Wednesday, 4 May 2016


This poem was written in response to this video clip which I found very moving - 

SEND IN THE CLOWNS... Maureen Clifford © The ‪#‎ScribblyBark‬ Poet

A world gone mad - and devastation everywhere around
the centre ring is empty - none to see.
The carnival is over and the crowds are all long gone
and none left to recall festivity.
The bright lights are all shattered, now a tangled mass of wires
and shadows seem to shift and turn at whim.
He wanders, gun in hand, into the empty centre ring
and wonders just what has happened to him.

Send in the clowns, send in the clowns
they’ll make you laugh – might save a life.
They show no fear, make smiles from frowns.
Send in the clowns! Send in the clowns!

From high above a watcher watches, through a rifle sight
the man who once more graces centre stage.
He is a marksman in a war in which he had to play -
inside his heart is consumed with a rage.
He hears the music playing and he smells the greasepaint there,
he hears applause and cheers and yet no sound
at all is heard from where he is - it is all in his mind
and memories flood back of the fairground.

Send in the clowns, send in the clowns
they’ll make you laugh – might save a life.
They show no fear, make smiles from frowns.
Send in the clowns! Send in the clowns!

The watcher descends slowly, quietly - stands and gives applause
to the juggler all alone in centre ring.
Startled - the juggler cowers, fearing his death is at hand
yet he begs for mercy - hope a transient thing.
The watcher sits and from his uniform pocket appears
a red rubber nose - the kind that clowns still wear;
he placed the nose upon his face and struck a comic pose,
a big grin and he ruffled up his hair.

Send in the clowns, send in the clowns
they’ll make you laugh – might save a life.
They show no fear, make smiles from frowns.
Send in the clowns! Send in the clowns!

Then as quickly as it started the show ended - war returned
and the watcher turned and left the centre stage
as the magic of the moment that materialized was gone
when two men returned to a world mad with rage.
For a moment their humanity had surfaced from the mire,
for a moment each had recognized the worth
of a moment of hilarity in a world turned to dross
and two clowns enjoyed an interlude of mirth.


..Maureen Clifford © The #ScribblyBark Poet...

Khamah-D Blue is a red dog, he's a short dog I think you'll agree
Khamah-D Blue is a beaut happy chappy.  And yes!  He loves Elly and me.
Khamah-D Blue is quite cheeky, but that I am happy to see
'cause I know that it means he's settled - and can now live here happily.

Khamah-D Blue hates the mower and of motorbikes is not a fan.
My number one son has a motorbike and Khamah-D thinks that he can
kill it - not for want of trying.  When heard  Khamah-D cuts up rough
the minute they start, he howls and  barks regardless of my stern 'ENOUGH'.

Khamah-D Blue likes his tucker and likewise his green squeaky bone,
short he may be but when he's running free he's just like a mini cyclone.
Four short legs pumping like pistons, muscles as big as can be
power him flat-chat and Oh God!  Please not that, the little sods heading for me.

Life as we know it has changed now - gone are the days of sweet calm
there's thrust and parry almost akin to a battlefield out on the Somme.
Lucky for him he takes orders and shows no desire to roam

Lucky for him that we love him for he's now the heart of our home.

Sunday, 25 October 2015


… Maureen Clifford © The #Scribbly Bark Poet ...

He took off on a mystery tour along the beaten track
three hours to head around the world – to get there and get back,
but first things first, ‘twas something new and he must be prepared …
the essence of a tuna hot pot drifted up the stairs.
He thought that he might sneak a bit and stash it in his pack
always good to have sustenance, a little midnight snack.

A mournful cardboard pig stood watching silent from his desk
its eyes appeared quite questioning. Would this bloke pass the test?
He showed enduring promise; he had spirit but was young
and typically as most kids do he thought this would be fun.
You can’t put ancient wisdom onto shoulders newly formed
MARKET DAY... painting by Edwin Lord Weekes
and bright ideas have never yet kept a cold body warmed.

His head was filled with pictures bright of vastly different shores,
bazaars and deserts, camels, mules and pyramids and more.
Rich red and tasselled carpets woven there in dusty streets
where men in jalabiya strolled and people meet and greet.
Arabian nights had filled his dreams more nights than he could count
and somewhere in those desert dunes galloped his Arab mount.

He was only a little bloke – but oh he dreamt big dreams
and who’s to say where they might lead – if taken to extremes.
Did Lawrence of Arabia whilst resting in his bed
have dreams of glory visualized and running through his head?
Each journey of discovery that has ever been made
perhaps began with little boys whose dreams, life’s path conveyed.

Friday, 23 October 2015


Every year here in Australia over 20,000 racehorses are destroyed because they couldn't run fast enough, don't have potential,  get injured or were unable to be sold for enough $'s ... they are the wastage of the racing industry, the side the racing industry would like to see 'hushed up' ... but a fact regardless.

Prunda - One of Harry Hattons top performers in the 60s
Some might get reclassified and used in steeplechasing, the end result often the same and a high risk of injury and death.  Some are taken for use by the mounted police - and some of course do find buyers in the private sector just looking for a good hacking or dressage horse,  a better outcome for these, but % wise the number is very small.

 As a kid I spent every spare minute strapping racehorses,  hanging out with the up and coming jockeys at the stables of Harry Hatton and Fred Best and only saw the glamour of the industry and the hard work put in by the strappers and other stable staff.  Was this wastage a problem back then?  I don't recall it.  I am thinking that today it is a greed driven factor for the $'s.  Chasing after another Phar Lap - in its way no different to puppy farming and our overcrowded animal shelters across this country.  Horses are now throw away animals.  Racehorses, brumbies, unwanted kids ponies, old stagers that have done the hard years - all treated as 'wasteage'  Very sad.

Maureen Clifford © The ‪#‎ScribblyBark‬ Poet

They were once somebody’s darling they were once somebody’s dream,
they were once feted by thousands urged on by whip, hands and scream.
Now they wait in dark – dejected and they’ll no more hear the call
of “they’re off” because tomorrow is the last day for them all.
They don’t sleep in stables stately, they don’t get the brush and gleam
of a fine thoroughbred warmblood – now it’s rough – they hear the scream
of the fallen gone before them, and they know not yet the foe
but they fear the fate awaiting – and they know. Oh yes! They know.
It is hard to be unwanted; it is hard when one falls short
It is hard when expectations don’t equate to dollars sought
So just turn your back and leave them – sell them off and let them go -
they were once somebody’s darlings but seems now none want to know.
As the rows of Flemington roses pale and drop confetti blooms
the champagne, chicken and chance crowd have departed in the gloom
leaving a trail of trashed tickets, and a divot speckled course.
It is doubtful if one punter gives a stuff about the horse.

Thursday, 22 October 2015


… Maureen Clifford © The ‪#‎ScribblyBark‬ Poet ..

The Kookaburras chortled and called in the sun
as the legends tell us that they do
and the dark midnight sky faded out to soft grey
tinged with lilac, an interesting hue;
and old Mother Nature an artist apart
splashed her colours like paint on a canvas – her art
is breathtaking and always strikes right at the heart
of the people who live in God’s country .

All the colours of the rainbow are gathered here
there’s the soft pink of Sturt’s Desert Rose
and the yellow blossom of the wattle you see
whilst round Spinifex clumps tickle toes.
The Perentie display colours grey, green and brown.
Red grevillea share their sweet nectar around
after rain tiny daisies and ground flowers abound
each one adding colour to country.

She paints ancient deserts in rich golden hues
inland rivers she paints ochre brown ,
whilst her oceans are tinged in soft turquoise and cream
with their shorelines in silver, and down
in the depths she has coral in carmine and green
with clusters of pink brain coral to be seen,
sunlight penetrates through the watery sheen,
illuminating the depths of God’s country.

There’s a rock in the centre that’s bright fiery red
but it changes its colour at whim.
Sometimes it is purple at other times blue –
likewise Kata Tjuta her twin.
This is Anangu land and all are welcome here
but please show respect to the rock they hold dear
she is sacred to them – do not climb her for fear
of offending their Gods in their country.

 There are flocks of Piyar-Piyarpa wheeling round
 pink and white, bright against a blue sky.
And a Papa-Inura howls often at night
as he sits ‘neath the stars - hear his cry.
As Malu – the red kangaroo thumps on by
the ancient ones hear – and their voice is a sigh,
a mere whisper of breeze as they bid you goodbye
Palya Piranpa from God’s country.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015


… Maureen Clifford © The #ScribblyBark Poet ...
landscape by william Davies

His words were the words of a poet
His picture was the landscape of dreams.

The language of the landscape spoke through his pen.
His words captured the sunlit uplands,
portrayed the sheep longing to escape the cropped grass
for the green sward in the distance.
The pen is mightier than the brush sometimes.

His words portrayed the orphan’s tears,
that swirl of the kilt and the dark grey cobblestones,
where a stray cat sat, watching the shadows.
Rusting paintwork of a filigreed arch set in the old stone wall
where lovers said farewell was almost tangible.

Hidden gems of amber beads caressed an angora neckline
beneath a Scottish plaid.
Lowering clouds, fought envious feuds , tossed on the storm front
that promised rain – yet delivered nothing.
A redheaded woman walked a white Scotty dog
 on a tartan lead , along the cast iron shore.

His words were the words of a poet

His picture was the landscape of dreams.


… Maureen Clifford © The #ScribblyBark Poet ...

They worked because none wanted to play in the hunger games
and charity was thin and sparse they found.
They worked to bring earths riches to the daylight up above
and gleaned her wealth from deep beneath the ground.
The work was hot and dirty and every man was scarred
and every face was blackened when they surfaced in the yard
and every man and boy had calloused  hands  and arms as hard
as Ironbark, from pick and shovel work.

Here lives were caught between days long and nights of endless heat,
their days were spent in darkness underground
with nought  but just a carbide lamp to shed a gleam of light
and the endless ring of picks the only sound.
Railway Bridge over the Bremer
Beneath their feet were iron rails on which coal wagons ran,
a pit pony was in the shaft when each new shift began,
a padded cap on each small head to help avoid the pain
to furry heads bumping against rock ceilings.

The Rhonda Colliery at Ipswich had its share of these
small ponies with short thick legs like small trees,
though what they lacked in size they had in muscle so it seems
for they pulled the laden wagons with such ease.
And every pony had two men ministering to its needs,
two blokes who thought the world of their little valiant steed.
At knock off time each pony followed the one in the lead
up tunnels to daylight at the surface.

At times the Bremer River would have a hissy fit
and spread her muddy waters cross the town,
the brown and turgid waters would flood low lying shafts
Palais Hotel at Ipswich
in the Eclipse mine seven men were drowned.
The Bremer rose a foot an hour – rose more than thirty feet
it lapped the Palais balcony up there on Nicholas Street,
inundated the Railway station, man could not compete
with the floodwaters of 1893.

And now we still mine coal here but no longer underground.
The Rhondda colliery has long been gone,
and Aberdare and Prior’s Pit are merely names now heard
though few who hear them know where they belong
in the history of Ipswich, where our town is built on blood
of those hard men who defined us,  gave their lives to coal and flood,
and the Bremer still  can turn our red dust into viscid mud.
It’s a working town, it’s my town – this is Ipswich.