has accepted responsibility for a little life, nurturing it and watching over it as it stretches out into the world.”

— Daughters of Eve by Nina D. Campbell

Words to Share 5-7-22

Dedicated to my son Sam (21/11/83 – 3/7/22) who passed away after a 10 month battle with a particularly vicious form of stomach cancer.

Audio recording of my reading of the poems below on Words to Share, with Jan Potter, on Happy FM, 90.1

Winter Comes
Another winter comes around
Leaves scattered on the ground
Rain coming in waves
Wind swirling in the eaves.

Darker the days will get yet
Of that there can be no bet
The cold chilling the bones
The stomach churning full of stones.

And as the ground absorbs the water
The sun peeks through to tease each daughter
Sons, mothers and fathers too
Each wrapping up as all will do.

And the Earth keeps revolving
All who live on her constantly evolving
Knowing that in the not distant future
New life will come ever so pure.

The turn of the seasons is a sign
That life continues so benign
The cold and rain so sorely needed
Prayers for this thankfully heeded.

Where would we be if all was fine
If never, ever there came a time
When gloom so regularly appeared
To be rejoiced not feared.

For in but a few months we know
Plants will bud and fruits will grow
And the age-old cycle will once more
Show coldness out the door.

Brian Matthews, 30/5/22

Bad News Again
Some news so hard to process
Learning that all will not be well
That the strong young man we bore
Is fighting a battle that can’t be won.

And to me he apologises
So like the man he is
Knowing that this news
Is so bitter for those who love him.

And, having been through this before
Watching another family member fade
With a full realisation of the implications
Impossible to hide from what this means.

My heart full of love for him
Feeling so powerless in the face
Of a brutal enemy that pervades all
Turning all hope to ashes.

Wishing that this was not so
That a solution may be found
Knowing how unlikely this is
The disease chewing him to pieces.

Finding any distraction that I can
But nothing can override this
The pain builds and mounts
Blurring all around.

Brian Matthews, 30/5/22

A Short Walk

A short walk
Such a meagre stroll
To help get out of my head
To chat and comment on the world.

Sky so blue
Though plenty of clouds
Sun peeking through valiantly
A metaphor for my current life.

So little to rejoice about
When plagued by uncertainty
But joy exists I know for sure
Recapturing that my current task.

Some photos received
Of grandchildren with big smiles
Lifting the mood for sure
Promising brighter days ahead.

An afternoon appointment made
Coffee and cake to be shared
As well as the joys and woes of life
For we all have those aplenty.

The Yin and Yang within us
And outside us all around
Sometimes a struggle profound
At others peals of laughter rebound.

Without others we surely shrivel
But at times we need to be alone
Wallowing in solitary grief
Dragged from this by family and friends.

It does little good to anyone
If every day you hide away
Losing connections so important
Eschewing the joy of company.

Brian Matthews, 16-6-22

To Sam
I said to you
“I’ve run out of words”
But that’s not entirely true.

So many remain
The real task now
Which to choose.

You know I love you
And always will
And regret I didn’t show this more.

Not in your life enough
To know you as I should
An emotion I know others feel too.

A private mantle you always wore
A keen observer of all around
True feelings shared with reserve.

Beneath this a solid core
Of sensitivity and integrity
And this you gave freely.

I seek for you peace
The knowledge you have done your all
To smooth the way ahead.

To leave this world richer
For what you gave
Your effect rippling on the sea of life.

You haven’t blindly blundered
But taken careful steps
A path of curiosity and joy.

You will leave behind you
So many better for knowing you
So many despairing for your loss.

You will live in our hearts
Until our own flames flicker and dim
Rejoicing in all you gave.

Brian Matthews, 26-6-22

The Light
The light begins to shine
The eyelids flutter open
All is at peace with the world
And then the harsh truths rush in.

It seems so strange
To experience snippets of happiness
Swiftly rent asunder
When all is displayed.

The world continues to spin
People go about their days
While family and my friends
Attempt to see the light.

Railing against this useless
Though we do it just the same
Weeping for our dearly beloved one
Who did not deserve this blight.

His bravery at this time
An example for us all
He weeps for those he loves
Reflects on the life he’s had.

Regrets can come thick and fast
But I know those harshest to him
Not seeing his lovely children grow
Not present for the challenges they face.

He’ll live on we all know
In the hearts of kin and mates
Forever providing a glow
For all who knew him to follow.

Brian Matthews, 28-6-22

The Parenting Path
The parenting path twists and turns
During infancy such high demands
Adulthood a different matter.

We stand aside and let them go
Always full of concern
About choices and their families.

For some things we can help
But know we must
Their lives are their own doing.

And yet children they remain to us
Visions of tears and scrapes
Accomplishments and challenges.

Intrude on them at our peril
For they need their independence
To make mistakes and achieve.

No easy answers are revealed
Context as parents limited
Their thoughts and aspirations veiled.

Sharing with us what they will
Including us as they determine
Never quite enough for most of us.

And snippets we may see
At family gatherings or holidays
Of what our child has become.

Rarely will they tell us all
Remnants of the past continue
Blurring the reality of the present.

Brian Matthews, 30-6-22

For Sam
Walking along the road of life
So often holes appear
Some mere bumps
Others such deep crevices.

One so deep now appears
I hardly see across
Nor a way to go around
Its dark, dark depths.

And I know it is also so
For so many others in his realm
Casting around for ways to be
Things that might comfort.

Or distract from the present
Anything to take the mind away
From the harsh reality
Growing and festering by the day.

We all know ways will appear
To circumvent the black pit
But only time can bring this
Not healing, but soothing the pain.

And evermore it will remain
The proverbial hole in the heart
The joy of his presence forever taken
The light he brought always remaining.

Brian Matthews 26-6-22