Joan Small Poetry and Books


Poetry in Paradise

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

Established 9+ years

The Poetry in Paradise Group
December 2013 Poetry in Paradise 2013

Below - Some of the Poets

Poets in Paradise June 2013

Poetry in Paradise June 2013

Poetry in Paradise Happy Birthday Congratulations to Jeff the Poet for Nine Years of Poetry in Paradise. He has been our enthusiastic and totally committed 'illustrious leader' for all of this time, despite personal and work challenges and leading a very busy life. Jeff deserves a medal for how he has nurtured the club and helped it to grow into such a wonderful haven for poets and poetry. ... Joan Small (webmaster and poet)

Book of Poems

'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 if you want extra copies, or if you did not attend the previous P.I.P meeting and present at least one poem.


Poetry in Paradise members (back row standing) at Earlehaven
Retirement Village March 2014

Poetry report for March 16th 2014.

Our tenth anniversary of Poetry in Paradise.
Sunday saw eighteen poets sharing the achievement of our ten years of recitals. Everyone received a lolly or two, a certificate of support and gratitude and a special Tenth Year Name Tag. The lollies and Certificates were well received but general consensus was to keep the current name tags and file the new ones.

The optional theme was Farm Life and the Optional first line was “I never should have…….”

Several apologies for not being able to make it were read out on the day, including “The Banjo”, Vincent, Kathy, Jean, Sandra, Lisbey, Paul M, and Marta & David. We had a new poet recite that has been before but had not recited a poem, another Sandra!! (3 now). Judy J, also attended for the first time and recited on her first visit, well done ladies and welcome to our group. Alan thanked everyone that attended the Earle Haven recital and said that he received very favourable reports from the locals and they all loved the afternoon and want us back another day.

Bob started the day with his farm life themed poem on the subject of a discussion over a few coldies at the local and the ‘Bushies’ telling what the city people are missing out in life, a great poem full of Aussie sentiment and true blue character. He then told all about the things he should never have done like sky diving, Captaining a Rugby League team, snow skiing, water skiing, motorcycle racing, occasional drinking bouts and so many other things, but he fondly concluded if he didn’t do all that he wouldn’t be the Man that he was, standing at the podium spouting what a great ride it has been and how he wouldn’t change a minute!! Bob closed the day as is customary with his third poem, it was a funny poem about six naked ladies at the Nursing Home and he got everyone up and laughing!!

Joan recited her poem titled “An Outback Cattle Station”, a wonderfully descriptive piece about her life in the NT, her highs and lows and the wonder and beauty of nature in the outback.

Her second poem was on the theme ‘I never should have’ as she told of riding a horse at 15 years of age and not wanting to fall off so she hung on for her life, in doing so she injured her spine and had to be flown to Sydney, but in Joan’s usual positive fashion she found something good in the experience and it set her life a on a new and exciting course at the time. Her third poem was about ‘dancing’ horses and watching her sons grow up riding and becoming men that she is very proud of and loves so dearly.

Judi shared her thoughts on the theme also with questioning why we as humans spend so much time dwelling on regrets and what may have been when we should focus on what is and what is still possible, look for the good and enjoy every moment for life is far too short.

Her second poem is one that she has penned for a recital to be read by a ‘survivor’ at the Rally for Life in the park at “The Spit”, a wonderful invitation for Judi to be the vents MC . The poem was about the commonality in the lives’ of survivors of cancer and the loved ones around them and in their lives, a very nice well written poem.

Trish recited a very powerful poem written directly from her heart, filled with emotion and full of the all the things that make our lives great and how the heart does indeed go on, brought the house to tears and was a ‘hard act ‘ to follow. Trish recited her second poem and it was on a past them titled “Tentacles”, a very insightful poem about how much, with the invasion and intrusion of modern technology, we have become so desensitised to the suffering and plight of others, when did this happen and what can be done to reverse this awful sad trend??

Eoin recited his poem to the tune of Advance Australia Fair and it was a great political satire of monumental proportions based on the “Farm Life” topic with the residents of Parliament House in the ACT being the cattle and sheep that squander our hard earned tax dollars!! Noses in the trough!!!! Well done ol’mate. No second poem as Eoin had to leave early.

Alex recited one of my favourite works by all round artist Tom Waits tilted “Waltzing Matilda, Tom Traubert’s Blues” written by Tom Waits on the subject of the life of an alcoholic and the struggles of day to day existence of those less fortunate than others; and afflicted with this illness.

His second poem was tilted “Folklore” and warned of the perils of killing a carpet python and the impact it can have on your run with luck. His third poem was short and sweet titled “A Love Poem”, she got a red tattoo and it said I love you!!!

Margaret, in Vincent’s absence, recited several funny limericks, on various themes, Poor Fred, Pauline from Ipswich, Young Albert at the footy, The Old Man from Kildare, Mary, and the old girl that wore red and purple shoes!! Well received and very funny, recited as Ray looked on with his wonderful pencil portraits.

Ted joined in on the never should have theme and shared his nice poem with us on how many things he shouldn’t have done from shucking oysters to leaving the church once and many others events in his life. No second poem as Ted also had to leave early.

Joyce started with a quick poem dedicated to the greatest game of all, the NRL and the Balmain Tigers.

Her second poem was titled “Old Joe the Drover” a man who lived in the outback where life is tough and the men are tougher, where nature calls and regardless of where you are you can answer even if it’s beneath a eucalyptus tree and right near a red belly black snake, the first time in history that a stomach ache comically saved a man’s life!!! Her third poem was titled “Jimmy Brown” a man from her art group that developed emphysema from inhaling the paints all his life and how it never stopped him and he lovingly painted on till he left this world.

Mac, as always followed Joyce, with a poem, it was titled “A Famers Life” and spoke of how hard it was for a cane cutter in the early 1900’s in Far North Qld and particularly harsh on the women of the day, a great poem.

His second poem was I never should have written that first poem last year as now he can’t get poetry out of his head and lines come to him all the time, sleeping sitting and even playing golf!! Mac then snuck in limerick about a rhabdomantist!! His third poem was reminiscing about all the rum he drank in the old days, then as he grew wiser he slowed down to shandies and now that he has completely lost it he is a tea totterer , and how he now notices what he missed when you are not pissed.

Alan quipped that ‘old poets’ never die they just decompose. His poem was discovered on the WWW written by ANON inspired by IWD international women’s day last week, the poem was about the wife of Clancy, you know the one that had five kids and then went of droving!! How tough it was for her in that period and for Clancy’s five kids!! His second poem was about what he shouldn’t have done and how now he has a peanut allergy and cannot enjoy the many delicious nutty tastes from around the world, his closing statement was that the only nuts he enjoys now are the clever ones at Poetry in Paradise every third Sunday of the month.

Judy J our newest poet recited her poem that is a tribute to her ex-husband that is living it rough in a caravan somewhere in Australia and living with the difficulties of alcoholism. He is travelling around with his best mate the dog. She then played a CD version of a great tragic poem that was put to music tilted “When one drink is too many and two is not enough”, a poem Judi said won first prize at Tamworth and deservedly so.

Judy B sang her poem also today, it was very funny and was about baking, fashion, and shows and all the ideas people come up with about such topics, well sung and well received.

Her second poem was tilted “Bridesmaid’s” and was also well delivered in musical verse, the poor old bridesmaids never get a date and good men are so hard to find and they remained un-kissed!!

Her third poem was about a story she saw on TV about the new epidemic of criminals stealing people’s identity and how she never thought such things could happen.

Tom's poem was titled “The Heirloom” a great poem about a husband finding his wife’s diary in the back of a family dresser that was an antique heirloom, he read about her first love in all its details and then questioned her about it as it was obviously not him, only to find it wasn’t her diary it belonged to her Great Aunt!!

His second poem was a very emotional one about “My Life Long Lover” and he watched as she drew her final breathe in the silent hours of darkness. His third poem by Eric Vogle about “Nobody’s Moggie” and it was about its sad and catastrophic demise.

His final poem was tilted “Little Gomez” about his randy little Chihuahua that mounted anything that came into his line of vision and was doing so until it shuffled off this mortal coil.

Sandy one our new poets recited for the first time her poem titled “Tangerine Lover” a very sweet loving passionate poem dedicated to her Man.

Her second poem was titled “The Last Ten Minutes”, another emotional poem shared on the day, about her husband and written on the night that died in 1999.

Her third poem was about a great adventure in her life when she lived in the Cape York area for three months with no modern facilities or luxuries, but sadly had to come back the world.

Roger was our final poet on the day and shared the afternoon with Pammy by his side, he recited the Australian Bush Poem by ANON “25 Bob” a true and wonderful poem about life on an Aussie dairy farm before WWII, he was wearing his Prayer hat and was totally in character and voice.

Roger recited a second poem titled “It wasn’t my fault” about the day he encountered a native from the planet Nabaroo while traversing in the outback near Birdsville, it was revealed to him that an asteroid was wiping earth off the intergalactic map on 25/12/12; it appears the little green guy may have been wrong.

A Little History From Jeff

Thank you everyone for making our group such a success. I was dismayed at other groups I joined and never really fitted in anywhere much in my life.

I started the group myself, the solo attendant for the first three months at Christabella’s Wine Bar and Café in Harbour Town (now gone) on Sunday March 21st 2004.

In June 2004 I moved to the Evergreen Garden Restaurant in Bundall (now gone).

I put flyers in every book shop from Runaway Bay to Burleigh to Tamborine and on every community notice board I could find all over the GC. I went to every school on the GC in the same area. I placed ads in the Bulletin and the GC Sun and went to all the local radio stations but not much interest was shown, then Jennifer Eden from ABC Coast FM 91.7 let me recite a poem on the radio and the first audience started to attend. I became a regular on her morning show on the Saturday prior to the recital and she let me recite a poem each month.

I registered the Name Poetry in Paradise in November 2004. After about a year of searching I found a new home at The Old Teahouse Café in Mudgeeraba in 2005 and remained there until early 2010 when Brian and Dianne sold it and the new owners didn’t want us to continue there.

We then moved to Jambo Java coffee shop run by Dave for four or five months in Labrador/Southport.

Then finally after much more searching we settled into our newest home at the GCCC Southport Library thanks to Andrew the manager at the time, our first recital there was held the on Sunday the 20/06/2010.

Thank you everyone for making all this possible and for your continued support.

A special thank you goes to the foundation members that have been with the group for almost as long as I have; Bob, Joan, Gloria, Dancin' Dan & Christine, Trish & David, Manya, Cedric, Bette, Lydia and Sue.

Many thanks also to foundation members Jean, Judi, The Banjo, Eoin, Vincent, Alex, Roger, and Lisbey.

Thanks to all the other great poets, Ngaire & Rob, Joyce & Mac, Marta & David, Margeret & Ray, Alan, Graham, Paul M, Paul K, Judy B, Judy K, Kathy, Peter & Lisa, Janette, Sylvia, David, Sandra, Sandy, Cathy & Rod, Sandi, Ted, Rhonda, Jenny, Pat, Don, Di, John, Damien, Rita, Ibolya, Amaluce, Pammy and anyone else I forgot to mention. I look forward to our twentieth anniversary recital with you all!!

Jeff, Irene, Joan, Bob, Eoin, and all the Poets in Paradise.

2014 Themes

January: 19th – Roads.
February: 16th – Princess.
March: 16th – Farm Life.
April: 27th – Rhabdonmantist.
(Note: Do not look up 'Rhabdonmantist')
May: 18th – Three score and ten.

June: 15th – Sunshine.
July: 20th – What now?
August: 17th – The Race.
September: 21st – Suspense.
October: 19th – Lightning Strikes.
November: 16th – Robots.
December: 21st – What is love?

Optional First Lines

January: I was just being me …………………………………
February: A sting in the tail………………………………………
March: I never should have………………………………………
April: My hinkumbooby was…………………………………….
(Note: Do not look up what a 'hinkumbooby' is!)
May: Laughter is the best medicine, it will………………
June: Softly she trod o’er the damp grass………………
July: The best/worst thing I ever caught was…………
August: Can I last that long I just…………………………………
September: The angelic child……………………………………………
October: Around the corner you will find………………………

November: I had a favourite pet, it was ...................
Speaking of unusual toys, last year I received ...........

Bob Dever
"The Mudgeeraba Budgerigar"

Christmas 2013

Here's a Rhyme at Christmas Time - Mac Skinner

Here's a rhyme at Christmas time. It's Spend. Spend. Spend.
Buy gifts for all the family, and don't forget your friends.
Splash out big on turkey, ham and classic wines.
A couple of cartons of Carlton would go down just fine.

Put up your decorations. Strings of flashing lights
That keep the neighbourhood awake, well into the night.
Hang up lumps of holly, and lots of mistletoe,
And don't forget it's Christmas. It's Santa. Ho,Ho,Ho.

Open up your purse strings. Throw your cash around
All the traders say there's bargains to be found
So buy up big on trinkets that no-one really needs
And bask in the glory of having done your good deeds.

Then spare a thought for those less fortunate than you
They look at Christmas from a different point of view.
For them there's no wild spending, no reckless shopping spree
There's no flashing lights on their Christmas tree.

Their tree might the big fig tree in the middle of the park
Where they aim to sleep tonight after it gets dark
And hope that Santa finds them, and leaves a little gift
Just to be remembered would make their spirits lift.

So when you do your shopping, buy some extra treats
And deliver them to the homeless, sleeping on the streets
That is the true spirit of Christmas, and if we pause a while
You will find it is not so difficult to turn a tear into a smile.
(c) Mac Skinner 2013

Banjo's Camp Fire 2012 - Jeff Goudy

The guests came from miles around with one single heartfelt desire
they all wanted to share the warmth of Banjo's Bush camp fire
Dawn came back out at dusk and welcomed all to the fold
Banjo stoked the campfire. she was all as good as gold

Aussie damper was cooking as we watched the billy boil
the sparks were flying high as Banjo continued with his toil
Tea an coffee were on offer as were lamingtons and dips
salami and cabana were all nibbled thinking of impact on the hips

Irene got in from the Philippines arriving just in time
she turned up in my ute for she is the love of mine
Joan came down from Tennant Creek with tales both tall and true
Proud of where she came from and proud of her Father too

Alex came over from Mt Nathan found the note that he was after
Alpaca's came from some bonogin road up that a way hillside rafter
Roger from South Africa was there and keen to share his verse
generously he fried up his authentic home country made damper an Boerwors

Judi our lovely resident celebrant was there to share and celebrate
sharing her ode to Banjo and we all thought it was great
Sandra seemed to have misplaced her poem for it was not there right on hand
after she ventured all the way over from the long white clouded land

Balmain got a look in too hey with Carlene and O'l Bob
The wine warmed the cockles hey and the saxaroo did it's job
Cathy came so far away I forget how far she drove and flew
folded chair and savouries shared both ole verse and the new

The food was quickly eaten all jaws we did employ
the damper was delicious smothered in ol'cockies joy
The poetry began to flow tales tall and all so true
from aliens to bastards some poems that we all knew

The night was bloody great the campfire chats are our tradition
those that couldn't make it out you don't know what you were missin
Everyone that was there was special we all agreed that we are a truly decent mob
we all hugged and we thanked Banjo for a truly wonderful inspired job.

(c) Jeff Goudy 22/09/2102

Laughter – What Is it?
Joan Small
Laughter’s therapeutic – I wonder why it’s so.
They say it’s the endorphins that make our faces glow.
And then there’s blood that’s pumping when laughing makes us shake,
When letting out that ‘ha ha ha’ our bodies come awake.

Whatever is the cause of it there’s something we agree –
To laugh is to communicate, connect ‘tween you and me.
Uplifting and enjoying, it keeps us healthy too.
For ‘Laughter’s the Best Medicine’ – a saying trite but true.

What makes me laugh? There’s many things – I’ll chuckle at a word;
A misspelt mispronounced pure gem that makes a thought absurd,
Like ‘relevant’ for ‘relative’ or ‘candlestine affair’,
Or spoonerisms, ‘Prandsome Hince’ for ‘Rindercella’ fair.

I’ll laugh at funny movies – Will Smith or Seinfeld’s crew,
At Dibley’s Vicar, Geraldine, who gets in such a stew.
Then Adam Hillls on ‘Spicks and Specks’ invites such comedy
With clever guests to play his quiz and show off musically.

Who would have thought at Toastmasters I’d find a laughing place.
But humour rears its happy head – puts smiles on every face.
While at my active writing club the ladies tell their story,
And laughter’s an important part when gory turns to glory.

But best of all’s the poets club, for members there are fun.
There’s Bob and Tim and Alec too, Jeff, Joyce and everyone.
Vince has his comic microscope and Gloria her tales.
With Marta’s short amusing poems we laugh when she regales.

They say a child laughs many times as they’re absorbed in play,
While adults oft forget to laugh – too serious each day.
So if you’ve lost the urge to laugh; to chuckle and have fun,
Just come to our great poets’ club – we’ve laughs for everyone.

It’s guaranteed if you’ve a heart that’s got the urge to lift,
We’ll put a smile upon your face. It’s the ‘Poets in Paradise’ gift.

(c) Joan Small 2013



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

Next Poetry Day

Next Poetry Meeting
April 27th (4th Sunday) 2014
1pm to 3:45 pm

Theme: April: 27th – Rhabdonmantist.
(Note: Do not look up 'Rhabdonmantist') .

Optional First Line:
April: My hinkumbooby was…


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