Glasshouse Tears

Glasshouse Tears

Our Team
The Rocky Giant hunches with his face towards the sea
And his heart is filled with aching from an ancient tragedy
That happened in the dreamtime when the land was fresh and young
And his burning anger separated Tibro from his son.

But he holds a darker sorrow that he longs to shout out loud –
Someone else’s precious son is waiting to be found.
And Tibrogargan comforts him: “Peace. You’re not alone –
My family of mountains will help to bring you home”.

The pregnant Mother Beerwah has been waiting to give birth
But it takes an age for mountain babes to rise up from the earth.
And as she waits she worries over all her Glasshouse brood
And hopes that they’ll grow safe and strong (as all young mountains should)

She watches while they frolic all about her feet each day
And she notices another child has joined with them in play.
Another mother’s son is lost: “For how long have you roamed?
Stay here with us until it’s time for you to go back home”

The Kabi tell the story of Glasshouse woes and fears
Why all the creeks flow constantly with bitter mountain tears:
An ancient storm; An argument; A son who went astray –
An absent child; An aching void that never goes away.

The mountain spirits kept their word, their sacred task is done
With ancient love and tenderness for someone else’s son.
And so today the Glasshouse creeks are flowing with fresh tears
For Daniel’s coming home at last: he’s waited nine long years.

Neil Ennis, August 2011

In memory of Daniel Morcombe, and in gratitude for the comfort we can draw from the dreamtime legends of the Kabi / Gubbi Gubbi aboriginal people.

Three For One

Three For One

Federation Square
Federation Square by Cosette Paneque, on Flickr

Here’s a poem I wrote recently as part of a competition on the theme “Making pictures”.

For those of you not in the know, a Triptych is a set of three pictures, each related to a similar subject (e.g. Frederick McCubbin’s “The Pioneer”). So in this poem, I tried to create a set of three pictures, all with similar elements – fire / heat, smoke / smells, wondrous sounds, etc.



Ancient flames crackle on wizened twigs.
I crouch upon the dusty cavern floor.
Wisps of sacred smoke caress my hair
While I make pictures on the rocky wall. 

Dark stick-men chase herds of totem beasts.
My ochred fingers craft a timeless scene.
I dream of victory in tomorrow’s hunt
As Tribal voices chant the mystical songs.

Watcher from a future day,
I am like you.
I live and love.
I laugh and dance.
I weep and wonder in the dawn of time.

Holy candles flicker on the altar.
I stretch beneath the vaulted chapel ceiling.
Pungent incense wafts through hallowed halls
While I make pictures on the plaster wall. 

Angels and patriarchs pause in pious pose.
My paint-stained fingers deftly dab and brush.
I dream of eternity and creation’s span
As choral voices echo from the walls.

Watcher from a future day,
I am like you.
I gasp in awe.
I gaze at stars.
I long for answers to eternal questions.

Brilliant sunlight pierces through the clouds.
I stand atop a mountain’s forest glade.
Eucalypt and wattle tinge the air
While I make pictures through my camera lens. 

Exhilarated hikers in the frame,
My sweaty fingers click and twist the dials.
I drink the pristine glory of this place
As bird songs warble in the forest air.

Watcher from a future day,
I am like you.
I conquer hills.
I walk long paths.
I drink the splendour of our world.





Ancient One with your arms held high,
Guarding the bones in this field of tears,
If I bend my ear to your gentle sigh
Will you sing me your song from long-gone years?


The dark-skinned keepers of the river of pines
Chant dream-time clap-stick songs and vows
And leave their beloved dead behind
To sleep in my timeless caring boughs.
I see the tears on your dusty face.
Your treasure is safe in my wooden embrace.

The sunburned settler far from home,
Far from the gentler softer lands,
Bows in prayer at the open grave
In the blessed shade of my verdant hands.
Lie peacefully now at my wooden feet.
I’ll shelter your parched bones from the heat.

The soldier’s widow speechless stands,
Farewells the ANZAC she loved the most.
The wind sighs through my leafy hands
As the bugler plays a sad “Last Post”.
Your brave lover’s watch has come to an end.
He can rest. I’ll guard him well, my friend.


Sentinel with your arms held high,
Will you watch my bones when I am gone?
Will you shade my children from the scorching sky,
You long-lived ageless timeless one?

The children of earth are a short lived race
Who rush to and fro in haste and greed.
I have not lived such a quickened pace
As I have grown to this height from such a small seed.
But I watch you all and I taste your tears,
And I’ll care for your bones through all my years.

I saw this tree in a cemetery a while ago, and later learned that some local Aborigines believe it was once used as a “burial tree”.  The tree is certainly old enough to predate European settlement and there’s a beautiful resonance in the thought that a tree that may have been a vital part of the burials of the first Australians should still be “keeping an eye” on a modern cemetery.

Some things like trees are almost timeless.

Some things like grief at the loss of a loved on are timeless!

Double the Fun

Double the Fun

Double the Fun


(The North Pine River at Sunrise.  I took this with a cheap digital camera while going for a walk at about 5am one morning)

Liz is the love of my life.

I wrote this double acrostic for her during a difficult time for us.

They’re difficult to write because the words are written in a square, and the first and last column of letters makes up a word – in this case a name. So each line has to have exactly the same number of letters, with the only leeway being that full-stops may have either one or two spaces after them to help keep the acrostic square.

They’re worth the challenge. But so is life 🙂

Enduring hope of a shareD
Life with you gives extrA
Impetus to us.  No shadoW
Zones of despair can ruiN
An iron-strong tie insidE
Both of us.  Our love caN
Endure the many trials iN
This life that we face. I
Have faith in our onenesS