Welcome to Basil, 9 yo French Bulldog cross Spaniel

A New Old Dog

A while since there’s been
More than one dog on the scene
But fate reared it’s head
Now another one on the bed.

Learning the rules of the house
No marking territory inside
Is it time for treats yet?
Is that the table you set?

Roaming the new territory
Barking at the dog next door
Sniffing and snuffling here and there
My glorious turf showing the wear.

But settling he is and will
As all becomes familiar until
A new visitor comes and then
Again he will start the din.

For that’s my job I hear him think
When e’re there’s noise to make a stink
To let my new owners know
Safely their goods they can stow.

Brian Matthews, 16-4-23

A poem in response to a Min Min Challenge

So, offering a poem in response to Doug’s challenge using the prompt word ‘cancellation’


Cancellation, a word so fine
Erasing everything of mine
Look around and you will see
That nothing now belongs to me..

Or never did
As behind various roles I hid
But cancelled these are now
Having long taken my final bow…

Though questions for me still remain
Teasing at my tortured brain
Did I do enough of this and that?
Was my weave just senseless tat?

Self-doubt seems wherever you look
The confident, the proud, in every nook
Our history shaped by what we’ve done
Put it aside and have some fun.

Attempting this time of life to enjoy
Not seeking out the latest toy
Building depth in what you’ve gained
Not just acting as you’ve been trained.

So, cancellation may not be a bad thing
Looking back on what to bring
Into another stage of life
Only certain there’s sure to be strife

Brian Matthews, 28-2-23

Sometimes a birthday inspires a poem

And this was the case with my eldest grandchild’s birthday…

Jayden’s 14

Holy moly, can it be?
14 sounds so old to me
That little babe became a boy
Left behind each childish toy. 

And well into adolescence now
His horizons continue to grow
An exciting time envisioned ahead 
Certainly not something to dread. 

Life’s new challenges will be there
And sometimes these can scare
But loved by so many you are
All sure you’ll be a star. 

So, have a happy birthday please 
Life adventures will you tease
Will you do this or that?
Only you can choose your hat. 

Brian Matthews, 22-2-23

Some bird related Haiku for the morning

Most parts of Australia are blessed with bird song, though our raucous parrots are not favoured by many. But, two common bird sounds are the warbling (I prefer to call it carolling) of magpies and the ‘hoo ho’ of crested pigeons (which I mistakenly called ‘top knots’ until recently).

Anyway, here are a couple of bird related Haiku that appeared this morning…


The magpies carol
A beautiful sound it is –
An Ozzie icon

Brian Matthews, 15-2-23

Crested Pigeons

The hoo hoo they make
It’s a mournful sound to sing –
But ‘who cares?’ they say

Brian Matthews, 15-2-23

Some bad news about my poetry readings.

Had a phone call today to advise that I would not be doing readings on Happy FM community radio anymore. The Presenter of the segment has fallen out with management and has stepped away from her regular commitments for what sounded to me like very good reasons. So I guess my main avenue for distributing my writing, poetry and thoughts will be this blog.

So, a few poems that I have written recently, posted from Maryborough Victoria (Australia). Apparently, Mark Twain visited here once and described the place as a town attached to a railway station as during the Gold Rush and after, this rural city was the transport hub for this part of the world. The railway station has been maintained and is a beautiful piece of architecture (see photo below)

I did have a fair break in writing for most of January this year, but felt I had to write a poem to celebrate my 23rd wedding anniversary with my beloved Barbara.

Anniversary 2023

A cloudy day dawns
The heat hiding again
A perfect meal yesterday 
To celebrate our wedding anniversary. 

23 years married today
28 since we shared our lives
So much water under the bridge
More than our share of damaging debris. 

Good times aplenty there’ve been
Laughter with friends and family 
A home made together 
A community embraced and shared. 

There will be good times this year 
Fun with those we love
Hugs and kisses given and received 
Travel to places unseen. 

Life has so many unknowns 
I’m glad I face these with you
Knowing you have my back
And a future we can plan together. 

What is love?
A question often touted 
Trusting another at its core
As I do with you. 

Another year we will have
Learning more about each other 
A journey never quite complete
But love you I do and always will. 

Brian Matthews, 29/1/23

While camping in Corowa (New South Wales) exploring the interesting and recently flooded border river district with the River Murray separating the states of NSW and Victoria, I wrote this poem

Rambling Thoughts 

A lovely warm day
A long way from home
But the corellas still here
Many different birds though. 

The Murray so flooded
Signs of high water in the fences 
Roads so damaged 
Green grass out of season. 

And the mozzies bite
Breeding away in the waters
Ready for their next offering 
Another bunch of mammals. 

Likely a long time now
Before the next big flood 
Though hard to tell
What the future will bring. 

40 years since the Murray swelled 
To the levels recently seen
And so much drought since
Who knows what will next appear. 

Our climate under siege 
Consumerism so rife
Poison pumped into the air
And we all share the blame. 

One day our descendants will ask
Why were we so wasteful? 
How could we not see
The consequences of our actions?

Brian Matthews, 6-2-23

And a few days later I wrote this one:

The birds

The birds in the morning
Harsh cries of the parrots 
Carroling of the magpies 
Sweet songs of smaller birds. 

The morning so still
Dew still on the ground
Before the rising sun
Melts it all away. 

A very warm day ahead
But still cool now
Kookaburra laughs resound
As I drink my coffee. 

A day of touristing ahead
To places not seen before
The birds doing their thing
While we do ours. 

Brian Matthews, 8-2-23

And two days later after a phone call to a friend, this poem appeared:

Supporting Others 

I wish I could cheer up
My dear friend far away
Words just not cutting it
When feeling so unwell. 

Maybe if I remind him
Of the good times past
Or happy events still to come
But all seems trite at times like this. 

When the body does not work
In the ways it should 
When pain or discomfort dominate 
Leaving little to enjoy. 

Company or conversation 
May help to ease the soul
Though sometimes not
Pretending becomes burdensome. 

Someone caring may help
Though not if this becomes 
An exercise in making them feel better 
As it so often does. 

Being supportive has some rules
Listening rather than telling 
Opening to the feelings 
Avoiding unhelpful comparisons. 

Worrying about loved ones
A part of being human
Knowing that all is never
Smooth sailing through life. 

Feeling helpless a part of this
Since magic wands are absent 
No easy fix for many things 
Illness and ageing always lurking. 

But one thing is certain 
That we all need our oases
Safe places where we’re not judged
People who respect our wishes. 

Brian Matthews, 10-2-23

And then, watching a man in the distance mowing his lawn, another Haiku appeared:

The man mows his lawn
Early, the hot day to come –
The hat a big help

Brian Matthews, 10-2-23

Until the next instalment …….

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, https://www.radio901.com.au/ 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, https://www.radio901.com.au/ 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…

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