Tender love of Aura Lee

Forty male voices carry the song
twelve to eighteen
from trebles to basses they ranged

A progression to manhood
there before us

Their song
a most beautiful melody
purity of voice and tone
moved me deep inside

Do they can they
know the depth of emotion
these words carry on the air

In her blush the rose was born
’twas music when she spoke

in her eyes
the light of morn
sparkling seemed to break.
Aura Lee! Aura Lee . . .

I suppose they know
as surely the significance
would have been explained
a evocative melody composed
words chosen describing her beauty

1861 the outbreak of civil war
America’s darkest hour
brothers slaughtering brothers

Yet how could these boys
fully comprehend
the gut wrenching loneliness
the all absorbing anguish
that is separation from love
in the turmoil of war

Almost a century after
this melody was created
and the words informed
of the beauty of Aura Lee
we have the tune again

Love me tender,
love me long,
take me to your heart.
For it’s there that I belong,
and we’ll never part

Forty voices in sotto voce
a keyboard gently fingered
encouraging perfect pitch
determining the rests
tracing out the melody

Forty boys some merely children
others on the cusp of manhood
and after all these years
will they be sent off to war

To be changed forever
will they know love’s tenderness
will they sing to their Aura Lee
as they wait for death
and its eternal embrace

I pray not so
as I reflect on the words
penned so many years ago
Aura Lee! Aura Lee! Maid of golden hair
sunshine came along with thee
and swall-ows in the air

and sung so hauntingly
in soft and measured tones
I am consoled inspired optimistic

Aura Lee
Music:  George R. Poulton
Lyrics: W.W.Fosdick  

Love me tender
Music: George R Poulton
Words: Vera Matson, Elvis Presley

© Paul Dunell June 2014


A winter dance

for Alice and Leila

Mid winter day
warming sun
fractured flickers of colour
kids in bright jackets
run wild and free
from kinders and schools
mid year break

Pendulous leaves
of the eucalypts
tease and filter the light
teasing my eyes

Warmth is fleeting
as is the way with
Melbourne in July

All aboard the miniature railway
as it meanders its way
through the Yarra side parkland

Over the bridges
through the tunnels
waving shrieking excited
children delighting in the ride
smiling adults
savouring the joy

Off the train
the dash of colours
descend on the playground

Roundabouts swings slides
timeless source of childhood delights

Parents mainly I notice
of the grand status
watching minding caring
enjoying the giggles
squeals the joy of young lives

Ever vigilant
as kids know no fear
in their play

Ding dong
icecream van arriving
expectant kids swarm
to its side
mid winter it may be
but kids and ice cream
know no season

Anyway the hot chip van
has arrived
not exactly
healthy choices
but shhhhh grandparents spoil
it’s what we do
anyway the pain in the bellies
won’t be ours to cope with

Oh no
just remembered
they are on a sleepover tonight
who’s meal idea was that
surely not mine

Home again
happy to rest
enjoy a cup of tea
as this shift of minding
comes to a momentary pause

Okay bath time girls
it’s on again

© Paul Dunell July 2014

A mother’s love

for Muzzi

I’m a little girl
surrounded by love
Mum and Dad
are my special friends
I can do anything

I see the world
in bright colours
cloudy days
seem bright to me
love is so easy to give
so easy to receive

I’m a little girl
all I know is pain
why can’t Mum and Dad
love me
am I that bad

My days are mostly bleak
drab browns and greys
what’s love I don’t know
I so wish I knew
so I could share

Maybe I am both
of these little girls
I know the bright days
as from within me
there is a beautiful heart

Maybe the bleak days
are a reflection on those
who are not able show me
that they care

Perhaps in some ways
it is better to learn love
to begin to believe that
it is possible for me
to love to be loved

Love is it a right of birth
fortunate maybe for those
who know such devotion

Yet do they have the strength
to survive if the bubble bursts
if the hard times hit

Life is Yin and Yang
all is in balance
though the point of rest
is sometimes elusive

Whatever the journey
whatever the path
that life has taken me on

I now know the joy of love
I’m a mother now
love I give unconditionally
love I dare to receive

Sure there are times
when life is rough
when those little beings
of my creation are struggling
to find their lives
to find their way to understand love

I’m thrilled to learn
to know
that I’m a good mother
how all enveloping is that
a good mother
it says it all

It shelters me from any scorn
from any barbed remarks
from any looks of disdain
from those who will never know
my heart my soul my love

© Paul Dunell June 2014

Bird of freedom

Soaring high on outstretched wings
is their movement
ascending gliding effortlessly

At one with her world
caring for her babies
faithful to her mate

No concerns has she
or so it seems


There is a tiny hint of sadness
in her gentle eyes
not so much for what has happened in her life
more for what she has always yearned for
He hasn’t looked closely into her heart

he has failed to acknowledge her soul
he perhaps thinks
that the golden band
in some way brands her as his

He may well be endowed
with intelligence
as many men are
but can’t he see
she is no one’s property

She may submit to his desires
out of duty
out of care for a peaceful home
out of concern for her brood

In her mind she is

Soaring high on outstretched wings
is their movement
ascending gliding effortlessly

© Paul Dunell June 2014