Sunday 31 October 2010

Live export trade.

IXL tried all week to source Halal turkeys for Christmas on behalf of a corporate client.
The mind boggles, right? Why anyone would think it’s appropriate to give Muslims Christmas hampers I don’t know unless we subscribe to the philosophy: ‘in Rome do as the Romans do’.

However, business is business, so she eventually found a farm where turkeys were butchered in the Halal tradition. It seems a mullah is hired to stand in the shed facing Mecca where he chants as the turkeys are beheaded and that’s it. Apparently they are quite ecumenical, it being usually OK for animals to be slaughtered by Jewish and Christian butchers (not Atheists) so long as Halal methods are used. The rules are worth reading and make a lot of sense, starting with ‘thou shalt not eat road kill’ and the like.

One Halal directive states that the animal should be killed with as little pain as possible, but as far as I can gather, they must be moving all the while they are bleeding out to be sure all blood is removed. The two do not seem compatible, but let’s accept there are good reasons and look at the meat export business.

1. Australia has a substantial live cattle and sheep trade with the Middle East. Live animals are shipped by sea so they can be butchered at the destination in the Halal tradition, part of which is to eat the meat as soon as possible after slaughter. So the animals suffer for weeks squashed into holds of ships where a high proportion die in transit, negating the minimum pain ideal, then are carted home in car boots and on roof racks to be killled in the bathroom!
2. But that aside, it seems to me there is more fuss made over how an animal is butchered in that part of the world than there is concern for suffering inflicted on fellow human beings.

Now for something from the Irish tribal tradition.

Sunni V Shia.
The Prophet is quoted to suit
Each tribe, from Iran to Beirut.
They fight kill and die
And clearly, here’s why:
They each want control of the loot!

PS. Comments and points of view from Muslim readers are not only welcome but respected here. We could have substituted Catholic V Protestant or Serb V Croat and any number of other contemporary feuding tribal pairs. To learn more about live exports click here.

Thursday 28 October 2010

Magpie 38


One day to breathe
the scent of earth,
One eternity to be it.

Sadly prompted byMagpie Tales.

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Jingle's loverly poetry.

Literary Lovers Lane.

Together we’d drive to the dance,
Then park and read books of romance.
But when we read Chaucer
A gruff law enforcer
Said, ‘Keep your romance in your pants!’

Less bawdy poetrycan be found at Jingle Poetry Challenge.
Pic borrowed from

Sunday 24 October 2010

Would the real Mary McKillop be allowed to stand up… please!

Mary McKillop, a genuine hero, deserves a posthumous Order of Australia at least. She was an activist and whistle blower, earning herself excommunication for a time. She was an educator and battler for indigenous rights long before it became fashionable.

To me, smothering her achievements in mythical hocus-pocus draws attention away from her real contribution. She died in 1905 but her work continues, not by magic, but through the efforts of the dedicated women of the order she created and the schools she and her supporters, not all Catholic, established. Now, St Joseph’s schools are a major contributor to Catholic Education throughout Australia. She was a real person in real time who made a real difference, despite interference from her superiors and should be honoured as such by all Australians.

To elevate her to sainthood, our Catholic brethren needed to convince the Pope she had pleaded to God (in an amateur capacity), to extend two women’s lives. Both 'miracles’ happened in the hundred and five years since her death.

But now that she has the badge, there will be no RIP for her. It will be full on listening to prayers, millions of them a day and then sifting through to find, once in fifty years or so, the one or two most worthy. I mean, we can’t be wasting His time with millions of pleas when we know He is so busy.

“All right Mary! All right already! (He is Jewish) Just leave it with me. I’ll have a look at Ethel’s cancer when I get a minute. Look! I’ve got Pat Robertson in my ear demanding I deliver on his latest disaster prediction and poor old Benedict pleading for me to stop making paedophile priests, when he knows it’s been an institution for thousands of years! Sodom wasn’t built in a day you know! “

“And I have to take care of all that while I keep up my smiting quota! It’s all right for you. All you do is listen but I have to do stuff!”

“Mary, do you realise how many saints there are? There are millions and I have to listen to them all!... Look, you can do something for me. See if you can rustle up a few more virgins. Damn suicide bombers!”

“No Mary, there are Muslim saints and Hindu saints, Buddhist saints and, and can you imagine how many saints were created since the Druids? My goodness! And you expect me to jump when you want a favour? Mary, you were a very naughty girl at times, so why should your lot get preference! Now get out of here and come back in fifty years or so.”

We’re told that McKillop’s a saint,
Who listens to every complaint.
But only a dill
Would pray when they’re ill,
And wait fifty years if she ain’t!

Picture borrowed from here was her first school, established 1867. By 1869 her order has attracted 70 new recruits and opened 20 schools. Modern Educators would need more time than that to put together a report! Take the detour and read the facts about this amazing woman.

Friday 22 October 2010

Magpie 37

Love Bird’s Companion

Your bride gift mirror, placed with care
On the covers, close to where
Your pillowed head
Was once in bed
And I imagine you’re still there.

Take a peep into the Magpie's Nest for more stories and poems.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Jingle's sinful Potluck Poetry

Gecko’s Sin List.

Pride is good but anger better,
Sloth and Gluttony, bad together
Envy and lust
Are really a must
And greed is essential for any go-getter!


I was so terrified after learning what happens to the slothful, I had to gather the energy to post with Jingle before I was cast into the snake pit!

More fun at Jingle Poetry.
Picture borrowed from here.

Thursday 14 October 2010

Magpie thirty-sicks.

Q: Why do we love knockers?
A: Because they are something to a-door!
Boom boom!

And now for something completely silly.

A one armed, one leg’d man I saw,
one eyebrow gone, but there was more;
one eye, one ear
and worse I fear;
His house had only half a door!


Join the fun at Magpie Tales

Writers Island "Envisions"

“Every time it rains it rains pennies from heaven
Don’tcha know each cloud contains pennies from heaven.”
Johnny Burke and Arthur Johnston wrote that when I was one year old.

Right now, we ‘down under’ are drowning in an excess of heavenly wealth after ten years of drought. But unlike most flood times there are no Hanrahans shouting ‘We’ll all be rooned!’ because we know a new cycle of drought will come soon enough!

We’ve been through some times that are lean;
Droughts, floods and fires between.
To some it is tragic
To others it’s magic.
The difference is how it is seen!


Now, since I referred to Hanrahan, it is only fair you get to read John O'Brien's best known Australian bush ballad, probably set in the depression of 1898:

Said Hanrahan

"We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
In accents most forlorn,
Outside the church, ere Mass began,
One frosty Sunday morn.

The congregation stood about,
Coat-collars to the ears,
And talked of stock, and crops, and drought,
As it had done for years.

"It's looking crook," said Daniel Croke;
"Bedad, it's cruke, me lad,
For never since the banks went broke
Has seasons been so bad."

"It's dry, all right," said young O'Neil,
With which astute remark
He squatted down upon his heel
And chewed a piece of bark.

And so around the chorus ran
"It's keepin' dry, no doubt."
"We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
"Before the year is out."

"The crops are done; ye'll have your work
To save one bag of grain;
From here way out to Back-o'-Bourke
They're singin' out for rain.

"They're singin' out for rain," he said,
"And all the tanks are dry."
The congregation scratched its head,
And gazed around the sky.

"There won't be grass, in any case,
Enough to feed an ass;
There's not a blade on Casey's place
As I came down to Mass."

"If rain don't come this month," said Dan,
And cleared his throat to speak -
"We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
"If rain don't come this week."

A heavy silence seemed to steal
On all at this remark;
And each man squatted on his heel,
And chewed a piece of bark.

"We want an inch of rain, we do,"
O'Neil observed at last;
But Croke "maintained" we wanted two
To put the danger past.

"If we don't get three inches, man,
Or four to break this drought,
We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
"Before the year is out."

In God's good time down came the rain;
And all the afternoon
On iron roof and window-pane
It drummed a homely tune.

And through the night it pattered still,
And lightsome, gladsome elves
On dripping spout and window-sill
Kept talking to themselves.

It pelted, pelted all day long,
A-singing at its work,
Till every heart took up the song
Way out to Back-o'-Bourke.

And every creek a banker ran,
And dams filled overtop;
"We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
"If this rain doesn't stop."

And stop it did, in God's good time;
And spring came in to fold
A mantle o'er the hills sublime
Of green and pink and gold.

And days went by on dancing feet,
With harvest-hopes immense,
And laughing eyes beheld the wheat
Nid-nodding o'er the fence.

And, oh, the smiles on every face,
As happy lad and lass
Through grass knee-deep on Casey's place
Went riding down to Mass.

While round the church in clothes genteel
Discoursed the men of mark,
And each man squatted on his heel,
And chewed his piece of bark.

"There'll be bush-fires for sure, me man,
There will, without a doubt;
We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
"Before the year is out."

From: Around the Boree Log and Other Verses, 1921.


I can see them sitting on a log at Boree, near where my ‘Wollombi Tales' were set. If anyone is interested, click on the link and enjoy a few stories from way back.
Note also, the only comment on that first post of the set was from my wonderful supporter Gabrielle Bryden, poet and fighter for children suffering autism.

Prompt and image from Writers Island.

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Pot luck poetry

Living in the view

From the mountain top
I feast on blues
of sea and sky

From the plain
my heart is lifted
by the sight of hills

So I come down
to wet my toes
and feel the cool

Then return to where
crisp mountain air
is warmed by fire.

Join in and read more mountian and beach poetry at Pot Luck Poetry
Image borrowed from

Saturday 9 October 2010

Lysistrata in Hijab.

Light Bulb Moments.

This light-bulb moment popped into my consciousness yesterday.

Watching rallies in the US for “American values”, expressed by people understandably uneasy with change, I wondered if Osama Bin Laden was winning in his quest to destabilise America.

Then the light-bulb moment. Even at the peak of racial injustice, black America still saw itself as American first and coloured second, so their dissatisfaction offered scant opportunity for exploitation from outside America. The ‘Black Muslim’ movement was too soon to tap into terrorist networks. It made its point and supported Black Pride but faded as coloured Americans claimed their place through education and involvement in the political process. Powell, Rice, then Obama carried the baton in that final leg to what appeared impossible a generation earlier.

Now we cannot afford to alienate citizens to the point they shift allegiance from our nation to those who desire its destruction. Here I am speaking to the Terry Joneses of the world as strongly as any Muslim offended by him. Criminals who kill under the banner of Islam must be publicly denounced and identified by Muslims. Long term peace, not only in America but worldwide, depends on people rejecting violence in their own. But they too must be supported by everyone being absolutely committed to supporting laws that guarantee equality regardless of gender, religion and sexual orientation. Nothing is to be gained by blaming a whole religious or racial group for a nation's woes.

I always thought the invasion of Iraq 'to impose regime change' was wrong and was uneasy when we went into Afghanistan to ‘smoke out’ Bin Laden. I was uneasy because Democracy is so difficult to impose. Almost everywhere it exists, it was home grown. Even the original Tea Party movement, the turning point to American independance, when British rule was rejected and America created its own democratic government, came from inside.

But how? How can people find peaceful solutions with so much violence breeding even deeper distrust as nation after nation is torn by militant religious fanaticism?

Then came the second light-bulb moment, as I thought of the Peloponnesian Wars. Twenty eight years of hatred and slaughter was ended in a week when the women of Ancient Greece took control. Women are the key to this one too, as expressed in this poem, ‘channelled’ through thousands of years to me from the heroic Lysistrata.

Lysistrata in Hijab.

Children of Islam, virgins all.
Unrequited, stunted, tragic.
Educated in ignorance
to worship death.

Mothers of Islam, virgins no more.
Prisoners of your own making.
Only you can set them free,
your children and your men.

Pics borrowed from here and here.

Thursday 7 October 2010

Magpie 35

Start of the fall.

'Those Autumn leaves'- Daah-dum
'Drift by your window'- Daah-dum...

After the harvest
a winding down.
Get out your fiddle
and play with me.

Time for celebration,
time for gathering,
time for friends.

But this year,
time for reflection
and time for truth.


(Have a look at the next poem on this blog... please.)

Every week, great poetry at Magpie Tales

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Other Tea Parties.

Making a difference.

Offence you feel,
the invisible man.

This sinful land,
deaf to your anger
and The Truth

handed down through
a thousand years
from father to son.

Disrespect is sin
and those around
seem not to care.

So, find a place
where others of race,
or faith gather

And there you hear
from familiar mouths
your thoughts reflect

Words of hate then
escalate until…
A plan is formed

To right the wrongs,
is yours and then…

You have a choice. To
vote for change
or bomb Times Square.

Pictures borrowed from here and here.

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Pot luck poetry

Julia. My Hero.

Air, fire, wa-ter,
Earth, my daughter
Grounded, loving, cool.

Female wisdom-
Her genetic pool.

Originally written for Magpie Tales, maybe worth a second outing in Potluck Poetry
My daughters are both amazing individuals and I really do call this one 'my hero'. Brave, wise and a self made success, despite some who tried, but failed to discourage her ever!
The other one, I simply call gorgeous.

Monday 4 October 2010

Poetry Bus

Happiness is a Butterfly.

Happiness, many suppose,
Is owning chateaux and condos.
But if you just sit
And be still for a bit,
It might come land on your nose!

Picture borrowed from here.

Get over to see the driver of the Poetry Bus and join in!