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Follow Kollin on this journey Down Under to experience some of what Australia has to offer.
Connect with the author on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/KollinLTaylor.
It blew my mind as I flew south of the equator
And ended up Down Under a few days later.
The temperature got a bit colder,
And I got a few days older.
Traveling across the International Date Line
Took me forward in time.
Sailors who cross it on the sea
Celebrate with a special ceremony.
Lost at Sea
This is a sad tale
About a humpback whale.
He made a very special sound,
And he wouldn't stop until his mate was found.
No one knows what drove them apart,
But everyone hears the sound of his heavy heart.
He will swim the oceans wide and blue
As his heartbeat says, "Where are you baby? I miss you."
Welcome Back Already
I haven't arrived yet, and I want to return one day,
And not for business but for a vacay.
I looked on the monitor in disbelief
When I saw the Great Barrier Reef.
I shivered as I thought about an infamous great white
And its notorious bite.
My honeymoon vision gave me a smile
When I saw a Fiji isle.
Sitting in the middle of the plane obscured my view,
But my next flight is going to include a view of you.
The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost went to a regalia
Down in the heart of Australia.
The continent filled them with so much zeal
That He created Ayers Rock, so they could have a meal.
They had angels prepare the meal and set the table,
And they used the clouds because they were able.
Now Ayers Rock is a part of Australian pride,
And it makes the Lord feel warm inside.
He went head over heels,
The kind a pain a person in the stands feels.
I thought it was the United States,
But he rolled out of Australian rodeo gates.
This man was no toy;
He was from the outback and a real cowboy.
He rode a bull called One Tonne,
Who bucked the cowboy and told him to run.
The cowboy refused to run away,
Because he knew he would tame the bull one day.
I thought I was back in the Midwest,
But instead I had witnessed Australia's best.
Joined at the Heart
In the middle of Brisbane, I heard a horn honk,
And on the radio I heard what sounded like honky-tonk.
One of the things about this Australian location
Is a country music station.
I know people go to Nashville, USA, to get big,
But I wonder how many come here for a country gig?
The United States and Australia are miles apart,
Yet they both have country music for your heart.
Handle with care:
I'm a cute and cuddly Koala Bear,
One of Australia's treasures to see,
Feasting in a eucalyptus tree.
I love the leaves, as you can tell,
With that potent medicinal smell.
Come on down and watch me play,
But I also sleep about twenty hours per day.
From my size, you can't tell
That I'm the king of Tasmanian hell.
The devil is a title I deserve
For the mayhem that I serve.
There's one thing about being stush,
It makes life harder in the bush.
You don't have to worry about earthquakes,
But there're several poisonous snakes.
And take it from the insiders:
The bush also has several spiders.
There're several bugs that can give you the cruds,
But in the bush everyone's afraid of the floods.
I never thought I could swim a mile
Until that day I was chased by a crocodile.
Pig 'n' Whistle
It wrapped around my lips like a thistle,
The incredible ribs from Pig'n' Whistle.
In the middle of the Brisbane scene,
A British restaurant served an incredible cuisine.
It didn't take long, but it was worth the wait
To be served by an Irish lass named "Kate".
I ate too much and got out of control
In a sports bar where they let the good times roll.
There was a sign that asked "What's my beef?"
But I had none, to my relief.
Things got a bit loud, but not enough to make me deaf.
Then I had to compliment the chef.
The beef fell off the bones with ease,
But I'm too full, so no dessert, please.
Maroon and Blue
It's not time for fun or jokes;
There's a dividing line between lasses and blokes.
But the cause for this fender bender
Is not related to gender.
It may relate to the color on your face
But not as it relates to your race.
Everyone has to pick one of the two:
Either maroon or blue.
There's an explosion in ticket sales,
Because of the game between Queensland and New South Wales.
The field was filled with sweat, tears, and blood
From the hits that caused a crashing thud.
If you want to see someone who's proud,
Just look in the stands and check out the crowd.
But there're more fans than you can see,
All over the world listening to the radio or watching on TV.
Forty minutes and Queensland leads the score,
But the game still has at least forty minutes more.
But if you want to see the biggest bruise,
Just wait, because one of the teams will lose.
To gain an inch, the player fights,
Because the victor gets bragging rights.
The winning team's fans will cheer,
And the celebration will last more than a year.
They'll talk about this game for generations to come
And how gladiators came together in a scrum.
Ten points was New South Wales's final score,
But Queensland scored two points more.
But the highlight of the game was a fame-seeker,
And in case you missed it, they showed the male streaker.
Next year, the Blues will give it another go,
To try to stop the Mighty Maroons from making it nine in a row.
Note: Based on the 2013 Holden State of Origins rugby series.
I'm as high as a kite,
Because a bush doughnut has me in flight.
There's so much that can be said
About jam between two slices of bread.
Oh yes, it's covered in pancake batter,
And cinnamon sugar tops this platter.
This may sound insane,
But have you ever seen slow-moving rain?
It almost looked cute;
Every raindrop had its own parachute.
I'm used to winter with falling snow,
But this Australian rain fell in slow-mo.
And then in about an hour,
It was a full-fledged rain shower.
I was reminded of the houses that were high,
Because they were on stilts to keep them dry.
The extent of the Australian lingo
Goes way beyond Wallaby and Dingo.
So before I say "hooroo,"
Here's what I'd like to do.
My pocket had "shrapnel" galore,
And "Makas" had a value meal for sure.
But the chill from the milkshake's sip
Caused me give a "fair crack of the whip".
Shrapnel: coins of low value
Fair crack of the whip: to ease up
In life, we can pull or push,
And both describe life in the bush.
Things are so hard and remote;
It's hard to find a dingo with a shiny coat.
It can be a taste of hell
That wears on a Tasmanian Devil as well.
How can anything thrive
When it's hard enough to just survive?
Life in the bush is rough,
And a man has to be aboriginal tough.
With all the crocs, spiders, and snakes,
A survival instinct is what it takes.
When two predators fight,
It's because survival's a privilege and not a right.
But they won't fight all day long,
Because out in the bush you have to be smart and not just strong.
I'm here to bear witness
That many Aussies love physical fitness.
It's not all about looking good,
But it's taking care of their bodies like they should.
Go to Brisbane and have some fun,
And you'll see thousands out for a walk, ride, or run.
I'm not sure if it's Aussie pride
That fuels every stride.
I just know it takes a lot of will
To tackle hill after hill.
The hills are so steep
That they'll make your legs weep.
But then you can relax and float,
And travel the river on a City Hopper boat.
And if you want to see an animal or two,
The Mirimar II will take you to a zoo.
A Mile and a Smile
People in the city tend to have exteriors as cold as ice,
Even if their insides are county nice.
I walked through a park for about a mile
And broke the ice with "G'day" and a smile.
To say it always worked would be a lie,
But we'll never know if we never try.
Bigger isn't always better:
Just follow the number and letter.
An Aussie fifty-cent coin measures about an inch,
But a smaller one-dollar coin's worth more in a pinch.
And with loose change next to your loin,
You'll really want a two-dollar coin.
The coins paint a historic scene
By showing respect to the queen.
And just in case you're wondering who,
I'm referring to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.
While Sydney and Melbourne were in a fight,
Canberra earned the right
To be the country's capital city.
And to the losers, what a pity.
So while the other cities created a scene,
They chose the city that's between.
If this was still a penal colony,
Dear Lord, sentence me here for an eternity.
But please do me a favor
And spare me the hard labour.
Now if you sail north of the Coral Sea,
You'll end up in Papua New Guinea.
People smugglers have something up their sleeve,
Because an Australian visa is not for everyone to receive.
So before anyone sets sail,
Ending up in PNG is an epic fail.
It means making a treacherous trip by sea,
With the intent to enter illegally.
The government implemented this drastic measure
So they can ask, "Are you here for business or pleasure?"
Illegal immigrants will take a toll
If they get beyond the country's control.
Law enforcement will have a hard time,
If entering the country is based on crime.
But here's one thing that's not lost on me:
People tried to leave when it was a penal colony.
Can you please do me a favor
And tell me about Talisman Saber?
It's about covering the Pacific Ocean so blue
To partner with a friend, tried and true.
Whenever the enemy shook the rattle,
The Aussies always joined the battle.
To win you have to dare,
And to partner you have to share.
But just in case the enemy decides to push,
The US stands ready to join the Aussies in the bush.
Even though the Aussies have their plan,
The US will try to do what they can.
But for people to travel this far,
This exercise is about more than war.
Like after a battle's mess is made,
People will need help from groups like AusAID.
And as we partner through weeks of strife,
We'll make friends for life.
As we practice things in every aspect,
We leave as friends, bound by mutual respect.
I threw it away as hard as I could,
But it returned like it should.
From the beginning to the end,
Life's a boomerang with edges and a bend.
An instrument of peace and war,
It's a friend who leaves but never goes far.
A boomerang comes in different shapes and sizes,
And, like life, it's full of surprises.
Which gave Alice Springs.
Gladstone and Rock Hampton are not crocs,
But Ayers is truly a rock.
There're great white sharks at the Great Barrier Reef,
But to the fish and people, that's no relief.
Is there a surfboard within reach?
Because I'm heading down to Mona Vale Beach.
A trip to Sidney is of worth,
And so are going to Darwin and Perth.
There're succulent grapes, growing on vines,
That get fermented to make Australia's best wines.
There's so much more to see
Of this wonderfully diverse country.
We know what you sow is what you reap.
The Aussies sowed a fence to protect the sheep.
Australia has the world's longest fence,
Because things between the sheep and dingoes got tense.
The dingoes walk the line and continue to probe,
And the sheep are on edge with a radar-like earlobe.
Terror of the Night
What in the heck was that?
It cast a shadow like a megabat.
It sounded like a beagle,
But it had a wingspan like an eagle.
It filled even the brave with fright
And brought terror to the night.
But during the day, it can be found
Sleeping away and hanging around.
Either way, this bat rocks—
A terror in the sky called the Flying Fox.
But blood is not its loot,
Because it only craves the juices from a fruit.
I thought a monkey was in a tree,
Laughing hysterically at me.
But it had wings and a beak the size of a bloke
And sounded like a monkey whenever it spoke.
A Kookaburra is a sight to see,
But you need to hear this bird that sounds like a monkey.
Hey! How are you,
Oh beautiful, wild cockatoo?
It was wilder than you'd think,
With a breastplate covered in pink.
It was a beautiful sight,
Both while perched and in flight.
The bird was loud yet cute,
And it looked dapper in its feathery suit.
Red, Black, and Gold
Oh my! What the heck?
Was that a black turkey with a red neck?
It was a cute little fellow,
With vertical tail feathers and a beard in yellow.
I saw it run away in fright
As a kookaburra put up a fight.
The turkey's head was already covered in red,
Which made the kookaburra target its head.
The turkey wasn't gifted with flight,
But it ran into the bush and disappeared like it was night.
Saint or Sinister
There is politics,
And then there are poly tricks.
Some things a country's leader will fix
And yet still get beaten with verbal sticks.
Regardless of his political rating,
The Australian Prime Minister will get served with lots of hating.
Whether a saint or someone sinister,
There's a lot of pressure in the role of prime minister.
Billabong is an icon that almost went down,
But that would be like letting a great white shark drown.
It took a deal worth over three hundred mil
To serve as the company's magic pill.
Billabong is of Australian birth,
But it's an icon all over the earth.
I'm broadcasting live from the ticket,
An oval with a pitch for the game of cricket.
It's in the heat of the day,
With two batsmen on a pitch of pressed clay.
The Brits put up a three-hundred-run score,
And to win, the Aussies only need one point more.
The Aussies have scored two hundred fifty runs with nine.
They only have one more out, but the fans think they'll do just fine.
The game will rapidly go south
If the Brits get another one out.
The field has two Aussie men,
Against the Brits' eleven.
The game is a gut-wrenching race,
And the Brits change from a spin bowler to a fast pace.
The bowler is taller than a garden house,
As he shines up the ball by rubbing it on his clothes.
He then uses a special grip
And runs with the ball on a bouncing trip.
He swings his arm high above his shoulder
And delivers the red ball like a speeding boulder.
The batsman was blessed with luck
When he decided to duck.
When the ball hit the ground,
It leapt over his head in one big bound.
The batsman almost met the grim reaper,
But instead the ball was caught by the wicket keeper.
The bowler went back and marked off his pace
And then took off running on another race.
This time when the ball left the ground,
The swing of the bat made that sound.
The batsman hit the ball with all of his might,
And the ball took off on an incredible flight.
Into the stands, the ball soared,
And that resulted in six runs scored.
The bowler's heart filled with steam,
Even though he was encouraged by his team.
He went back to his starting line
And took off running with the ball another time.
Again, the batsman did just fine
By scoring four runs by hitting the ball on the ground to the boundary line.
The bowler had a determined look on his face.
He wanted to hit those wickets behind the batsman all over the place.
The batsman's swing of the bat was clipped;
It fell into the slip, but the fielder tripped.
The Brits in the stands had faces of death
While an Aussie passed out from holding her breath.
The bowler was experiencing pure misery,
As he made another valiant delivery.
The batsman hit the ball by the bowler's face,
And the ball rolled toward the boundary at a face pace.
Scoring four more runs was a need,
But the ball was stopped by a fielder with incredible speed.
The batsmen's muscles started to twitch,
As they ran to score points at the other end of the pitch.
The Aussie fans' spirits soared,
Even though only one run was scored.
The game was nowhere near done;
The Aussies kept scoring run after run.
I won't update the score
Except to say that the Aussies scored many runs more.
This game wasn't just a match; it was a test
To see which team was among the world's best.
But, at the end of the day,
One country was happy, and the other was in dismay.
The sweetness of victory and the agony of defeat
Will follow the teams until the next time they meet.
For baseball fans who don't understand the game,
I hope this showed they're almost the same.
Both have eleven players governed by rules,
With bats and balls among their tools.
Before I bid this game adieu,
Let me say that ladies play cricket, too.
The rules are the same as for the lads,
To include batters wearing thick gloves and leg pads.
And the one thing that always stuns:
When a batsman scores more than a hundred runs.
Excerpted from AUSTRALIA by KOLLIN L. TAYLOR. Copyright © 2013 Kollin L. Taylor. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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