Write choice

Casey Cardinia Libraries customer service officers Calum Barton, Kelly West and customer experience librarian Moira Evleens 208082_04

Aspiring writers were invited to share their best short story or poem for a chance to win a share of $1200 in VISA Gift Cards in the Casey Cardinia Libraries writing competition, with an additional $300 in gift cards for the Gazette Peoples Choice Category!

The ‘A day in the life’ themed competition was open to all library members with three age categories: junior, secondary and adult, and two seperate competitions: short story and poetry.

Below are the short listed ‘People’s Choice’ – some of the most creative and inspiring entries from each category.

The Gazette, in partnership with Casey Cardinia Libraries, invites you to cast a vote for your favourite People’s Choice shortlisted entries per age category.

For each age category the entry with the most votes will receive a $50 gift card.

To vote, send an email to pakenham@starnewsgroup.com.au with the subject ‘CCL writing competition vote’ before Thursday 19 June.

Short Stories – Junior


By Zak, Endeavour Hills

One night there was a boy named Zak. He was going to bed. Zak finally fell asleep and when he woke up he was a piece of chocolate!!!

Zak thought if he’s a piece of chocolate he should go and find a chocolate wrapper to hop in so he did but… that was a bad idea because Jamey loved chocolate! Oh nooo Jamey is coming towards the chocolate packet. Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh

Jamey was crunching and crunching mmmmmmmm. The next thing Zak new he was in Jameys tummy.

Now Zak was wondering how is he going to get out??? He was amazingly stunned! He had an idea but he will have to wait awhile.

Jamey finally sneezed achooooooo!

Yayyy! Zak was finally out of Jameys tummy and then he woke up from his dream.

I am going back to sleep now. Bye zzzzzzzzzz




By Brianna, Beaconsfield Upper

6:30am- Here I am dreaming about tennis ball insides when I am woken by the familiar beeping noise.

I look up through half open eyes and, as expected, nothing exciting, just my usual lady owner going to feed the others.

I can’t be bothered to go. Who cares anyway? All those big spoiled creatures eat is boring old hay! There’s always next time. Back to sleep it is!

7:30am- Well! Little boy and girl owner are here and I could do with some floor sleep now. I slowly stand, stretch and look at the floor. I put my puppy eyes on and whine.

Little girl owner scoops me up and gently places me on the floor. Gee, haven’t I got her well trained?!

9:00am- Ah ha! That’s the sound I’ve been waiting for: it means food! I gobble up my food and start slurping water.

9:30am- Now I’ve got energy, I’m going outside! I have one rule when I go for walks: stay away from the creature with horns.

10:30am- Getting bored from walking, time to go to sleep- again. Let’s find a nice cosy spot on the rocks, but it must be in the sun too.

12:00pm- Time for another walk. Today I’m feeling energetic, so I trot through the fields on a mission to visit my friend next door. I go and check if he has any extra food in his bowl.

Oh, no his owner is yelling at him again. He should really stop rolling in the grass because it just makes his owner angry. Time to start the long journey home.

2:00pm- Finally I’m back and so tired that I could just go back to sleep! But I’m so thirsty and hungry that I could wait- only for a couple of minutes.

4:00pm- Man owner is putting wood in the back of the farm car, I think it’s called something like ‘uggy’. What’s so important about collecting wood?- they don’t even chew it!

5:30pm- It’s getting cold outside and the weird black box inside the house with wood in it has just turned orange! Now the house is warm.

6:30pm- The big glowy screen is on and it’s slowly getting closer to bed time. Small boy and girl owner are having their dinner and it smells so good, I really hope they drop some!

8:00pm- Little people gone now and it’s time for bed, but first I will watch big glowy screen with man owner until he switches it off.

The end.



Short Stories – Secondary


By Liam, Montrose

Salem flicked his tongue out and in again. The air tasted of salt. His stomach was empty and rumbling. It was a very windy day but the sun made up for that.

Salem had to have sun to be able to function properly. The feel of it on his skin gave him energy.

He could hear lots of birds singing but he wasn’t very fond of birds. For one thing they didn’t taste nice and secondly, he didn’t like trees.

Trees were the only things that Salem was scared of. Well, not the trees themselves. It was the tallness that bothered him. He hated heights. Salem’s best friend loved heights though.

He’d wind his way up trees as fast as lightning. He could even jump from tree to tree, which gave Salem the heebie-jeebies!

Slithering along, happy to be safely on the ground, Salem then sensed exactly what he’d been waiting for – the ground vibrating under him and the boom, boom, boom of footsteps.

Salem knew from experience that it was a male because the human treaded too heavily for it to be a female. The sound was heading straight towards him.

Salem knew it was his big chance, so he slid into a bush waiting to attack. The man came into view. His massive shadow looming over Salem’s hideout.

He was bigger than expected but that didn’t bother Salem because it meant he would fill up fast. He was very hungry. His last catch, a deer, was two week ago.

As the man came closer, Salem made sure he had some venom on his fangs ready to strike. Suddenly, Salem slithered out from his hiding spot, rearing up with his fangs bared.

The man stopped dead and did not move a muscle. This was something that the humans told each other to do in the event of sighting someone like him but it didn’t fool Salem.

It just gave him an added advantage. He lowered his head and stopped hissing. Salem slithered in an S shape, past the man pretending not to notice him.

At just the right moment, Salem struck. He dug his fangs into the human’s fleshy thigh.

“Aaaaah! What a feeling of satisfaction!” he thought as he felt the man’s muscles tense up, paralysed by his venom. With a horrifying scream the body crashed to the ground, the heart slowly thumping to a stop.

Salem tugged his fangs out of the dead body and watched blood begin to ooze out of the two holes he had made. He couldn’t help but be a little sympathetic for the man.

“Stop thinking silly thoughts,” Salem hissed to himself sternly. “You’re going to die of hunger if you don’t eat anything.”

Salem slithered over the body, planning the best approach to his meal. The man’s jumper felt rough against his scales as he moved across his prey. Opening his mouth wide he found that it wasn’t big enough to fit the body in.

This guy was an enormous mouthful. With a distinct click of his jawbones separating, he opened wide, wrapping the end of his tail around the man’s waist. Salem lifted the body head first into his mouth.

“Why bother climbing trees,” he thought to himself when you can find a better prize on the ground!”




By Keira, Berwick

I approach the church with apprehension. I have loved coming here my whole life. It has an open, welcoming aura about it like the sun shining on a beautiful day.

My gaze falls on the giant stained glass windows, I love the way the light shines through them creating a kaleidoscope of colours all around me.

Today is different. Today my attention is drawn to the images of the bible trapped within the stained glass, reminding me with the weight of expectation why I’m here.

As I approach the beautiful images in the glass, they quickly turn to icy scowls and disapproving looks, making me feel like an imposter and a fraud.

I look anxiously around me wondering if everyone present can see straight through me.

When I step inside I feel as if the walls are closing in on me, constricting like a giant serpent, trying to take my last breath.

The room is getting smaller and smaller and I’m conscious of the loudness of my breathing. The walls appear as if they could crumble to pieces with even the smallest breeze.

I feel the burden of anticipation from the congregation and from my parents and I have an inner dialogue with myself about whether I can carry it off.

What was initially a blessing and a dream come true, now feels as if the world is falling down all around me, like I’m making a huge mistake in how I want to live my life.

As I begin my journey down the aisle, a beautiful melody fills my ears. What was designed to reflect everyone’s happiness and excitement at my marriage to Ryan, now sounds dull and flat with each step.

The music seems grating, like someone running their nails down a black board. I begin to feel waves of nausea wash over me, my brain pulsating against my skull.

Beads of sweat run down the small of my back, tickling me as they are absorbed by my wedding dress.

The air becomes thick with heat, making breathing difficult, and I find myself fighting to get air back into my lungs as they begin to burn with each breath.

I feel as if I’m suffocating and the room is swaying as I continue my descent down the aisle towards the alter.

My body longs to run to the nearest window and throw it open. I imagine my face turned towards the wind, my hair streaming behind me as the wind hits my face in the most soft and delicate way, making shivers go down my spine.

As I gulp down the bittersweet oxygen, my breathing slowly goes back to normal and I find I’m no longer hyperventilating.

Time seems to stand still. I watch the birds weave freely in and out of the trees. I feel a need to be free like those birds, spreading my wings, letting the wind take me to an unknown destination…

My father’s all too familiar voice calling my name me jolts me back to reality; the scene that was once before me disappears as quickly as it appeared, leaving me to face the person behind me.

I turn around slowly to the voice I have known my whole life. When my eyes finally reach his, I know what is to come.

He begins his lecture about “how his role in my life has given me destined greatness” and “how lucky I am to find a husband like Ryan.”

As his voice starts blasting into my ears, I slowly zone out and keep the expression I mastered years ago plastered on my face.

This expression makes me appear to be listening and hanging onto every word he is saying, even though I’m in another world away.

Finally, after a while I hear his voice begin to sink back to a normal volume. I slowly come back earth and this time actually hear what he is saying.

Although his volume is now back to normal, the nerves he must be hiding away inside are making his voice go as fast as a lightning, making it very difficult to understand.

All I pick up is “it is almost time for your wedding” and “the ceremony will begin shortly, best get you prepared.”

As he walks away I can see his mood has lightened and I know the only reason I’m getting married is because he is the one pulling the strings.

My marriage is the one thing making him go up the ranks of our theoretical social ladder. He isn’t interested in my happiness.

As I make my way down the aisle, guided by my father, each step I take makes me tense up. My legs feel rooted to the spot, all my senses heighten and I feel like I don’t belong here anymore.

I take slow deep breaths and I study Ryan’s face. His face flickers with so many emotions that it is difficult to keep up.

First I see awe which then turns to disbelief, then horror and last of all anger, all on repeat. With one more look at his face the nauseated feeling is back.

As I approach I get a cold and hard look from Ryan and my heart breaks to see him like this. I push the thoughts from my mind even though I feel like I’m obligated to ask him what’s wrong.

The Priest starts the ceremony by asking, “if anyone can show just cause why this couple cannot lawfully be joined together in matrimony, let them speak now or forever hold their


At first I think nothing of it because my answer of course was going to be “no”. However, Ryan seemed to have other ideas because he looks as if he is gearing up to get started.

I open my mouth to say “no” but Ryan has other ideas. He suddenly turns to me and blurts out, “I will not marry her because she has cheated on me and I will not marry someone who has slept in another man’s bed.”

The room heats up and the walls once again starts to constrict around me as if they are trying to make me their meal that once got away but can’t the second time round.

My heart feels like it has been ripped out and has been shredded into such tiny pieces that are too microscopic to salvage.

I feel the room get smaller and smaller around me as I try and stay conscious. The walls seem to gather more shadows that glimmer on the walls like spider webs, giving the room a darker look.

I find it harder to stay conscious on my feet as more and more insults are thrown at me that I know in my heart aren’t true.

Finally, it is too much and my hold slips, making the world go a shadowy black.

As I drift in and out of consciousness in a foggy daze, I hear my dear Ryan say ghastly things about me.

As I strain to hear them, the world finally goes completely black…



Short Stories – Adult


By Diane, Cranbourne East

“Well, I’ve finished all my chores, the garden’s weeded and the garage is spick and span. We’ve finished lunch and we’re not allowed to go anywhere, so what are we supposed to do now?”

“Dave, stop complaining. You have that jigsaw you wanted to finish and there’s the James Patterson book that you’ve been meaning to read for months.”

“I don’t feel like reading and I don’t want to work on the jigsaw either. I feel like doing something different.” Rummaging through the cupboard in the spare room, Dave called out, “Maybe I’ll find something in here to do.”

A few minutes later a loud shout echoed from the spare room, causing Joan to look up from her knitting. “I’ve found it.”

Dave’s cheeky grin beamed at her from the doorway. “Look what I’ve found. The old PlayStation that James left here last year. C’mon, let’s have a go?”

Placing her knitting on the couch, Joan frowned at her smiling husband. “I have no idea how to play those things, do you?”

“One way to find out,” was the reply. “I’ll connect it up and we can try it out.”

Mumbled mutterings filled the silence as Dave plugged and unplugged cords, trying to attach the games machine. After what seemed an age, he let out a loud whoop as the TV screen lit up with a number of oddly named games on display.

“Here,” he said turning towards Joan as he patted the floor. “Grab some cushions. The chords are too short for us to sit on the couch, so we’ll have to sit on the floor.”

Joan studied the control that Dave placed in her lap. It was a strange looking thing, oval shaped with two wings that spread out like a bird, each wing housing a large black button with arrows on the sides. She tentatively placed each thumb on the black buttons and pressed one gently, calling out in surprise as one of the cars on the screen moved forward.

“That’s it.” Dave’s excited voice rang through the room. “You’ve got the idea. Let’s go.”

Their cars raced around and around the track, a red one for Dave and the blue one for Joan. As their game skills improved, they started to race against each other, Joan’s car at times crashing into Dave’s. Their loud bursts of laughter mingled with the almost manic music blasting from the games machine.

“Let’s get more adventuresome.” Dave lent towards Joan, wrapping his arm around her shoulder. “Let’s try two cars each and see what happens.”

With frowning faces and straightened shoulders, they both leaned forward towards the screen. The game was becoming serious and their competitive spirits were sharpened. Drawing her knees up towards her chest, Joan’s face was strained in concentration as her two cars raced around the track, one of them slightly in the lead. Dave’s knobbly fingers bounced around his remote, but he was not fast enough as Joan’s car was the first to cross the finishing line.

“I did it.” She yelled in delight, flopping back on the floor. “I won.”

“God, that was fun,” Dave stretched his arms in the air. “Do you want to try another game?”

“Goodness, no”, Joan replied, looking at her watch. It’s 5 o’clock already. I’d better hop up and start cooking dinner. Do you want a coffee?”

Dave smiled into her eyes. “No, let’s break our rules and have a glass of wine instead.”

Joan returned his smile but as she rolled onto her knees and tried to push herself upward from the floor, she called out, “oh hell. I can’t get up.”

“Try crawling over to the couch.” Dave suggested. “I can give you a push up from there.”

Crawling on all fours towards the couch, Joan suddenly realized how ridiculous she must look. She collapsed in a heap, her whole body shaking with peals of laughter.

“Keep crawling,” Dave’s voice could be heard over the laughter. “Get to the couch and I’ll give you a shove.”

Laughing and crawling Joan eventually made it and as she carefully placed her elbows on the seat, Dave knelt down behind her and heaved hard with both hands on her bottom.

“Oh, my knee.” Dave yelled, leaning on Joan’s back. “I’ve strained my sore knee,” and as he fell against Joan’s back, she lost her balance, falling sideways onto the floor, with Dave tumbling down beside her. At first, they looked at each other in shock, but realizing neither of them were hurt, they again burst into fits of laughter. Holding onto each other, Joan managed to pull herself onto the couch before pulling Dave towards her so that he could sit down.

“I have never laughed so much in years.” Dave wiped the tears from his eyes as he cautiously straightened his leg. “This has been so much fun. Hey, I’ve got a great idea. As it’s a warm night, let’s forget about watching TV and have a BBQ. We could eat out on the patio.”

After preparing the salad and popping the potatoes into the oven, Joan decided to freshen up. After her shower, she reached for her usual grey slacks and pink jumper, but then thought No, as she reached for one of her prettiest dresses. I’ll wear this instead. As she dabbed perfume behind her ears, she was surprised to see her reflection smiling back at her from the mirror. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes shone brightly. “Why, I actually think I look a little younger,” she whispered to herself.

After dinner, the evening shadows crept across the sky and as the gentle perfume from the gardenias wafted through the patio’s open doors, the light from the candles flickered on the wine glasses and the room was bathed in a warm glow.

As Joan sipped her wine, her gaze rested on her husband, taking in the blueness of his eyes, the deep character lines in his face and his silver-grey hair.

She suddenly realized that although she saw him every day, it had been a long time since she had really looked closely at him.

He was growing older and his appearance was changing but he was still the same Dave, her Dave, the man she had loved for so many years.

Reaching across the table, she took his hand, feeling the roughened skin, noticing the age spots and the bumpy joints of his fingers, now so bent from arthritis.

“It’s hard to believe we are 76.” She smiled gently at him. “It was so much fun today and what a wonderful life we have had so far. It’s been a long time since we laughed like that together.”

“So true,” Dave held her hand to his lips. “Life goes by so quickly, but we must never forget to have some fun.”

Joan chuckled to herself. “Remember all the tricks we played on the kids when they were teenagers? Can you remember the time we returned from Canada where we both bought exactly the same T-shirts and jeans? Do you remember how we stood together arm in arm right outside the movie theatre doorway, wearing our identical clothes, waiting for them to come outside?”

“Oh yes,” Dave laughed out loud, as the shocked look on our children’s faces flooded his memory. “And what about the time you met them after the Blue Light Disco. After parking right near the front entrance, which they hated, you did not let the clutch out properly as you drove off, so you bunny-hopped the car all the way down the driveway, with the kids sitting in the back seat, hiding their faces.”

“And the time we waited to collect them from a party,” Joan continued. “when we parked outside the front door and I played my Julio Iglesias CD as loudly as I could, with all the car windows wound down.”

Dave’s eyes softened as he studied Joan’s face. “Do you still have that CD?”

“Why, yes.” Joan answered. “I haven’t played it for years.”

“Well, let’s put it on.”

As the soft, romantic sounds of Julio Iglesias floated around the patio, Dave held out his hand.

Joan drifted into his arms and on slightly stiffened legs, they slowly danced around the table and chairs, with Dave humming slightly off tune.

Holding Joan close, he whispered “This has definitely been the best social distancing day so far.”




By Riannon, Glen Waverley

Once upon a time, there was a mat. Not a carpet that covers entire rooms. Nor a feature rug with ornate oriental stitching. This was a mat.

A mat woven out of many different coloured fibres that seemed more collage than pattern, funky or eccentric, rather than fashionable. It was the type of mat that people didn’t really know what to do with.

Often time it tried to be a featured item, only to end up in a corner without much focus, or, underneath other items. In this case our mat became used as a floor mat. And this is where our story begins.

Our beautiful, eccentric, funky, multi-coloured mat was a floor mat: A mat used specifically for people’s feet. People’s wet feet, when they got out of the shower.

Our mat didn’t think much of itself. It thought, “If all people do, is walk all over me, then what good am I? What is so special about me that something else couldn’t do?”

Our beautiful, eccentric, funky, multi-coloured mat longed to be a curtain. A curtain was never lonely; it always had a pair. It got regular exercise being opened and closed every day.

Sure it had to stay up all night guarding the windows against moonbeams, but it got to stand still, or hang still all day, even being massaged by the gentle breeze.

When it was time to be cleaned the curtains always got such a luxurious treatment! It seemed like a day spa to the enviously watching floor mat.

Whilst the curtains got steam mopped and gently shaken. The floor mat got beaten against a tree coughing out the dust that it had collected, or, chucked in the washing machine on a hot spin cycle.

Then the floor mat got hung out to dry on the washing line where the only massage it saw were from the talons and beaks of birds. “Just more feet…”

The floor mat wallowed. Our beautiful, eccentric, funky multi-coloured mat became resentful. Angry that it was being walked all over, and jealous, wishing that it could be beautifully hung and gently handled like the curtains.

Sometimes our mat would take out its resentment on the feet that walked over it by rolling up in a corner. Sometimes it would bunch itself up! Creating funny little rolls so that the feet would trip.

Alas, the feet would simply kick it back into place. Eventually the mat became anxious. It didn’t like the way that it looked, it didn’t like the way that it was used, and it certainly didn’t like it’s place in the world.

It couldn’t see any point in being a mat anymore and so it began to fray. Slowly at the edges. Soon after voices around the mat were heard saying things like, “That mat is beginning to look a bit tatty,” and, “We might need to get rid of that mat soon.”

The mat took these comments to heart and began to unravel. Piece of string by piece of string until great patches seemed to have worn through and there were holes in the mat showing through to the floor.

Then the mat heard, “Well, it’s not even really a mat anymore is it? I think we better get rid of it.” The mat was suddenly filled with such angst that the voices were right.

It wasn’t even a mat anymore. It had no form, no identity. The mat asked itself, What was it? And was this better than what it had been?

Before it could think any more about it, the mat had been thrown in to a car boot with some scuffed shoes, a few teddy bears without eyes, and a couple of stretched t-shirts.

It was a miserable ride filled with frustration and delusion. The shoes were mean and kicked the teddy bears, who couldn’t see, and so continued to ask the mat for updates about their location.

The mat had lost all strength as its weave had become threadbare. The t-shirt got caught in the wind and thought it had become a flag…

Eventually the car stopped and the collection of, “Unwanted second hand goods,” as they were called, were dumped in an op-shop corner.

Now, op-shop stands for opportunity shop, and, we must never forget this. Because when something is broken it can be fixed, and, when something is hurt there is often a way to make it feel better.

So although these items were lumped dejectedly in a corner, this was really an opportunity for some self re-evaluation.

Sometimes all we need is to change the voice that we listen to, and that is just what our beautiful, eccentric, funky, multi-coloured mat did.

A lady slowly walked into the op-shop and started to look around. Admiring the hidden treasures that she found, and imagining how she could mend, rebuild or restore some of the things to their former glory.

The mat rolled itself into a corner, as it felt ashamed to look how it did. But the lady was taken by it’s beautiful colours, and eccentric, funky weave.

She held the mat out and said, “Wow! Your colours are so diverse…How I could imagine that you could be a funky feature…I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite so unique like you.”

The mat had been hanging in her arms quite dumbstruck; it had never been paid such compliments or been held so tenderly before.

Then quite suddenly and unexpectedly the lady held the mat against her chest and said, “Your speak to my heart.”

Suddenly the mat felt pride grow within itself. It realised that it was beautiful and that it’s eccentric and funky multi-coloured weave was unique and special just the way it was.

It didn’t want to be a curtain, it was happy being who it was: a mat.

The lady continued to think aloud, “I will patch up your holes so that you can keep my feet warm and cosy at night… I’ll use fluffy fabric so that my feet can dry and I won’t get a chill. Yes! You will be perfectly useful for this.”

The mat was filled with purpose. It finally understood how it was needed and how it could help people. The mat was happy.

The lady picked up our beautiful, eccentric, funky, multi-coloured mat and restored it to its former glory.

Our mat lived happily in her warm bathroom, night in, night out, giving her ankles hugs every time that she walked by. Happy just to be loved, to be needed, to be useful.

Most of all, to be happy being who it was: our beautiful, eccentric, funky, multi-coloured mat.



Poetry – Junior



By Sachin, Clyde North

It was a bright and colourful night.

With acrobats, dancers and magicians in sight.

There were drums being played,

Seeing an acrobat cycle on a high rope, I stayed!

It was fun watching magic tricks,

While sitting on some bricks!

I sat on the floor and ate tasty food.

The smell of pudding put me in a good mood.

These are the things that I can share,

From my magical evening at the Choki Dhani fair!

*Choki Dhani is the name of the fair I went to in India.




By Mikayla, Kooweerup

One day the sun stopped shining

We never knew why

Was it because of the fights?

What caused the black sky?

Was it because we didn’t care,

About the world as it was?

Was it because,

We ignored the species loss?

The pollution?

The plastic in the ocean?

Was it because to our planet,

We showed no devotion?

Whatever the cause,

We certainly didn’t plan it.

I guess it’s what happens

When you waste away a planet.



Poetry – Secondary



By Charlie, Bunyip
I hate the way I look.
I hate the way my legs look when I wear leggings, so I started wearing skirts and dresses.
I hate the way my stomach sits when I wear comfortable shirts, so I started wearing tight tops.
I hate the way my freckles look on my nose, so I started wearing make-up.
I hate the way my hair looks when it’s out, so I cut and dyed it.
I hate the way my body is shaped, so I stopped eating.
I hate the way I act.
I hate the way I talk about what I like, so I faked my personality.
I hate the way I look at girls and guys, so I pretended to be straight.
I hate the way I only hang out with a few people, so I pretended to be friends with everyone.
I hate the way I spend my weekends, so I snuck out to parties.
I hate the way I learn, so I gave up on my classes.
I hate the way people see me.
I hate the way people look at me, so I changed.
I hate the way people pose in Instagram pictures.
I hate the way people treat me when I’m myself.
I hate the way people judge me.
I hate myself.
I wear skirts and dresses because they want me to.
I wear tight tops because they want me to.
I wear make-up because they want me to.
I cut and dyed my hair because they want me to.
I stopped eating because they want me to.
I faked my personality because they want me to.
I pretended to be straight because they want me to.
I pretended to be friends with everyone because they want me to.
I snuck out to parties because they want me to.
I gave up on my classes because they want me to.
I hate myself because they want me to.
I hate them.



By Sasuni, Clyde North
Who am I?
Conflict, internal, external.
A world of contradictions, that never ends.
Never good enough, to meet everyone’s bar,
Caught in a world that expects too much.
6:30, alarm goes off, before the Sun.
Sleepwalk into the shower
Shove something into my mouth, get to school.
Friends, laughter, carefree.
No judgement, even if I trip over my own feet.
Teachers see me, sixteen, independent, attentive in class,
Not the girl your family wants you to be.
Lunchtime committee meetings,
Sharing your view, making a change.
Unafraid to speak out, or
Stand out from the crowd.
Back home, mask back on.
Parents’ expectations, grades, all back in your mind.
Stress, anxiety,
hidden behind a practiced smile.
Homework, music,
Block out rebellious thoughts.
Some eventually bubble up,
But the deepest darkest secrets?
The secrets no one knows,
Not even your school friends,
Who know the real you the best.
The ones you keep to yourself at night.
The hopes, dreams
Who I want to be,
Not what they, or you
Or anyone else expects of me.
They are the dreams that keep me going,
Through each day in my life.
The dreams of me being free to be me,
With only me at the helm
Of each day in my life.


Poetry – Adult


By Di, Narre Warren North

After the long, cold and wet greyness,

After the anxiety and the isolation,

Will come hope.

I know.

I will be content.


The warmth of the sun,

the promise of a September ,

the stretch of a Saturday

and the soul of a Mozart

will draw me to my garden once again.

There will be

bees and blossoms

birds and brightness.

All those emergings of Spring.

All newness and nuances.

I will drop my guard alongside my dressing gown.

I will discover green shoots on peach limbs once dead.

I will prune back frost damage as the day reassures me.

I will release pot bound lavender, each plant bursting with optimism.

I will stop, look and listen in my garden of promise

Oblivious to my slippers which like my uneaten breakfast

will become soggy with neglect.

Nacht Musik will be day music,

a welcome to Spring.

And two centuries later

I will be as one with its creator.

I will drink in life.

I will be content.




By Isabella, Berwick

When the world stops outside,

I find myself playing,

At the bottom of the garden,

In the still round rock room


with celadon lichen,

From rainy days and nights.

Lipstick-pink earthworms

Crawl between my fingers,

As we play hide and seek

in the moist pungent soil.

This is my only interaction –


the natural world.

When the world stops outside,

I am kneeling with head bowed,

hiding bulbs from the birds

high up in the tree.

My appeal is silent


In the still round rock room.

When the world stops outside,

I remember soft whispers

of bees by the clothes line,





Summer long.

Drunk bees I call them

And watch,

as they take off

Like fish


From the Stringybark


One day, I will catch a bee

and collect

the sticky honey

That soothes and sweetens

every Summer breeze.

One day.

Not today.

When the world stops outside,

I close my eyes and breathe deeply;



Cleansing breath,

That makes my chest ache



The leaves I have gathered


also taking their last breath.

I throw them gently then wildly

Onto the

Soft garden bed.

There you go! There you go!

When the world stops outside,

The irony of life and death

In the garden,

Is not lost on me.