Joan Small Poetry and Books


Poetry in Paradise 2015

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

Established 11 years

Happy Birthday Poetry in Paradise

The Poetry in Paradise Group
Photo December 2014 Poetry In Paradise Joan Small

Below - Some of the Poets

Poets in Paradise June 2013

Poetry in Paradise June 2013

Poetry in Paradise - Poetry Book DecemberChristmas tree

'Poems from Poetry in Paradise' is a record of poetry read/recited at each meeting. The cost to members is $2.50. Please pre-order the Christmas 2014 book.

Campfire Poetry

Dave 'The Banjo' Poetry in Paradise Campfire

Poetry Report 19th April 2015

Twenty-three people joined us for our April recital; Rudia a friend from Uni made a surprise visit and listened for an hour then joined her son in the library.

Two of Kathy’s cousins came along from Stawell to support her and Anne shared a line or two from her school days.

Gloria, Alex, Marina & Bram could not make it on the day and they sent there approval for us to soldier on without them, so modest hey. The optional monthly theme was Australia and the optional first line was “Endless lanes sunken in the clay……”

My poem (Jeff) “An Australian Thought” was another failed attempt at writing with a precise metre and a proper counting of syllables, apparently there is some improvement. The other two poems went over OK.

Bob started his day with a hilarious Aussie Fairy Tale about two Bogans Shirley and Bazza and their eventful wedding celebration that sounded like it ended up as a bit of a Dimboola event. His second poem was about all the great Aussie Icons we have from the beaches and mountains to the desserts and wildlife, vegemite budgie smugglers and the Melbourne Cup. Lamingtons and baby stealing Dingo’s and of course all the legends like Dawn, The Don and Breaker Morant, closing with the proud fact that we are the only country in the world that eats our Coat of Arms. His closing poem was about his new Asian neighbours attempts at trying to become tru blu, chasing fowls, collecting urine specimens and putting his ear up to a bovine.

Joan recited her poem about her life starting in Bridgetown and growing up in the NT, titled “Australia my Home” sharing her arrival in ‘Nobles Nob’ during the wet season and her days at school in Adelaide, telling how she has seen more of this great country than most us and her love for her home.

Joan's second poem was inspired by ‘The Man from Snowy River’ and was titled ‘The colt like Old Regret’ telling the details of she and ‘Red’ the blue healer first met the coot she named in the title, how she tried to ride him and ended doing a Superman impersonation and decided to rename him Equeos.

Graham shared the poem that was written by an Aussie legend Mr. Dan Sheahan titled “When We Cut It Green” a story about the tough life of a cane cutter in FNQ in the early part of the 1900’s and up to the 1960’s. His second poem was a funny one about when he recently got married to a young bride and had trouble doing more than one a night when his mates all boasted they could manage three or more, he tried and tried but reading always made him fall asleep in the first chapter.

Alan recited a magnificent poem he wrote about his Uncle Harry titled “The Jew from Dorrigo” how he was born in England as the son of successful family businessman but didn’t like the way his future was sculptured so he nicked the weekend takings and scarped it across the ocean to Perth. Harry spent many years as a ‘Swagman’ and saw much of this great country on a kind of working holiday, he grew up fast tough and hard. Joined the bush tent boxing circuit and became of a bit a larrikin legend settling in Kempsey, when he got older he moved in with his sister and lived out his days.

Alan’s second poem was titled “Scientific Anomalies” a very funny poem about man’s eternal battle with the elusive Mozzie and how they seem to be able to bend time to escape the swiping hand; pondering on the thought that in another dimension maybe the Mozzie’s are giants and we are the pesky insects.

Joyce shared her thoughts on Australia and she wondered like many others do about what the hell is ‘girt’ and why is it in out national anthem, she spoke of the natural beauty of this great southern land and the best part of it all is that Aussies are the best people on the planet!!!

Joyce’s second poem was titled “A Young Man” a very funny poem about a city boy that went bush and turned up at the time of the year that the annual festival was on and he tried to fit in by helping with the chook raffle and ended up stinking his reputation with a thawed out chook being left in his boot in the hot sun for two days and it ruined his chances on a date.

Mac joined us two days before his 90th Birthday and shred his thoughts on his love of Australia and our willingness to welcome anyone from anywhere as long as they get in and have a fair go and be straight up citizens. His knees were playing up but he soldiered on and gave us a second poem after taking a break in the sun, he spoke of the Ironbark and the types of wood we have here in Oz and the quality of the timber grown around the far north Queensland.; with mentions of pubs in the bush and the old bullock teams.

David started of with a quote from an A.B Patterson poem then he recited his poem titled “Commodity” as he spoke of money being the root of all evil and how our society could be much more self sufficient and we could all be satisfied with much less and more in tune with Mother Nature, he then went onto the topic of the senselessness of war and the tragedy of the loss of our youth in wars and how we never seem to learn from our mistakes.

Manya spoke with a sadness in her voice of the difficult time she and her Mother and siblings experienced growing up in Japanese P.O.W camp in WW11 , how the fear of a nuclear war in the UK in 1983 brought back painful memories; the senseless waste of young lives in war and how both sides of a conflict think their sons died as hero’s and are held up for praise each remembrance day when its five minutes to midnight and we never learn. Manya’s second poem was written when she was twenty-five and in love with a man that did not seem to love her back equally and that doubt caused her ponder on the thought would he still love when age wrestles with her youthful beauty.

Banjo recited in tribute to ANZAC Day and did an emotion filled performance of “A Digger Died Today” the poem written by a Canadian WW11 Air-force veteran. For his second time at the podium Banjo did a stirring rousing rendition of “The Man From Snowy River” written by the other Banjo.

Ted also wrote on the theme with his very descriptive poem about the harshness and natural beauty of this country, its people and its unique wildlife in his piece titled “Australia” as he recalled with fondness that this was his third year as a member of Poetry in Paradise and he remembers well the day his good mate Banjo invited him along to our group.

Trish did not make it to the group last month as she and David went on a cruise boat holiday that sailed into a tropical cyclone, Trish went up and down up and down and up and down rolling from side to side and then up and down again and again, ending up disembarking on a stretcher with her spirit undaunted and her resolution to do it all over again and go back out for another round with Huey throwing his weight around.

Trish’s second poem was written for her dear friend that lost her husband and they spread his ashes in the canal; the event inspired Trish to write a nice romantic poem from the husband to the wife about how every time she watches the tide come in she can think of his love coming back to wash over her heart and remind her of his loving embrace.

Lyn has become a new regular poet with her husband Peter in support each time as she recited her poem “Endless Lines In the Clay”; her words were inspired by the day she slipped in the back yard, hurt her arm, went to hospital and ended up with a broken elbow and her arm in a cast; then when the cast came off the physio made her exercise with lumps of clay squeezed in her hand to regain her strength.

Lyn’s second poem was on the Australia theme as she recited similar words to Peter Allen on how much she loves this land every time she comes back and how proud she is to be home and she urged us all to ‘have another beer mate’.

Eoin only had time for one poem and a limerick as he had to dart of for an appointment with a tradie at home. His limerick was a funny one about a tattooed bum and a smelly failure. His poem was titled “Magpie Mornings” and he shared his daily ritual of being woken by the beautiful menagerie of native birds that flock to his garden and sing the day in for him each morning.

Tracey, another of our talented new regular poets joined us again and shared her poem titled “A Soldiers Voice” a very thought provoking piece about the tragedy and menace of war and the thought of all the poor lost souls beneath the clay in the battlefields across the globe. Her second poem was “The Stranger” about a mysterious old man that comes out at night on a quarter moon and is known by the locals at the nearby tavern as the legend of ‘The keeper of souls’.

Roger shared his poem “The Anorexic Diet” as he spoke of missing his Pammy the Pom and how ten wonderful love filled months have put a little extra around his midriff and now she is back in England for a little while he is going to start a diet soon!! His second poem “The Bible Story by Six Year Old Roger the Boarder” a very funny poem about a child’s innocence and tales of porcupines and Charlton Heston’s battles with macaroni and eating out for 10,000 nights.

Margaret recited a poem written by a 97 year old man that submits poems every week to her friend that publishes the ‘Cooroy Rag’ , his poem was tilted “Don’t confuse it, fix it” referring to our over complicated tax system and how all the pollies are in it for themselves lining their pockets and drafting their greedy superannuation and entitlement schemes.

Marta wrote and acrostic poem titled AUSTRALIA, it was well written well received and applauded. Marta’s second poem was another one of her powerful thought provoking works titled “Freedom”, reminding us all of how lucky we are here in our beautiful Australia, thank you Marta.

Jean wrote on the Australia theme as well with her poem about the endless beauty of this country and she did so without repeating words from any earlier poems as everyone wrote their unique of what is their home and what it means to them. Jean’s second poem was tilted “Lives in the Clay” as she wrote of a tourist truck getting bogged in the wet mud and the angry tourists stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Kathy lost her identity as she wrote of the pain of the Man on the land battling to make ends meet through the drought with their children having gone off to the city in search of an easier life and to chase the dollar; an independent man having to put up his hand and walk into a centrelink office and get swamped with paperwork then becoming just a number in an uncaring system, lucky for this man his Son stepped up and joined his Dad back at heir home.

Kathy’s second poem was inspired by her days teaching English when an Indian man asked her about the word bastard and its use in Australia, it was precautionary tale of the risks of sounding like a smart bastard instead of a clever bastard and what a bastard it would be to come off as a right proper bastard.

Tom had us all laughing as we attended “The Bogan Wedding” and got to meet Mazza and Dazza at their daytime Drive-in theatre wedding reception complete with Utes and all. The beer flowed and the maternity wedding dress shone like a small tent in green paddock, there were punch ups, toothless Mexicans drunken debauchery and Jeffery the celebrant in charge; ending with the evening movie goers having to park around the sleeping bodies and poorly parks Utes and commodores.

His second poem was about and English Bogan wedding and was equally as funny for the bride was told she would get what’s what that night and she wondered to herself what’s what?? They made it to their honeymoon motel in Dover and while standing in their little love nest the grooms poorly fitting pants fell down and the blushing bride asked “What’s that” the embarrassed groom answered “”What’s what” and she said “You bugger you had it all the time!!!”

Thank you all for another month of top quality poetry and comradeship, it is amazing to hear all the interpretations on the optional themes and the different view points of life. We are all lucky to know each other and to share our hearts and hopes each month, after eleven years I still look forward to joining all my poetry friends for an afternoon of verse.

Have a great month of May and I’ll see you on the 17th.

Jeffrey Irene and Joan the webmaster.

2014 Themes & Optiional First Lines

18/01/2015 1 A New Year
15/02/2015 2 Electronics
15/03/2015 3 Graduation
19/04/2015 4 Australia
17/05/2015 5 Hydroponics
21/06/2015 6 Commonwealth
19/07/2015 7 Music
16/08/2015 8 Gratitude
20/09/2015 9 Computer
18/10/2015 10 Callipygous
15/11/2015 11 Shine
20/12/2015 12 Friends, Family, Love

Optional First Lines

18/01/2015 1 “It is New years day and I rise to state that here on the …..
15/02/2015 2 “Some people are so keen on sport…. ”
15/03/2015 3 “As I lie at rest on a patch of clover…..”
19/04/2015 4 “Endless lanes sunken in the clay……”
17/05/2015 5 “I wandered lonely as a cloud…..”
21/06/2015 6 “ Here I sit in silent Wonder….”
19/07/2015 7 “I piled all the dishes into the sink ….”
16/08/2015 8 “The roads we take on the highway of life….”
20/09/2015 9 “I thought I’d get a new computer…”
18/10/2015 10 “Hold me close and tell me what the world is like……”
15/11/2015 11 “Out of the night that covers me…..”
20/12/2015 12 “With fingers worn and Weary……..”

Bob Dever
"The Mudgeeraba Budgerigar"

Merry Christmas

It’s not too long now, Christmas is almost here
And soon after that, we’ll see in the New Year
This is the season for some cheer and goodwill
Time for resolutions we hope to fulfill

We should resolve to be kind to one and all
Offer some courtesies, either big or small
Life is for living, we surely all know that
So let’s get out there and be ready to bat

Poetry in Paradise is here for us
And our togetherness is such a big plus
Thanks very much Jeffrey for all you have done
In helping to unite each of us as One

Here we can recite and there’s no critiquing
We are applauded when we’ve finished speaking
Then we leave the lectern feeling all aglow
And so together as Poets, we will grow

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year too
To all the poetry members, I thank you
Wishing you all the best and season’s greetings
And here’s to continuing next year’s meetings

(c) Judi Connor Nov 2009


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

Next Poetry Day

Next Poetry Meeting
1pm to 3:45 pm

17/05/2015 Hydroponics
Optional First Line:
“I wandered lonely as a cloud…..”


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