Writing Workshops with Michael Hyde

Thank you to our participants of the Term 3 Writing Workshops for sharing their work with us, and to class facilitator Michael Hyde. We are taking expressions of interest for a new group of participants, please contact the office for more information.


It stands towering in my field of vision.  This majestic tree is pale-barked, long-limbed and evergreen. Life giving, her branches reach up and out, curling and twisting towards the other trees.  I can just see the furthermost dark-green foliage. She demands her own space. The other trees that surround her in the lush gully have given her the space she deserves. The space to nurture, hold and protect all that is around her.  Behind me I can feel the pull of the trees in another steep gully.  They want to join her life force.  They want to litter the cleared pasture between them with offspring.  Roots connected by an unseen energy that binds them together. Roots that entwine, tangle, push through earth and form a maze of creation and stability. 

Nicole Holder


This particular tornado didn’t discriminate.  It was larger than life itself. It became the consumer.  Power hungry, furious and always wanting more, it destroyed the air, the ground and everything in its path.  It sucked up all the trees and fields, houses and man-made machines and created a self-perpetuating whirlwind of loathing and fury.  It’s messy and really fucking loud. It sounds like every noise we have ever experienced is beating a last, deafening retreat. It contains its power in the subtlety of its form.  Its size and shape defy the upright stance.  Swirling and curling around itself in pure symmetry, it feeds continuously, fuelling its hunger. It touches ground when it suits, picking away at the trash on earth and discarding it as it pleases. It rises like a mammoth structure into the thunderous cumuliform clouds and beyond, its mass reaching into another realm. It is caught up in its own momentous and powerful form – then movement becomes movement in order to sustain. Wind, fire, rain, hail, lightning and thunder, grounds breaking open as it swallows everything in its path. It races across the landscape devouring everything without regard.  The demise is inevitable.  It chokes, gags and spews waste from its sides as it hurls trees, houses, cars and rubbish from its core. The realm above the clouds hesitates, considers.  The tornado appears distracted for a moment as the winds shift imperceptibly.  It diminishes, suddenly devoid of energy.  The dust itself seems to hang in the air, until it too succumbs to the forces of gravity and returns to the earth, quietly and gently settling into the broken landscape.

Nicole Holder

Open letter to the school

Bring back bonnets I say
For children at school every day
It used to be part of our kids’ daily wear
To confine their own nits to their hair.

To get infected with a case of lice
Is as we know not very nice
The only known cure was the old kerosene
Or before that indeed a full shave it would seem.

So to counter this dreaded social plague
Bonnets became quite the fashionable rage
For to get your head shaved every time kids got nits
Would annoy any female to horrible bits.

With chemical treatments we get so blasé
To have nits abound has become quite passé
Well enough I now shriek with my duty of four
To afford all this nit stuff is making me poor.

Not to mention of course what all of us know
Repeated toxicity can make your health low
So spare me I beg you from pecuniary divestments
In chemists rewarding financial investments.

Give me a break and check your kids’ hair
And if they have nits then you keep them there
Don’t send them to school with their hair wild and free
If you must send them in, put on bonnets for me.

Leonie McDonald (mother of four)

Action – based on experiences at the Corner Inlet Pony Club

After many weeks of brushing flanks and checking feet, cleaning and oiling all the leather gear, and making sure the uniform was clean, the big day had finally arrived. Now, early in the morning, with hair tied and stud earrings taped back, all the riding gear loaded up, and excitedly, if not a little nervously, getting into the car after a somewhat skittish pony finally walked up the ramp and into the float, the drive to the Pony Club grounds for the long-awaited One Day Event began.

On arrival many other vehicles of all makes and colours, with attached floats large and small, had already arrived, filling the parking areas and overflowing throughout the perimeter of the Bennison Reserve, with anxious young competitors fussing about their mounts, under the watchful eye of supervising and encouraging parents. For many, this would be their first experience of such a riding competition, feeling a little nervous about what the day would entail.

The scent of freshly-oiled leather saddles and bridles, and shiny riding boots, wafted throughout the grounds, interspersed with the occasional smell of horse manure near the horse floats. Here and there a horse or pony snorted or whinnied, swatting flies with their tails, or shaking their manes, in anticipation that soon their rider would mount up and the long-awaited Dressage, Showjumping and Cross Country competition would commence.

Kathy Whelan

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