46 Great Opening Lines: 37

1801 – I have just returned from a visit to my landlord – the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. Opening line, Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë, 1847 A dark novel with not one happy moment. At least not for me. I’ve read it twice without pleasure. Still, the opening line is worth studying… Continue reading

46 Great Opening Lines: 22

In Laurence Binyon’s poem ‘For the Fallen’, which adorns numerous war memorials around Australia, there is a verse that every Australian knows: They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old… Opening line of the Author’s Note, Desert Boys, Peter Rees, 2012 * I’ve heard the line ‘They shall grow not old…’… Continue reading

46 Great Opening Lines: 16

The sun burns hotly thro’ the gums As down the road old Rogan comes — The hatter from the lonely hut Beside the track to Woollybutt. He likes to spend his Christmas with us here. First lines, A Bush Christmas, C. J. Dennis, 1931  Clearly, if you’re reading a poem entitled A Bush Christmas and… Continue reading


After the US election, Ailsa at Where’s my backpack wrote Great, a poem. I read it out loud (no one was listening) and heard myself almost rapping… It’s a two-part verse, beginning in darkness, ending in light. Encouraging bloggers to add some goodness to the dish on the other side of the scale, she has… Continue reading

Weekly photo challenge: Look up

Friday was grim, grey, an on and off drizzly day. My latest translation had been rejected. My weekly gathering of friends had been cancelled and no one told me. I was more than half-way through The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and had to escape from that dark story. So, grabbing my… Continue reading

Tobruk – 75th anniversary

The siege of Tobruk began 75 years ago on 10th April, 1941, and yesterday in Canberra the anniversary was marked at the ‘Rats of Tobruk’ memorial on Anzac Avenue. Tobruk is a small town on the Libyan coast with a deep water harbour, which Australian, British and Indian troops were charged with protecting in 1941… Continue reading


The Daily Post writing prompt for 11th September was Handwritten:  When was the last time you wrote something by hand? I write by hand many times a day, and indeed was handwriting something for another blog post only moments before I began typing these words.  But writing for this blog is something I do infrequently,… Continue reading

Weekly photo challenge: Signs

When the Australian government, among others, announced this week they’re sending troops off to Iraq to fight (if only in the skies for now), I thought Here we go again.  As I rode past this bin today, the sign “General Waste” reminded me of the futility of war.  It might seem an obscure connection, but… Continue reading


From Éloge de l’oranger by Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695) Orangers, arbres que j’adore, Que vos parfums me semblent doux ! Est-il dans l’empire de Flore Rien d’agréable comme vous ? My translation, wherein I change the plural orangers to a single orange tree, for the sake of rhyme: Orange tree, my desire, How thy… Continue reading

Weekly photo challenge: Masterpiece

John Milton, I’ve read, completed his Masters degree at Cambridge in 1632 at 24 years of age and then moved back home with his parents for five years, where he worked on some of his best-loved writing.  But it wasn’t until 1645 that any of his poetry was published; the book was called Poems of… Continue reading