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Maureen K Clifford
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Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:31 am
Location: Ipswich - Paul Pisasale country and home of the Ipswich Poetry Feast


Post by Maureen K Clifford » Tue Jun 08, 2021 5:27 pm

DIGGERS SHOUT ....A COLLABORATIVE POEM - Writing Workshop‎ 7.6.2021

‎They cruised through ancient gorges, and past towering red stone cliffs‎
‎ they stopped a while to load at Waikerie‎
‎ and all the while the Murray simply flowed slowly along‎
‎ past red gum forests and aged river scree. ‎
‎ The Paddlewheels turned slowly - and loud birdsong filled the air‎
‎ the cerulean sky clear and cloudfree,‎
‎ to right and left were vineyards struggling to grasp a hold‎
‎ forerunners of a new wine industry. ‎
‎ MKC‎
‎ ‎
‎ The bow waves, in symmetry, rippled calmly to each bank‎
‎ and lapped at ever changing watermarks,‎
‎ and gave a sense of solace to a bloke of shady past,‎
‎ as he pondered, the magistrates remarks! ‎
‎ But the chance to work a passage to a future unknown‎
‎ gave hope to start afresh in new landmarks‎
‎ so there upon the river he decided to reform‎
‎ and have nought, but conscientious benchmarks! ‎
‎ R.B.‎
‎ ‎
‎ Reflecting on his Mary, whom he’d long ago let down‎
‎ by bringing shady dealings to her door,‎
‎ he cursed his gross stupidity and hoped in time to prove‎
‎ his worthiness and win her love once more. ‎
‎ As paddlewheels rotated in a comforting refrain,‎
‎ he pondered opportunities ahead; ‎
‎ a profitable future in a venture fresh and new—‎
‎ a chance for happiness in life instead. ‎
‎ CL‎
‎ ‎
‎ The year was 1894 and time was ripe for change‎
‎ at Waikerie – the place of “many wings” –‎
‎ inhabited by birds that filled the wetlands and lagoons‎
‎ and rose above the craggy cliffs like kings. ‎
‎ They’d granted him permission to be one of those who came‎
‎ to form controlled expansion that involved‎
‎ experimental settlement that may succeed or fail –‎
depending on what challenges were solved. ‎
‎ SJH‎
‎ ‎
‎ His Mary waited for him - she forgave his wicked ways‎
‎ she saw the true man hiding in the shell‎
‎ of the wastrel and the wanderer - the one who'd always fail,‎
‎ who'd let her down and was a ne're do well‎
‎ in some folks eyes, not hers it seems, for she loved this man true‎
‎ and knew that he would make good given time. ‎
‎ They'd planned a life together - he was following his dream -‎
‎ searching for land on which to grow the vine. ‎
‎ MKC‎
‎ ‎
‎ He sensed an opportunity was reaching out to him‎
‎ this day, Just waiting here for him to find. ‎
‎ Reminding him of not so long ago, when dreams and hopes‎
‎ about a better life had filled his mind. ‎
‎ Away from squalid city life - a longing to be free‎
‎ and leave behind the daily city grind. ‎
‎ Then settle down with Mary who had changed his wayward ways,‎
‎ for which for many years he’d been so blind. ‎
‎ TEP‎
‎ ‎
‎ But in the world of shattered dreams and teary broken hearts‎
‎ Alas! Poor Mary had not been alone,‎
‎ for he had called himself Bill in his dealings of deceit‎
‎ and what a devious path he had known! ‎
‎ But with the given names of, Cuthbert, Horace Percival,‎
‎ he’d tried to leave that, all back in the past,‎
‎ For he had sailed to Australia a remittance man‎
‎ And ‘twas the ‘Old Dart’ where his mould was cast! ‎
‎ R.B.‎
‎ ‎
‎ But now, in this new land, the time had come to make his choice‎
‎ to leave the past behind – begin anew -‎
‎ not let past failings daunt him in a place where many shared‎
‎ the secret sins that only convicts knew. ‎
‎ So as he stood with Mary on their vibrant virgin soil,‎
‎ imagining the sunset on the vines‎
‎ they’d plant and cultivate with sons and daughters by their side -‎
‎ he felt a surge of hope, like mellow wines. ‎
‎ SJH‎


‎ One hundred years have flown by it's now 1994‎
‎ the PS Marion just chugs along‎
‎ she's near one hundred years old too, her life full of changes -‎
‎ though still her stalwart heart is going strong. ‎
‎ The vineyards on the river are all heavy with the grape‎
‎ a bumper crop's been predicted this year. ‎
‎ On board a tall and rangy bloke - great, great grandson of Bill,‎
and Mary . He's an esteemed British peer

He knows about his forebear’s past and smiles a secret smile,
yet worries should the story now unfold.
For danger surely lurked here if the murky truth be known,
and Lady Jane Felicity were told.
He ‘d told her that his family were all of noble stock,
the truth would stay a secret now he prayed.
Especially about the way their fortune came to be,
when Great Great Grandpa ran the slaver's trade.

The Baron, William Cuthbert leant at ease against the rails
watching the wavelets racing to the shore
He pondered on his title bestowed on him by the Queen
for poetry and writing - nothing more.
Today his real inheritance would fall into his hands
hard won by ancestors who'd gone before
The vines Great Grandpa planted years ago at Pooginook
on fertile floodplains close to Murray's shore.

He'd some ideas to play with, though light-footed he would tread
and take on board his head mans expertise.
He thought perhaps a wine he'd name to try and curry favour
would be a Chardonnay - 'Felicities'.
A wicked sense of humour and a wordsmiths play on words
'Baron's Bordeaux-llo' label came to mind
A rich and feisty red aged long and gracefully in oak ,
full bodied, but the cost won't send you blind.

And oh! How glad he was, that Great Grandfather changed his ways
of course, with thanks to William Wilberforce!
and now, he often thought how John Newton’s ‘Amazing Grace’
did his pursuit to be a scribe, endorse!
For now he was a Baron and vast wine estates were his,
so Gentry status now was guaranteed.
But! Just like rivers change, so too, the mind of Lady Jane
when, poison whispers, planted doubtful seed!


She'd heard stories and whispers - he was thought beyond the pale
but Lady Jane was made of sturdy stock,
feisty and independent she was no weak hearted maid
her wedding plans held solid as a rock
Together they eloped and headed out for warmer climes
William, her poet, won that fair maids heart.
He could promise her nothing but his true undying love
and hard work as they both made a new start.

But feisty, though she was, her heart would melt with poetry
when weakened through her passion of fine wines,
and one named in her honour, and especially a chard’,
showed William, knew just how to read the signs.
For all their past uncertainties -were like the river flows-
forever gone, and really no great loss,
for adding to their assets, of poetry and fine wine
was an embracing, of the Southern Cross!

She was oft' seen in the Vineyard with her secateurs in hand
walking the rows and pruning up the grapes,
and scattered cross the vineyard were one hundred dorset lambs
cropping the grass, with no thought of escape.
They were part of a brand new plan to market 'natural' wines
alongside those much loved throughout the years
Biodynamic farming from the grapevine to the plate
each one value adding to new frontiers.

To reduce their carbon footprint was a plan both embraced
the CO2 emissions under fire.
In the spotlight global warming - a buzz word now of sorts -
ignoring it caused situations dire.
Glass bottles could be phased out, shipping wine in bulk the go,
reduce the chemicals, make 'clean' the trend.
Challenges for the future now were coming thick and fast
it fell on them quality to defend.

He thought about his forebear from the past, who paved the way
with challenge and adventure in his blood.
He'd overcome his sordid sins, reached out to firmly grasp
a solid future, risen from the mud.
A smile adorned his lips - he watched his stately wife approach
and gratitude engulfed him like a flood,
for nothing really changes if two hearts are strong and true
and like the summer rose, give forth their bud.

Though now wife to a Baron, Lady Jane Felicity
who hadn't cared a jot - and loved to tell
the story of their vineyard to the visitors who came
to taste the wines and fall under their spell.
She told of the old slaver and Bill the remittance man
who shared with Mary hope for better days
and started up the Vineyard that was now called 'Baron Falls'
a pun of sorts on all labels displayed.

In Oz, a convict background has a soupcon of appeal
it almost guarantees instant success
What was first thought a negative was soon seen as a plus -
wine sales rose steadily - all did impress.
The quality of their wines and the story clinched the sales
a good result - from once a ne'er do well.
Their wines were sent to England and on high tables were seen
though Williams Dad's thirst they would never quell.

He'd died in Vietnam, a strapping young bloke of nineteen,
sadly caught in an enemy attack
at the Fire Support Base Coral - no real surprises there.
Fifteen Australians died on that track
May 1968 their defences were overrun
1 RAR was under mortar fire.
William was just a babe in arms when his Mum got the call
the consequence of loss was harsh and dire.


The headlines told the story .... 'Baron Falls' takes Best in Show,
at the Decanter World Wide Wine Awards.
Australia did well that year with Gold and Platinum
and 'Baron Falls' was reaping the rewards.
Long tables graced their vineyard topped with snow white linen cloths,
glassware and silver sparkled in the sun
the jewelled colours of the wines mimicked the tones of nature
the guests were happy - each and every one.

William and Jane together urged their guests to raise a glass,
and made a toast to their prize winning wine
in remembrance of Diggers who to Oz had not returned -
their thoughts with one with no headstone or shrine.
Their rich full bodied Merlot bore the label 'Diggers Shout'
and showed an Aussie soldier battle worn
with slouch hat tipped to shade his eyes from bright blue skies above
a rising sun badge proud it to adorn.

The tourists cruised through ancient gorges, past tall red stone cliffs‎
‎ they'd eaten well - were full of bonhomie‎
‎ and all the while the Murray simply flowed slowly along‎
‎ past red gum forests and aged river scree. ‎
‎ The Paddlewheels turned slowly - and loud laughter filled the air‎
‎the atmosphere relaxed and quite carefree,‎
and somewhere from the dreamtime perhaps other eyes looked down
with love, embracing their heredity.

‎ MKC‎

Footnote 13 May 1968 The Battle of Coral & Balmoral - The Battle for Fire Support Base (FSB) Coral begins with an enemy attack that overruns 1 RAR Mortar Platoon and captures one of 102 Field Battery’s gun pits. The base is cleared with the help of helicopter gunships. After a second attack on May 15, Australian casualties around Coral stand at 15 killed and 56 wounded while enemy losses are estimated to exceed 100 dead.
Check out The Scribbly Bark Poets blog site here -

I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

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