Sunday, August 29, 2010

Children's Book Week bonanza!

This week I had the rambunctious pleasure of performing a few of my poems (with a kiddy slant) for children in Karratha visiting the library for National Children's Book Week. I'm popping this collection up together in case you too have children or the desire to read about ironorasauruses, piddling puppies, sunburnt armpits or pearls accidentally flushed down the loo.

Oh, and an ever so gentle warning that if you come across things like what happened to Van Gogh's ear, Cold Chisel and novocaine, or the difference between cleanin' and shaggin' in a car, you can either explain it, ignore it, or deflect it!

Happy reading! Go on, a bit of nonsense is good for the soul. :)

My Backside - how to get burnt in orrible orrifices.
Into the Sunset - a long drive to Broome and flying snot
Captain Roast and Custard - sailing through the high seas of peas, gravy and peaches
In the Olden Days (when there were dinosaurs) Last millennium, last year or yesterday...
Little Big Dwiving Dweams - Dweam cars as pondered by prepubescents
Wally's First Day at School - of dogs and wee and strange loyalties

Thanks to Dorothea Mackellar for her famous Aussie poem, ‘My Country’.

My Backside

I love a sunburnt backside
its dimpled, charred remains
its ripping raw sensations
and tender skin tight pains.
I love it when it wizens
and I can’t sit to wee
the blistered, chafing terror
that burnt red bum on me!

I love my sunburnt foot soles
when I can’t walk or stand
or even hop from foot to foot
especially on hot sand.
I love it when the heels singe
and I need aloe vera
when nothing but those frozen peas
could be to me more dear…er

I love my sunburnt ears
(I thought I’d put on cream?)
they stick out like red Pringles
and make me want to scream.
I love it when I shower and
the water burns non-stop
just like Van Gogh I wish I had
a knife so I could chop.

I love my sunburnt armpits
I don’t know what’s with that
I had my arms down when I swam
and on the beach, lay flat.
But somehow all that sunshine
it burnt my pits with passion
and now I walk, my arms stuck out,
I’m calling it a fashion.

Core of my head, my scalp,
its scorching is untold
a roaring-red smoked salmon
a sizzling fireball scald.
I love the way I feel as if
I’ve been electrocuted
and that my brains have sizzled too
is one fact undisputed

I love my sunburnt palms…
Come on, give me a break!
I used them to put on my cream
Burnt hands?! For goodness sake!
They feel like they’ve been ironed or
just left on the equator.
They look as if I’ve taken to them
with a carrot grater.

I love my sunburnt eyelids
they’ll keep me wide awake
they feel as if I’ve shredded them
with my blunt garden rake.
I love the way they will not move
that sun, it really fries
now I can neither blink nor wink
I cannot shut my eyes!

I love a sunburnt backside
and foot soles red and raw
and ears which burn to blisters
and armpits charred and sore.
I love a scalp that’s cindered
and palms – now that’s absurd
I love a pair of eyelids fried
and just one final word…

I love the beach in summer
I love the Aussie heat
I love to stay outdoors all day
and swim and bathe a treat.
But now that I’ve been sunburnt like
a terracotta brick
I’ll use my thirty plus instead of
board wax lathered thick.

And now, to a poem about getting TO the holiday (with the mandatory vomits, references to cows, poo, wee and the occasional flushed Broome pearl).

Into the Sunset
(A postcard to the far north)

Dearest, greatest Grannie, I’m writing this from Broome.
I’ve got so much to tell you so I hope I can make room.
It’s been a big adventure with such awesome things to see
and I reckon at least dad would abso-lute-ly agree.

It’s a long drive from the Pilbara - much longer than your hair -
and the sky’s rinsed blue, just like yours too, but grey streak free, to be fair.
We kids sat in the back seat and sang songs the entire way,
‘cause mum, she broke the stereo (she swore a bit that day).

I sang ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’, a thousand times in rounds,
with ‘Twinkle Star’ and the ‘ABC’ - should hear how sick they sound!
And funnily enough (although don’t reckon mum thinks so)
they have the same tune. Wicked, hey? And over and over we’d go.

Then when we all got wearisome, my dad put up his hand
to sing our favourite lullaby, a song he calls ‘Khe Sanh’.
I will admit quite frankly that it made mum look more strained
‘cause it woke us up, but I loved it. Grannie, what is novocaine?

We stopped at a place called Pardoo. Wow, what a groovy word!
It sort of rhymes with cow poo (Mum says I can’t say turd.)
Pardoo it was awesome. There’s grass to run about,
with dad still singing Khe Sanh and Mum giving him a clout.

And then we stopped at Sandfire. The whole thing had burnt down.
Don’t ask when it will be rebuilt, they’ll whimper, sigh and frown.
But Sandfire it’s just awesome, with peacocks running wild.
I offered them my icecream, but my mum yelled, ‘Stop that child!’

I don’t know what’s the problem; she says that sharing’s good
and on a hot day I can’t think of better peacock food.
The whole day it took ages. My sister puked. A LOT.
Three times on the carpet and once on the window, SPLOT!

And one which was quite green you know, projectile stuff no less,
when mum was in the driver’s seat, it made a brilliant mess
all over mum’s new hairdo. She winced, but didn’t scream
and kept on driving…Grannie, what does persecution mean?

So that was just the drive up. I’m running out of space.
But the whole week has been fabbo. It fully rocks, this place.
We’ve been to Cable Beach each day, made castles in the sand
and traipsed them through the unit. What’s exasperation, Gran?

Last night we went to dinner and watched sunset with a breeze.
I think mum said at least six times, ‘Another cocktail, please’.
I don’t know why, I’m sure, I thought she’d be preoccupied
with cleaning up the mess of chicken curry sauce which flies

quite quickly through a drink straw if you give it enough force,
unless you get some rice stuck, which inhibits you, of course.
I’m really getting tight for space. I better wind things up
and tell you about Chinatown, the pearls dad bought mum. Nup.

On second thoughts, I’d better not because, well, you know loos.
They tend to flush things down for good. Yep, ones…and pearls…and twos.
I told mum I was sorry. I told dad I would pay.
He said he’d send me down the mines and that I’d better pray

to the highest, farthest skies for that most sinful, bad ablution.
I’m stuck on this one, Grannie, too, what is self flagellation?
Mum, she called for timeout, to have a bit of peace
and dad he let us sing ‘Khe Sanh’ and eat hot chips with grease.

Mum she rode a camel to the sunset, wild and free
and when she’d done that, came back home and cooked us all s’getti.
My time is up. I’ve done my dash. One postcard’s not enough.
Mum says she’ll hand deliver it and I’ve just called her… bluff?

So in the nearest future Gran, expect your daughter home
and just one final question, you get snow in Greenland, no?

A little something to remind us how fabulous our imaginations are. And there’s plenty of onomatopoeia in this one, which I love - words which imitate the sound or actions they refer to, like slurp, slosh, thump and clonk!

Captain Roast and Custard

He picked a paddle up and ploughed through
wild pulsating seas
of gravy lapping round the chicken,
nudging floating peas.
He rowed, a mighty sailing man;
he fought the pumpkin tide,
cascading, bumping, chunky thumping,
taken in his stride.

He stabbed the mighty army built of
string beans slapped together,
separating one from t’other;
fierce work in this weather.
His ship he kept it undulating,
crashing through sharp peaks
of blister bursting hot potatoes,
white hot crispy cheeks.

He wound his way through rounded buoys
all orange luminous,
guiding smooth his paddles through these
carrot markers thus.
He launched himself upon the turnip,
pummelling it down.
He kicked gargantuan Brussels sprouts
and mashed them with a frown.

This mighty vegie ocean was a force
which to him beckoned.
Yet here was he, the captain grand,
and wicked cool, he reckoned.
And when he’d licked the lastest slurp
of gravy from the shore,
he peered up to his mum and dad
and begged, ‘Can I have more?’

But they were busy, both of them,
caught in some reverie.
So he was stuck, this captain,
on an empty plate of sea.
His dad was itemising peas,
and commandeering staff,
arranging them in munches,
united on one path.

His mum was planning jogging routes
for local parks and streets,
dividing and reorganising
paths of roasted beets.
And then there was his sister,
chatting amidst roars
to green broad beans and chicken chunks,
soon gobbled dinosaurs.

And so he sat there watching as
a captain does the ocean,
staring at his family, these
stories all in motion.
And when the four of them were done,
with every plate licked shiny,
he knew that if main course was fun,
then next, dessert? Cor blimey!

And sure enough his custard pools were
giant water slides,
his sister bathed her pears and sent them
off to beddy-byes.
His dad inspired employees all
with zippy slurpy sounds.
His mum inspired the whole electorate
handing peaches round.

Or maybe he invented this?
Maybe they just ate?
But maybe, maybe, maybe,
maybe, wouldn’t it be great,
if all this stuff was going on
instead of simply dinner
and they were all on grand adventures...
What a total winner!

Oh well, he thought, maybe just me,
I’m Captain Roast and Custard
and maybe they would laugh at me
and I would be quite busted.
Yet as his Dad told a bedtime story
‘bout a boss called ‘Thunder’
who led his tribe through wilderness
the boy, he thought, I wonder...?

Whenever my family and I take long drives, we see who can invent the quirkiest dinosaur names. There’s nothing like wordplay and punning to inspire invention and imagination. My favourite’s definitely the ironorasaurous. Yours?

In the Olden Days (when there were dinosaurs)

She’s sitting with her block tower
and buildings, shops and parks
and I asked her more on her design -
this plastic landscape art.

‘It’s Karratha in the olden days,
a long, long time ago,
last year, when there were dinosaurs’
(She’s four, so she should know).

And so, we two got talking of
which dinosaurs these were
and out spewed forth a litany
which soon became a blur.

Well, first, the saltosaurus
spraying salt into the air
and then myfeetarsaurus,
sick of walking everywhere.

Then there was the longest one
which wound through Pilbara miles;
Its name was ironorasaurus,
munching huge dirt piles.

It was from a larger group
who roamed the land to dig,
‘explorasauruses’ they were
with jaws and teeth quite big.

There was the one who tried to run
away from school and hide,
busted by the teachasaurus;
that dinted its pride.

The one who went out fishing on his
boat where hot sun passes.
His name it was eyesorous
and he should have worn sunglasses

Then there was that funny one,
liked hanging down from trees -
really not good for the knees.

He played with mates down in the park
upon their friend, that’s right
young Seesaurus sprang up and down,
liked giving them a fright.

And then they’d take their bikes and boards
to that new ramp in town
and hang out with skateboardasaurus,
whizzing up and down.

Always so much stuff to do
until each dinner time,
like playing hide and seek
‘til mummysaurus every time.

The toddler dinosaurs did not like
trundling off to bed.
‘onemoreasauruses, they all liked
story time instead.

In the night they’d listen to the
loudest dinosaur -
a daddy snorasaurus,
nostrils flaring through the floor.

Both day and night beasts flew about
and landed near the bay
with tails of red and white they flew
in Soarasaurus play

Some dinosaurs you’d say were always
questioning their parents.
Defiant, the whatforausour?
just whined in gushing torrents.

Meanwhile, those arty dinosaurs
in Cossack had much flair.
Decorasauruses they painted
pictures everywhere.

Dinosaurs with swine flu said
‘the doctorsaurus saw us’,
but whinging ones were banished off to the

There also was a bunch who loved
that metal music, LOUD!
They were called hardcorasauruses,
a crazy crowd.

Of course, there was a tamer group of
singing dinosaurs -
the dinosauruschorus loved to
dabble with old scores.

Well darling, I retrieved her from her
Lengthy explanation,
Karratha in the olden days
seemed a dinosaur’s vacation.

Where did you ever get these names?
These beasts from olden day?
I thought kids aged just four liked having
tea parties? No way!

The little girl just pierced me with
the wisdom of old eyes
and pulled out my most treasured book
so old and very wise.

Mummy, here, your dinosaur,
the book with all their names.
I read its cover carefully,
‘Thesaurus’…that explains.

We all like a new car. Or maybe any car for that matter. My dream car is still a 1989 Corolla Seca. day. If you're going to dream, dream LARGE!

Little Big Dwiving Dweams


When me grows up me wants to dwive
a firetwuck what’s wed
wif a honking horn and the hugest hose
to spway my garden shed.
I’ll polish it wif turtles and the
wax you get fwom them.
I don’t know where they keep their wax
but I’ll just have to ask ‘em.


When I gwow up oi’d lok to droive
a mini mowwis minor
because I’m small (I’m only foive)
there would be nofing foiner.
Oi’d wiz awound the park outsoide
my house and do some donuts
and coz’ I’m small oi’d hoide behoind the
wheel fwom all the gwowups


When I’m a big girl I will drive
a soft top black Mercedes
and I won’t pick my nose at all,
just poke it up at ladies.
I’ll drive it to my boyfriend’s house,
but, hang on, boys are yucky,
so, no, I’ll drive right past him
and I’ll splash him if I’m lucky.


When I grow up I’m gonna buy
a big old station wagon
just like me Dad who said they are
the bestest ones to shaggin.
is shaggin just like cleanin’ Dad?
'cause you help Mum a lot
with shaggin or with cleanin’ son?
ahh…I don’t know? I forgot?
(I really truly am confused
So, when I buy my car
I’ll clean it and I’ll shaggin it
on lawn and dirt and tar.)


When I grow up I’m going to be
the very fastest ambo,
say things like, ‘Move away now folks!’
and save the day like Rambo.
Except that white’s a boring colour
an ambulance must shine.
So I will paint mine polka dotted
purple, pink and lime.

Little Patty

My Dad he drives a sports car
and the back seat’s built for zero
so it gets hot on long, long drives
but he thinks he’s a hero.
Mum says he’s had a crisis
but I don’t know what that means,
I just know it’s a stupid car
although it’s red and gleams,
so, when I get old, about eighteen,
I’m going to drive a bus
so I don’t get all squished up
in the back with five of us.
For I’m the littlest, in the corner,
Jack and Max both smell
and Ruthie’s eight and sweats a lot
and Tom, well, he’s always spewing up carrots and jelly which is so gross and repulsive and really utterly horrid, you know.


When I grow up I’m gunna drive
a train that’s really long
because I’m always losing things
like just now, my left thong.
Much bigger than my Leggo trains
like the ones in the red north west,
a hundred carriages all linked up -
more like a billion I guess!
When I lose stuff my mum goes nuts
and things go bang and clatter
but if I lost a carriage or ten
it really wouldn’t matter!


When I grow up, I’m going to buy
a ute and a harmonica
and sing and drive out all the way
to sunny Pannawonica.
From there I’ll trade my ute right in
and buy a special truck
I know exactly just the one,
which’ll wait for me, half my luck.
It sits just on the roadside
and no one seems to care.
They drive right past each day and I think
that one’s mine, wait there.
It’s just a little big for me,
about two storeys high
In fact it’s got these tyres that touch
the bottom of the sky.
But I love it coz it’s cute and in my
very favourite colour
The brightest yellow, but I’d love it still
if it were duller.
When I sit on the driver’s seat
and tootle past the shops
I’ll wave to all my friends below
and even to the cops
who won’t give me a ticket
’cause the windscreen’s way too high
to check the registration
‘specially if I start to cry.
I’ll drive my kids to school in it
when they are my age now
and park it in my front yard
so the neighbours go, ‘Oh wow!’
When I grow up and drive to
Pannawonica one day
to trade in the old ute
for my dream vehicle, I’d say
200 tonnes of haulpak truck
will suit me very nicely.
I’ve got five dollars saved right now,
but, um…are haulpaks pricey?

And now for the tail [fully sick] of a prepubescent pet. 

Wally’s First Day at School

Wittle Wally waltzed awong the
wittle winding woad.
He weed upon the wildflowers
which caught the sun and gwowed.
His owner whistled wight beside
and watched as Wally wandered
aww the way to doggie school
on Wed-nes-day and wondered,

Jolly Wally what gweat skills
will you weveal today?
Well, wittle Wally’s ears pwicked up
as he heard master say:
‘Maybe you will sit or stand
or maybe you’ll woll over
or maybe you will find a fwiend
named Woofy, Wex or Wover.’

Wittle Wally couldn’t wait
to see what he’d do either.
he dwibbled with excitement
and he wouldn’t take a bweather,
bursting and a’wond’wing ‘bout
his vewy first school day.
He felt a wittle dwunk with joy
and couldn’t wait to pway.

Well, when they weached the oval where the
doggy school was wun,
wittle Wally widdled one last time
out in the sun.
He saw, aw, twenty doggies with their
owners all out there
and wiggle-wagged his wittle tail
just thwilled beyond compare.

He couldn’t wait to intwoduce himself
and wight away.
He pulled his master by the lead
and wouldn’t sit or stay.
But just befowe our Wally
had the chance to wace wight over
to intwoduce himself to dogs named
Woofer, Wex and Wover,

a whistle bwew which pwicked up Wally’s
ears and made him wince.
‘Twas all eyes on the twainer
and his tummy felt like mince.
Ok, I am a wittle nervous,
thought our wovely Wally.
But hey, I am a fwiendly chap,
I’m sure they’ll wike me, golly.

He watched as all the doggies
with their masters gathered wound
and made a gweat big circle
and all sat upon the gwound
and as he joined in with the west
he saw, just two dogs down,
a pwetty pomewanian
weawing such a fwown.

She had a wittle wibbon wound her
soft and fwuffy mane,
but looked like she was cwying
and her nose shone with the stwain.
She seemed to be oh so forworn,
with what he couldn’t guess.
Her master wooked quite happy
but, well, she wooked quite a mess.

As they sat and wistened Wally
weaned acwoss right then.
He winked his eye and whispered
to the pomewanian.
‘Hewwo pomewanian
and how are you today?
You wook a wittle sad
as if you do not want to pway.

‘Can I be so bold as if
to ask you what is wong?
You are so vewy pwetty
with your wibbon pink and wong.
I noticed you were teawy
and I’d weally like to help-’
But suddenly, a snarl, a growl,
a bark, a wincing ‘YELP!

The dog between the two of them
was towering over Wally -
a wotten wooking wottweiler’d
have none of Wally’s folly.
His eyes were wild and cwazy
and our Wally he spwang back,
put two and two together
in this thundewing attack.

The pwetty pomewanian
was fwozen to the spot.
Her wild wottweiler boyfriend
weally seemed to have forgot
that manners weally make the dog
(they say at doggie school)
and pouncing on a dog who likes your
girlfwiend isn’t cool!

So Wally made a gawwant stance
and stood up to that woofer.
‘Carm on, bwing it on I say,
you bully headed doofer.’
Wittle Wally wondered if he’d
weally made a blunder
with the war he’d waged against
that dog he now stood under,

but Wally thought of wibbon girl
and, chest puffed out, perspiwing,
he barked the bark to end all barks
which was quite awe-inspiwing.
‘Look!’ he barked, ‘You mean old dog,
you make your girlfwiend cwy.
There’s snot upon her wittle nose
and tears come from her eyes.’

Wottweiler wooked at Wally,
as did wibbon girl.
Dumbfounded were the two of them
as insults Wally hurled.
‘I’m not her boyfwiend, toyboy!’
‘Oh my, no!’ she wepwied.
‘Then what the?’ quizzed Wally,
who so warely was tongue-tied.

As it turned out, funnily
(oh ha ha ha, woofs Wal),
the old wottweiler simply wanted
quiet, how banal.
He’d wanted just to wisten
to the twainer’s words so wise,
instead he got some toydog’s
whispers suddenly awise

and as for cutsie pomewanian
she had the fwu,
a snotty nose, conjunctivitis -
you’d look wubbish too!
With that all settled, finally,
the thwee of them were chums
who wearnt to stand up on command
and sit back on their bums.

They were a happy wittle gang,
albeit odd I know,
and evwybody woved those thwee
and watched their fwiendship gwow.
But if ever at doggie school
a bully came their way,
‘twas Wally, bwavest of them all,
whose WOOF! would save the day.

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