Words to share on Happy FM with Jan Potter, 21st December 2021

Family Fun

A game on the lawn

Wooden cylinders standing

Each with a number on top

A separate cylinder to throw.

The aim to reach a score,

Young boy excited

Adults joining in

All enjoying the challenge.

The sun shining on all

The laughs and squeals aboun

‘Hit the two Oma’

Cheers when she succeeds.

An hour and more passes,

All playing and engaged,

Until the uninvolved little one cries

And we all call it a day.


The Wandering Mind

The mind wanders

From here to there

Touching on this

Exploring that thing

And off again

Trawling through memories

Exploring future possibilities

Wasting time, or not?

Our minds rarely empty

Synapses constantly busy

Exploring the present

Reviewing the past.

Some of this brings joy

And some regret

Loved ones always there

Aspirations another constant.

World events impinge

Told of these we must know

And yet so little we each can do

To shape the clouds.

As tempests build

We choose how we’ll react

Bunker down and pray

Or take another step.

Knowing that what counts

Is our own integrity

Reaching out to others

Planning for a better day.

Brian Matthews, 13-12-21

The Whys

The corellas screech

Soaring through the skies

Resting in the trees

Despoiling shiny cars.

They were not so plentiful

In years gone by

But now they flock

And roam the surrounds.

A desert bird originally

Moving into suburbs

Plaguing small towns

Disturbing those asleep.

No easy answer

To their control

Leaving me wondering

What brought this change?

Change ripples across the lake

Of time and experience

Without clear connections

Between then and now.

Brian Matthews, 13-12-21

To Conversate

To share a conversation

Hopes and dreams

Fears and failures.

There are so many words

Shared between friends

Intimacy adds another layer.

Transparency hard to achieve

When life has so many masters

Ideals to be upheld.

Maybe this needs redefining

To address the essence

Another word to capture more.

One suggestion is conversate

Maybe just an informal way

Of describing an interaction.

Or possibly more than that

Actively participating in what’s said

Avoiding secret veils.

And listening so important

Unpacking the meaning

Connecting with the inner self.

Possibly this could mean more

Actively participating in the words

Searching for real depth.

Any exchange of words

Brings potential for change

When barriers are dropped.

Viewing the landscape ahead

When ideas resonate

A path worthy of pursuit.

Brian Matthews, 20-12-21

To Mask or Not?

Masking our faces

A sign of fear

Or a positive action?

No answer emerges

As viewing angles shift

Based on one’s beliefs.

Risk aversion is common

Avoiding that which tempts fate

Taking the safer path.

But many too are foolhardy

Ignoring looming consequences

Until the axe falls.

Balance seems the way

To risk that which appears

The cloud looming ahead.

Hindsight a great teacher

Once the die is still

The evidence before you.

The matter then sorted

The obvious then apparent

The way things are.

No matter the wisdom

Discrepancies always appear

Becoming fodder for some.

Trust in authorities

Such a rarity now

Feeding widespread dissension.

Grayness rolls across the land

Filling each crevice

Obscuring the black and white.

Leaving families split

Friendships torn apart

All casualties, no heroes.

Brian Matthews, 20-12-21

Tasks Done

The sweat runs

Down the brow

Into the eyes,

A sign of labour.

How many drops

Have there been?

Litres and litres

Over the years.

Hard work benefits

Not only the job done

But the mind of the doer

Satisfying an ever present need.

To be useful,

To achieve things

Jobs big and small

Necessary, and sometimes not.

But in the minds of people

These tasks are required

Promoting routine and comfort

Not to be sneered at.

Those things truly needed

Provide the most acclaim

While the smaller items

Smooth the day.

Brian Matthews 14-12-21

Words to Share, Happy FM 90.1 23-11-21

A recording of the whole segment with Brian Matthews and host Jan Potter and poetry read in the session below and in an attached pdf

On Your Birthday

On your birthday I’d like to say

How much I love you

Your importance in my life

Your sharing, caring nature

A clarity of thought so rare.

In your presence I feel

Your authentic, boundless concern,

Helping ground me,

Mapping directions ahead

Soothing my dilapidated emotions.

Hard on yourself too often

Always there for those you love

Or, indeed, have befriended,

The thoughtful gestures and acts

Litter the ground around you.

Worthy of a lovely day

Laughter and memories shared

And made in the telling

All of life a story

With you my love and heroine


Remembrance Day

On this day I do remember

The millions of soldiers

And many millions more

Innocent children, women and men

Sacrificed on altars of greed and corruption.

While the fat cats recline

On their padded chairs,

Living in sumptuous surrounds

Feasting on the work of others

Supported by nationalistic fervour.

Brian Matthews, 11/11/21

The Barista

The young man stands

On his feet all day

Smiling at customers

Leaping into the fray.

What’ll it be sir/m’am?

The drink of your choice

Flat white, long black,

Or maybe a latte?

While he dreams

Of adventures he may have

Roaming the country

Building a business home grown.

Meeting a partner

To whom he can be true

Raising a family of his own

A house painted blue.

Times may change

But all will aspire

To build something of their own

A thing that lights their fire.

What will never change

Is that deep human spirit

The need that most have

To say ‘I can do it’.

Brian Matthews, 12/11/21

Sharing Words

The words we share

Everyday descriptions of life,

What’s happening around us.

Or revealing of emotions

The ways we feel,

Unburdening our minds.

So often these are lost

Ephemeral mites floating,

Drifting away on the breeze.

But then one appears

And nets these offerings

Recording that which’s said.

And others then read

Playing with them

Exploring their own minds.

And we all grow

As nuances are teased,

Different for each.

And revelations come

As connections are made

Feelings resonating endlessly.

Brian Matthews, 22/11/21

On the water

On the water again,

The gap so long

Revelling in wind in the face

Water splashing all around.

First came the rigging,

So rusty and slow,

The sailor out of practice,

Overcoming memory lapses.

Then a clumsy launch,

Grappling with ropes and tackle,

Hands slipping and unsure,

But soon the rhythm settles.

A race then starts,

Boats leaping forward

Rushing for the start line,

Heading for the first buoy.

Each jockeying for position

Gaps opening for some,

Others cursing a stray gust,

Or welcoming a surge forward.

Despairing when a mark missed,

Tacking desperately to recover,

A boat suddenly overturning,

The energy builds.

How invigorating this can be

Until time to head to shore,

Muscles so wearied

The soul renewed again.

Derigging a cheerful task,

Followed by loading boats

All helping each other with a laugh

A beverage and snack to seal the deal.

Brian Matthews, 22/1/21

Birthdays Continue

Each birthday is its own

At some surrounded by joy

At others less so.

Cycles around the sun

Cannot be slowed or stopped,

Come they always will.

Times to reflect and rejoice

To review and plan

Contemplate what’s ahead.

Sometimes with anticipation

At others with trepidation

Never sure of what will be.

Of one thing we can be sure

They will happen whatever

We will reap that we sow.

And benefits will come unbidden

Not without a cost, of course,

Consequences always flow.

Brian Matthews, 22/11/21

The day my world changed

A short piece written as the basis for a story in a 10×9 event timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the 9-11 events in the US. The event was cancelled due to lack of interest, unfortunately, so I share this here.

The Day My World Changed

Brian Matthews, 7/9/21

I remember the scene well, 50 years ago. Walking into my parent’s lounge room on a visit, Dad in his favourite reclining chair, reaching for a scrap of paper, asking if I’d ever thought about working in disability. The piece of paper handed over, a name and a phone number leading to a cascade of events.

Dad told the tale. Having a few beers in a pub across town, complaining to a well dressed fellow next to him about his concerns for his university drop-out son, no prospects, no skills, a good work ethic (instilled by him and Mum) but only labouring jobs in his future, and he was soon to marry. His sounding board listened patiently and then said “Well, I work in the administration of a new Centre built for people with disabilities and I know they are looking for nursing staff”, proceeded to write the details on a piece of paper then, of course, they talked of other things, probably football I should think.

I remember, after leaving, thinking about this option and wondering what it meant, discussing it with my fiancée who was as clueless as me, not knowing then how this would affect her as well. The phone call was made within a few days, an interview and psychological testing to follow and in early March 1972 (the 10th or the 14th, I can’t remember) I walked into a unit for people with multiple disabilities and events rolled on.

In short, I took to disability work like a duck to water and my, by then, wife soon followed me. Though we parted 25 years later, both she and I had long careers in the disability field. My career was lengthy and diverse, starting as a student ‘Mental Deficiency Nurse’, completing my nursing certificate, becoming fascinated by the newly developing intensive training methods, undertaking and completing an Honours Degree in Psychology at Flinders University where I was appalled to find so little disability and mental health content, working in Queensland developing disability services in regional areas, working in Autism in South Australia and developing services when the condition was poorly understood, then back to intellectual disability, returning to work in the Centre where I started my career but this time in a senior training role, lecturing and completing a PhD in Psychology at Flinders University, developing University level courses in Disability, Developmental Education and Mental Health, and ultimately heading up the Disability and Community Inclusion Unit before my retirement in early 2013.

While I could tell many tales about a lengthy career including setting up and running a cutting-edge disability service with my second wife before our retirement, it all came back to that day that changed my life. That conversation in a pub between my Dad and a stranger, those scribbled details on a scrap of paper that disappeared so long ago……

Poetry reading Happy FM 31-8-21

The Poems read in this ‘Words to Share’ segment

The Narrow Path

We all walk the narrow wire,

Do we live or do we die?

No answers appear

Until one fateful day.

It is the natural course

That we all know

But when the curtain closes

Regrets litter the ground.

What could have been said?

What could have been done?

Questions left unasked

Never to be answered.

Rejoice we must

In what the person gave

The love they shared

Their acts of kindness.

Put aside perceived faults

Things that might have been neglected

We all have one life

A journey not a race to achieve.

Listen to the tales of others

Of words and deeds unheard

Learn about the life

Parts to you formerly unknown.

Brian Mathews, 27/7/21


We all do this

Make excuses for this

More excuses for that

Reasons why things weren’t done.

Knowing that, if important enough,

A thing would be done

But justifying our actions

Explaining away our oversights.

Life demands are always there

And this maintains our interest

Our need to do and be

Particularly for those we love.

That there must be priorities

We all understand

As with the guilt we feel

When important things are left undone.

But guilt needs to be

A trigger for action

Not a club wielded

In endless self flagellation.

If tasks are not completed

This helps us to decide

What is really important

And what is just a maybe.

This too speaks to others

Actions do talk louder than words

We show our feelings through our doings

Words are powerful but not enough.

Brian Matthews, 24/8/21


Blindsided once can be devastating

But twice in such a short time

Can leave a pool of despair.

We look for reasons

That don’t exist

As the story unfolds.

Lashing out at others

A common response

Leading to pain for all.

Using our mutual strengths

We can stand on the rocky road

And even carve a path ahead.

Supporting each other critical

Avoiding blame and detraction

The pettiness that lives in us all.

Embracing warmth and love

Demonstrating genuine concern

Creating a way to be in this new reality.

Brian Matthews, 23/8/21

The Presence

The touch, the presence

Social stroking so important

Words are important

But rarely enough.

We long to feel

The aura of another

Not always the physical

The vibrations satisfy.

The comfort of a shared activity

Words that may seem trite

The Earth not shaking

The comfort in each other.

Brian Matthews 13/8/21

We shared a bedroom

We shared a bedroom

Just him and me

A world in which we talked and played

And fought and plotted.

Down by the bridge over the railway

Sliding its slopes on rusty corrugated iron

Probably the odd asbestos sheet

Tadpoled in pools where poorly drained.

The old coal tower a dangerous magnet

Never talked of to parents

Climbing the ladders

Exploring abandoned, silted bins

So many adventures and memories

Into my adult years and now

Saying goodbye to him a slow process

In my heart he will always have residence.

Brian Matthews, 12/8/21

New Neighbours

A block of land bought

A simple step at first

Soon with trouble fraught.

As Covid soon hits

Building planning starts

But schedules are the pits.

Promises, promises they hear

Timelines gently extending

How did everything become so dear?

Time heals all, so they say

Inching forth until complete

And finally there comes the day.

All is finally in its place

Though massaging still needed

Just watch this space.

So welcome you both we will

To our friendly community

New neighbours, Disa and Bill.

Friends for many years past

Living just around the corner

In Normanville at last.

Brian Matthews, 11/8/21

We Shared a bedroom – part of my grief journey

We shared a bedroom
Just him and me
A world in which we talked and played
And fought and plotted.

Down by the bridge over the railway
Sliding its slopes on rusty corrugated iron
Probably the odd asbestos sheet
Tadpoled in pools where poorly drained.

The old coal tower a dangerous magnet
Never talked of to parents
Climbing the ladders
Exploring abandoned, silted bins

So many adventures and memories
Into my adult years and now
Saying goodbye to him a slow process
In my heart he will always have residence.

Brian Matthews, 12/8/21