Thursday, September 18, 2014

One hundred years ago (a WWI poem)

Earlier this year, I entered a local short story and poetry writing competition with the prompt 'One hundred years ago...'. I publish my entry here with the competition's permission.

Britain declared war on Germany in 1914, on Tuesday August 4
And the next day, Prime Minister Joseph Cook said, “...when the Empire is at war…”
 “…so also is Australia,” – and just like that, we’d tipped our hand
No debates, no votes, no impassioned pleas; just a nod to the mother land
In September, Andrew Fisher came to power, claiming the country’s top billing
He said, “Should the worst happen, [we’ll] defend her to our last man and our last shilling”
(How easily those in charge spoke of war, of attacking, defending and killing!)
The armed forces needed more troops, and put out the call for volunteers
Men were to be five feet six inches at least, and aged 18-35 years
Recruiting offices opened August 10, and by 1914’s close
52,561 men had enlisted, a number that only rose
Young men were drawn, like moths to a flame, to the promise of progress and glory
They couldn’t yet know how many would see the premature end of their story
They farewelled their families, their sisters and brothers, and joined the enlistment queue
Most filled infantry positions, others set sail, and still others flew
Then telegrams arrived, to their lovers, their mothers, and hearts were broken anew
The platitudes came flowing in: “He fought well”; “He was so brave”
Cold comfort when you’re standing at a church, beside an empty grave
The tale doesn’t end in 1914; in fact, it only gets worse
There are facts unimaginable, acts inexplicable; much more than can fit in this verse
(How many men said their final words to a soldier, a medic or nurse?
Almost two of every five eligible men would eventually take part
And a casualty rate of almost 65% meant many lives would barely start)
But we’ll leave it there, at the end of the year, when the war had scarcely begun
When, despite politicians’ promises, it was far from being won
Things were grim, soldiers were tired and the end was nowhere in sight
When sections of the front called an unsanctioned truce on Christmas Day and night
(A soldier wrote home on Boxing Day, amazed: “Yes, all day Xmas day, & as I write”)
Soldiers from both sides of the front walked to the middle and shook hands
They forgot about fighting, killing and warring over home and foreign lands
 Stories were told, and presents exchanged: cigarettes, tobacco and brew
And soldiers realised the men they were fighting were only human too
They learnt that there is good in everyone, that we could at once be cursed and blessed
That grudges could be set aside, and the worst times could include the best
And when the laughter had faded, and Christmas was done, the war did resume in the west
What would you write with the prompt 'One hundred years ago...'?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


I look at you
Young, innocent and smart
And I don't know where to start
With what I wish for you as you grow
There's just one thing I know:
I hope that you'll be happy and content
Live your life with purpose and intent
I could wish you sporting prowess
Victory and success

A glamourous career
Fame and fortune, year on year
I could wish you friends and love
A guardian angel watching from above
But I just hope you know yourself
Don't follow the crowd
Be yourself, whether that's quiet or loud
Stand proud

This is my dream for you
And sometimes - just sometimes - dreams come true
Each month, I receive a writing prompt as part of a link-up called Writers Reveal.

This post was inspired by the prompt 'Dreams' from Becky at Imagine! Create! Write!You can see what everyone else has done with the same prompt at:

Melissa Writes
the Wolfe's Den
Imagine! Create! Write!
What are your dreams?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Interview with a toddler

In July, the fabulously funny Kylie from A Study in Contradictions interviewed her husband, and Interview with a Husband was the result. Not so surprisingly, it was fabulously funny.

She invited us all to do the same, and I sat down with my husband, the questions and a recording device.

I shut off the recording device ten seconds later. My husband wasn't having a bar of it.

I felt left out. Shunned. And so, so sad.

And now, two months later, BRAINWAVE. Why not interview my four-year-old daughter instead?

"Yes please mum! Can I be on your website?"

So, here it is. Interview with a toddler. Hold on to your hats, people. Things just got serious at YLSNED.

And for those who haven't seen her around these parts before, meet Ashleigh.


What is the best thing about having me as your mum?

It's really good.

What is the worst thing about having me as your mum?

When you go away and I'm sad because you're not here.

What's mummy's worst habit?

Doing silly dances. It's really funny. You're a funny dancer, but you're not very good at it. You make me and Mitchell laugh.

What's mummy's best habit?

Umm... you let me watch television on Tuesdays if I'm good. Sometimes on Thursdays too! And you read me books and put me to bed and rub my tummy when it's sore. And you sit next to me. But if I'm naughty I get in trouble and that's not good.

What do you admire about mummy?

I really like mummy's red boots. They're the best.

Why do you love mummy?

Because you do nice things. And because you live in the same house as me.

What do you like about being a kid?

I love my toys! I want to keep them forever!

What do you dislike about being a kid?

I wish you and daddy could be together with me all the time. But daddy goes to work and I just have to stay with you. It's okay I guess.

What is your favourite thing to do with mummy?

Painting. And playing hide and seek too. But not at the shops. You get scared when you can't find me.

What is your favourite thing to eat for dinner?

Spaghetti. And chocolates and cakes and chips. But I never get those for dinner. Do we have any cakes mummy?

Why is mummy lucky to have you as a daughter?

Because I came into your tummy and then they got me out! Mummy... how did they get me out? Did it hurt? I don't want babies in my tummy. If I get a baby in my tummy it can just stay in there and swim around. How do you get babies in your tummy?

Is there anything else you'd like to say about your mummy?

I love it when mum cuddles me and stays in my bed for a while after reading me a story. You haven't done that for a while though. Mummy, can we have a sleepover tonight?


So, have you interviewed your toddler? Can I start a whole new memey thing here? Join in! How would your toddler answer these questions?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hey I haven't met you, and this is crazy

Last week, I mentioned that I'd been to the ProBlogger conference.
That post focused on the lessons I'd learnt, but the other standout experience was, of course, meeting my fellow bloggers. Including ones I have, for want of a better word, a bloggy crush on.

Like these ones! Me with Em from Have a Laugh on Me,
Bron from Maxabella loves..., and Lara from This Charming Mum

It was exciting and wonderful, but also bizarre. It almost didn't feel real. Hence this tweet on day one:

Now, that tweet has sparked something bigger. A song. A full song about how totally utterly 100%ly you can feel like you know someone just by reading their blog. (Or a song about how you all feel about this blog, of course!)
Here is my rewrite of Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Call Me Maybe'. I'd apologise to Carly for ruining her song, but it used to be my daughter's favourite song so it's safe to say it was ruined for me a LONG time ago.

I read your most recent post
I know you don't like to boast
But I just loved it the most
Now I'm fangirling you
I read back through your archives
Through your old posts and past lives
I'd like to give you high fives
I'm totes fangirling you
Your blog's enthralling
Through your site I'm trawling
Now your next post's calling
When will you post your next one baby?
Hey I haven't met you
And this is crazy
'Cause I read your blog
Feels like I know you baby
It's hard not to look
Through your blog baby
'Cause I totally get you
(Have we met, maybe?)
Hey I haven't met you
And this is crazy
'Cause I read your blog
I KNOW you baby
And all the other readers
Try to chase me
But they just don't get you
Like I do, baby
My comment sat there unread
My stomach filled up with dread
Have you stopped blogging instead?
I'm worried about you
I steal a glimpse now and then
(At eight o'clock, nine, and ten)
I check again and again
I'm totes fangirling you

It's been a week now
Where are you anyhow?
I'm totally having a cow
Where on earth have you gone baby?

Hey I haven't met you
And this is crazy
But I'm worried about you
Where have you gone baby?

Oh, here's a new post
I'm relieved baby
Next time post sooner
Or at least check in, maybe?

When your blog came into my life
I loved it so bad
I loved it so bad
I loved it so, so bad

And when you didn't post for a while
I missed you so bad
And you should know that
I missed you so, so bad (bad, bad, bad...)

I feel a bit silly
Or a lot silly, maybe
But your blog already means
So much to me baby
Hey, I haven't met you
And this is crazy
But I read your blog
Feels like I know you baby
And I can't believe that I'm
Doing this baby
But this is my URL
So... visit me maybe?
Before your blog entered my life
I missed it so bad
I missed it so bad
I missed it so, so bad
And now that it is in my life
I love it so bad
And you should know that...
So read mine maybe?

What blog are you totes fangirling at the moment?
And what song and/or topic would you like to see in a rewrite at YLSNED?