Category: Awards


Autumn Thud

It is early Autumn in this part of the world and, in 2005, while staying with extended family in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, I started to write a poem in English.  In 2006, I submitted it to ArtsACT, as an entry for the 2006 David Campbell Poetry Prize for an unpublished poem by an ACT poet, where it sank into oblivion, possibly with a Winter Thud, as it was in June.  In December, I learned that there had been only thirty-eight entries in this category, which makes my result even worse.

In 2008, I dug it out and reduced it to sixteen lines, which greatly improved it, and it went off to the USA where it won a second prize, along with a great number of other people’s poems (there were over seventy second prizes, I think) but, as there were many thousands of entries, I thought that this result was not too bad.  Particularly as I had entered this competition many times in the past with no result.  Perhaps they were rewarding perseverance.

The poem was published in an anthology and I don’t think that I have written any poetry since, except perhaps a few haiku.  Poetry is meant to be read aloud and I have no-one to whom to read it.  In France, I had a captive audience several times a year and this gave me an incentive to write.  Here, in the Australian Capital Territory, I have no audience.  And the way things are looking, that is not likely to change any time soon.

So, to give Autumn Thud another airing, I’ve decided to post it here.  It’s Easter Sunday and you are all bound to be high on chocolate, so it might have more chance of pleasing someone today.

Autumn Thud

*

Autumn has fallen with a thud.

The temperature drop is ten degrees.

Cockatoos, magpies, pigeons, galahs

Risk short flights to cowering trees.

***

Waves of rain sputter and stop.

Brown leaves glisten on the ground.

A young magpie flutters down,

Holds out its wings, steps around.

***

Furious, the gale renews.

Rods of water hit the earth.

The magpie tumbles, flaps, screams,

Scuttles towards the tree of its birth.

***

Autumn has fallen with a thud.

It is windy and dark, cold and damp;

A time for my nest, feather quilt,

Cocoa, a book, and the fireside lamp.

(2008 version)

Esquisse de deux amis

George Weaver from She Kept a Parrot, a WordPress blog that can be found in my Blogroll, wants me to translate a poem, Esquisse de deux amis, which won a prize in France.  It does not translate well into English.

Another poem of mine, which was originally attempted in English and abandoned because it sounded “mushy” to me, was re-written in French and came out very well because French suited it better.  The poem was called Clair de lune and went on to be highly-rated in a poetry competition at the prestigious Salon Orange in Champagne, so the language chosen for a particular subject, or a particular style, is often very important.

As the following poem sounds very jerky in English, when it should be flowing, with quiet pauses, I was reluctant to display it online.  However, as George was insistent, I decided to scan the original French version which appeared in the Municipal Bulletin with a quote about it from a local newspaper, and include it with the translation.  All complaints should be addressed to George.

The reason that the poem was written concerns another insistent person, Pascal, who harassed me until I wrote something about him and his dog Junior.  The original version was longer and included their names.  It also had a different mood about it.  However, as the entries in the competition had to be limited to twenty lines, the mood changed when I deleted the lines down to twenty.  Pascal and Junior visited me every day while I was working as Guide to a mediaeval castle in 2002.  He sent the long version of the poem to his father, so I felt obliged to give him the shorter, calligraphed, framed version that I had done for an Art show, when I left France to come back to Australia.

Pouance Infos Numero 76 Juin 2003

 

Esquisse de deux amis

(translation)

They resemble each other a lot.

They both have long, lean bodies.

The short one loves food, the tall one is more a gourmet.

How do they manage to stay slim?

 

Neither one nor the other smokes cigarettes or drinks alcohol.

Both have sparkling eyes and narrow, pointed faces.

They like other people a lot and mutually adore each other.

 

They take their meals together, watch television together.

They sleep together and both of them snore.

They separate only for work.

The tall one leaves to earn their living.

The short one stays in bed.

 

It’s because they belong to two different races.

The tall one has two legs, the short one has four.

They have been living together for more than ten years.

 

The master, a bit hunched over, takes long paces, with an absent air.

The dog stops, reads a message left by another canine, leaves a reply in return.

The master waits patiently for him to finish.

They set off again, turn the corner and are out of sight.

A man and his dog – my friends.

 

As proof that this poem really did win something (a painting by Dominique Guedon to be precise) the following is the complete article about the prize-winning poems.  I was not there, having received my letter on the day that the article appeared, so I am not in either of the photos.

Having just re-read the article, I am reminded that another of my poems, in another category, came second ex-aequo.  I’d completely forgotten about that one.

Don’t forget:  all complaints and criticisms are to be addressed to George Weaver.  This post is all her fault.

Courrier de l'Ouest du lundi 24 mars 2003.

I have just found my fifth Kreativ Blogger nominee.  It is Murphey’s Pub.

The writing is superb, and the latest post is absolutely hilarious.

If you haven’t met Murph and his family yet, you must rush over straight away.

The subtitle of the blog is the Mark Twain quote:  “It takes a great deal of sense to write such nonsense.”  That just about sums it up.

I have left a message for him on his blog, which I am about to add to my Blogroll.  So, you’ll be able to click onto it within a few minutes.

I still have two more blogs to find, but I couldn’t wait to share this one.  I’m sure that you will like it as much as I do.

As I mentioned in a former post about the Kreativ Blogger Awards, the people who are nominated for the award have certain obligations.  There are seven of them.  I have not yet complied with all of them but I fully intend to do it.

The first obligation is to thank the person who gave it to you.  I have already done that.

The second obligation is to copy the logo and display it on your blog site.  I have done that too.  With difficulty, but I managed it in the end.

The third obligation is to add to your site a link to the blog of the person who gave it to you.  Roger’s Place was already listed in my Blogroll before I received the award from Roger, so I have also done that.

The fourth obligation is to name seven things about yourself that people might find interesting.

The fifth obligation is to name seven other Kreativ Bloggers.

The sixth obligation is to post links to the seven blogs which you have named.

The seventh obligation is to leave a comment on each of the blogs which you have named, to let them know that they have been named.

I appear to be up to the fourth obligation, so here goes:

1)  I was born in Sydney, Australia and spent the first twenty years of my life there, before marrying and moving to France for thirty-eight years.  I am now back in Australia.

2)  I have three children and five grandchildren.

3)  I have been on stage since the age of six.  I first appeared on television at the age of twelve (I think).  My one and only magazine cover was when I was sixteen.  I was a founding member of the Young Australian Ballet Company.  Warren de Maria was our star dancer.  He was fourteen, but looked twenty.

4)  I started writing poetry at the age of eleven.  My primary school teacher later gave me an exercise book to write down my poems.  Her name was Mrs Henricks (or Hendricks) mother of Olympic gold medallist swimmer Jon.  She brought his medals to school for us to see.  My poetry has won me a few awards, mostly in France.

5)  I have the honour of being first cousin, once removed, to the Olympic gold medallist swimmer Claire Dennis.  My grandfather (her uncle), a policeman, was one of her bodyguards when she came back from the Los Angeles Olympics.  The crowd mobbed her when she got off the ship.

6)  I was eleven (I think) when I had my first article published on the radio.  I later worked as correspondent for a French newspaper.  I had some short stories published by the London Evening News and one of my plays was performed by my own performing arts company in France.

7)  I have sung with a few bands in France, and did a cabaret act with my own songs.  I crossed the English Channel on the midnight ferry with Roger Glover who, for the uninitiated, plays bass guitar with Deep Purple.  His band had just broken up and he had not yet written Love is All which I always call The Butterfly BallDeep Purple has since re-formed, with Rog’ back on the bass.  We were the only two awake in our part of the ferry.  We sat on the floor and chatted about Life, each of us on opposite sides of a New Zealand couple fast asleep.  It was June, the ferry was packed, and I was on my way to a royal garden party at Buckingham Palace.  My hat was in a paper bag.  Dear Rog’ thought that I was “normal” and asked me a lot of questions about my life because he didn’t meet a lot of normal people, according to him.  I like to think that my answers might have contributed somewhat to Love is All.  Please don’t disillusion me, if you know that they didn’t.

Now, for the fifth obligation.

I do not yet have seven blogs to name.  I’m fussy.  However, I have a few ready.

The first one is Late Fruit.  Elaine writes about a lot of things connected with Art and Ageing (American spelling:  Aging).  This site is very interesting and informative.

The second one is Sandy Says.  It is written by a lady golden retriever, who talks about her canine friends and her Human, who is a writer.

The third one is Allan Takes Aim.  Don Allan is a columnist for a Canberra newspaper and writes about a lot of different subjects.  His work is amusing, although you may not always approve of what he says.

The fourth one is Single and Thirty-something (which does not have capital letters in the name on the site) and is perhaps a more classic blog.  However, it is well-written and often funny, and I think that she deserves a spot on my list.

I am still looking for the other three.

I have already posted links to these four blogs in my Blogroll, so the sixth condition has been done as far as they are concerned.

I am about to visit each of the sites which I have named to inform them of their nomination, thereby conforming with the seventh obligation.

Roger’s Place has done me the honour of naming me as a recipient of the prestigious Kreativ Blogger Award.  I have already thanked Roger on his site for deeming me worthy of it, and thank him again here.

There are certain obligations attached to this award – one of them being to display it on your blog site.  I have spent the last hour-and-a-half trying to do just that.

Roger was kind enough to give me advice on the subject, but my Theme does not have “copy image location” only “Copy”, which doesn’t work.  I am trying to go about it a different way.

So far, I have downloaded it onto my computer, and from the computer to this post.  I have carefully noted the Link URL in the hope that I might be able to use that to get the !#$%^&* IMAGE INTO MY SIDEBAR!  (Please excuse the language – it is starting to get to me.)

I am about to have another go at it, using the Link URL to the image which is now in my files – somewhere.

If, when you read this, there is still no image in my sidebar, please, please, please give me some advice.  Anyone.  I would really rather not destroy the computer.  I can’t afford another one.  Thank you.

IF I manage to get the image where I want it, I shall proceed to the other obligations attached to the award.  If not, I shall probably destroy something, then withdraw from the world for a few years.

I am supposed to stay away from stressful situations.  Is the fame and fortune which I am obviously going to earn from receiving this award, really worth it?

***

Well, that was easy.  Worked first go.  Just one teeny problem – the award image is there, but everything else has disappeared from my side-bar.  Back to the drawing-board.  But I’m not touching that image.

***

Got the Archives back.  I’ll see what else I can dig up.

***

This is going swimmingly.  Now have Latest Posts again – even managed to list fifteen instead of ten.  Things are really going well.

***

I’m exhausted.  I’ve put back the stuff that disappeared, added more things, removed some that I had added, moved from side-bar to footer, and from footer to side-bar.  I still have a lot of side-bar left to fill, but I don’t know what most of the other widgets are, so am leaving them alone.

I shall deal with other Kreativ Blogger conditions in between my next subjects.  I don’t want to lose any followers while I’m ungracefully floundering around WordPress.

Things will return to normal tomorrow.  I hope.

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