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Revisiting river country

27 November 2016 | Rory Harris

Murray River EchucaEchuca is a string of hand held families in the sun, their floppy hats nodding over ice-creams smeared ear to ear. In Bendigo we sit on the bed eating treats from along the road. The Age is our tablecloth. The ghosts of parents past, promenade the High Street, they holidayed closer to home and always travelled with a deck of cards and a bottle in the suitcase ... Hills wrap Castlemaine, the trains have stopped running, the fruit and veg is biodynamic and the sky is scattered wool ...

A perfect stranger's perfect gift

21 November 2016 | Maureen O'Brien

Hand picking up a flowerRecently I went with a group of friends to see the musical Dusty. Afterwards, walking with one of my friends, I spoke about how special it had turned out for me seeing this musical on the day after my 54th wedding anniversary. Dusty Springfield's songs were ones my husband and I would have known well at the time. Just as I was reflecting on how some events have more significance than what appears on the surface, a young man on my right turned to me and handed me a large red flower.

Spring: Thirty short poems

20 November 2016 | Carol O'Connor

Number 30Counting angels dancing on a pinhead? How about, making count the stranger who stands right in front of me ... Love lies hidden. Quick! Look under the moss, hear the stone sing ... Mother Earth is groaning ... Dislocation. Disconnection. Displacement. Only you, only you, only you can take us home.

Already died

13 November 2016 | John Falzon

Salvador AllendeI talked to no one, let no one catch on, ate nothing, never got wet in the sea, or from the sea in the sky. I did nothing wrong except everything. But even so I never turned away from the poem, even when I shaved off little bits to sharpen my sense of the poem, or the unseen warfare in the world.

Children are the yardsticks of our mortality

10 November 2016 | Catherine Marshall

Catherine and familyOne minute you're escorting your five-year-old daughter to the school gate, the next you're popping a bottle of Veuve Cliquot and wondering where the last 17 years went. My grandmother told me children age you. I thought she meant they wore you down, put grey hairs on your head. But I understood after I'd become a parent myself. Children are hour glasses that cannot be laid on their sides for even a moment, but must be turned over as soon as the last grain of sand has fallen through the flue.

Coffee and birdsong

08 November 2016 | Mary Manning

Woman barista'Pull the levers, scoop the coffee, flatten it, steam fragrant liquid into white cups. My lever-pulling right arm has huge muscles from my coffee ballet. Around me: the buzz of conversations about people's plans for their day. No one knows I am lonely.' Short story by former Eureka Street editorial assistant Mary Manning, who died on Tuesday 8 November 2016.

A few hot days in the Flinders Ranges

1 Comment
06 November 2016 | John Cranmer

Flinders RangesHave you ever noticed the way that book and reality sometimes entwine and become essentially one? It's happening here and now as we contemplate these few hot days in Hawker and the Flinders. Anita Desai's The Zigzag Way creates a context for living here at this particular ephemeral moment. Altiplano Mexico in all it's barren frugality integrates with these hot and marginal plains hemmed in by the cragginess of surrounding scarplands with their many strong stories

Poem for Daniel Joseph Harrington

23 October 2016 | Brian Doyle

Golf clubThis is what I saw at a funeral, on a bright brilliant crystal spring day which the late lamented would most surely have called a great day for golf: His grandson, age smallish, dandling the deceased's favourite club on the lawn outside the church, as all the mourners stood around chatting. The boy whirled it like a baton, and balanced it on a finger, and finally leaned insouciantly on the club, exactly as his grandfather had so very many times before. It seemed very much to be a prayer, somehow.

A cassowary in Tinbuctoo

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16 October 2016 | Chris Wallace-Crabbe

CassowaryWhen I was a kid, I certainly knew, that a cassowary in Tinbuctoo, was able to eat a missionary, cassock, bands and hymn-book, too. Because it rhymed, it had to be true. But what on earth were those bands doing? Nothing musical, I'll be bound, And a cassock, what sort of jigger was that?

Bobbling their way from innocence to experience

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12 October 2016 | Barry Gittins

Queen Elizabeth II bobbleheadI attempted at one stage to lodge snippets of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience into the minds of our children. Emily complained that 'symmetry' didn't really rhyme with 'hand or eye'; Ben was and is more into dragons than tigers. The question later pondered of Blake's tiger 'Did He smile His work to see? Did He who made the lamb make thee?' regularly confronts me, as my wife semi-mourns and I embrace the maturing process that is taking our children towards adulthood.

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