Apr 162022

Poetry through the Ages

The Poetry through the Ages class meets on Wednesday mornings. The tutors are Noel Butterfield and Susan Lloyd.

Apr 052023

During Term 1 2023, we have been reading, and trying to make sense of, some of Shakespeare’s sonnets. To assist us in this endeavour, we were fortunate to have the erudite and knowledgeable Steve Gilbert provide them with an indepth look at these sonnets on 5th April. Steve is a member of our Shakespeare Group. Comprehensive notes were provided and, as Steve suggested, they looked at them ‘as a biographical story’. Our understanding was further enhanced by some YouTube presentations, both serious and comic, including a reading by Alan Rickman, a couple of ‘take off’ skits by Upstart Crow from the BBC and even a ballet clip. In addition, they watched a reading using the correct English pronunciation current when these plays were written and, as a result, the sonnets now appear far more accessible.

Thanks to Steve for his presentation and to Huguette De Rycke for the photo.

Jun 222022

Noel Butterfield reports that, on Wednesday, 22nd June, the Poetry and Shakespeare groups jointly hosted a hearing workshop conducted by Catherine. “Catherine’s visit evolved out of discussions that we had pertaining to the onset of hearing loss as we age and possible strategies that we could employ in class to diminish its effects. She has worn hearing aids for 60 years and also has a cochlea implant. In addition, she has spent a decade as an advisor, counsellor and speech reading (formerly called lip reading) teacher for Better Hearing Australia. Hearing loss is a ‘silent’ (no pun intended) condition and we all left with a heightened appreciation of the issues, strategies for communicating with individuals with hearing loss, seating arrangements, etc.

Apr 142021

On Wednesday, 14th April, our Poetry Through The Ages and our Shakespeare Rocks groups combined for a social get together at Eltham Central Pavilion.

As Noel Butterfield said: “The venue was excellent – expansive yet with a cosy ambience. Roger Alcock was a picture of sartorial elegance (see photo).

Nov 162020
Ode to a garden (by Cathy)

A garden is a precious thing
It’s nature, love and art
Leaves and flowers, butterfly wings,
Pressed upon my heart.

Terry (by Jan)

Standing in my veggie patch, the broccoli, swelling and green
Broad beans stalks reaching for the giant sky
The soil so wet from recent decent rain
And I’m stuck in the mud – wanting to fly.

Living with it (by Ken)

Future bleak, addictive fear, Stasi at our gate,
Brow-beaten and ashamed to accept our fate
Liberties, fun and freedom few
Is this Covid nineteen, twenty one or twenty two?

Poets (by Ken)

Poets are normal people
Confessional, metaphysical, suicidal.
Depressing instincts emotional
Frequently impossible.

Football (by Noel)

Football isn't what I love
It's simply what I need.
Without the leather being kicked
I'm a basket-case indeed

Falling (by Pauline)

A lingering look, a tender smile
The flicker of a flame,
A touch of hands, brush of lips
Two hearts, never the same.

Osmosis (by Sue)

Odours, instantaneous and fleeting, cause my heart
To dilate joyously or contract with remembered grief.
If I could put the beautiful scent of love in a box and keep it
I’m certain I’d be able to tell you it would be the perfume of love.

Termites (by Terry)

I’ve never met the termites,
But I’ve seen what they can do.
They find some unsuspecting gum Then chew and chew and chew
And chew and chew and chew. TIMBER!

Oct 012017

Poetry is neither stuffy nor boring. Poetry is all about words and images that convey humour, realism and fun. One of my favourite poets is Jan Owen. Jan is a modern poet with transparent links to the past.

The Australian Poetry Library website includes 479 of Ms Owen’s poems. Of these, I particularly recommend:

To give you a flavour, here is The Pangolins:

Throwing the I Ching by the northern wall
(Mountain over Water: the cataract clears),
rereading the dubious message in dubious light,
dusk there is as brief as thirty years.
The dogs were off at the end of the garden, barking
at moonlight or monkeys, tenor and alto and bass.
Under the rambutans it was lighting-up time,
teetering lanterns in the bushes and grass
were practising emerald — becoming, yes, here;
the fireflies above were loopy with desire.
A pounding of fists south-east from the Surau
was the kampong boys on their Thursday drums. The air
yearned after the odd missed beat like a tired heart.
And then the stranger came. Out of the neat
fit of the dark. Self stood back. No-name
trundled up, snuffling the mulch with her slender snout.
She was the presence of many grandmothers, homely,
buttressing wonder, nosing around the boles
of the clumped bananas; tip to tapering tip,
a relaxed bell curve validated with scales
perfectly graded — 3:5:8:13 …
Her back was firm terrain under my hand,
an equable riddle with a waddle (Earth over Earth:
a friend will be lost, a friend will be found).
I squatted down. She paused and quirked her head:
this was no tree. To run or not to run?
To amble. With dignified haste like the shopping-bag rush
for the 5 p.m. to Rawang in Ramadan.
What goes on four legs at night and none at noon?
At dawn alert next day Suwanti chained
the dogs away from their round jungle-green enigma
then bowled the baby into the hedge to its kind.