The Cockatiels’ Message from Manly, Sydney, Australia.

Please scroll down and read to the end. Thank you.

The message of the Manly Cockatiels John Bartels

They dive. They shriek. They call.

They are the Corsa cockatiels.

Their call is urgent.

Do the crowds on the Corsa hear them?

The young surfer heading beachward.

People walking dogs.

Young mothers pushing prams. Sharing coffee.

Young men walking quickly as they WhatsApp.

All are surfing the ever-living wave of life.

The call of the cockatiels grows louder – more urgent.

*

He sees his beloved Manly as his ship passes the Heads.

Already he is missing his last walk with her to Shelly Beach.

The waves gently approaching the rocks and then bursting with joy.

He remembers:

How soft she was when he held her.

Her gentle hands.

The intoxicating scent in her hair.

How they spoke of children. How thy spoke of what dog they would get.

How he promised he would come back.

How they tightly embraced.

How they kissed goodbye

How they both cried.

*

The Heads are far behind now. The ship goes on. out to sea. And on and on.

He thinks of her constantly.

He crosses the endless Southern Ocean.

Then its beauty of Cape Town.

Then it’s the Atlantic.

Then its London.

Then finally, Flanders.

*

The call of the cockatiels grows more urgent now.

Diving, shrieking, and calling they swirl around the Corsa Cenotaph.

Their call grows strangely quiet as an elderly woman gently places flowers at the base of the Cenotaph.

Carefully she sprays the flowers with scent. She waits a while. She leaves and slowly walks away. She is going to Shelly Beach.

The cockatiels watch her go and then start again their diving and shrieking.

Their message is clear to all on the Corsa and beyond :

“Never forget”

END

The Door that Opens

There is a door
A door that lovingly opens. 
It whispers "There is more,
Much more."
As choirs from the trees at dawn
Their eternal paeans sing.
. 
John Bartels
Dawn

The Word Genius of John Keats

Below is the ode “To Autumn” by the poet John Keats

Here is a short, fun exercise that will show you what a genius Keats was when he chose words.

I have deleted some words in the ode.

Choose some words yourself. What would you put in?

Have a go and then at the bottom of the post I have printed the original ode with Keats’s words on bold red.

Then, compare your choices with Keats’s choices.

 

Ode with some words taken out

To Autumn

John Keats – 1795-1821

Season of mists and ……fruitfulness,
  Close ……….friend of the ……….sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
  With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves …….;
To ….with apples the …..cottage-trees,
  And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
    To ….the gourd, and ….the hazel shells
  With a …..kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think ….days will never cease,
    For summer has ……….. their clammy cells.

Keats’s version with Keats’s words in bold red

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
  Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
  With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
  And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
    To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
  With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
    For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

 

How did you do?

You can do the same exercise for the rest of the ode.

Enjoy.

PS My late Uncle told me about the above exercise. He learnt it from a teacher in Southern Rhodesia, probably in the 1930s.