Lyn Browne and her husband Rodney came to live in the house next door to me for six months. Having family in Brisbane they have the perfect excuse to avoid the grey English winters and spend six months in Australia then back to Europe to enjoy its summer. Wonderful, fun and energetic neighbours they were too. With their joie de vivre, energy and wide range of interests I was not surprised to learn that Lyn is a poet of depth, charm and whimsy and it is clear that writing poetry is a passion with her. While here in Maleny she wasted no time in finding a small group of poets who share their writings and exchange ideas. I became aware quite soon, that like all writers, Lyn was constantly finding inspiration from every day happenings and the people she met and as she says, our landscape.
Lyn has been writing poetry and short stories for about 15 years. In poetry, although she at times uses formal metre, she prefers free verse with its own internal rhymes and chimes. Lyn favours the unexpected, thinks a poem should surprise and also challenge – it shouldn’t necessarily give up all of its meaning at a first reading. ‘Several meals for the price of one’ is her aim, like discovering new things in a painting.
Possibly because of the poetry, her short stories have become more and more condensed. Her micro-fiction (under 300 words) has been published in several collections, and last year a nano-fiction story (under 100 words) won a major publishing competition.
Lyn finds inspiration in everyday things, though since she arrived in Queensland, both the landscape and the weather seem to have infiltrated her poetry.
See how the moon is kite-surfing
over Pumicestone Passage,
chasing the milky tide.
Hooked to a chicken loop,
he’ll race till morning.
Holey Moley, Flinders,
you never expected that.
When the moon starts spinning
we’re in for a bumpy ride.
and here she writes of the Victorian fires:
Black Saturday, 7 Feb 2010
The first time I smelled tv, frail bones of homes
that Saturday: burnt out hugging, huddling, smoke.
Once, I came through Marysville when it was green
and cloaked, found sanctuary, the rubber of roos,
pondered what ‘platypus’ might mean.
All gone. First anniversary: families broken into pews,
and sober suited, numb. The Premier spoke. No gums,
no green. And some read poetry. Water in the creek.
Black Saturday stalks them, swallowed what they were.
Weary of form filling, you see them turn
away, scan for searing northerlies, or something they’ve mislaid.
There’s a need for reassembling, disparate parts
still workable: half-remembered prayers, bent metal, melded glass.
Will it come with a screen door clatter,
or will it be smoke so thick you can lean on it,
darkening heat while the flames twist?
What will we take when we race
bunched in our fists like handfuls of hair
when we flee to stand in the dam
scanning the ridge for that shifting slide,
stony rain on the loose tin roof
flattening anything left alive?
Do prayers burn? Who will tell us?
and here is
You, and you. And you.
Spiking its targets
lightning pulses along the ridge
night-fighting the rain.
They’ll be leaving soon. Big
as eagles on the whippiest branches
the birds are silent.
I could scream a storm.
More like rain than rain
palms bending to the wind.
Screech of machinery.
Cockatoos dark as crowsshrieking at the wind.
I think Lyn's muse is with her.
Lyn and Rodney are great walkers and judging by the intrepid way they tackle the demanding slopes of the Swiss alps at their favourite spot Wengen, they are daunted by very little. Lyn wrote "We were lucky enough to find a day when we could attempt our favourite walk across the glacier up behind the Eiger, at 12000 ft. Blissful blue skies, and fun in the snow. We managed to get to the mountain hut and have some lunch, but crumbs it was a struggle to climb up to it. It had snowed overnight and the ascent was very icy. Great to watch climbers coming in, crampons, ice axes and ropes etc. They often fall asleep with their heads on the table! Our other 'best' walk was on a narrow path just below the north wall of the Eiger, we walked for 4 hours, a descent of about 3,000 ft, that was quite hard too, but we made it down to another favourite mountain inn where we enjoyed lunch and a beer (see photo, Grindelwald in background). You probably know that Eiger means Ogre." No I didn't know that! Mind you, when they weren't embarking on such challenges, they were apparently in Interlaken buying chocolates.
Here are the intrepid couple looking in great form.
Their lunch break with Grindelwald in the background.
I am looking forward to their return here, very soon.