There’s A Crack In My China Soup Bowl

A poem I wrote in October 7th 2018

G’day to my readers here on WordPress, I’m not feeling well, and I’ve not been my usual self in being able to comment on all of your wonderful posts. I’m off to China on Wednesday morning, doing a compact 10 day sight-seeing tour, including the Great Wall of China. Hopefully I’ll be feeling betterer by then. Here’s my poem for today. I’d like to thank Kate of “Calmkate’, for the use of her words, “rank dank muddy waters”, which were basically the inspiration behind my gloomy poem, “There’s a Crack In My China Soup Bowl”, and also thanks to “Stella”, for giving me the idea for the Title of this poem.

There’s A Crack In My China Soup Bowl

My head’s full of black clouds

Drenched by the sky’s contaminated rain

My chest’s full of green slime

Drowned by the valley’s poisoned rivers

My eyes are full of yellow tears

Etched by the lake’s rank dank muddy waters

My heart’s full of grey blood

Permeated by the ocean’s mercury floor

There’s a stench in the air we breathe

How can we possibly leave

Walk up through those old rusty gates

Are we losing the battle, are we too late

Ivor Steven (c)  2018

“Where Have All The Good Times Gone”

A few days ago(29th Nov 2017), I had started writing a poem about Penny Farthing Bicycles, prompted by an article in the Geelong Advertiser newspaper, the arrival in Geelong of eight members of the Melbourne Bicycle Club in March 1880, as per featured picture above, courtesy of the Geelong Heritage Centre Collection. Then I was chatting with my friend Jane of Janebasilblog, she had just sent me the song and lyrics of the Mary Hopkin hit, “Those Were The Days”, from 1968, and I mentioned The Kinks were one of my fav’s from that era, and of course their song “Lola”. After our chat, I starting thinking [which is dangerous for me] about writing a crazy, combined, mixed up poem… The piece below is the result of those thoughts, and to my older readers, you’ll notice all the phrases written in Italic, are song titles taken from The Kinks album “The Kinks Collection”. So apologies to Ray Davies for using his song titles in such a manner.

“Where Have All The Good Times Gone”

I remember the olden times

Of pennies and farthings

Pounds and pence

When money made no sense

Mary Hopkins sang

“Those Were The Days”

And the Kinks song “Lola”

Was the best number one ever

Many a lazy Sunny Afternoon

Spent down near Waterloo Sunset

Where we would all dance

All Of The Day And All Of The Night

My Friends would all dress-up

Like Dedicated Followers Of Fashion

Unlike that lonely Plastic Man

Who faked the Death Of A Clown

Way back then, You Really Got Me

You fired me up, here in Victoria

Thousands of Days forgotten in the burn-out

Charred in a cloud of Big Black Smoke

But now, I’m Tired Of Waiting For You

Wondering, Where Have All The Good Times Gone

Ivor Steven (c)

Originally Posted, 29th November 2017.  4.00pm

A Fairy-tale Misread

I’m slowly drifting out of bed

Feeling like an empty wood-shed

There’s a fire within, unfed

Yesterday’s ashes smoulder inside my head

Remembering the day we were wed

The perfect couple they said

A fairy-tale, crystal, silver and golden thread

Our life was a rainbow, yellow, blue and red

Now I dream of you, beneath our bedspread

And I’m sorry, our fairy-tale was misread


Everglade,  By Antony And The Johnson’s. Lyrics.

When I’m floating in the water
And your eyes are lilies all around
When I’m lying sweetly in my bed
The sun plays crystal with my eyes

Then I stop
My body stops crying for home
My limbs stop weeping for home

When I’m peeping in a parlour of trees
And the leaves are winking all around
I’m home, my heart sobs in my veins
But brains they play the softest games

Fingers kiss the string
Mouth taste the blade
Of everglade (x3)


Ivor Steven (c)  2018

Redgum, Diamantina Drover

I’m posting another beautiful ballad by Redgum, Diamantina Drover, I’m not going to say much, my words aren’t needed, it’s a classic Australian outback story and song

Diamantina Drover: Lyrics, by Redgum’s Hugh McDonald

The faces in the photograph are faded
And I can’t believe he looks so much like me
For it’s been ten long years today
Since I left for Old Cork Station
Saying “I won’t be back ’till the droving’s done”

For the rain never falls on the dusty Diamantina
The drover finds it hard to change his mind
For the years have surely gone
Like the drays from Old Cork Station
And I won’t be back ’till the droving’s done

It seems like the sun comes up each morning
Sets me up and then takes it all away
For the dreaming by the light
Of the campfire at night
Ends with the burning light of day



I sometimes think I’ll settle back in Sydney
But it’s been so long and it’s hard to change your mind
For the cattle trail goes on and on
And fences roll forever
And I won’t be back when the droving’s done.



Ivor Steven (c)  2018

Scots Of The Riverina


John Schumann’s(Formerly Redgum) Vagabond Crew at Woodford 2010, performing Scots Of The Riverina, from the Henry Lawson poem, complete with blistering solos from Hugh McDonald on guitar and Alex (Alexander Stuart) Black on violin. Scots of the Riverina is a 1917 Australian bush poem by Henry Lawson. It relates the story of a boy who left his home in Riverina and is shunned by his family … .. The above Featured Imaged is of the Paddle-steamer EmmyLou on the Murray River, at Port Echuca, north Victoria.


John Schumann and The Vagabond Crew – Scots of the Riverina Lyrics

The boy ran away to the city from his home at harvest time
They were Scots of the Riverina, and to run from home was a crime
The old man burned his letter, the first and last he burned
And he scratched his name from the Bible when the old girl’s back was turned

A year went past and another, and the fruit went down the line
They heard the boy had enlisted, but the old man made no sign
His name must never be mentioned on the farm by Gundagai –
They were Scots of the Riverina with ever the kirk hard by

The boy came home on his “final” and the township bonfire burned
His mother’s arms were about him, but the old man’s back was turned
The daughters begged for pardon till the old man raised his hand
A Scot of the Riverina who was hard to understand

The boy was killed in Flanders, where the bravest heroes die
There were tears at the Grahame homestead and grief in Gundagai
But the old man ploughed at daybreak and the old man ploughed till the mirk –
There were furrows of pain in the orchard while his housefolk went to the kirk

The hurricane lamp in the rafters dimly and dimly burned
And the old man died at the table when the old girl’s back was turned
Face down with his bare arms folded he sank with his wild grey hair
Outspread o’er the family Bible was a name re-written there.


Ivor Steven (c)  2018

Gladstone Pier, by Redgum

Good morning dear readers, I’m getting ready for work, Ivor’s a busy plumber again. I’m listening to this incredible song, “Gladstone Pier” by an iconic Australian band, Redgum. I’ve looped the song, so I’m now listening to the music continuously for about the sixth time, and I hope you enjoy this song and the fabulous lyrics, as much as I am, on this  pleasant Friday morning. My featured image above is of the Port Campbell Pier, on south-west coast, down here in Victoria.

Gladstone Pier, Lyrics by Redgum

Peter was a sailor
Swarthy lean and proud
He could take a schooner through a big sea swell
Aloof in the mainland crowd

She loved his quiet laughter
Like a boy he’d shrug and grin
The beach stretched wide at Port Mackay
With dreams upon the wind

He wore her name in a rose tattoo
Long weekends of gins and lime
She lived in Cairns, made plans to move
Checkout girl part-time
And rumour said, “There’s a boom ahead,
You can make your future here
By the Gladstone Pier”

A two-roomed fibro shelter
Empty hopes, the damp, the flies
Prices hiked, her face grew tight
And conversation died

And the foreman at the smelter said “You’re much too old
Try the canefields furthers north”
And the clerk at the market said “We don’t buy trouble
There’s a strike down at the port”

Then a six-day shift in a filthy pit
The drag lines gouging coal
The black dust gnaws at your lungs and pores
And the anger rots your soul
And the queue round the block waits for you to drop
Can you take it for another year?
By the Gladstone Pier

Every Sunday he’d walk alone
Casting pebbles at the passing waves
Plunge in brine, cleanse his pride
And a stronger man remains

The crunch of shale and distant sails
Ached within his bones
Seeing ships upon the tide
Bound for ports unknown

Soon he drank for comfort
She grew bitter in the weeks between
The nights of beer and hollow cheer
When love became routine

They fought, she left him crying
Angry words in a last café
In desperation on a lonely night
She took the bus to Cairns next day

Gladstone couples break that way
Mutual blame and no regrets
Boomtown blues just fade to grey
And all that’s left are debts –
He cried, “I’ve got to leave this dirty old town
and the rattle of broken men
Break these chains, wash the pain
And put to sea again
I drained all my passion, my anger and my fears
And sank them in a flagon
under Gladstone Pier”

She saw him through the Greyhound window
As the dawn glowed on the chrome
Standing by the pier under sullen skies
Sea winds calling home

From Surfers up to Townsville
Past the high-rise colonies
Fast food, cheap motels
And two more boomtown refugees

This song is from the album “Frontline”.
Ivor Steven (c)  2018


SeanRowe, Lyrics And Music

I’m presenting you another of my fav’ singer/songwriters in Sean Rowe, his glorious song here “To Leave Something Behind”, is typical of his style of music and thought provoking lyrics, please enjoy, I’m going to work/plumbing soon, damn it’s only 1’C !!, I’ll be wearing my new beanie, (Thanks to Soulgifts xx)

Sean Rowe – To Leave Something Behind lyrics

I cannot say that I know you well
But you can’t lie to me with all these books that you sell
I’m not trying to follow you to the end of the world
I’m just trying to leave something behind

Words have come from men and mouse
But I can’t help thinking that I’ve heard the wrong crowd
When all the water is gone my job will be too
And I’m trying to leave something behind

Oh money is free but love costs more than our bread
And the ceiling is hard to reach
Oh the future ahead is broken and red
But I’m trying to leave something behind

This whole world is a foreign land
We swallow the moon but we don’t know our own hand
We’re running with the case but we ain’t got the gold
Yet we’re trying to leave something behind

My friends I believe we are at the wrong fight
And I cannot read what I did not write
I’ve been to His house, but the master is gone
But I’d like to leave something behind

[Lyrics from: https:/]
There is a beast who has taken my blame
You can put me to bed but you can’t feel my pain
When the machine has taken the soul from the man
It’s time to leave something behind

Oh money is free but love costs more than our bread
And the ceiling is hard to reach
Oh the future ahead is already dead
So I’m trying to leave something behind

I got this feeling that I’m still at the shore
And pockets don’t know what it means to be poor
I can get through the wall if you give me a door
So I can leave something behind

Oh wisdom is lost in the trees somewhere
You’re not going to find it in some mental gray hair
It’s locked up from those who hurry ahead
And it’s time to leave something behind

Oh money is free but love costs more than our bread
And the ceiling is hard to reach
When my son is a man he will know what I meant
I was just trying to leave something behind
I was just trying to leave something behind


Ivor Steven (c) 2018

See You In The Sun

I’ve been watching and listening to this video/song by Xavier Rudd, and the words and his music have touched me deeply. The song is a little known piece, and I thought I’d post it here for my dear readers to enjoy and to soak up the genuine emotions that Xavier imparts into his music…..

Xavier Rudd Lyrics


“Farewell to the west now
And welcome to the east
Farewell to the one who raked
The sand beneath my feet
Well thank you for the space we shared
And the heart and soul my friend
I will see you through the colors
Between the mountains as the sun descends

We twisted and we reflected upon a grin
Common ground we walked upon
With common feelings of common things
Yes it is a cruel world
But there is solace amongst the sin
Peace to you for now
We will share again
We will share again

Farewell to the west now
My mind is open to the east
To all the new faces, new minds
And things to see
Well, I am alone here
And my heart at times, it weeps
You will see me through the colors
As the sun sinks in the sea

We twisted and we reflected upon a grin
Common ground we walked upon
With common feelings of common things
Yes it is a cruel world
But there is solace amongst the sin
Peace to you for now
We will share again
We will share again

We twisted and we reflected upon a grin
Common ground we walked upon
With common feelings of common things
Yes it is a cruel world
But there is solace amongst the sin
Peace to you for now
We will share again
We will share again
We will share again
We will share again
My, my friend
We will share again
Season on the fight”          By:  Xavier Rudd


Ivor Steven (c)  2018