Joan Small Poetry and Books


Poetry in Paradise 2015

The Gold Coast's ONLY non critiquing or judgmental
poetry meeting/group

Established 11 years

The Poetry in Paradise Group

Photo December 2015

Below - Some of the Poets

Poets in Paradise June 2013

Poetry in Paradise June 2013

Poetry in Paradise Poetry Books

Jeff has taken over the production of the Poetry in Paradise books and put out his first edition in September. It looks great, and the poetry inside is of the usual high standard. Keep writing, all, and save your best poems for the next edition.

Below: Some Guests at Jean Watson's birthday party. Jeff the Poet at back.

Jean Watson's party

Campfire Poetry

Dave 'The Banjo' Poetry in Paradise Campfire

Poetry report March 2016

The beautifully sunny Sunday started off with apologies being passed on from Jean, Gloria, Eoin and believe it or not Kathy is supping and lounging on the Queen Mary 2!! Right proper ‘oliday ey Govna’.

The rest of us commoners attended the library, we ate meat pies, drank tea and coffee, mine was iced! This month was a little easier than the past three prior months as we had to force ourselves to shoulder on with out Banjo and Roger, we managed but only just. It was good to see them both return and provide us with their guidance and leadership, it is said that with age comes wisdom and these two characters are near genius level.

Many did not appreciate the optional theme and first line and I’m sure I heard someone mumble the word bastard!! Well you can’t blame Jean or me because none of our suggestions made it to the flyer (I just heard that word again).

The Shape I’m in and the Face in the Mirror were covered by nearly everyone and aging gracefully seemed a common thread amongst the poems.

Bob started the day with his description of the shape he is in and generally it wasn’t a pretty picture, comical at times and heartfelt by most. His second poem was about the faulty mirror at his place that shows some old bugger instead of Bob’s reflection, left him pondering if it was a side effect of the medications. He closed the afternoon with his funny poem about a sexy blonde bimbo gym teacher and a 16 yo goalie.

Joan shared her poem on the shape I’m in with an emotional piece about her voice and her trembling tone, some days her voice is a whisper and others it crumbles and falters, but Joan has an inner determination and strength and her voice is improving every day, closing with a dedication to the healing powers of the Earth and encouraging everyone to walk or sit barefoot on the grass and let the Earth's energy flow through your body and take some of the negative energy away and replace it with a positive force.

Her second poem was about the power of being positive and liking the face you see in the mirror, the laughter lines the stories every adventure you have had and shared, all the love you have known and felt, your character and who you are can be seen when you look proudly in the mirror and embrace, you.

Graham continues to amaze and entertain everyone with his talent to recite entirely from memory, all his hard work and dedication to his craft has made him the living Aussie legend that he is today. He recited The Riding of the Rebel, Mulga Bills Bicycle and If, his passion and ability was applauded well by everyone present.

Graham is also a wonderful sketch artist and can do portraits extremely well and would like to run a class at the library to teach others how do a portrait and he reckons you will do a good job on the first day and improve with every lesson.

Ted started his day with encouraging everyone to share their poetry with friends and at every opportunity they can, especially he has enjoyed sharing Tom’s poem that is made up from over forty song lyrics from the 60’s and 70’s, he has found it to be a great conversation starter with everyone trying to name the songs. Ted's first poem was on the mirror theme and he reminded us all that the mirror is the story of your life and journey and that it is not a Dorian Grey painting.

His second poem was one most of us had never heard before penned by AB Patterson titled “The Ten Little Jackaroo’s”, and then there 9 and then there were 8…... a really good poem.

Lyn and Peter joined us with Lyn reciting a really nice poem titled “Shape” as she shared her love of Yoga meditation and relaxation techniques, prompting all of us to be healthy happy and free, Namaste’.

Lyn’s second poem was about the face that an elderly lady she is a care provider for sees when she looks in the mirror, Margaret see’s a friend and she smiles back says hello. Lyn really enjoys her time with Margaret every day and she has become very fond of her. Lyn’s third poem was a dedication to Peter and a declaration of her love for him and his for her.

Joyce did a solo performance this month and brought along two works with her from Mac to recite and share. Mac’s first poem was on the mirro theme and he wrote that he was always happy to see his reflection as he has lived a good full anf happy life his face reminds him of all the good times.

His second poem was on the shape theme and he wrote that despite not being able to lug the bag abd balls over 18 holes anymore he is till pretty happy to be in the shape he is for all the things he has enjoyed in the past are fresh in his mind and he is proud of what he achieved.

Joyce wrote on the mirror theme as well and spoke of the morning she woke up after the night before and passed a mirror on the way to the loo and got quite a fright thinking a burglar had got in then when she rubbed her eyes and yawned she realised it was Joyce staring right back at her as she she recalled the previous nights events with a smile and a sore head.

Her second poem was about St Patricks Day and she spoke of Paddy and Micks dilema when doing a city ordered upgrade and they had to measure a rather tall flag pole and the height had them baffled until a young pretty blonde passed and advised them to lay it on the ground then they could measure it from end to end, Paddy did so but was left scratching his head wondering how the length was going to help when what they needed was the hieght!!

Judi shared her award winning poem that she has had published in a world poetry book, well done Judi. The first poem was titled Life and it was very inspireational piece reminding us to value andf hold dearly all that we have in outr life and how lucky wea re to know love and have fun.

Judi’s second poem was aslo about life and she spoke of all the postive things we have to look forward to in our life and the wae must alwsya take time to ‘smell the roses’ and to enjoy the small moments as much as the big ones.

Banjo shared a poem I have seen on the WWW written 'Anne Onimouse', a great poem about life in Australia before technology took over our lives and robbed many children of a decent outdoor childhood and a self inspired imagination, the good old days when life was simple and the pleasures were greater and there was much more time to enjoy being part of a family and a community. Where you knew your neighbours the Postman the Milko and all the kids in your street and many beyond. His second turn at the podium saw him do a great fully animated and emotional rendition of Clancy Of The Overflow.

David shared his poem on the two themes in the one poem, “The Mirrored Face of the Toothless Space” a poem written in 2014, 2015 and finished in 2016 detailing the progress and lack of progress in finding the right dentist and having his teeth fully repaired and restored, a funny poem at times and ending or not ending, with a chapter still be lived and written. His second poem was written on two themes we had a few years back, a very funny and witty poem using his interpretations of the words rhabdomantist and hinkumbooby.

John shared his poem titled “What I see in the Mirror”, starting with mirror mirror on the wall and then diverting into a history lesson on the evolution of mirrors from volcanic rock to what we see today, including periscopes ad Yoko and John singing in bed “Here comes the sun” in the background while he concluded his poem and the return journey to his seat.

John's second poem was about his bike ride before sunrise to Burleigh but ending up only as far as Broadbeach and encountering walkers, dogs and foul smelling garbo’s doing the early rounds and causing him to almost heave and cough up a lung.

Trish recited a really nice thought and memory-provoking poem with a self-explanatory title, “Granddad's Old Atlas” recalling sitting on his knee and eagerly listening to the stories he told after pointing to a spot on the randomly opened page, from great overseas adventures to a trip into the heart of the outback with only a donkey for back up and nearly losing his life!!! while really he was still in a lounge chair in the back yard!!!

Paul shared his thoughts on the shape theme with a poem titled “Shape” about how the weather can knock you around and how good it is to sit on his outside verandah and enjoy the sunny days. His second turn at the podium saw him recite his birthday being on St Patrick’s day and how is head is paying the price for what his body did on the day. He closed with asking people to read a book available in the GCCC library, Bruce Pascoe’s “Dark Emu: Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident?”. A book that explores some of the indigenous history of Australia is it myth or researched fact.

Alex shared his memories as a young man with the first poem he remembers interpreting and finding a deeper meaning inside the words “MacArthur Park”, written by Jimmy Webb.

Alex’s second poem was titled “Tired Eyes” as told the story of his life and how important his eyes have been in that adventure, from seeing the ANZAC’s march to falling in love and seeing babies born and grow, from watching his beautiful wife share the things the things he has seen, the good and the bad, the moon walk the disasters the tragedies and the struggles of living and ordinary life with extraordinary passion.

Tracy shared a her really nice poem “Spirit of a Lesser Man” on the topic of a drifter passing by and people not being aware that he is a respected elder from the indigenous first nations peoples and carries with him the spirits of past elders and the words from the dreamtime passed on from father to son for more than forty thousand years. A nomadic warrior fluent with the haunting elegance of the ancient yidaki.

Her second poem was “Faith” and was inspired by a Persian poem penned in the 15th century and still relevant today, questioning what is God, is he the breath we inhale to live each day.

Manya's first poem was on the shape theme as she declared she may not have the perfect bikini body but she still has a heart and a smile and she knows not to stop dancing and she is inspired to live her life to the full, Manya had the final word on the mirror subject declaring that beauty comes from within and lives within the eyes and the soul stating that “Life is like fine wine, it is to be tasted and enjoyed to the full”.

Her third poem was an “Ode to My Fair Lady” and was witty short little poem recited with an Irish accent and smile in her eyes.

Tom also wrote on the shape theme declaring that he is not exactly thin and he is a man on the comfortable side. His recent visit to the gym didn’t go well as he watched all the muscle heads, the leopard leotard ladies and a few sexy young women, he accidently dropped his towel when a mossie bit him on the bum and he jumped in the spa turning the water a shade of suspicious yellow with the remnants of glue on his hand and a disbelieving escaping crowd jumping form the water.

His second poem was a very powerful descriptive poem titled “Diary of a Drug Addict Part 1” written in his days as a paramedic in Melbourne over twenty years ago. His third poem was titled “A Cure for Hobbs” (I think??) a tale of a man distressed and going to multiple Dr’s and specialists to find out why he had suffered so much and was it really verbal diarrhea, ending with his wife in despair when it was declared beyond doubt that he is a Poet!!!

Roger joined us after a lengthy absence and received a great round of applause equal only to Banjo’s return, his poem was about the mirror and was written about the face he has been seeing while been struggling to pee for the last few months, but he is now on the mend and smiling when he lets it go!!

His second poem was a true story about when he was a parent on youngins back in South Africa and they went on a mushroom hunt and had a cook up then wondered if they were poison, so they fed them to the dog and after thirty minutes the dog was still barking so they all ‘dug in’, then a visitor upon entering the house declared the dog was dead on the front doorstep!! They were later to find the neighbour had hit the dog with the car and didn’t want to upset the party.

The third poem he recited was the poem written in 1906 by Robert W Service, “the Cremation of Sam Mcgee” and he did the author proud with a rousing rendition earning much applause.

Fred came along for the first time and he sat out the first round but got up and had a go on the second and he recited the Edward Lear poem “The Owl and The Pussy Cat”, circa 1850, from memory and did a great job. Fred reckons when will back next month and will be practicing a few of old favorites.

Roger 2, we had another new poet attend on the day, he was invited to come along by Graham, yes another Roger!! He did two ‘bush’ poems from memory as well!! “Its Grand” and “A Bush Christening” both written by the original ‘Banjo’ Roger did a great job with his first time at the group and first time with a full audience and poetry peers. Well done to both the new gentleman.

Thank you everyone for another great month of poetry, we really do get a wide variety of styles and themes. A few people purchased the Autumn book that did not order one so I think I have two left if you did not get one, I can reprint another copy any time should some one miss out. I hope the days continue to get cooler and the nights longer, good sleeping in weather. See you all next month and I hope you didn’t eat too much chocolate.

Bye for now and see you soon Jeff and Irene.

2015 Themes & Optional First Lines

2016 - Suggested Themes

JAN 17th        – The Australian Dream
FEB 21st         – Love is
MAR 20th     – The shape I’m in
APR 17th       – Houseguests
MAY 15th      – Calliope
JUN 19th       – Oh what a beautiful world
JUL 17th         – The Happy Wanderer
AUG 21st       – Petrichor
SEP 18th        – Secret men’s business
OCT 16th       – Friendship
NOV 20th      – Capgras
DEC 18th        – Humidity

2016 - Suggested First Lines

The wind whistles through the trees and ……..
If you are someone’s sunshine it means you…
The face I see in the mirror is ……….………………
April - I sat down on the dunny seat and…….…………..
May - When your undies are inside out you………..….
June - I’d like to leave a legacy……………………….………
July - When you live in the past…………..…………..……
August - Do you know what you mean to me…………….
September - Living in the city and longing for the bush…......
October - Does it really matter what others think when..
November - I’ve walked a path I knew I was wrong ……..….
December - The year is almost over and I’ve …….…………….

Feel free to  create your own!!


Bob Dever
"The Mudgeeraba Budgerigar"


GCCC Library
Cnr Lawson & Garden Streets Southport
Third Sunday every month
1pm - 3.45 pm

Next Poetry Day 2016

April 17th
1pm to 3:45 pm


APRIL 17th

Optional First Line:

I sat down on the dunny seat and ……..

Check out the Southport Star here

Korean Boys read poetry
Above: Young Boys reading 'Triantiwontigongolope' - CJ Dennis, encouraged by Jeff The Banjo recites at Robina Library
Above: Dave 'The Banjo' Farrer dramatising Banjo Paterson's poetry

Poetry in Paradise

At Poetry in Paradise
I meet my monthly mates
we chat and laugh and spin a yarn
and the atmosphere is, well, great.

Some stick to subjects that are set
Others do what they do well
One never knows what comes to mind
When we ask: “What story can I tell?”

Paper, once blank, begins to fill
As we jot our ideas down
Our pencils take on a life of their own
Our brows, at last, lose their frown

We ponder all the quirks of life
and tell tales, tall and true
of personal things and make believe
Aaah, some of Bob’s are close to blue!

We’re a higgledy-piggledy mob of folk
Who come from all stations in life
But here we’re all equal, we do not judge
If you slip up, you’re never in strife

There’s them who are traditionalists
Writing with rigid metre and rhyme
Hey, it matters not what we recite
We all have a bloody good time

There are purist poems tightly formed
radical free forms and haiku
Limericks, ditties … even songs
There’s no limit to what we can do!

Our names go up on Jeff’s whiteboard
So we’re queued in an orderly line
We listen distractedly until … oops,
Is it me? Is it now my time?

There’s hardly a subject left untouched
On listening, over the years
Sometimes we smile, or we set free a laugh,
While often, we’ve been bought to tears.

On the third Sundee of every month
You’re invited to come through these doors
One thing’s for sure, I guarantee this
At Poetry in Paradise, you’ll never be bored.

© eoin macdhugail august 2013


Hi Jeff,
     I just had to say that I was stunned by some of the poetry today. I thought Bob's "Sign of the Times" was absolutely fantastic.

I initially felt sorry for Joan having to follow such a great piece. But Joan's poem was brilliant too and I was blown away.

On top of that your rendition of the poem on depression in the outback had me hiding the tears. (softie). I wanted to tell you afterwards how good I thought your delivery was but I suppose I might have cracked up, which I know is not acceptable for a bloke in Oz.

There were many more moments there that were memorable and the whole day passed in a blink of the eye which of course had a tear in it.    

Congratulations on the 9 years. I wish I had been with you all earlier. You must be very proud of your achievement.

... Tom Jones

Hi Jeff
I gotta say I really enjoyed today
For something I've never done before
By the end I was craving more

I'll  be back... :)

The Poetic Virgin

I heard about a poetry group
I thought that I may go
Then I wondered who would be there
And now I just don’t know.

Would they all be professionals?
Even though the ad said they are not.

Will they be wearing poetry uniforms?
That’s something I haven’t got.

Will they all be women?
Will they be young or grey?
Are there any men there?
And would they all be gay?

What if my poems are crap
And they all laugh at me?
The ad did say no judging
And the subject theme was free.

Decisions decisions
Are such hard things to make?
Do I be adventurous?
Such a chance should I take?

Bring your friends along it said
Yes come along one and all
You can be a supporter
Or sip your coffee and be enthralled.

Life is such a dilemma
I just don’t know what to do
Just what does a poet look like?

Are they just like me and you?

I guess I’ll just have to front up,
Stick out my chin and stand up tall
ll my questions will be answered
When I walk into that hall.

I’m sure they're all just human
And most will be more nervous than me.
If I’m not brave enough to read something
Then I’ll just smile and drink all of the coffee.

So come along one and all.
Yes! Lets all decide to go.
We’ll see what a poet looks like
Then next time we’ll all know.

(c) Copyright Poetry in Paradise 2004 Trade mark no. 1028534. Jeffrey.N.Goudy Jeff at the Podium
he made for Poetry in Paradise

Helensvale Writers' Group
Helensvale Writers Group - Joan Small3rd Thursday each month
Helensvale Library - ground floor meeting room
11.30 am to 1.30 pm


Contact Joan:

Poetry in Paradise
Poetry Club
Poetry in Paradise - Joan Small
3rd Sunday
each month
Southport Library meeting room
1 pm to 3.30 pm