2016/2017 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | Very old stuff

Welcome to the POETRY pages...

I've heard it said that writing is often an expression of where we are in our lives at any given point. It certainly is for me, especially in my poems.

If you prefer to start at the beginning, go to the bottom. If there's a feeling of despair at that time, it's because I was in despair when I wrote most of it. I didn't have any other outlet for my emotions, so the words had to express it.

Much of my poetry is written in rhyming ballad style because I can relate to the usual cadence and rhythm of rhyme - but it's also fun to read it aloud and put empahsis where it should be which is not necessarily where the rhyme is!

Sometimes I will include a poem, written by someone else, which I really love. There are separate pages for different years... click on which year you want to see.

Read on, and I hope you enjoy!

2017

Invictus

William Ernest Henley (1849-1903). Written in 1875 and published in 1888, originally with no title.

Henley was an poet in the 19th century who wrote Invictus when he was recovering in hospital from tubercular arthritis and had one of his legs amputeed below his knee. He became influential throughout his life with books of his poetry printed.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

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Books on shelves

© Melanie Gill and Jacqui Cluny

The group which runs the Absolutely Everybody choir is School of Hard Knocks. I joined this late last year, 2016, and I'm involved in any concerts or performances we do. Very recently we went to the Brisbane SLQ (State Library of Queensland) for our end-of-term break up and we had a flashmob written by the choir director and the SOHK theatre group director to the music for John Paul Young's song "Love is in the air". Our flashmob was wonderful - and liked very much by people at SLQ who watched it! The video is on this link - watch it, and read these words!

Books on shelves

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Small steps

© Louis Sachar

Louis Sachar wrote a book about children called Small Steps. In 2010 the Oregon Children's Theater produced a stage musical with the same name, and composer Karl Mansfield and singer Ellora Vilkin were involved with it with what I call a poem but which Vilkin sang. On Sachar's website there are a couple of videos which showed the rehearsal for the musical, but I saw the poem as how people like me are recovering. I hope you enjoy it.

It's a lost and lonely kind of feeling,
To wake up wearing a disguise.
I lie in bed staring at the ceiling,
I don't know who I am
There's little that I can
Fully recognize....

But I'm taking small steps,
'Cause I don't know where I'm going.
I'm taking small steps
And I don't know what to say.
Small steps,
Trying to pull myself together,
And maybe I'll discover
A clue along the way....

Just to make it through the day and not to get hurt,
Seems about the best that I can hope.
Like coffee stains splattered on your sweatshirt
There isn't any pattern.
Everything's uncertain.
It's difficult to cope....

But I'm taking small steps,
'Cause I don't know where I'm going.
I'm taking small steps,
And I've forgotten how to play.
Small steps,
Trying to pull myself together,
And maybe I'll discover,
A clue along the way....

And if someday my small steps bring me near you,
Please don't rush to tell me all you feel.
You don't have to speak for me to hear you.
If I softly sigh,
Look me in the eye
And let me know I'm real....

Then we'll take small steps,
'Cause we won't know where we're going.
We'll take small steps,
And we'll have too much to say.
Small steps,
Hand in hand we'll walk together,
And maybe we'll discover
A clue along the way....

Small steps,
'Cause I don't know where I'm goin'.
Small steps,
I just take it day to day.
Small steps,
Somehow get myself together,
Then maybe I'll discover
Who I am on the way....

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Tomorrow will be today

© Louisa Reid, 25 May 2017

When I was very young war seemed, to me, to be too far away from me. We had a wonderful childhood! But as I grew up it came closer - a lot closer, with many soldiers from ANZAC going to Vietnam. I even went into an anti-Vietnam war protest march in Victoria St, Hamilton NZ, while I was still at school. There were quite a few other students. Not too long after that I joined the NZ Army - I thought I should join to stop war! I was a Corporal when I finally left. I still didn't truly understand war, but at that stage women were not supposed to actually fight on the war front. I have understood, too many years, what war is - and who starts it. Have a read of this poem and see if you really understand, not only the history but today.

man

Listen to music they wrote about war
Try and understand words
You must know whatever they say
They're singing about what occurred
They sang about the Holocaust
PNG and Vietnam
And nuclear bombs which hit Japan
And Spain, Korea and Guam

What weapons did they use years ago?
What do they use today?
What ships sail out to fight other ships?
What subs crept into a bay?

Too many people are slaughtered each year
Too young, too old, full of dread
No-one mourns, no-one can help
And no-one cares if they're dead
WW1, WW2, ANZAC's still memory
For Australia and New Zealand
Afghan, Iran, Sudan and ISIS
What happens most can't withstand

man

What weapons did they use years ago?
What do they use these days?
What ships sail out to fight other ships?
What subs crept into a bay?

Do you listen to music they wrote about war?
Do you understand the words?
Too much war, too many refugees
The meaning has become too blurred
We dream of the future, our hope of no war
That seems like a long time away
Just what can we do to survive in friendship?
Tomorrow will be today

What weapons did they use years ago?
What do they use these days?
What ships sail out to fight other ships?
What subs crept into a bay?

Just what can we do to survive in friendship?
Tomorrow will be today

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Restarting

© Louisa Reid, 6/05/17

Finding people who would talk to me and are very close to home is leading me to positive thoughts. I can work against my depression, get back to where I used to be! If you have mental illness and you need support, check out Brook RED.

I tried to start again, just months along
from attempting to finish my life when time went wrong
I didn't forgive "them" - they knew what they did -
they didn't care about me, I vanished when they got rid
Depression took me over, but some people did care
became my friends - showed me, look, talk, share
I think much better now, examining my future,
my life is coming right, I'm starting to feel sure
I drop, just occasionally, when things take too long
but I can survive, I should know that - I am STRONG...
Wish me well, all you who once knew me
because I am different, I'm starting to BE!

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Thank you

© Louisa Reid, 14/04/17

I recently joined the Suicide Prevention Australia organisation, and one day I may even be recovered enough that I can talk about suicide. Last year I wrote this poem (November 2016 when I was illegally kicked out of a "village") but I couldn't have published it then. In fact, even now it hurts me. It's not for anyone, it's not about anyone, it's just how I think too many people feel. What do you think about it?

Thank you for supporting me.
It seems I was wrong: you'd given to me always,
I didn't have to beg... even though I noticed what you would do
like spending a lot of time on yourself... why should I worry?

Thank you for talking to me.
I didn't even notice when you wrote to me... that was the same as talking.
Even though talking was something I really needed
But I shouldn't be concerned that I couldn't even say what I thought.

Thank you for inviting me there.
I can't think about the time between our meet-ups; you might have so much more to do
and I can't worry that you would just fit me in when you had time.
I should feel happy meeting halfway but you would meet me where you suggested...

Thank you for caring for me.
Even I felt that all my contact with you was bad,
that I interrupted your work day far too often, even if it was two-monthly,
that I didn't care about your life even though many no doubt loved you since you were born.

Thank you for ruining my life
because you make me feel bad for asking for care
for asking for a visit
for asking for help...

Thank you for allowing me to finish what I am doing
which isn't really much
but now I can plan ahead and finish my own work and get myself out of here.
Suicide is heaven.

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2016

Why?

© Louisa Reid, 20/11/2016

Age, illness, poverty, some even face homelessness. I think quite a few people face what this poem is written about.

Life had been up and down, and living it seemed a nightmare
Imagine how you spend your day and you don't have friends who care
You used to work, enjoyed your time, you used to love what you did
But now you'd dropped off your world... you didn't ask for your skid
You had surgery, you had a stroke, you didn't even know
Your memory vanished, your speech had gone, you didn't know where to go
One by one people walked away, you didn't know about 'when'
Your income dried up, recovery too long, you'd never be normal again
Hugs that you'd loved were gone too soon, writing became just your life
The only thing that you now could do to stay out of strife
You shut yourself into your little room, your voice disappeared too
Your tears were just for you now, you hid them because you knew
You thought about what was up ahead, where you'd be on your own
You planned to leave, to catch up with your mum, to walk into the unknown
No-one who cared, no-one who came, no-one you could love
They didn't come back when you chose to leave, their push seemed to turn into shove
So now it was the end of your time, you'd worked out how to do it
No-one noticed you shutting the door, no-one else seemed to fit
You lay down to end this miserable life, to sleep, to go see your mum
You could see her, you could hear her say 'I love you, just come'
And when your life had gone, and you lay there with no reason to cry
You'd never hear the people who came, and who had to ask
'WHY?'

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Questions

© Louisa Reid, 31/7/2016

Some of my poetry has been around many questions. This one looked at how people look at their childhood and how they compare it to their 'now'.

When did you last think about living?
Did you push it to the back of your mind?
Are you happy with the now day?
What do you think you would find?

man

Remember your past, your childhood?
Or your home, which never seemed poor for you?
Was it so good, with wonderful parents?
Who stayed at home and looked after you?

Did you live a fun life playing with friends?
What did you eat, if you didn't have much cash?
Did you enjoy that? Were you so happy?
Why don't you think your childhood was flash?

Were you normal, disabled, rich or scared?
Did you live in the pink or the blue?
How did you get along in adulthood?
How does your life treat you?

When do you look towards the end of your life?
Are you really happy these days?
Do you wonder what is getting to you?
Have you earned your wonderful praise?

Didn't you enjoy it, growing up so many years ago?
Was your life straight or round a bend?
What do now days mean to you?
Are you looking forward to the future... or the end?

Too many questions I've asked today...
Your life might never have been told.
Happiness is when you feel so good about your childhood.
Don't ever leave it untold.

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What am I doing... who am I?

© Louisa Reid, 28/5/2016

This year I've been behind in writing poetry. Sometimes I throw some words at a page and eventually I like them. See what you think of this one.

What am I doing - who am I?
Am I sitting inside, or out under the sky?
Is it dark or a day - is there a sun?
Are there clouds up there? Am I having fun?

man

Who sits with me and talks about much?
Are their stories kept locked in their little tight clutch?
What do I wear? Does it stand up in crowds?
Do I listen to music? Is noise too loud?

What am I doing - where am I today?
Am I joining with friends for a meal we'll pay?
Where do we meet? Is a pub quite near?
Close to them, or closer to here?

Who drives to meet - them or me?
Further to drive - or close with ease?
Is coffee in town or inside here?
Does weather not count - or does it leave fear?

Do you play cards with others? Prefer to dance?
Will you walk normally or jump and prance?
Is my life too long? How old are you?
Do you think of aged people? Did they care too?

What do you think when you life is ending?
Does your history come back; might it need mending?
How will you finish? Will you smile when you die?
What am I doing? Tell me... who am I?

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Colours

© Louisa Reid, 9/1/2016

Colours engage most people, and there are some beautiful clothes out there. What are your colours and why do you choose them?

She was born years ago, not yet able to think
Her mother dressed her in things she called pink
When she grew older she wore what she'd seen
She figured her colour was specially green
In her teen age she thought when she looked at the sea
She loved the new colour, most definitely blue
At twenty she reached a new adult age
And she turned around and donned some sage
She filed that away, her mind thought ahead
So she put on new colours - mostly just red
She'd thought of trying yellow, so brightly tied
But it didn't suit her so she tried colour-dyed
And purple was pretty but lilac was old
At least for her, and she needed some gold
She headed to old - she was now 59
And a suitable colour was a merlot wine
But 10 more years, with no partner aside
She turned to floral, knowing what it would hide
Now she is old, colours made her think
Men wear navy, many women still choose pink
Young girls choose orange and boys like brown
Until they grow up and choose to wind down
But her? Most colours were far too bright
So now she wears non-colours, black and white

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[love is more thicker than forget]

© e.e. cummings from Complete Poems 1904-1962, edited by George J. Firmage. Copyright 1926, 1954, 1991 by the Trustees for the E.E. Cummings Trust. Copyright © 1985 by George James Firmage
Source: Poetry (January 1939)

I chose to print this poem because I think it's wonderful thoughts for life.

love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail

it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky

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Full Moon

© Louisa Reid, 2/1/2016

The Redcliffe Peninsula Poet's Group is having a concert for the Valentines Day this year, so I wrote this little love poem. This tells a tale of unreal men.

Looking out on the full, full moon on the eve of Valentine's Day
I thought of my love, a wonderful man and wondered what he would say

Would he tell me how much he had loved? Would he tell me who he'd fell for?
Would he mention my name, would he compare me? I watched the full moon start to soar

It swirled around with the man on its face looking down upon Earth
He blinked, then smiled, then winked at me! I felt like I'd just been re-birthed!

"Are you alive?" I asked the Man "How do you really live?"
He smiled at me and took a deep breath, knowing what he would give

"Trust in me," he said to me in a whispered voice very light
"I can tell truth, not lies at all - this word is about this night."

I sat down on Earth, feeling so tired; the Moon man blew over me
His breath was sweet, he whispered to me about things I needed to see

I saw a man, a tall one, dark hair - he smiled and waved at me
Beside him approached another kind gent; he was stable - like a birch tree

From out of my sight, from left and from right walked three more men smiling truly
Ginger and black and blonde mixed in, and muscles flexed so coolly

I knew my eyes were shut as he talked - it seemed, just to me, like a dream
All of those men lined up in the front seemed to glow with a gleam

I shook my head, not wanting to lose, but all of them seemed to vanish
Well, all except one, a marvelous male, and I felt myself turned Pollyannish

The Moon man smiled, and started to leave... "Wait!" I called out to him
"What's going on? I don't want you to leave!" He smiled and spoke as he dimmed

"You found a man, the right one for you, just keep him, he's now just yours
Just treat him as well as you want him with you and there'll never be any flaws."

On that little whisper he just disappeared, the moon began to fade
And the man appearing in front of me convinced me he'd just been made

He extended his arm, I held out my hand, our skins met with a glow
And with this delightful man who now was mine, we knew we had love to grow

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