Mountains old

Strathbogie Ranges
 
 Mountains old
 worn down
 by time and weather 
 Peaks 
 smoothed
 Summits 
 rounded
 Rocks  
 broken to
 new
 beginnings

 Stones to gravel
 sand to granules
 dust to mud
 growth to decay
 decay to soil
 
 Inclined to 
 slippage
 Declined to
 fertility

 Treacherous
 nurturing
 home of the 
 tenacious

 Boon to the
 potency 
 of flood plains 

 Mountains old 
 are so much more alive 
 than the hard 
 sharp ridges 
 and strewn 
 craggy defiles 
 of the young

strathbogie poetry #strathbogiepoetry

strathbogie photography #strathbogiephotography

You complete me

When I’m suffering you are comfort
When I’m gross you are delicate
When I’m angry you defuse
When I falsely accept you refuse
When I’m tired you are energy
When I’m stupid you think for me
When I’m injured you like to treat
When I’m messy you are neat
When I’m hard metal you are gossamer soft
When I’m the basement you are the loft
When I’m cold you wrap around
When I’m noisy you make no sound
When I’m down you cheer me up
When I’m timid you play rough
When my boat is sinking you bail me out
When my voice is weak I hear you shout
When I’m dull you are sharp
When I’m empty you fill my heart
When I fight you patch my wounds
When I’m near reefs you take sounds
When I’m defenceless you fortify
When I am passive you defy
When I make sense you mark my words
When I don’t you shoot barbs
When I sketch you paint our world
When I'm straight you are curled
When I’m at bottom you are the tops
When I am crime you call the cops
When I’m sweet you are sour as lemon
When I’m sour you are sweet as heaven
When there's rocks in my head you are sphagnum moss
When I am matt finish you are gloss
When I’m woodwork you are craft
When we struggle you find a raft
"You complete me"

seanmathews.blog
strathbogie poetry #strathbogiepoetry

“You complete me” from Jerry Maguire1966, is my chosen quote to write to for this week’s d’verse prompt. Mish challenged d’verse poets to select a movie quote and incorporate it into a poem. https://dversepoets.com/2021/05/25/poetics-go-ahead-make-my-day/

The shallow of looking deep

 

I’m still drowning in the water of you
My feet can’t find the bottom
I don’t know what to do
It’s like all we’ve done’s forgotten

I know it was a blind step
A leap into the dark
When straight after we met
I let you leave your mark

Now I wonder what that time was worth
Those years since spent together
Now I give a wide berth
To your dark and stormy weather

I still don’t know you, I never did
What is it that I was missing?
Disappointment of which I’m never rid
A deflating balloon, ever hissing

When I reflect on you as a person
You’re surrounded by a wall
As I watched our relationship worsen
You never heard my drowning call

Was your silence about making a choice?
Or were you incapable and you couldn’t?
Could you not hear my pleading voice?
Everything about you said you wouldn’t

Did I simply miss you’re shallow?
Because I was always looking for the deep
Is it there was nothing to really know?
The wasted years make me want to weep

strathbogie poetry

strathbogie photography

The Trees

River red gum under rainbow, north of Yarck on the Great Victorian Rail Trail.
 
The trees, the trees are prophesy
Their collective memory grand
equips the trees to well foresee
beyond the reign of man
 
 In forests or in parks 
 or standing on their own
 if trees of the world
 could speak as one
 I know what they’d say 
 before they are gone

 For happiness, health and wealth
 For worthwhile survival
 Save the trees to save yourself
 re-wilding equates with revival

strathbogie poetry
strathbogie photography
strathbogie cycling

Goulburn Broken Cycling – Winton Wetlands

An enjoyable day of open space riding, described below is a 34km loop around Winton Wetlands. There are various options to explore for longer or shorter rides. If coming by train via Benalla, add approximately15km for the return ride to and from.

Bump & Grind Cycling Route

Winton Wetlands Loop

Start / Finish locations: 
Mokoan Hub & café car park
652 Lake Mokoan Rd, Chesney Vale VIC 3725
https://wintonwetlands.org.au

Mode: 
ebike, hybrid, MTB, gravel

Map:
GPS -36.439730401400716, 146.06316433156667

Difficulty: 
Easy

Distance:
34km. There is scope for various routes and extensions

Elevation:
163 – 189m

Topography:
Flat

Surfaces: 
Largely gravel, except the final sealed leg back to the car park along Lake Mokoan Road.
Note: if the weather is or has been wet, minimise use of Nelson Road. It can be very slippery and muddy. It can be closed to vehicles.

Description and Features:
You can pick up an excellent cycling guide from the café. 

Composed of numerous ephemeral wetlands and grassy woodland, Winton Wetlands is a the largest wetland restoration project in the southern hemisphere. The site is interesting whether wet or dry. It was dry for this visit. It is home to many bird and animal species. When wet, a special attraction is that the site teems with water birds and raptors (see the last photo in the series for when wet from 2017). 
The interpretive displays along the various routes share insightful environmental, historic and cultural information. There are Art in the Landscape installations at a number of locations along the way. This is an outstanding place for photography.

Riding conditions: 
The whole route is very exposed. It can be very cold and very hot. Check the weather beforehand. 

Options:
Ride to and from the Wetlands via the Benalla – Mokoan Discovery Trail.

Anticlockwise Cues:
Take the dirt track east parallel with Lake Mokoan Rd to the old dam wall
Left North Rd
Left Flynns Rd
Right SW Track (or follow Flynns all the way to Nelson Rd if wet)
Left Nelson Rd
Left Winton North Rd
Left Boggy Bridge Rd
Left Lake Mokoan Rd back to car park

Amenities:
Car parking
Café (check opening hours Mob: 0497 939 507)
Playground
Seating
Picnic tables 
Public toilets
Waterways
Walking tracks
Wineries nearby
Historic features
Alternative routes
Accommodation nearby
Fishing (licence required)
Camping (booking required)
Trailhead, map & Interpretive signs
Railway station at Benalla
Flora and fauna habitat

Cautions:
Open water
Soft shoulders
Limbs may fall
Embankments
Uneven ground
No potable water
Remnant fencing
Slippery surfaces
Subject to flooding
Road surfaces vary
Snakes may be active
Tracks may not be clear
Beware of vehicle traffic
Mobile reception may be unreliable
Carry food, water, First Aid, be SunSmart 
Be equipped for self-reliant riding 

Restrictions:
No dogs
No firearms
No hunting
Take rubbish with you
No firewood collection
Do not remove soil or rock
Historic relics are protected
Native flora and fauna are protected
Do not remove timber from standing trees
No fires in the open. There is a communal fire pit at The Nesting Ground camp site, otherwise gas cooking is recommended. 
Closed for camping on days of total fire ban
No 4WD or motor bike access
Drivers/riders must: use formed roads only, be licensed, be registered

Les Murray, an absolutely ordinary poet.

At the restaurants and footpath cafes diners drop what they are eating, push back their chairs and stand.
Football supporters pour out of the MCG and troop up Batman’s Hill to the CBD in club colours, with streamers streaming, flags waving and an uneasy uncertainty about their walking out on the game.
Blue singlet wearing drinkers abandon their beers to the yeasty, hop scented countertops, as pubs empty, spewing pot-bellied, stick legged staggerers and nicotine stained, leather skinned, emaciated smoker drunks into the gutters, the lanes, the roads and splashing back up onto the kerbs.
Elegant wives, trophy wives and mistresses, high heeled, blow waved, coiffed, dyed and exquisitely buffed, pull down the hems of their brushed silk and linen form fitted shopping outfits as they rise from chaise lounges. 
They collect hand bags and shopping bags, then step into security guarded vestibules, before finally emerging from exclusive tailoring appointments to join a glamour procession down from the Collins St summit.

Word has got around, curiosity brings out the inquisitive, the spruikers, the scavengers and those determined to report every experience to their co-dwellers in the virtual world.
There is an irresistible pull on the minds of those interested in whatever might be happening and those interested in being able to say they were there regardless – something is going on.
Whispers, tweets, messages and emails, texts, phone calls, video calls, even word of mouth, demand the attention of everyone in town. 
An unknown known compels complicity and participation.

Worshippers abandon their God in the expectation of a religious experience, churches evacuate with pious clergy in tow fully expecting a miracle.
Tourists disembark the free City Circuit tram, desert galleries and museums in droves, call taxis and Ubers for immediate pick up, sparing no expense on transport in an unfamiliar city, as long as they can get there ASAP. 
The toy shops spill small children out of their doorways, dragging parents bemused by this sudden passion for the outdoors, as the pitter patter of little feet turns into hard rain.
Teenagers leave park benches and love bites half sucked, holding hands they cross the don’t walk on the grass lawns of springy spring greenery, hoping for a seminally significant event on which to reflect many years later in their relationship.
Office staff lean out of windows. 
Those who have no window they can open press their faces against the glass to display flat fat cheeks and puckered lips full of teeth to the upturned faces of the ever swelling mass of onlookers below. 
As spectacles teeter on the ends of noses, computers whir away unattended while algorithms and AI action every last input before going to sleep in their very own digital dreamland.
Politicians self-importantly stride down Bourke St from Parliament House looking like they know what is going on.
And journalists wave mobile phones in the air, switched to record, in the hope of catching a bite for the evening news or the immediacy of online media, over the speculative hum and bustle of the real-world real-time growing multitude.

There’s a poet reciting in Federation Square and they can’t stop him.
He looks like an ordinary poet, but he hasn’t drawn breath for three hours and the laughter in the front rows has turned to weeping.
His words and each inflection are overwhelmingly evocative, striking the perfect notes for heart felt emotion or humour, eliciting cries of fear, gasps of wonder, moans of misery or whimpering terror at any given moment. 
Listeners who can hear him are mesmerised as if by Sirens and someone calls the police for fear they might be losing their minds.

There’s a poet reciting in Fed Square and they don’t want to stop him. 
The bookies are marking up a book on him and the TAB has various odds at when he will pause or cease. 
Gambling apps are rushing to find novelty angles to bet on like when will he make his first mispronunciation?
The souvenir shops can’t understand why they aren’t doing a roaring trade in clip on koalas and water filled snow domes of the Melbourne Town Hall – where it never snows – and polyester tea towels depicting the coastal 12 Apostles that are hundreds of kilometres away. 
The police arrive in paddy wagons and on crowd control horses to find no crime has been committed. There is no disturbance. The city has simply come to a standstill. 

There is a poet reciting in Fed Square and they want to help him. 
They remove helmets, bullet proof vests and utility belts, down truncheons, scratch armpits, backsides and chins, gather in small groups, heads bowed toward each other and murmur speculatively about what to do.
A police cordon forms organically around the poet so he can continue his recital without being crushed or disturbed by the ever increasing throng. They sit cross legged on the pavers in quiet communion with the people.
The Commissioner offers his megaphone so everyone present can hear the phrasing waft through the air above their heads and feel it penetrate their very souls. 
Each stanza drops like a stone, soars like an eagle or infuses each being present with loving, soothing peace. 
Police disperse through the crowd to make sure everyone can hear. 
Hushing those too noisy, asking the more excited to please calm down. 
People up the back, hanging from light poles or too short to see are assisted by police to positions of access and comfort, reorganising the crowd into a tiered human amphitheatre of enthralled faces, ranked human shoulders  and chests so full of heart each one feels it could burst.

There is a poet reciting in Fed Square and he is finished. 
The poet bows his head once to the stilled crowd, gives them a smile of thanks, takes the one step necessary down from his reciting stool, picks it up and folds it flat against his knee. 
With stool gripped in his right hand he raises his left toward the east and the crowd parts before him as he walks, untouched, through silent lines that close behind him. 
A police officer raises an eyebrow in his direction, but he shakes his head. 
He is an ordinary poet who needs no escort to safely leave the place of his work and his work is done.
The absolutely ordinary poet blends into the crowd, many see him fade, they try to follow, but he completely disappears.

strathbogie poetry

Laura’s d’verse challenge was to select a favourite poet and write a poem either about them (indirect voice) or addressing them (direct voice). Here is the link if you want to give it a try: https://dversepoets.com/2021/05/18/poetics-poems-to-a-poet/

I chose to write a poem about the remarkable Australian poet Les Murray. I hope I honour him by adopting something of his style. Sadly, Les died last year.

The vicissitudes of life

 
 From birth through growth to the time of decline
 From decline to decay such a time is mine
 For all that went before for all that went astray
 For all that has been given and will be taken away
  
 I see the patterns unfold through my life by the gloaming of hindsight
 The illumination of knowing through latter years' insight
 As the past stretches out behind me the future road is short
 The decisions I have made will shortly come to nought
  
 I take one last chance to pass on the learning of my years 
 One last chance to help those to come if those to come have ears
 History is our greatest teacher for handling the vicissitudes of life
 Human nature is our undoing when handling the inconvenient truths of   advice
  
 Secure your future with love and enough wealth is the best advice I can give
 Working to this end gives hope which gives purpose to how you live
 Start early and start young to earn a path to joy and learn to take your rest
 Don’t deviate from this path but keep it flexible to be your very best
  
 Loss may strike you without notice grief may haunt your very door
 Grow from your loss for better to turn haunting to past lore
 Change will come unanticipated may shake you to your core
 See change as opportunity to put each foot firmly on the floor

 Wealth does not mean riches just resilience and security
 For you, your partners, your dependents, your growing maturity
 Be love and wealth empowered so that choices can be made
 Be moral with you choices and ethically do not fade

 When love comes your way hold it closely to your heart
 If love lost should leave you reeling be proud that you took part
 Know you have been loved and can love again because love is all around 
 If one thing is known it is all want love and with time it can be found 
  
   

Coldplay NPR Tiny Desk Concert

One of my favourite things to do is to embrace my love of music appreciation and experience the sounds of music creation that are new to me. NPR Tiny Desk Concerts (and intra pandemic Home Concerts) have been an enduring pleasure in this respect. Artists play just four songs with just the basics on hand and often in ways that are quite unexpected.

Here you can listen to half of Coldplay backed by the beautiful beautiful voices and enthusiasm of a choir in a way that I found a delight for being so unexpected. https://youtu.be/j82L3pLjb_0

I hope you enjoy their joy as much as I did.

The blue sadness of enduring grief

I was asked to read the letters
With my father and my sisters
Written by my long dead mother
Lost words faint as whispers

He will struggle to see and read
So sharing seems a good idea
I will struggle to read and see
There's hurt combined with fear

Her pony tail her loving arms
My sisters in her face - and me
What will I learn of her aspirations
All the things she wanted to be

Sad blue of the paper blue of the pen
Blue in each letter written back then
There's blue in thinking about her again
When will I recover I don't know when

51 years later grief can rise be real
Camouflaged it waits in ambush
The loss the pain once more I feel
I have no trust in life

Maybe one day I'll let this blue sadness go
Release it to an infinitely clear blue sky
I'll stand tall throw back my arms and head
And no longer suffer what if or why

A response to a d’verse challenge from Sarah that coincides with an often unexpected recurring sadness / blueness https://dversepoets.com/2021/05/11/blue-tuesday/

The victim

 
I knew fear
When the bully turned his attention to me
When his sneer settled into a satisfied smirk
Accompanied by a condescending glare
Comprised of evil glints behind the blackest of eyes
and a palpably hot internal furnace of anger

He knowingly appraised me
He looked into my very soul
He asked himself the unspoken questions
only I should have known the answers to,
but he determined in a instant
What vulnerability lies here?
What weakness can I exploit
to the point of causing immediate pain
and then
terrible ongoing hurt?

Thus
I became a victim
I let him use my own low self esteem
as the leverage necessary to do me harm
To render me powerless to resist
To enable me to damage myself even further
To punish myself for allowing
the damage to be done

I became complicit
in my own degradation and misery

With no one to blame but myself

Lover’s touch

The curve and swing of shapely hip 
Inclines my eye to stray aslip
Invites a touch a lover’s grip
That pulls you in for ear lobe nip

My hand upon your rising chest
Tells me how deep you are at rest
The rate and depth of rise and fall
Is enough to tell a lover all

The fingertips that stroke my back
Are fingertips with lover’s knack
For tantalising or powerful pressure
To change a mood for love or leisure

My lips upon your upraised mouth
As tongues flicker lightly about
Full and soft moist and wet
I cannot forgo I’ll ne’er forget

The foot that strokes my leg in bed
Before we sleep each night has said
With this caress I love you each night
A touch confirming love’s delight

The cheek that absorbs teardrops weight
Is the cheek I brush for comfort’s sake
At the pleasure of our love’s great joy
At grief’s sadness when loss employs

The Bridge

My response to Lillian’s d’verse challenge to write a poem in a modern form called the Puente. The first and third stanza must have an equal number of lines and be connected by a second stanza bridging line demarked by the tilde. https://dversepoets.com

We dreamed of a bridge to adulthood
When we bought a house looking good
We’d settle as a family
My wild days behind me
Having scrimped and saved all we could

~the bridging finance broke us~

The deposit we mustered and paid
The lender suspiciously delayed
We were soon out of pocket
Bridging costs on the docket
Lost the house and felt quite betrayed

Strathbogie Cycling: Nagambie – Murchison Loop

Link & Chain / Road Cycling Route

Download from the link at the end to view route photos.

Route Name / Address:

Nagambie – Murchison Loop

Start / Finish locations:

Nagambie Railway Station Prentice St., Nagambie 3608

Mode:

Road bike (or any other mode you prefer)

GPS 36.785292° S 145.160579° E

Difficulty:

Easy – as long as the distance is OK for you

Distance:

50km

Elevation:

211 – 145m

Topography:

Flat

Surfaces:

Sealed bitumen. Narrow around Kirwans Bridge and Goulburn Weir. Firm dirt shoulders. Murchison East has quite a bit of through traffic, but broad sealed shoulders. Morningside Rd has quite a bit of patching. It is the roughest section, not too bad.

If you wish to join the Rail Trail to Rushworth at Murchison (another 7 – 10km one way dependent on where you start), you will require a bike able to manage a gravel surface.

Description and Features:

Nagambie is well serviced, Murchison less so, but can offer accommodation, food and drink. This is flat river plains country. The route parallels the Goulburn River, Weir and major irrigation canals most of the way. There are various scenic sites, such as the aged Kirwans Bridge, broad vistas across prime grazing and cropping land, quality horse studs and wineries.

Riding conditions:

Generally, fairly low traffic during the week with more tourists about on the weekends. Some long straight stretches. There is little shelter from the elements on the road.

Options:

Include the Rail Trail to Rushworth.

Start anywhere

Clockwise or anti

Clockwise Cues:

Start Nagambie Railway Station

Straight Prentice St

Right High St

Left Lobbs Lane

Left Kirwans Bridge Rd

Right Goulburn Weir – Murchison Rd

Right High Rd

Right Wahring – Murchison Rd

Left Morningside Rd

Straight Hayshed Rd

Straight Grimwade Rd

Straight High St

Left Prentice St

Straight Nagambie Railway Station

Amenities (in each township):

Car parking

BBQ

Fuel

Shops

Winery

Seating

Parkland

Waterway

Playground

Picnic tables

Public toilets

Potable water

Walking tracks

Accommodation

Historic features

Sports Reserves

Swimming Pool

Railway stations

Directional signs

Information signs

Extension routes

Cautions:

Open water

Soft shoulders

Limbs may fall

Embankments

Uneven ground

Slippery surfaces

Subject to flooding

Road surfaces vary

Snakes may be active

Beware of vehicle traffic

Mobile reception may be unreliable

No potable water outside townships

Carry food, water, First Aid, be SunSmart

Be equipped for self-reliant riding 

Restrictions:

Take rubbish with you

Historic relics are protected

Native flora and fauna are protected

Riders must use formed roads only

Strathbogie Cycling: Violet Town – Boho Foothills Loop

Violet Town Railway Station start and finish
Hub & Spoke Cycling Route

Route Name: 
Boho Foothills Loop

Start / Finish locations: 
Violet Town Railway Station Corner Primrose and Cowslip St., Violet Town 3669

Mode: 
eBike, road, hybrid, MTB

Map:
GPS 145.7164 -36.63884
 
Difficulty: 
Intermediate: modest rises

Distance:
23km

Elevation:
179 – 252m

Topography:
Undulating terrain

Surfaces: 
Good condition bitumen

Description and Features:
A pleasant loop that follows the line between the base of the Strathbogie Tableland and the plains surrounding Violet Town. Broad vistas, attractive landscapes, pleasant foothills and roadsides of aged River Red Gums.

Riding conditions: 
Largely exposed to the elements

Anticlockwise Cues:
Start Violet Town Station
Head south east along Cowslip St
Straight Urmston St
Cross Hume Fwy
Straight Harrys Creek Rd
Left Hayes Rd
Right Boho Rd
Left Boho Church Rd
Left Smiths Rd
Left Boho Rd
Right Hayes Rd
Right Harrys Creek Rd
Straight Urmston St
Straight Cowslip ST
Finish Violet Town Station

Amenities (Violet Town):
Car parking
BBQ
Fuel
Shops
Seating
Parkland
Waterway
Playground
Picnic tables 
Public toilets
Potable water
Walking tracks
Accommodation
Historic features
Sports Reserves
Swimming Pool
Railway station
Directional signs
Information signs
Off leash dog play
Flora and fauna habitat

Cautions:
Limbs may fall
Uneven ground
No potable water
Subject to flooding
Road surfaces vary
Snakes may be active
Beware of vehicle traffic
Mobile reception may be unreliable
Carry food, water, First Aid, be SunSmart 
Be equipped for self-reliant riding 

Restrictions:
Take rubbish with you
Historic relics are protected
Native flora and fauna are protected
Riders must use formed roads only

ABC Breakfast Radio interview

This morning’s interview with presenter Matt Dowling regarding my work on tracks and trails promotion in the Strathbogie region. Commences at 43.30minutes.

ABC radio tracks and trails interview