Tumut’s Sue Pearce was in the winner’s circle at the NSW Bush Poetry Championships in Binalong over the weekend, taking out first place in the Women’s Classical section and third in both the Original and Contemporary.
The Classical section refers to poems written over fifty years ago, with Contemporary poems being written within fifty years and Original referring to the author’s own creations.
Her winning performance was of ‘Ownerless’ by John O’Brien, a World War One priest whose experiences influenced his heartbreaking poems.
“As a priest they were often called upon when there was tragic news to deliver to families,” Mrs Pearce said. “So this is a poem about – how do you actually deliver that message to the community? In this particular case we’re talking about a horse that got left behind, and it’s all about loyalty. The horse is waiting for his owner to come home from war, and he doesn’t understand that that isn’t going to happen.
“This is the third time I’ve performed this, and you never walk away without someone shedding a tear. If you can evoke those feelings, that’s what wins it for you.”
The Binalong event was part of an active bush poetry circuit that sees events held throughout the year in different districts, leading up to 2017s national championships in Perth.
Mrs Pearce said outside of the competitive element, the events are a great opportunity to meet likeminded people.
“With bush poetry, it feels like a family. We all know each other,” she said. ‘[Binalong] is a small community but everyone gets behind it over there. The population is only about 250 but the hall was packed. Sometimes you’ll perform and you don’t feel like the audience is there with you, but that audience was spectacular. Despite the rain, it was a really good weekend.”
Mrs Pearce’s next performance will be at the Australian Bush Entertainment Muster in Benalla.
A CHOCOLATE AFFAIR
An original poem by Sue Pearce, placing third at the Binalong Bush Poetry Prize
I was feeling rather frumpy and the scales had been unkind
so I set myself a weight loss plan to ease my troubled mind
well the plan was going super and my confidence was high
but as usual things went pear shape when I tried to justify…
I was shopping in the aisle where sweets and chocolates line the shelf
there, despite the constant warnings of my nagging inner self-
“you know you really shouldn’t – come on, drag yourself away
tomorrow you’ll regret it when the scales bemoan and say –
you really ought to listen to that nagging little voice
your weight is going upward and I really have no choice
but to reprimand severely – do I have to spell it out
your conscience is your guidance – listen up – don’t make me shout!”
Oh, glory be! It’s her again, the fat food fun police
patroller of the aisles that even sniff the word “obese”
while lecturing on things taboo like chips and creamy feta
I know that tofu’s good for you but, chocolate tastes much better
And besides, I have been really good – it’s almost been a day
and rushing things is never good – I’d hate to waste away.
I reach toward the chocolate shelf – hmm – honeycomb or plain
No – fruit and nuts my favourite – then I hear that voice again…
“Your body doesn’t need it – just say No – it’s not that hard
walk away from this temptation – listen up and disregard
all those ads designed to tempt you – boasting taste, superb and fine
there a ploy, so don’t be tempted – go on, turn away – decline
For you know that come tomorrow when your clothes are feeling tight
you’ll regret it – no mistaking – don’t give in, you’ve got to fight!”
for a while I stand, defiant – then I grudgingly move on
‘round the corner to the deli – finally – the voice is gone
And although I’m sorely tempted I decline the chocolate mousse
and replace it with the salmon – ‘though my palate screams “abuse”!
but the bitter taste is sweetened when I spy the bakery
where a luscious, chocolate mud cake stares invitingly at me!
Now, in case you hadn’t gathered – I’m a chocoholic freak
who despite her current status – can’t resist the urge to sneak
an indiscretion triggered when a label urges “Try”!
what an honour to be chosen – one I simply can’t deny
But the tasting invitation wasn’t solely aimed at one
for the party was extended to all comers – barring none
It was nothing short of mayhem as the crowd began to swell
with a line-up that included one stray pensioner from hell!
And that’s where the trouble started – in a bid to jump the queue
Bessie Bruiser used her walking frame to set my cart askew
a reprisal was in order as I gathered up the dregs
with a scowl that would send shivers down a huntsman spiders legs
Then – the moment of comeuppance – when I looked around to see
the line had been reduced in size to Bessie dear – and me
a seething silence simmered as I vowed to stake my claim
It was time to show this “dinosaur” that two could play her game –
See, it seems a certain walking frame had “somehow” locked its brake
and thus revealed the prop was just a ploy to get the cake
with one single slice remaining it was bash or bruise or bite
but the victory was worth it – and the bruising… only slight
Still, my etiquette was questioned as I scrambled from the mix
but its nothing that a simple little chocolate hit won’t fix
ooey gooey chocolate mud cake – needing no words to explain
and I’ve died and gone to heaven… then I hear that voice again
“What are you doing – can’t you see you’re making a mistake?
your problem will not go away while scoffing clumps of cake
oh what am I to do with you? – behaving so uncouth
it’s time we set the record straight now here’s the bitter truth…
That chocolate cake you can’t resist is resting on your thighs
along with all the other junk your size and shape implies
if you don’t polish up your act your plan is set to fail
excuses can’t escape the fact your size depicts a whale!!”
Yet again I’m sprung – and so, in shame I make the solemn vow
to beat my chocolate urges and appease that nagging cow
with my newfound resolution I escape to join the queue
at the checkout – where a row of tiny freddos spring to view
Keeping one eye on the morsels – I pretend I cannot hear
as my nagging inner conscience echoes loudly in my ear
“don’t give in – you’ve almost made it, come on, pay the bill and run!”
I relinquish as I quickly grab the caramello one
After all, it’s just a mouthful and I do deserve a treat
It’s a tiny consolation though my conscience screams defeat!
Well I ask you – what’s the reason for this nagging little sod
Such a constant on my shoulder who just loves to jab and prod
On my way back toward the car park I consume the tiny prize
making promises tomorrow I will once again revise
but for now my mind’s divided for it seems to me no doubt
If it tastes divine – should we decline – or chew and spit it out!