John is a freelance writer, ghost-writer, storyteller, and poet. He always tries to include a message or social commentary in his writing
Still Going Strong
Just when you thought there'd be no Poems From the Porch this week, here it is! Fooled ya' didn't I? I am a little late due to a number of reasons. Primarily that life has been rather busy lately.
We are now free to travel within the state to I have taken the opportunity to visit another of my sons this week. Secondly, work is constantly increasing, leaving me less time to write here at HubPages, and thirdly a couple of the poetry requests were just downright difficult.
Instead of stressing and procrastinating over the "challenging" prompts, I pushed them a little further down the list and included ones here I was more comfortable writing. My apologies to Kyler, but I promise to attempt "The Relationship Between the Many Layered Onion and the Many-facetted Tesseract" next week. Also, Greg, I wrote one of your requests but not the other about 'Men at Work." I will explain that further down.
Anyway, welcome to another edition of Poems From the Porch. This is a COVID free-zone as there have still been no cases of the virus recorded in this town of Murgon. In fact there are still only five active case in the whole state, despite a spike in Victoria and a recent increase in New South Wales.
So, pull up a chair, and sit back and let's read these poems some of you suggested I might like to write.
Greg Cain (boxelderred)
"When there’s room on the slate, I’d really love to hear your take on Men at Work. They did a lot in the 80s to put a perception of Oz on the map. Maybe you could tell us about Vegemite while you’re at it...I should have tried it when I was in Melbourne years ago, but alas I did not."
Greg, you are right that Men at Work were very instrumental in helping put Australia (our musicians and lifestyle) on the world map during the 80s. I started to research with the intention of writing a poem about the group, but it turned out to be a much bigger story than I could even go close to cover in a poem. It is actually quite tragic in regard to a court case involving the song, and so I think it is best if I just direct you to the Wikipedia article (click 'Men at Work' above.) I am including the video of the song 'Down Under' however.
'Vegemite,' on the other hand, is a different story. I hope you enjoy this poem.
Ode to Vegemite
Oh, how I love my Vegemite,
That famous Aussie spread.
Give it to me day or night,
On toast, crumpets, scones, or bread.
I’m sure it’s an acquired taste,
But I’ve had it from a child.
The first taste’s quite surprising-
It’s not exactly mild.
The flavour’s strong and salty,
Like umami or beef bouillon.
So spread it very lightly,
Don’t thickly smear it on.
It’s made from brewer’s yeast extract
With added vegetable and spice,
Rich in ‘B’ group vitamins,
And to Aussies oh so nice.
Made famous by group ‘Men At Work’
In their hit song called ‘Down Under.’
“I come from a land down under,
Where beer does flow and men chunder..”
Buying bread from a man in Brussels
He was six-foot-four and full of muscle
I said, "Do you speak-a my language?"
He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich
— Colin Hay, Men at Work ~ Down Under
Spreading Vegemite’s an art
That takes time to perfect.
“Less is more” the saying goes,
And this you must respect.
It doesn’t go with margarine,
That is a ghastly sin!
It needs a base of butter,
Firm and thick, not soft and thin.
Then brush the spread on lightly.
If on toast, then eat it quick,
Before the butter starts to melt.
That really is the trick.
It keeps forever on the shelf,
No need for refrigeration.
A staple food in every home
In this Down Under nation.
It’s history is engrossing,
So, I urge you all to read
The link that I’m including here.
It gives you all the facts you need.
Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Vegemite
Liz Westwood (Eurofile)
"You asked for ideas. Here's a couple: how about a poem contrasting the lot of a poor man with a rich one?
Having just returned from grocery shopping, I wonder if there's mileage in a humorous poem about all the post-COVID safety measures we have to take? I'm sure many of us are fast developing OCDs about hand washing and face masks."
Thank you for both those prompts, Liz. Both your requested poems are below.
The Ballad of Rich vs Poor
How we define what’s rich or poor
Depends on who we are-
Our family upbringing,
Our type of home or car.
If we are taught the value
Of life’s most basic needs-
Enough food on the table
To nurture those it feeds.
But those who are born wealthy
Often can’t relate to need.
Money attracts money,
And that often leads to greed.
Sometimes we live beyond our means,
And want what others have.
The media promotes this myth,
We become a ‘must have’ slave.
Wealth leads to paranoia,
That we’ll lose all that we have,
And we will die a failure,
Buried in a pauper’s grave.
A poor man works hard to survive,
And just live day to day.
Rarely does he earn enough
To save for rainy days.
But often he is rich in heart,
And sometimes goes without
To help a hungry, homeless soul,
Without a thought or doubt.