But I will tell you this, if I were being paid for the hours of input plus right side brain energy invested in writing poetry, and I were successful, well my coffers would be full, it’s hard slogging, and surely it shouldn’t have to be like this, 30 poems and then the impetus sort of disappeared,  maybe……

Make sense, let me elaborate.

Writing rhyming prose and poetry to a person almost devoid of imagination, special cognitive processes included,  I seem to be have missed the bus, not only that it seems my poetry has a problem with ‘cultural cringe’, (a comment that will bring Australians to their feet). This paragraph is derived from some comments in the past, and so largely they have been ignored.

And now dear reader you will be subjected to one of my poetry brain bubbles, a poem that emanated from 18 years as a member of AVALON BEACH SURF LIFE SAVING CLUB, a fraternity of wonderful boys and girls, old blokes and Grandma’s.

Many years ago, we were competing in a Surf Carnival at Nth. Palm Beach, SYDNEY NSW. The surf turned ordinarily large, in fact it turned out enormous, people and watercraft

Boy that hurt

were getting trashed at an alarming rate. I think the word was;

“The incredible attrition dynamic undergoing competitors’ and their life saving accouterments necessitated cancellation of the said contest”.

Quote: The Gallagombonne Chronicle.

My hero and older mentor, in fact, the “the hairy bugger” has suggested; “Well, since we’re up here we should give the general population a bit of a thrill, I’ve got a plan”. The plan included a Surf Boat the crew and a bigger than normal surf.

“How about a wave at Palm Beach”?

Any body familiar with PALM BEACH, Northern Beaches NSW? You will know that a very pleasant ‘Rip’ runs out on the southern end of the beach. It will take you past the rock pool and beyond. Broadly speaking this is the essence of; “I’ve got a plan”.

So. What are we on about here? OK, a 25 foot bond wood ply Surf Boat, 4 oarsmen, The sweep / tiller man was the inimitable Brian Sheehan, soon to become our enigma, and a bloody’ continuous set of waves coming in from the south east.

My poem has been heavily edited, it contained many blokey references to mixed adjectives, colloquial sayings and naughty words.


© john d farley 2008.

From the outset the task was fraught with extraordinary contrition.
There was ‘Bombhead’, Michael, Jackie, Me, and Big Brian the leader of the mission.
The world at large was watching us, mongrel Brian, YOU made this unprejudiced decision.
And so the boat was launched, we seemed prepared but with trepidation and derision.

At this point the intention must be clear and object made dispassionate.
“One wave is all we’ll catch, you blokes row I will steer, nature will help us fashin’ it”.
You will not believe how fast we traversed, 30 strokes took us from the beach to way way out the rear.
The Palm Beach Pool was just a blur, we’re out there folks, but why this impenden’ fear?

We settle down and collect our senses; we are in the big wave zone.
Just get me home to QY’s, a beer and why am I writing this watery tome.
Twenty foot, I recon was what we ups and flow.

Good Old Double Ender

We’re way way out the back, and we settle for Big Brian’s courteous request, “when I say you row, well row you bastards row”.

Their green and vast, unrelenting fast and have tons and tons of clout.
Supremacy is their potential, and I ask myself, please God how can I get out?
The beach is oh so distant, about a thousand yards; give a little take a mile.
I’m rowin’ bow and all I see is faceless backs, but the big man’s face has this wry, this oh so complacent smile.

And then the command to “stroke boys” is heard by all so clearly.
“We get this one, home and hosed on the beach we’ll be, the place you want so dearly”.
But like mongrel dogs we rowed,  poor really, for we mistrusted Big Brian’s brawn.
We backed off just in time, and this was where the big blokes scorn was born.

“You gutless, mango dispossessed, bunch of useless blokes. You heartless mongrels, bananas are proud of their yellow skins compared to you. That’s an oar in your hands, not your priapus, it won’t grow any bigger. Your hearts are like peas, you couldn’t run a dog fight.

You with me or agin’ me? Your not a crew, your a poor excuse for cowards. You couldnt’ pull a skin of a custard, weak as water.
If you had half a brain it would be lonely, as oarsmen you have no right, the next wave is for us you dogs, or you will be here all night”.

Possibly the longest display of relationship and adjectives in a poem this may be so.
But when ‘Big Brian’ gave the order row, you better bend your weakened backs, “row ya bastards row”.

Every word the big bloke uttered rang in our mongrel brains, and might I say to this day still.
One more goes Oh fearless one, one more chance you hairy bastard, and we’ll show the world we’re got the will.

So like a new page openin’ the crew is ready for the grind.
Forget about impending gloom, new courage is what we’ll find.
He sets us up on a mountain way way out the back, and oh my God it’s monumental and it’s also bloody huge.
No more backin’ off, no more gutless wonders, it’s time to end the subterfuge.

It’s two miles high and it’s three miles thick, it’s green and full of massiveness.
Colossal, vast, gigantic, well 18 foot we guess, now its time give this one our very best.
“Gentlemen prepare to stroke, give me what you’ve got.

WE may not win this race

Show the people on the beach a thrill or too, now you sheila’s give me your best shot.

“Row ya bastards, row like men possessed, and then some if you will”.
We did just that, we bent them oars, and watched the mammoth start to fill.
We’re on this colossus at a blinding pace and down the face we rushes.
Brian yells “trail them oars, come back boys, Jackie lend a hand don’t let the mongrel crush us”.

Fifteen foot of boat protrudes from our watery feat of nature, and we can feel the awesome hum of dominance.
“Stay in the middle, get right back, sit on the bloody’ floor, right now we are on our way to International prominence”.
I’m looking ‘round, the pace is frantic and forever in my memories eye.
Lookin’ back I see that bloody great sweep oar embedded in Big Brian’s thigh.

It seems just like eternity, well at least for some long time and then some more.
This great wave is runnin’ green and then comes that awesome roar.
Way above our heads the monsters cresting starts, cascading tumbling and spewing spume and foam.
But Big Brian knows the trial, the ultimate test is nigh, “hang on you scungie lot, I’ll get you bastards home”.

“Trust me boys, we’re not beat yet but this bastards got a punch, Jackie, push with me and  we w all be high and dry.
The energy this mammoth is expending has instilled us with a classic high.
With gargantuan proportions the wall of water on our stern will turn mortal men to awe.
And I will wager this, all you ‘Boatie’ folk, you’ll have a fear or two ‘cause now you’ll be unsure.

Now it’s time to include and assimilate the thoughts of fellow poets, wager this, never ventured.
Have you been there, will you relate a concluding thought into places never censored?
Four gutless blokes, a mighty boat, with Brian Sheehan at the blunt end.
He has swept us from obscurity, and we bent our backs, the old hairy bastard was a God send.

When Big Brian says “row ya bastards Row”, do it bloke, you not here for a good time, and just don’t row for show.
You might be big and brawny, without the man I wager you don’t have a show
We are near the beach and we’ve beaten that crushing ocean.
But without a frown,  our ego’s born, so what’s the bloody commotion.

But you have never heard a sound so beloved, precious, and filled with dear relief.
Of that of plywood plowing beach sand, now your back on decks your home is underneath.
Recollections of this trauma have been stretched and mixed with graphic.

You don’t believe me…

Well guess I’ll have to tell yer, on the beach was a camera crew from the National Geographic.

Dedicated to; BRIAN SHEEHAN, AVALON BEACH SURF CLUB, copyright © John D. Farley 2008.



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