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 December 2015

2015 finished with a great day of poetry and camaraderie.

Judi brought some nice chocolates and Manya came along with a table full of treats and drinks that we all shared and enjoyed, thank you ladies. Several people brought cards and there were many hugs and well wishes shared. The summer edition of our booklet was delivered and well received and there are several copies left for poets to pick up next year.

The optional monthly theme and first line were well written and shared by many, my two poems were both titled from the options. The different angles interpretations and message from the varied poems on the themes is always amazing and diverse.

Bob shared his thoughts on how life has made his fingers worn and weary and all he treasures the good times and memories behind every line and wrinkle and crease. His second poem was about recycling and how his family hilariously kept the large turkey roasted on Christmas day going for 11 days of Christmas and then they all got food poisoning and on the 12th day had fish and chips. Bob closed the day with a lesson on morals and left us laughing with a warning about Auntie Bettie a Machine gun a parachute and a bottle of scotch.

Joan has her own unique tradition and every year she writes a poem about her year and sends it all her rellies loved ones and friends, today she shared it with us all. Everything from Topaz the poodle to Darwin, South Aus, gem fields with Ross, moving house and her recent bout with the flu causing her croaky sultry voice at recitals on the day. Her second poem was on a positive note also telling us to ring out the old and ring in the new, she and Ross wished everyone a wonderful Christmas and a Happy Happy positive New Year.

Kathy jumped the queue as she had to leave early so she recited her poem and left, a very funny poem about her confessions to Santa and her swearing an oath that she had been a good girl, despite all the temptations to explode such as punk rockers in the shops, tattooed louts, pushy people, rude people and worst of all political correctness, such restraint, she should be proud. Thank you making the effort to come down and present us with your poem Kathy.

Manya recited a nice poem about friend’s family love and reminded us to appreciate every moment and opportunity we have to be with those we love as she more than most this year, has felt again pain and heartache with the second loss of a son. With Manya’s second poem she wrote that she is looking forward to 2016 with hope and love in her heart, asking the karma God’s for a great year.

Ian was another poet on the run and we thanked him for making the effort to join us for his poem also, he penned a very descriptive poem complete with realistic impressions about the joys of nature around his home with all the lovely birds whistling in his day and chilling out his sunsets while he either eats eggs and ham or sips on the nectar of the God’s with lovely Lyn by his side.

Jean (OBE) travelled all the way from Northern NSW to be with us again, her poem was a very nice description of her day and how she will not be alone on Christmas day as she will have her little four legged mate with her and they will share their love on the way around the neighborhood, ending with a selectively chosen bone for her gift to him. Jeans second poem was written a couple of years ago and detailed how much she loves Queensland and all it’s natural treasures wonders and beautiful places, that was right before she moved to God’s own country NSW!!!

John shared his enjoyable tale of a family living in Byron Bay and some of their quirky happenings like Tommy some coins and a railway line, some tales from WW11 and missing people and eating bush tucker. His second poem was the song by The Bullamakanka Band about the unsolved bank robbery in Murwillumbah on the 23rd of November 1978 and how no one has ever been charged with the break-in and robbery.

David shared his thoughts on family love ad life mentioning his Grand parents and his dog Toby, all the joys struggles and joys of being part of a big family, for better and worse. His second poem was written by Felix Denis titled “Ghosts Oak”, a poem about a Great Grandfather telling his Grandson the rich family history of their connection to the tree when they lived beside it, sailed in a boat made from it and then lived in house built from the boat. His final poem was words of wisdom and hope for a wonderful 2016 for us all.

Judi brought along two lovely poems to share with her chocolates, the first poem was the one chosen by Joan to be on the Poetry in Paradise link on her website for the last twelve months, a true Christmas poem that everyone enjoyed as much as Judi enjoyed sharing it. Her second poem was titled “What is poetry” and Judi expressed how different it can be to each person in the room and how much it means to her and how being a part of Poetry in Paradise has been a rewarding experience and the foundation of several friendships.

Alex shared a heartfelt poem about his childhood mate “Vic” that he grew up with and how he always admired his coolness and his sense of adventure and enjoyment of life, a true Man’s Man and the life of any party. Their last meeting was in an aged care facility and it went unnoticed to Vic as he no longer recalled anyone he knew in his life and it was so sad to see his involuntary withdrawal from life and his exciting spirit was gone. His second poem was written by the African-American poet playwright and novelist, Langston Hughes (1902-1967), a poem about a proud Grandmother telling her Grandson to go out and grab life by the teeth and never let go of the spirit of freedom, a very moving powerful poem especially in the times it was written.

Graham joined us on the day and shared two poems from the amazing collection inside his head, the first was the ballad ‘The Riding of The Rebel’ by Will Ogilvy and he did a great job. His second poem was by A. B. Patterson, ‘Old Pardon, and the Son of Reprieve’ twenty-five, eight-line verses and he did a mighty effort to present it to us.

Tom is back in the regular group now he has travelled the length of this great state and he shared his comical poem about his new residence titled “The Aussie Marsupial home for the aged and infirmed”, a very funny poem in
traditional ‘Tom’ style and written like a great ballad by the old masters!! It included Pom’s, Aussie’s Kiwis and black cabs. His second poem was one he wrote a few years back titled “Beneath the Gum Tree” about the mystery of the dying Poets in Paradise and how Joan was eventually found to blame for murdering all the poor rhyming poets and those guilty of bastardising the English language, the judge agreed with her and Joan was let off and was able to continue writing her poetry and her stories and motivating thousands of people to live positive lives.

Alan shared the modern version of ‘Clancy of the Overflow’ written Ann Non Emous and posted on the WWW, very funny and clearly written by a teenager or a textpert!! His second poem was on the worn finger theme as he wrote of his lack of a green thumb and his torturing not nurturing of his Mothers plants as a lad and left it up to her and Nan to do the job.

Ted also wrote on the fingers theme and he spoke of the old time farmer’s and the family members and laborers that had to pick crops by hand and they worked till their fingers bled. His second poem was his Christmas poem written in 2012 and he spoke of all the joys and wonderments of the true spirit and meaning of the festive season.

Trish shared her poem about Christmas family friends and love as she reminded us of the true spirit of this time of the year and the stories of troops taking the ‘day off’ in the heat of battle to share the spirit of the day and to recall loved ones and what hey believed they were fighting for. Trish pondered how the world has changed so much and commercialism and hijacked what used to be a day of love hope and forgiveness with praise for God.

Lyn shared a freshly written poem about her waiting till the last minute to write her monthly poem then not being able to locate the flyer and not knowing what the optional theme was, a poem about not being able to write a poem. Her ingenuity continued into her second poem as he wrote one about our group and how much she has enjoyed joining since mid last year, her and Peter love coming along and they have both felt welcomed from day one. Thank you.

Roger came all the way from Labrador to join us and he sang his edited version or Roger Whitaker’s “Last Farwell” revised to include his Aussie wishing’s to be in Wales and his gratefulness of not being in Wales to share the bleak weather this time of the year, and Ode to Pammy and his longings and it was nicely performed mate. His second poem was on the fingers worn theme as he narrated the Cabins Boy tale of being thrown around in a violent storm out to sea in the dead of the night and eye of a hurricane, and managing to set of a flare to aid their successful rescue.

Joyce and Mac joined us on the day and brought with them their special guests, their Son and his Wife to share the recital and to see what they have been missing all these years, also to see just how famous their Mum is (and Dad). Mac let Joyce do the honors and she recited his poem on Friends Family and Love and it was well written and received by all, closing with a wish for all of us to love and to be loved. Her second poem was her reminiscing on the days when she had her little tribe hanging on to her apron strings going around the store at Christmas time, she conducted herself and them in an orderly respectful fashion despite the crowds with dignity. Ahh how times and she is saddened by the changes and the public behaviour of unscrupulous mothers leaves a lot to be desired, unruly little buggers running amok while they deny any relationship with them and they trash whatever and wherever they go with nil consequences while clutching an i-pad and swearing a child from the ghetto.

Marta joined us on the day with no poem and no David, he is crook and she came along to see her poetry friends and to share in the last recital of the year.

Louis joined us for the first time and he listened to the poetry and he may return next year to share some of his own writings.

All in all we shared a great afternoon of friendship and poetry.

Thank you all for another successful year of Poetry in Paradise.

Looking forward to fantasic 2016 and sharing more of my life my time and my inner self with all of my poetry friends and the new ones I will meet along the way.

Take care and be nice, Irene and Jeffrey.

2015 Themes & Optional First Lines

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

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

Jan 17th 2016
1pm to 3:45 pm


JAN 17th        – The Australian Dream

Optional First Line:

The wind whistles through the trees 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