A Message to my Grandson – Michael Thwaites – Comments

A Message to my Grandson
You chose a marvellous morning to be born,
The orange edge of dawn, the stars paling,
The glassy lake, the diamond Autumn air,
The sun breaking in surf on the Brindabellas –
You chose a marvellous morning to be born.
Welcome: And I extend an invitation
To tour your native city; for a start
The view from Ainslie (quite superlative)
Delineates Burley Griffin’s genius, working
After his death, enlisting trees, hills, water
As friends (he hoped) not subjects to his plan.
Then we could visit some outstanding features,
St John’s, the War Memorial, Civic Centre,
The National Library, Parliament House of course,
Regatta Point, the Gardens, Capital Hill…
But those who met you first at your arrival
Have judged my invitation premature.
You were, I hear, quite tired after your journey,
Found our light trying, though intriguing too,
Through flickering lids seemed eager to discover
Just what was going on, but had some trouble
In focusing the things you had in mind,
And close observers felt that you were opting
For further time to orientate yourself.
In point of fact, it seems you waved your hands
In general greeting to your father, mother,
Then, having twice refused some light refreshment,
You went to sleep.
No explanations needed, my dear fellow!
We’ll simply do our tour some other time
Convenient to yourself. The sun is climbing,
The city goes to work, and you are here.
You chose a marvellous morning to be born.
Michael Thwaites (1915 – 2005)

S1 … Autumn is approaching in Canberra, and it is a marvellous time after the heat of summer. The air is so clear and fresh as night temperatures start to drop. The low Brindabella Mountains form an enclosing forever scenic backdrop and surfing is a nice poetic way of expressing any rolling of early mist as it evaporates as the sun takes strength. Birth of a grandson and birth of a day happen to be married to give that special day double remembrance.

S2 … Here is the start of a list of iconic aspects known to Canberrans and those that have visited the city. A tribute to Walter Burley Griffin who was instrumental in the design of Canberra from its very inception, not forgetting his wife who played a dominant part. The beauty of the city is emphasised on this day of beginnings. Canberra does have three distinct Mountains that give splendid views of the city, one of which is Mt Ainslie. Canberra is a Capital city if you excuse the pun.

S3 … First light in the birth with a witty touch of thought by clever use in the personification of the mind of baby. An arrogant wave of hand from baby as he decides enough for now, a little sleep is needed. The suggestion of royalty is so apt.

S4 … Acceptance that much time is needed for baby to understand the city. The sun is climbing / the city goes to work, and you are here. And this is what makes a marvelous autumn morning so more meaningful.

Regarding the invitation for a future understanding, I do not know whether his grandson came to value the city in such a way.

Website – A Message to my Grandson | ThwaitesLink

Wikipedia – Michael Thwaites AO was an Australian academic, poet, and intelligence officer.

Fall – Mary Oliver – Analysis


the black oaks fling
their bronze fruit
into all the pockets of the earth
pock pock

they knock against the thresholds
the roof the sidewalk
fill the eaves
the bottom line

of the old gold song
of the almost finished year
what is spring all that tender
green stuff

compared to this
falling of tiny oak trees
out of the oak trees
then the clouds

gathering thick along the west
then advancing
then closing over
breaking open

the silence
then the rain
dashing its silver seeds
against the house

Mary Oliver (1935 – 2019)

Well it is autumn in the southern hemisphere and in this part of the world. This is a poem from Mary Oliver based on an American autumn where there are a proliferation of oak trees, and there are many types of oak trees too.

S1 … I guess acorns fall all over the place into nooks and crannies … or as she puts it pock pocking into the pockets of the earth … … I like the use of onomatopoeia … they do have a round sort of shape enabling them to roll into all sorts of places
S2 … they must make a noise as they fall … knocking against the thresholds … coming to rest at the edges like filling the eaves in a line … and the trees could be regarded as flinging them if it is windy.
S3 … and autumn is gold and comes at the finish of the year in the northern hemisphere … and Mary Oliver delights in autumn … in contrast to the dull stereo type that highlights spring as the so called brighter season
S4 … and she loves the falling of the acorns … oak trees out of oak trees … well, potentially oak trees … (the acorns are great fodder for pigs of course … and I do like the little hats they wear)
S5 … then the weather dictates her thoughts … you can imagine her watching from a window as clouds gather in intensity and the pre-storm silence is broken by the dashing of rain (lashing would have been my preference)
S6 … and the rain makes itself known to those inside the house … rain = silver seeds … an equation giving value to water and a nice word fit to the acorn=seed … and rain does seed into the ground too.

Mary Oliver a lover of nature.

A link to Mary Oliver on Wikipedia

And a tribute link, for she died earlier this year


Gold Leaves – G. K. Chesterton – Analysis

Gold Leaves

Lo! I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold;
Grey hairs and golden leaves cry out
The year and I are old.

In youth I sought the prince of men,
Captain in cosmic wars,
Our Titan, even the weeds would show
Defiant, to the stars.

But now a great thing in the street
Seems any human nod,
Where shift in strange democracy
The million masks of God.

In youth I sought the golden flower
Hidden in wood or wold,
But I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold.

G. K. Chesterton.

Nice iambic rhythm to the syllables with end rhyme in the shorter second and fourth lines.
Syllables in the first stanza …
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ / ^^
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ / ^
^ ^ ^ ^^ / ^ ^ ^
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ / ^
S1 – the gold leaves of autumn equated to the silver hair of the aging … the aging year equated to the aging person
S2 – when young seeking to be a leader and associating with the strong and defiant even when in error (when the weeds were showing) … Titan strong and large force
S3 – but with age God is now found in any human nod and in the common place – in the street … I like the thought in the statement ‘the democracy of God’ … evident in all humanity
S4 – in youth there was a search in a hidden world – a search for meaning … finding gold or is that God – but in old age gold or God can be seen everywhere – it seems that there is a sense of contentment – the search and battle over – less energy and not so idealistic perhaps … more time to value all the gold in abundance that surrounds the beauty of life.

A link to G. K. Chesterton on Wikipedia.

Autumn is always afternoon

Autumn is always afternoon

Autumn is always afternoon
that time after lunch in the garden
the plates scattered to one side
but still some wine in the glass

the children at play in the background
the old swing objecting strongly
while discussion leads to friends they’ve known

far-off the low moan from the motorway
and the sun still gives some comfort
as shadows stretch into the lawn
soon it will be time to call the children to task
but now they talk and laugh oblivious

a gust of wind detracts and for a moment
she looks down to the end of the garden
where the children are at play
her fingers feel her woollen jacket on the chair

And if you could hold time in a photograph
it would be caught in this moment forever
in a picture of complete happiness

Richard Scutter