Strange Critters from the North

As if our strange great southern land
Was scarce of critters that are in no way bland
With roos and echidnas and platypi galore
Wallabies and quokkas sniffing at the door
It seems that December is a time to import
Additional life forms of a festive sort.

“Elf on a shelf” has been around for a while
Growing in number, and adding new style
And renditions of Santa from overseas lands
Create warm fuzzies as they offer glad hands.
But the elf whatever his shape or size
Has a new rival that evokes our surprise!

Yes, “Caesar in a freezer” has become quite topical
An appropriate visitor for our climate so tropical
A sophisticated Roman with lots of class
Lifts the lid on the freezer, as bold as brass
Is he inviting us in to escape the heat?
Or pondering egress for a meet and greet?

The season of Advent is full of attraction
There are plenty of novelties to provoke distraction
The themes of hope and peace and joy
Point to a love that nought can destroy.
The climax occurs with the Incarnation
And this is the cause of our true celebration.

Elves and caesars and critters all
Gather at Bethlehem’s animal stall
There to gaze in wonder and thrall
At the Creator’s answer to our deepest call.



Little Houses

What to do with those pesky alley loiterers and wagon wheels scraping on the walls? I know, let’s fill in the alley with a little house. My daily Worldle exercise gave me this photo to locate somewhere in Google Earth and my sleuthing, dear Watson, led me to the Hollensbury Spite House in Washington DC.

“Little houses” and “spite” naturally led me to think of the three-year-long battle my wife and I have been waging for redress concerning the notorious Sterling housing collapse, revealed early this year through a Senate Inquiry, to be a badly-regulated retirement housing scheme that saw aged pensioners lose life savings and the security of sound housing.

A tenuous link? I think not. How often has housing been weaponised to serve purposes other than the basic human need for secure shelter? Whether it’s to fill in a problem lane-way, keep the pockets of financial climbers well-lined, or serve as a symbol of status, the primary purpose of a house is to provide space for dwelling, a place to call home.

Jesus affirms the indignation of prophets of old when he berates those who hypocritically “devour widows’ houses” Our own country has a growing housing crisis because of the loss of focus on the primary purpose of housing. So now widows have a choice of sleeping in their cars or couch-surfing.

Which leads to this haiku:

How many times must
Human need yield to tycoons
Lining their purses?

Thinking Inside The Box!

The second attempt at today’s Worldle took me to La Tête Carrée Library, Nice, France. It has four stories of offices and three stories of library shelves.

The lion had no courage
The tinman had no heart
The scarecrow had no thinking head
But dreamed of being smart

If only the road of yellow bricks
Passed through the city of Nice
Our straw man might have completed his quest
Within this stunning piece.




Japan’s All Saints

Worldle Daily is a fun online exercise that throws up an image of somewhere on planet Earth and urges six tries to locate it using its embedded Google Earth tool. Clues in the photo generally help me to a solution within the first three attempts. Yesterday I found myself in Japan’s Nagoro Scarecrow Village, where the scarecrow-to-human ratio is 300:40.

Nagoro’s getting smaller; only 40 people left
Big City’s Call and Death have left them all bereft
Tsukimi Ayano has devised a populating plan;
Kakashi to the rescue – for each woman, child and man.

A scarecrow for each absentee dwells on the village scene
In garden, street, and bus-stop, silent presence reigns serene
Each painted face and stance recalls the person gone
And helps the town recall how together they are one.

The Christian world commemorates today for All the Saints
Those who have gone before and who inspire without constraints
It seems our village, though not so small, is larger than it seems
The Cloud of Witnesses surrounding us, breathing life to all our dreams.



The Magi come to Halloween

‘Twas the day before All Saints
When all through the ‘burbs
Monsters and goblins
Swarmed the streets and the kerbs

I was wandering the mall
And stopped in surprise
At the atrium vision
– An apparition so wise.

“It’s far too early”
Part of me cried out!
Another part welcomed
And bid me chill-out.

Do the visiting wise men go
With what bumps in the night?
Do Halloween and Christmas
Converse on what’s right?

The shops rub their hands
For both bring in cash –
The saints and the Magi
Seek ponderings less brash.

The gifts for the Child
Speak of great destiny for all
The saints we so cherish
Receive it in thrall.

The veil is so thin
That divides now and those gone
Thin also the wall
‘Tween mammon and yon.

Dennis Ryle – 31 October 2022







Why Do They Persist!

Prompted by the Parable of the Unjust Judge (Luke 18:1-8)

Why do they persist
When those in power resist?
Don’t they ever tire?
Won’t anything douse their fire?

Three years now they have kept up their cry
These seniors who wont let justice slip by
Homes and savings have gone down the drain
A preventable scandal that has caused swathes of pain.

Evictions and deaths arouse nought but acedia
In spite of Senate and courtroom and media
And still these old folk make loud their complaint
For the Sterling home scandal yields no constraint.

The minions of ASIC hide in their tower
The Havelock pollies sit on their power
The bureaucrats wring their hands in dismay
If only those pensioners would just go away!

The Lord tells a story of a widow distressed
Pursuing a judge for fairness with zest
The judge isn’t interested, but finally gives way
To stop her from nagging, and call it a day.

This is why we Facebook and Twitter
To do otherwise would leave us twice bitter
All we seek is an earnest conversation
And a just outcome with fair compensation.

So Mr Premier come out and meet us
You’ve seen all the data and how it did cheat us
The system needs fixing to avoid all deception
But right now we look for a righteous reception.