Words to share on Happy FM (90.1) with Jan Potter, 15th February 2022

Another Day

And now the weather

Remindful of Queensland

Humidity so high

Sweat drips easily.

Not surprising now

After so much rain

Sun peeking around the clouds

Heating the land.

A good day for the beach

But work beckons

Then tired from the effort

And other tasks call.

So often that happens

A perfect day present

But other things compete

Go with the flow we must.

If truth be told

A beach day possible

But that would allow

Too much time to think.

Occupying self important

When worries lurk

Even though we know

Action can these avert.

Not that the problems disappear

For some things cannot

But taking a step

Sometimes soothes emotions.

When the step instead

Turns to a stumble

At least the effort made

That will have to suffice.

So let’s talk weather

A neutral topic

Always available and free

To be shared with others.

Brian Matthews, 24-1-22

Another Anniversary

Another anniversary it is

The 22nd this time

How have things changed

Since the last?

Considerably more turmoil

Loss of siblings for both

And a mother farewelled

A son sorely afflicted.

Limped on we have

Relationship straining too often

Sharing not enough

Bows drawn in angst.

Life’s constant challenge

Shapes us sorely

And yet we survive

No other option clear.

I’ve loved you another year

And felt the love from you

Fragments of this

Buried deep in both.

No matter what the future holds

I think we both embrace

Dreams of better times

Songs we both can share.

Sharing our concerns

Must be the way ahead

In solitude little is learned

I choose you instead.

Brian Matthews, 27/1/22

A Nice Change

Away on a holiday

A change of scene

Camping yet again

More prepared now.

Near the Murray

A pleasant camping site

Now that school holidays over

A much quieter space.

A cosy, cosy tent

A screen tent as well

More space than before

And friends to share with.

Cooler than planned

But warming soon

A strange summer

La Niña I’m told.

Walks and talks

Meals and conversations

Eating under the sky

To bed so early.

It makes a nice change

From the usual routines

Feeds the wanderlust

Refreshes the spirit.

Reminds us of the comfort

Of our lovely home

And gives chances to look

At sights that never grow old.

The Murray is in my blood

As near its banks I was born

Pelicans soaring above

A punt to cross its cloudy waters.

In its waters I first ventured

Before a beach I even saw

Swam across it in my youth

Though not tempted to now.

A week away it seems

A good idea for us

Both keen for a break

And to enjoy simple pleasures.

Brian Matthews, 2-2-22

Soothing Sounds

All asleep bar me

But heading that way soon

Mainly silence in this spot

Occasional bird and insect noise.

But soft snoring on my left

And from the camp on my right

Enjoying the stereophonic effect

A relaxing sound for me.

An occasional vehicle rumbles

On the road nearby

Distant sounds of the punt

Operational all night.

As I prepare to sleep

Disrobing in a soft light

Careful not to disturb

My purring wife and dog.

And then settling in

Wriggling to find that sweet spot

Thoughts flitting around

Drifting into deep sleep.

And then the silence absolute

As into dreamland I drift

A kick of the legs

As the body relaxes.

Before I know it

Sounds start again

The birds heralding the day

Early risers pottering around.

And up to face the day

Little on the agenda

Some reading and walking

Maybe some water play.

This is the life

Away from the usual demands

The pressure cooker vents

And leaves a settling rhythm.

Brian Matthews, 6-2-22

Better  News

So better news it is

At last treatment having effect

All so relieved

Battle front shifted forward.

We all know though

The fight still ongoing

Left with fatigue and nausea

Restrictions on daily life.

Some light from tunnel’s end

A long distance travelled

Still further to go

But flames of hope fanned.

Fingers and toes crossed

Hoping for that day

When experts smile

At treatment’s success.

 Brian Matthews, 6-2-22

Fun for All

Wind seemingly ever present

Though lulls do occur

Warmth in a stiff breeze

Too hot in the sun.

Water activities in the offing

A kayak in the river

Tipping seems inevitable

And the spluttering to follow.

But all will be in fun

Laughing part of the deal

Engaging with the elements

Enjoying the sun that shines.

We never really grow up

But older we surely get

Fewer risks taken

The body not as agile.

But fun can be had

No matter the age

Goalposts gradually shifting

Sights slightly lowered.

Brian Matthews, 6-2-22

Reminders

Extended our holiday

Enjoying the serenity

Not reminded of duties

Satisfying selves all there is.

Strange it seems to me

That in the comfort of home

Reminders always exist

Of chores necessary.

A different place

Strangers all around

Places new and revisited

A novel type of peace.

But pressures do mount

Gradually but surely

Reminding self that some chores

Are things we want to do.

A break is always good

Removing one from routines

Reminding of the joy there is

In the little things in life.

Brian Matthews, 11-2-22

Changes

Some changes are good

With many we’re torn

Remembering how it was

Not long after we were born.

Of some things, of course

We can be so sure

That things will move on

Motives not always so pure.

These features of life

Never remain still

Though some of the movement

Regret we truly will.

But the pendulum swings

Back and still forth

Until old things become new

Human nature such a force.

The older I get

The more I’m bemused

Better I suppose

Than being confused.

Brian Matthews, 12-2-22

Audio of poetry reading

Words to share on Happy FM (90.1) with Jan Potter, 17th January 2022

The Ceiling Fan

The ceiling fan

Just hanging around

Gathering dust and cobwebs

Little used though new year near.

How must it feel

Despairing at its lack of use

Awaiting inevitable discomfort

The need to relieve the heat felt.

It had one job

And nature glitches

Throwing a real curve ball

Delaying eventual engagement.

Brian Matthews- 27-12-21

To the Beach

Down at the beach

Families flocking to the water

The day hot and humid

Clouds taking the bite from the sun.

All ages mingled

Teenagers strut on the pontoon

Children and elders in the shallows

Kayaks litter the beach.

All having fun

Sandcastles rising steadily

A frisbee flies overhead

Many lounging and reading.

Blessed we are in this land

With sandy beaches aplenty

Just waiting for the days to warm

And schools to close.

And between these busy times

Long stretches of sand

With nary a person seen

Solitude a balm for the spirit.

The steady move of the water

Dolphins feeding and playing

Dog walkers regular users

Scattering the seagulls.

Large bodies of water

A magnet for all ages

A balm for jagged nerves

And the energy of youth.

Brian Matthews, 12-1-22

Endless Questions

The mind swirls

With little to engage it

Things to do, of course,

A family visit soon.

A day at the beach coming

Watching children play

Testing the cool water

Digging and splashing.

But endless questions float

Bounced around by experience

Challenging my contemplation

No answers emerging.

How soon will it be

That a clear picture emerges

A future landscape mapped

Hills and troughs emerging?

There are some times

When all seems a haze

Shapes ahead formless

Fear gripping the heart.

Knowing that tomorrow

May change this all

As answers emerge

The scene completed.

Brian Matthews, 10-1-22

Hidden Treasures

A drive through the country

Some so very familiar

But now in unknown territory

So close but not seen before.

Morning tea with friends

A tour of a lush property

A quirky house

Such beautiful gardens.

How many paradises lurk?

Hidden from constant view

Occupants feasting on privacy

Occasionally sharing with others.

No two the same

Each following the whims

Of those who own them

Their interests the focus.

But all enjoy I think

Showing what’s created

Little pieces of themselves

Shining brightly through.

And always plans for more

Ideas of more additions

Changes in the landscape

Refining the dwellings.

Paradise so rarely static

Changes invigorate all

New scenarios develop

Tumbling from fertile minds.

Brian Matthews, 12-1-22

The Beach Again

Only yesterday here

With other grandchildren

This day sun blazing

And more breeze.

Shelters haphazardly spread

Across the sand

No space underneath the jetty

Filled with loungers and children playing.

Many more in the water

A cool escape from the heat

A kite surfer active

Others floating and swimming.

The sand castles ever present

Laughing children abound

Their elders admiring

The energy of youth.

But all ages benefitting

From the relief given

By the cooling water

And the rhythm it contains.

The time to leave

Comes quickly it seems

As other needs intrude

And the trip home begins.

Not without treasures found

Amongst the fine white sand

Pretty shells and rocks

Remindful of the day of pleasure.

Brian Matthews, 12-1-22

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.

27/11/21

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

28/10/21

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

Excuses

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

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