Laughter, Tears, and Coffee

Laughter, Tears, and Coffee

by Helene Jermolajew


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The Dance She in blue chiffon, He in silk tie, Twirling and whirling Beneath starlit skies, Dancing on feet Hardly touching the earth, The joy of the dance The thrill of love’s birth ...

In an eclectic collection of poems that reflect on half a lifetime, Hélène Jermolajew explores the joys and depths of the human condition.

Hélène’s poems capture a multitude of experiences and emotions that create relatable stories that intertwine humor with poignancy and provide an intriguing exploration of life in Australia and beyond. Within a diverse collection that includes poems about the Black Saturday Victoria bushfires, her mother’s death, and a dance around a tree, Hélène lyrically ponders love, loss, friendship, nature, family life, travel, and grounding coffee conversations.

Laughter, Tears, and Coffee shares reflections from an Australian woman’s journey through life as she learns to embrace not just the joys, but also the challenges.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504309363
Publisher: Balboa Press
Publication date: 07/19/2017
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.46(d)

Read an Excerpt




ANZAC Day 2000

There's a Digger or two at the tables,
They're there for the good Aussie humour,
The horrors of war had been honoured At the dawn when fate's hands had been turned,
But here at the tables at Two-Up,
The focus is on three old pennies Lying still on the kip made of wood,
The men in the pit take the money,
Breath held as the gravity pulls them To their last resting place on the floor,
It's Anzac Day in Australia,
Black Saturday Victorian Fires 2009

Tears swell, from a well of emotion As the flames engulf the scene,
February 7, 2009
Hundreds are dead or injured Houses burned down to the ground,
Animals burned, properties gone Possessions have vanished in smoke,
Those who have suffered and those who have lost Are helping each other survive,
Canberra Storm - Gold Creek

Angry sky with black clouds Menacing, hanging low,
Drama in the clatter Of hail on iron roofs,
Lightning flashes closer,
Lake Burley Griffin

With the sun on my back, I listen To carillon bells chiming their beat,
The soft, tender lapping of waters,
Farewell Outback

Farewell to Outback's open spaces Of coolabah, mulga and broom,
They say there's not a lot to see,
For I've seen life at variance To what you see in towns,
I've seen opal mining,
I've been to Cameron Corner Straddled three Aussie States,
Paddy melon bowling On roadside, bulldust red,
We caught a shingleback to feel Its dinosaur-rough skin And climbed the rocks at Tibooburra To prove where I had been,

We drank and ate at every pub That we found on our way,
I cruised upon the Darling,
So out in Lawson country I saw things as they are,
So every city person Who thinks they have it tough Should go out to the Outback To learn what's really rough,

To see how men and women Work with flood and drought,
That where they really love to be Is Outback, on the land,
Narooma Blues Festival 2000

You have to buy a T-shirt,
It doesn't matter if it rains It suits the bluesy mood,
It doesn't matter if you're blue Or happy as a lark,
Forget the water, fish and sand And come down to the park,

It's pee wee season, late March,
Screech, squawk! You have found A bug or worm,
Whichever it is You, with your fashionable and definite Black-and-white suit,
Loud, ear-piercing You herald to the morning,
The Gum and the Wattle

The gum tree and the wattle,
The gum tree feeds koalas,
The wattle flowers golden In springtime's early sun,
The gum tree and the wattle,
Train to the Outback

Forward, onward, forward, onward Steel on steel you clatter 'round,
Through the townships, large and smallish Past the cows and goats and sheep,
Train, you clatter ever onwards,
Scrub gets lower, ever lower,
Forward, onward, forward, onward Train, you clatter day to day,
What Makes an Aussie an Aussie?

Riding horses, riding bikes,
Living Outback in the bush,
Skiing on the snowy caps,
Tamworth for a country song,
Mauboy, Smoky, Slim or Col,
Kookaburras in the trees,
Gum trees, wattles, Lilli Pillies,
Soccer, rugby, AFL,
People giving you a hand In the cities and on the land,
So what makes you an Aussie?




Beckoning from the distance With a smile, slow, seductive,
Promises of bodies, glistening,
Sensuous in the evening With the moonlight touching gently Every one of a million stars In a sky that has no end,

Every sense alert, alive,

Words, taken on the wind,
The Cove

Waves thunder as they break,
Sun shines on white clouds Casting rainbows to repel the grey,
By the Beach

The tide is a long way out,
Foaming swash tickles bare feet,

The Easterly brings Bluebottles Creatures of the sea Swept along on ocean currents And landing on the beach,

You do not go in the water When easterly breezes blow;
Blue translucent bodies Bloated, food for flies,
The water may be calm, inviting Cool upon your skin,

I saunter, leaving footsteps In the wet sand,
More steps More washing away,
Afternoon Beach Walk

At last the sun has broken through After weeks of rain,
As the breeze strengthens The handkerchief hem of my sundress Tickles my knees,



My Mum

Who looks at me with loving eyes When life may not be great?
My mum, that's who, that woman fair,
A woman born with boundless love And strength beyond belief,
A woman, who, as migrant wife And mother in new lands,
Who loved and disciplined and taught And toiled dawn to night?
Who learned to milk and pluck and plant,
My mum! that's who, that woman wise Who taught me lessons great,

War came to her door in Belgrade;
For the rest of her life my mother hated buttons.


Babi is what they called her,
Babi enjoyed her grandsons,
She taught them Russian grammar,
She walked to school, stopped at parks,
She taught them to adventure,
Ethnic food she made for them From countries far away,
She gave them history lessons,
The kids still love their Babi,
Caring for My Mum

When I was small, my mum was big She smiled, loved and cared,
Now I am big and mum is small,
No matter how oppressed her life Her heart did not grow small Through war, assault, indignity,
Oh yes! She cried some bitter tears For injustice, hurts and pain,
Now my mum is eighty-eight Still smiling, smart and bright,
Her heart so big and loving Now causes her some grief,
So now it's time for me to care,
She needs her independence So I don't push the care,
There to go to doctors,
Thanks goodness for the Carers Who've helped us in this test Providing house and garden help So mum gets well-earned rest.

Ah mum! There's no-one like a mum,
So I cherish every moment That we get a chance to share,
We cannot climb more mountains Or walk in gardens grand,

Excerpted from "Laughter, Tears, and Coffee"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Helene Jermolajew.
Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements, xiii,
Foreword, xv,
Preface, xvii,
Section 1 – Australiana,
Section 2 – Beach Inspired,
Section 3 – Family,
Section 4 – On the Farm,
Section 5 – Farewells and Memories,
Section 6 – Immigration,
Section 7 – Christmas and Other Celebrations,
Section 8 – Nature,
Section 9 – Travel Inspired,
Section 10 – Relationships and Friendships,
Section 11 – The Sky,
Section 12 – Life Paths,
Section 13 – Writing,
Section 14 – And Finally ... A Little Bit of Humour,

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