Joan Small Poetry and Books


Joan Small
More Inspirational Poetry

Life Learning

‘I’ve learned a lot from life’, he said, while sitting on the hill.
And yet there’s more to learn I know. We keep on learning still,
Until the day we all ascend up to those pearly gates.
The time rolls by exceeding fast when you put on your skates.

‘Don’t hesitate to make the most of every hour each day.
Remember how, when you were kids, out in the street you’d play,
Until the last sun ray was gone and stars were in the sky,
And mum would call, “Do come inside”. “Not yet”, she’d hear you cry.

‘Remember when you couldn’t wait to go to your first school,
And then you couldn’t wait to leave – get out from teachers’ rule.
To have a car, a job, a date, was what you’d want to do,
And you would learn from everything, some lessons clear and true.

‘Then suddenly you’re all grown up – responsible and strong.
You thought you were invincible and that your life was long.
You rushed to work and raced back home. You loved to organise.
Your kids went here, your spouse went there, but did you realise…

‘That while you rushed to make your life the perfect textbook one
You’ve missed the point, you've lost the “now”, forgotten to have fun?
You tried to keep up with the Jones’ – to have what others had.
But if you take the time to look you’ll see your life’s not bad.’

‘You see this daisy that I hold is really rather small.
But yellow petals glowing in the sunlight tell it all.
That if we’re there in stillness, quiet, do nothing, simply grow,
Perhaps the learning comes to us and we will learn to know.

(c) Joan Small March 2010

My Shadow and Me

There’s a shadow that’s following me and I can’t get away
It’s an alternate version of me that makes work or play.
It’s in hiding and telling me how to create a new thing.
It brings smiles or it wrinkles the brow or makes my heart sing.

When I listen and follow that ghost do just what it might say
Or not, instead follow the host or I go my own way.
I can stumble and fall in a heap and I cry out ‘why me?’
I can’t easily go off to sleep and my eyes fail to see.

But my ghost is here all of the time so I’ve nothing to fear.
I can pick myself up feel the rhyme my eyes see and ears hear.
I can sense the best way, be aware and a rose I can smell.
My shadow and me are both one we’re alive and we’re well.

© Joan Small 200310

Treasure Through Time

The cave mouth gapes wide open. My mouth gapes open too.
I step inside all trembly, then the stairs come into view.
Down down into the darkness  - ‘What am I doing here?’
My torch’s beam shines thinly. My hair stands up in fear?

‘There’s treasure in that cave, son.’ The wise old man was gruff.
‘The gold is there for those who seek – but only if you’re tough.
There’s monsters to protect it, and ghostly ghouls, and snakes.
They’ll  fight the man who enters there – the one who comes and takes.’

‘But you’re a boy, not full-grown yet, you have a magic shield.
The glowing light of innocence. Before this all will yield.
You’ll travel back in time my son when you go down that hole.
And in the time of ages past you’ll reach this worthy goal.’

The words he said are echoing as I open wide my eyes,
And down the stairs I carefully creep. What now before me lies?
A rustling in the dark – I shine my torch and see a tail.
The shiny scales slip through a gap, and then I hear the wail.

A mournful song both sad and sweet that echoes in my head.
It draws me forward, when my legs wish for retreat instead.
Around me hang the crystal capes. Formations glowing white
Make sparkling crystal castles. It is a wondrous sight.

And then the wistful moaning fills with whispers all around.
I press on past a glistening pool towards the haunting sound.
While shadows drift on by me, but none will come too near.
I brush a web out of my hair, then words begin to clear.

‘Who enters in our sacred place? What is your mission boy?
What makes you think to steal from us? Our treasure brings no joy.
For all before you who have tried have had a dreadful death.
You’ll know you’re tainted when you feel a darkness on your breath.’

What is that smell, like rotten eggs, that taste upon my tongue?
My breath is short and stressful now – I can’t expand my lung.
And look – my hands – they’re cracked and dry – how did I get so old?
Is this my just reward for thinking I can be so bold.

What time has passed? Where are my mates? My life so dull, but great?
How many minutes – hours have passed – how long since I last ate?
The treasure is not mine. How could I be so dumb – not brave?
To take the dare and trust that man, to enter in this cave.

I have one chance – to run I must – turn back, retreat, get out.
And sucking in my last strong breath I give a hefty shout.
My jelly legs refuse to move, my arms are useless too.
I sink down to the mossy floor all wet with glistening dew.

I lie upon the floor and let me head rest on my arm.
Then hear a noise, a jangling sound. It is my clock alarm.
I jolt awake. The sun is up. It shines into my eyes.
I am no longer in the cave. It’s surely a surprise.

Home in my bed -  that smell is here. The rotten stinking one.
My footy socks tossed on my bed, beside a mouldy bun.
The dog has left a grubby patch where he’s curled on my feet.
While books and clothes are strewn about to make the scene complete.

I shake my head. It’s coming clear. Of course it was a dream.
I wasn’t seeking treasure there beside a cavern stream.
The Wise Man had Father’s face when Dad said, ‘Clean your room.’
I race downstairs, come running back with bin and cloths and broom.

In just an hour my room is neat, with sparkling floor – no smell.
I call my Dad – ‘Come look at this. I think you’ll like it well.’
My Dad, impressed, says ‘Son, I’m proud. You’ve shown that you’re not lame.
For your reward, I’ve tickets here to next week’s footy game.’

The moral of this story is that all we have’s today.
There is no time warp that will take us to the far away.
There is no treasure we can steal, but only one we earn.
And I’ll become a happy man if this one thing I learn.

© Joan Small June 2009

Life Is For The Brave

It takes courage to keep on with living - awaking with joy every day.
For sometimes your life may be trying, and seem like more work than it’s play.
It may seem mundane, even boring, with nothing to do that inspires.
There may be some times when your striving just doesn’t bring forth your desires.

Sometimes we are hurt, even broken by pain that is inside or out;
A problem with organs or heartaches, a friend lost – or maybe it’s gout.
That’s when we may say ‘Is it worth it? What goals am I striving to reach?’
Be brave and stay strong – you’ll survive it. Go play, or just walk on the beach.

Take gratitude rocks from your pocket, and polish them well as you think
Of the moments in life that are lovely, and how you have water to drink.
For the simplest of things make abundance. The breath that you take gives you life.
The world that is free has the magic to banish all worry and strife.

Take heart as you know you have courage to open your eyes every morn.
And more, if you find it within you to say, 'I am glad I was born'.

©Joan Small April 2007


There’s lots of things that niggle, and some things irritate.
Some others get my back up, and put me in a state.
Sometimes I’ll find that people are just getting up my nose.
Their negativity is bad; not smelling like a rose.

I’m climbing walls, frustrated, or biting on my tongue
For fear I’ll put my foot in it, and friendships will go bung.
For hasty words out-blurted will hurt another’s pride.
Where nothing good is there to say, it’s best to stay inside.

Yet hurtful stings unspoken can cause an inward rot.
Create disease and heartache – those ailments we’ve all got.
Somehow we have to find a way to let it all hang out.
Or else the rot will soon become arthritis, flu or gout.

I beat my head against a wall, in anger stamp my feet.
Or tear my  hair out by the roots, in Irish I  might ‘greet’.
I’m throwing things, or punching at my pillow on the bed.
My face becomes an evil mask, my eyes and cheeks turn red.

What are these weird emotions that overtake my mind?
When truly I am awfully nice, quite loving, sweet and kind.
Ask anyone and they will say, 'Oh yes, she’s quite a girl,
But do take care, for on her head she has that dreaded curl'.

You know the story of the one with curl upon her forehead.
When good, she’s good, but when she’s bad she is extremely horrid.
Just like us all - we’re angels yet, but when the world gets tough
The devil pops up from inside – and things get pretty rough.

Don’t try to be the perfect one, but find a healthy way
To let it out, not bottle up the things you want to say.
A kindly friend, a counselor, someone to show they care.
For all of life is easier if you take time to share.

© Joan Small July 2007


Inspirational Poetry

Nature Poems

The Sweet Sadness
of Loneliness

The sweet sadness of loneliness
Of love found... and lost.
Dreaming of what might have been.
A thought, a whisper of hope.
A future together.
A walk in the park.
Climbing down to the water's edge.
Dangling feet in the cool stream,
arms entwined
like the branches above...

And love.
Fragile, fresh and new
Springing forth as the babbling brook.
Blossoming like wildflowers underfoot.
Reaching up like tall trees to the sky.
And clouds
Floating on a gentle breeze.

Where did it go?
So quickly vanished.
Just a leaf drifting downstream
and dropping with the water over a fall
into the abyss.
the sweet sadness of loneliness.

© Joan Small 30th May 2005

The Best in Me

You brought out the best in me.
The depth of feeling,
the warmth, kindness
and care.

I learned once more
to love, to laugh,
to explore the depths
of emotion.
Tenderness, and longing.

Awareness of music,
humour, nuances
and tones of words,
of feelings.
Baring of the soul.

Flaws revealed, accepted.
Vulnerable and open.
Those scratchy bits
rose like bubbles
to the surface.
and smoothed away.

Sensitivities touched,
forgiven and released.
An essence exposed.
That which endures.

Two spirits
attracting and vibrating.
Electric threads,
fragile as a fairy net,
joining ... and breaking.

Communing through cyberspace.
Connecting... and disconnecting.
Signals unspoken.
and withdrawing.
and not knowing.


A blossom,
frozen before its time
of unfolding.
So much left unsaid,

A dream that might have been...
That may still be.
A future unknown.
Two spirits joined
and split asunder.

Yet in the brief encounter..

Joan Small 10/7/05

A Moment to Cherish

A moment in time, a chance and my choice,
An instant to cherish, a still inner voice
That whispers of change, of affinity clear,
Of touching another, of one I hold dear.

A murmuring breeze, a glint of sunshine,
A lining of silver on clouds that are mine.
A sky that's bright blue, trees swaying in rhyme,
A perfume of freshness, sage, rosemary, thyme.

A touch on the cheek of a babe, Crystal Child,
And chirping of birds flying free in the wild.
My world is magnificent, vibrant and gold.
These are moments to cherish, to have and to hold.

© Joan Small May 2005


To change is not easy
Old habits to lose.
The thoughts that you think,
The words that you choose.
Body language is crucial,
A good listening ear.
Have patience and humour
Keep outcomes quite clear.
The training and practice
From many years past
Will soon be behind you.
You’ll be free at last.
To soar through the clouds
To the air up above.
And live life with friendship
With laughter and love.
(c) Joan Small 2003

A Mother’s Circle

What is it to be a mother
when the baby years have flown?
I knew in those days that they needed me;
the children that were my own.
Their constant care was my pleasure;
The nappies, the feeds in the night.
The times when my boys played so joyfully,
The worries when they would fight.

The cuddles with warm soft bodies,
The moments I watched them play.
They grew up so fast into tall strong men,
Then traveled and moved away.
Too soon they had found another;
Each a wife to make a home.
And now they have little ones needing them;
The children that are their own.

Their constant care is their pleasure,
The nappies, the feeds in the night.
The circle turns on spinning constantly.
I know that it must be right.
But yet in my heart there’s sadness
For the baby years that have flown.
While proud of the sons who have given me
Grandchildren who are my own.

From mother to fond grandmother.
The circle must run pure and true.
So I count the blessings they bring to me,
And create my own life anew.

© Joan Small May 2006

Helensvale Writers' Group
Helensvale Writers Group - Joan Small3rd Thursday each month
Helensvale Library - ground floor meeting room
11.30 am to 1.30 pm


Contact Joan:

Poetry in Paradise
Poetry Club
Poetry in Paradise - Joan Small
3rd Sunday
each month
Southport Library meeting room
1 pm to 3.30 pm