A friend in Another Place

Don’t we all think others are one course’ and it’s only us who’ve lost it?

Six Crooked Highways

Other people always seem on course,

Full Ahead to somewhere on the Sea of Life.

I am forever losing the compass

and forgetting how to drop anchor,

permanently adrift in an Other Place.

Occasionally I see harbour lights beckon

but their beams wax and wane in the fog of novelty.


I’ve decided,

they’re probably home to the Pirates,

the Pirates of Love.

I am better off out here alone,

amidst the rocks and icebergs and whirlpools.

But I still need essential supplies

and I have nothing to trade,

except for some shells which,

when placed against the ear,

whisper cryptic messages

from an Other Place,

just in case

other people

are in an Other Place


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Old Men Cry Easily

A song in this vein

Made me think

It is true old men

Wear their hearts on sleeves.

So many regrets

About opportunities missed

Loves sadly lost

Communication so incomplete.

Women on the other hand

Share so much of themselves

Letting others know

About feelings so deep.

Wondering why it is

That men struggle so much

When all they need to do

Is say what they think.

Or more of what they feel

So early this quashed

By those unwilling to acknowledge

The depths that exist.

For men have places

Unseen so often

Faces rarely shown

Ideas that might resonate.


The Waiting

A vigil of sorts

Waiting for the operation

Trying to reassure

Her thirst unrelenting.

As blood sugar level drops

Confusion more evident

Drifting in and out

Of unsettled sleep.

The hands crocheting

A task no longer possible

Searching for a scissors

To cut an errant thread.

Times of lucidity

Quickly dissolving away

But still worried about me

Time wasted waiting with her.

The time moves on

Passing for me in a blur

Knowing that this may be

My last time with her.

After eight long hours

The advice is received

No operation today

Emergencies took priority.

Happy at last to drink

And eat a small meal

Me hoping that tomorrow

This will not be repeated.

But the phone call came

Explaining the risks ahead

The operation to begin

Uncertainty begins again.


Thoughts and a poem

As the time approaches for our Annual Show (which has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns), it is again becoming apparent why we needed to be so cautious. This virus has reared its ugly head in Victoria in a way unimagined, and still denied, by many. It has shown its face in other states and our own with some increase again in restrictions at the time of writing. More evidence is appearing about the devastating after-effects that this virus can have and, while it is particularly vicious for frail elderly people, the ranks are swelling of younger people killed or left with life long health conditions. When a virus crosses from animals to humans our makeup has little resistance. AIDS has demonstrated this to us; a virus for which we still do not have a cure even after so many years since its appearance though, thankfully, treatment has become much more effective. With this background it is up to all of us to ‘keep on keeping on’, but with caution. So it is with the Show Society and many other groups and services in the community, particularly those first line responders for whom we must all be grateful, many of whom have become ill and even died.

I don’t want to minimise the heroic efforts of those in the health and aged care sectors who are facing unprecedented challenges. Good and bad are evident in all communities, though, and this becomes prominent in times of crisis. During bush fires and floods we have those who bravely face the dangers and then those who ignore or even exploit the suffering. This pandemic is no different. Humanity survives due to core values of caring and generosity  embraced by the vast majority of people of all cultures and spiritual leanings. Fundamental to this are a plethora of community events that bind us and give us a focus for constructive, sharing activities. Our Show is only one of many events that provide an opportunity for communities to plan and rebuild after crises. From the smallest to the largest, these are all important for they give us the one thing we must never lose, hope.

I started writing this to say that the progress in our infrastructure developments, largely thanks to a major Federal Government Grant, have been proceeding smoothly. I thought that I might acknowledge those who are taking the most active role in the process but realised this was likely to embarrass them and I might leave someone very important out. So, I have decided not to submit what I’ve written to the Yankalilla Regional News, but have written a short poem devoted to all of the quiet achievers out there. Many of us know who they are within our own circles of experience and these people definitely know who they are but probably minimise their contribution. I thank them all and, if you don’t know who they are, when you next attend a public event that you enjoy, spend a moment wondering about this, even enquiring about this, and show that you appreciate these efforts in any way you can.

Quiet Heroes

There are those around

Who in the background work

Embarrassed by acknowledgement

Saying what they do is not unusual.

And this is indeed true

For these folk are rife

Diligent in their roles

Not expecting extra recompense.

But largely faceless they are

Others expecting the things at which they toil

For it has always been so

Damming the water that flows.

Building, creating, repairing, challenging

Focussing on outcomes

Rarely complaining about difficulties

Concentration on the task.

Unsung heroes they are

Providing events we enjoy

Services that we require

Their joy in the doing, regardless of cost.

Brian Matthews


How NOT to be an academic asshole during Covid.

Close to half of PhD students are contemplating leaving their studies in the next six months. We need to talk about quitting with kindness and …

How NOT to be an academic asshole during Covid.

I found this really powerful, having been through a troubled PhD myself in less troubling times. It would be useful reading for any PhD candidate, supervisor, or friend or family member.


You know you need to ‘get a life’ when you’re inspired by a medical procedure 😀😉


Sitting almost naked

Undies and backless gown

Reminiscent of hospitalisation

Though the gown is black.

A little chilly as I wait

Not worried by this

Voices and laughter nearby

Such a tiny room.

Soon in the examination room

Pleasant young woman

Swivels bulky machines with ease

Sliding in overhead tracks.

Directions very precise

Toes together, heels apart

Breathe in, hold still

Roll this way and that.

The procedure over quickly

Satisfying the requirements

The examination complete

Pictures of internal structures.

Results will soon tell

If arthritic or not

The best treatment suggested

Relief hopefully projected.



Another one I liked


The need to be special

Runs so deep,

To see oneself in a way

That validates the inner core.

Fragility part of the condition

We call humanity,

Wanting the acceptance

Of those we value.

We know that by all

We cannot be accepted,

Choosing the important ones

A big part of the exploration.

Seeking of self,

Seeking of meaning,

Dispelling the strong need

To be always correct.

Walking in others’ shoes

Is part of this path,

Without this our feelings echo,

Purely a hollow resounding.

We are all unique,

With commonalities aplenty,

But our own truths exist

Developing as we grow.

Where this will take us

Is not the question to ask,

The journey important

Wherever it may lead.