Poems by Joy ~ VK2EBX (SK)

Joy was an ALARA and CLARA member. We have several of her unpublished poems,  which with the kind permission of her daughter Janet King,  we have published on our website.


Here I sit, pen in hand,
So much to know and understand!
I.C's, diodes, valves, resistors,
Impedance, reactance:  What's the rule?
(wish I'd learned more maths at school!)
Circuits tuned and circuits not;
Resonant frequency (Gee, it's hot!)
Skip zone, skip distance, propagation;
(wish I had more information!)
That transistor-can it be
N.P.N.---or P.N.P?
Regeneration: Try to think!!
(I'd really love a long cool drink!)
Farads, Henries, Ohms and Amps,
Turns per volt and series lamps;
Deviation, rectification, circuits "Q",
Triacs, Mosfets, varactors too.
Now all finished, check it well,
What's the verdict!  Hard to tell,
'Til I get that missive in the mail
To tell me if it's "Pass" or "Fail".
Says the OM with accents terse-
"You'll never pass if you just write verse!!"

(We are right with you, Joy!  How vividly you express it! Ed)


Every Monday at 0600 we wait on frequency
Listening for the familiar tones of VK7GE
Our Barry calls us each in turn, and keeps us all in order,
And handles most effectively the odd OM discorder.

YLs all around the world are waiting patiently
He's got more ladies in his book than the Sheik of Araby!
He has a cheerful chat with each, we never hear him flustered
He does not raise his voice or shout where other may have blustered.

He smooths the way for rare DX and gives us all a try,
Hears the faintest YL voices, never lets one pass him by,
There are girls from England, Belgium, France, Sweden and Italy
New Zealand, USA, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Fiji.

From many places round the globe we hear the cheerful greetings
And catch up with our friends again in pleasant on-air meetings.
So thank you, Barry, from us all for such a friendly net
Hope to meet you on Monday night from many a long year yet.


I've finally passed the "big one",
Just heard the news today!
A lot of effort, a lot of work,
But at last I'm on my way.
No more burning the midnight oil
Until I'm going gray!
No more study, no more books
I'll give the books away.
Though, when I think of all I've still to learn
It fills me with dismay!
On second thoughts, it seems perhaps
The books had better stay!


Some ladies met and said "You know it really is a bore.
To be stuck with kids and washing-up and every kind of chore.
Being wives of amateurs in really not so good
When they are working radio while we're preparing food.

We can't beat 'em, so let's join 'em, get some action of our own
And a group of us together can do more than one alone."
So they formed a ladies' amateur group, and soon the OMs knew
They had competition on the air as ALARA grew and grew.

Now things are very different, as all will soon agree.
And the YL role has changed a lot since ALARA came to be:
So while YLs work the radio at all the social "dos"
the OMs are baby-sitting while they tend the barbecues.


Every Monday at 0600 we wait on frequency
Listening for the familiar tones of VK7GE
Our Barry calls us each in turn, and keeps us all in order,
And handles most effectively the odd OM discorder.

YLs all around the world are waiting patiently
He's got more ladies in his book than the Sheik of Araby!
He has a cheerful chat with each, we never hear him flustered
He does not raise his voice or shout where other may have blustered.

He smooths the way for rare DX and gives us all a try,
Hears the faintest YL voices, never lets one pass him by,
There are girls from England, Belgium, France, Sweden and Italy
New Zealand, USA, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Fiji.

From many places round the globe we hear the cheerful greetings
And catch up with our friends again in pleasant on-air meetings.
So thank you, Barry, from us all for such a friendly net
Hope to meet you on Monday night from many a long year yet.


DX before dishes?
That’s alright I suppose.
The dishes are always with us,
The DX comes and goes.

And though the dust is inches thick
That is a matter minor
When you hear above the QRM
A YL voice from China.

Crumbs upon the carpet?
You can’t vacuum the floor!
You might miss, above the cleaner’s noise
A chat with Labrado.

What if you haven’t made the beds,
Or if the kids are bawling?
These things are unimportant
If you hear San Felix calling!

What if the lawn needs mowing,
All the windows ceased to shine?
Who cares about those boring chores
When Svalbard’s five by nine?

The Om’s bent the tin-opener?
Well, who can think of cooking,
When Africa is coming in
And round the bands you’re looking.

BUT-if you do the dishes
(With one ear to the set)
Here’s a bit of good advice:
'Twould pay not to forget:

If you should hear some rare DX
Which everything surpasses,
Don’t “drop what you are doing”
If you’re washing crystal glasses!


When DX is running,
I sit here in my shack,
Mike clutched tightly in my hand;
A cushion at my back.

Equipment tuned & ready,
Beam all lined up right,
The band is really opening up
Looks like quite a night!

Unhappy is my youngest son,
Cranky the old man,
Because they know their evening meal
Will come out of a can!

“We’re getting thin & weak” they cry!
Since our cook became a “ham”,
“Well if you don’t want what’s in the tins
There’s always bread & jam!!”

“I must try for that rare station,
Need it for DXCC!
And if I get that Award
How happy I will be!”

I haven’t washed the windows,
Or vacuumed the floor,
The weeds are so high around the house
We can’t see through the door!!”

But when the DX is running,
I forget each mundane chore,
As I contact stations  round the world
‘Til the band is quiet once more.


I have a little radio shack beside the attic stair,
There's a curtain on the window, there's a comfortable chair.
Certificates and QSLs adorn the white brick wall,
And I am running out of space in which to put them all.

My HF rig is on the bench, with log books strewn around,
And a box of bits and pieces "neath the cupboard, on the ground;
Odds and ends that may be useful in some future great "homebrew"
When I have time to do the things I've always wanted to.

There are coils and resistors, (some are old and rather bent),
And a Morse Code oscillator, (Well!  I wondered where that went!)
There are diodes and condensers and an ancient valve or two,

Insulation tape, and solder, and half a tube of glue.

Shelves bulge with books and magazines, catalogues by the score,
A large world map is hanging on the wall beside the door.
Pens and pencils in a box, (the writing I don't shirk:)
But the pen I grab is always the pen that simply will not work.

My little Morse key's ready to transmit each dit and dah,
There are meters, filters, tinfoil and some thumbtacks in a jar,
I've a floppy cushion at my back, a cat upon my knee
Yes, this tiny room is really such a pleasant place to be.

And in my little radio shack the world is close at hand,
So many different accents as I tune around each band;
But-shock and horror!  The OMs voice drifts through the open door-
"I think we'll clean this room right out and use it for a store!"


I like amateur radio,
I really think it's fine
that I'll still be a "YL"
If I live to ninety-nine.

I like amateur radio
And getting on the air,
Making friends around the world
And contacts everywhere.

You can talk to Lapps in Lapland,
Nepalese in Katmandu,
Nalays in Kula Lumpar,
Or Peruvians in Peru.

You can talk to dukes and dustmen,
Or communicate in Morse,
Experiment with A.T.V
And RTTY of course.

Put together bits and pieces,
(Though at first the prospect balks!)
A diode here, condenser there,
And-listen to that-it talks!


Experiment with aerials,
It looks real good on paper;
But getting that lot in the air
Is quite another caper!

You can enter in a contest,
Gather points for an award,
Join a DX net, or "ragchew",
One thing's sure, your're never bored.

Yes, I like amateur radio,
And all the friendly sounds,
Removed from all the trouble and strife
With which this world abounds.

It's a satisfying hobby,
It will certainly do me,
'Til they write beside my name the words
"Became a silent key".

Radio Shack


This is the age of progress,
I'm sure you'll all agree,
An age of high technology
We all can plainly see.

Gone are the hoops and spinning tops,
Now kids with fancy names
Sit pressing keyboard buttons
As they play computer games.

Cowboys and Indians are out,
They all play spaceman now;
Know more about a spaceship
Than they know about a cow.

We don't have money any more,
Just little bits of card,
And remembering all those numbers
Is a feat that's really hard.

We've gone through the atomic age,
An the age of "nuclear fishin".
Where there's no sign of a rod and line,
And they don't know what they're missing.

We've all seen the computer age,
With discs that flop and flip.
Now the wheel has turned full circle,
It's the age of the "fische" and "chip!"


One day this land will slowly sink
Beneath a mass of paper,
And disappear beneath the waves
In a trail of frothy vapour!

Whatever you decide to do
It always is the norm,
For somebody to say to you
"Will you please fill out this form?"

There's forms to fill when we are born,
Again when we wed;
and even forms to bury us,

And prove that we are dead!

And if we wish to own a dog
Or drive a motor car,
Or get a job, or build a house,
Or travel lands afar.

There's always someone standing there
With paper and with pen,
To take each detail of our lives,
And write it out again!

From every office in the land
It pours in endless stream;
In duplicate and triplicate,
Ream after countless ream.

I wonder how the world survived
'Ere paper was invented!
Did civil-servants tear their hair
In manner most demented!

And how did secretaries cope,
With just a block of clay
To chisel out a message on?
I'm sure it took all day!

I wonder will computers make
Form filling obsolete!
With many little reels of tape
To make our lives complete.

I can't sit here and ponder long,
It's no good to complain!
Just get my pen and paper,
It's taxation time again!


The autumn day is dying as I listen once again
To the misty, moisty monotone of gently falling rain;
Remembering another time-was it so long ago?
Faces shadowy, reflected in the flickering firelight's glow.

The bright eyes of my children toasting damper for their tea;
Friendly old log fire inviting "Pull your chair up close to me".
In our cosy little cabin, raindrops pelting on the roof;
Thought it wasn't much to look at, well at least 'twas waterproof!

When the creek, a rushing torrent, raced o'er stones and rotting logs,
And Dan and Ben our neighbour pulled each other out of bogs
'Neath wispy clouded mountain tops, mysterious and strange,
And our whole world was locked within that wild Victorian Range.

Boiling up the battered copper, washing nappies when the sun
Rose in hazy mazy majesty, spring morning had just begun,
And shy blue wrens were nesting hidden deep within the scrub,
Little swallows darting here and there above my old wash tub.

From sunlit paddock by the stream I'd see my children come
With noisy chatter bringing home some wild bush flowers for mum.
Not orchids, or gardenias, no roses would I see;
But those scraggly wilting daisies meant a whole lot more to me.

When daytime toil was over, and the Tilley-lantern lit,
Children tucked up in their beds we'd often go and sit
Watch  the moon roll up, a golden ball on ghostly mountainside,
Shine on graceful flying phallangers, in daring aerial glide.

Life was far from easy, we'd no carpet on our floor,
Electricity or telephone, or lock upon the door,
A fuel stove cooked our scones and pies; the kids clothes all were made
On an ancient treadle sewing machine for which twelve pounds was paid.

Now-two of those dear little ones are gone for ever more,
And we live in a larger house than we ever had before;
But at times I think I'd rather be in our cabin in the bush,
Where we didn't fret or worry, and we didn't fuss or rush.

We had no modern conveniences to help us on our way,
But are we really more contented, any happier today?
And the night is dark and gloomy as I listen once again
To the dirgy, doleful drumming of the pounding autumn rain!


Hate winter driving!  Don't like arriving
When it's foggy, wet or freezing,
Or the wintry winds are breezing,
And I know I'll soon be sneezing,
It's no fun!

I don't like going to where it's snowing,
When we're bundled up in jumpers,
And our boots are outsized clumpers,
And there's icicles on the bumpers,
What'a run.

I like things palmy, where nights are balmy;
Where banana trees are growing,
Little wave a moonbeam towing,
Little star so brightly glowing.
That's for me!

I like being where I'm seeing
Sandy beaches, white and pearly,
Wavelets sparkly, green and curly
When the sun is rising early,
Where I'd be.

Think I'll settle, put on the kettle,
Brew up tea all hot and steamy,
Whip up scones all jam and creamy,
Play sweet music soft and dreamy,
Never roam.

I won't be packing, or vehicle stacking
With packages large and lumpy,
Travelling roads pot-holed and bumpy,
That would only make me grumpy.


Little business, money comes in,
Think I'd better buy bigger money bins;
But before I put my hand in the till
Think I'd better pay electricity bill:

Make more money, think new car I'll buy;
Knock-knock on the door-pay insurance guy;
Work daylight to dark, make as much as I can;
Think I'll buy bigger house; pay taxation man:

Business going well, get a boat big and new!
Letter in the mail saying rates overdue!
Make plenty money, think I'll buy a farm
Interest on mortgage fill me with alarm!


Work even harder, feel about to drop.
Bills come in from everywhere, never seem to stop.
Forms, accounts and paper work drive me up the pole!
Think I'll sell business, go on the dole.

Just lie around all day out in the sun;
No more worries, no more forms, have lots of fun.
Think I might get hungry, nothing much to eat;
Have to go to work again or wind up in the street!

Little business, here I go once more,
Working very hard to keep wolf out of the door.
Everyone wants money! What's it all about?
Who was it invented financial roundabout?


Arrangements are proceeding,
Excitement grows apace.
The great Yeovil Invasion
Will soon be taking place.

We've all been making ready,
Our welcome speeches written.
When their bus comes thundering into town
We'll greet each Yeovil Briton.

Our catering arrangements
Are simple, but quite good.
We thought we'd give these visiting Poms
Some genuine Aussie food.

So we'll cut the kangaroo steaks up
And light the barbecue.
Add a cup of water
To the tasty possum stew.

Bedeck the baked goanna;
Go out in the scrub
To hunt out the elusive
Fat white witchetty grub.

We'll cook camp oven damper,
And lots of billy tea.
(But we'll make a stack of sandwiches
For the likes of you and me!)

This will be a visit
They'll talk of year by year;
"Cos if they get through that lot,
Then they've nothing more to fear.

We'll take them round our Yeoval School,
Attend the local Show,
And we'll be so disappointed
When it's time for them to go.

So to our friendly English "Twin"
We surely wish you well.
We'll try to turn the sunshine on
And give the clouds a spell.

And though our towns are different,
And very far apart,
Although we're small, I think you'll find
We've got a great big heart.


You say "I don't like the country, the city life's for me".
You like the fashionable shops and going out to tea.
The constant surge of traffic and the ceaseless beat of feet,
Pounding out a rhythm as they hurry down the street.

The neon signs which permeate the sombreness of night,
Beaming seductive messages in a blaze of garish light.
The hustle and the bustle and the ever changing scene
Of the people, and the traffic in a maze of red and green.

And air-conditioned offices, and going to a show,
Where the plushy, warm interior emits a welcome glow,
And the evening's lost in merriment, frivolity and fun
When you linger at a nightclub long after day is done.

I can understand your feelings, but we're different, you and I.
The attractions of the city somehow seem to pass me by.
I hasten to the bush again, to breathe the clean fresh air,
and to marvel at creation and the peace that I find there.

When a myriad stars bespangle, the Southern Cross dips low,
And gentle night breezes whispers the dreams of long ago,
Brushing shadowy trees with gossamer as shy bush creatures creep
To forage food, and gambol while the daytime world's asleep.

There's a hush, a sudden stillness at the first faint flush of dawn,
When all of nature holds its breath in wonder at the morn.
A twittering starts, and presently on avian song holds sway,
As the radiant sun arises heralding a pristine day.

In burbling bubbling merriment a little creek flows down,
Weaving beyond scrub-covered hills beyond the tiny town,
Sometimes in a hurry, sometimes just a crawl,
Sometimes dissolved in water-holes, not moving much at all.

I see your scepticism, nature's not always serene,
Sometimes her face is darkened by a very different scene.
Yes, we've know our droughts and floods, all had our hard times too,
But bush folk are resilient, and somehow they pull through.

Bush folk help each other, 'specially when the going's rough,
Rebuild the shattered pieces, though the outlook's grim and tough.
And there's always compensations as the seasons come and go,
A satisfying way of life most city folks don't know.

So I'll farewell the bright lights, the country life for me,
Though you would find it boring.  We'll agree to disagree!
You don't like the slower pace, and I can't stand the rush,
So you can have the city-"I'm heading for the bush!


They're rattling the door
As they're pounding the floor
When the couples retreat and advance.
Though there's many a fall
They can laugh at it all
Enjoying the Baldry Bush Dance.

There's plenty of steak
And the salads they make
On the barbie the snags are all sizzling.
The chops aren't too tough
And there's more than enough
To go round, so we shouldn't  be grizzling.

There's slices and cakes,
And we heap up the plates
Saying "What a great evening, you betcha"
If you say "I can't come"
Or "I'd rather stop home"
They'll most likely come round and getcha.


Les' Bush Band
Plays the music so grand
To start our feet merrily tapping,
And we sing right along
To a well-known old song
Keeping time with the beat as we're clapping.

In spite of the noise
And the shouting of boys
In a corner, asleep on a pillow,
A small girl I see;
It's a mystery to me
How she sleeps while we're Stripping the Willow.

Who cares for the rain
Beating down once again?
Who's concerned if our mortgage advances?
We all of us say
As we each head our way
"Let's hold more of these Baldy bush dances".

Green Ginger Nip
Winner 1983

The heat was oppressive, the blowflies hummed loud,
The whirly-winds blew up the dust;
And the plane that the young outback minister flew
Was the colour or reddish-brown rust.

Three Sundays the little church out in the bush
With the earth and the sky slept in union;
But the fourth Sunday woke with a bustle and stir
For the once-a-month Holy Communion.

The minister, earnest and solemn of face,
His sermon rehearsed and amended;
Flew the battered old plane o’er the featureless plain
As the morning sun slowly ascended.

He bumpily landed and bounced to a halt
On a runway ‘twas hard to define!
As he stepped from the plane he was gripped by a thought!
He’d forgotten the Communion wine!!

The people all waited in chattering groups
While children played noisily round;
As the parson approached and without more ado
His dilemma began to expound.

A young lad came forward, a freckle-faced kid;
“Please sir, my Dad’s got some home brew.
We live just a little way off from the church,
I could go get a bottle for you.”

“Why thank you, young Tom, that is really most kind.”
Off he went at a pretty fast clip;
And returned very quickly with, clutched in his hand,
A bottle of green ginger nip.

The service proceeded. The wine, duly blessed,
Was passed round the small congregation;
But the potency of that nefarious nip
Was the subject of much speculation!

For ‘twas said of that brew that a thimble or two
Would lay an ox out in his stable;
So proceedings took on a more boisterous note
As the cup was returned to the table.

The Organist’s playing, so slow and sedate
Took on a more rollicking beat,
As, the blessing pronounced, the people arose,
To emerge once again in the heat.

The bottle of Communion ‘nip’ had been large.
The number of celebrants small.
The minister sighed as he picked up the cup –
“Tis my duty to finish it all!”

‘Twas late when the little plane started its run
And shakily climbed in the blue;
And the minister cannot recall to this day
How he sat in that cockpit and flew!

And he still flies his plane in the heat or the rain.
But one thing he’ll always opine –
The first thing he always packs into his bag
Is the Holy Communion wine!

© Joy Collis, VK2EBX
Yeoval. N.S.W.


Bronze Swagman Award for Bush Verse 1983

The competition is held every year to promote the writing of Australian bush verse after the style of Henry Lawson and Banjo Patterson. There were 500 entries in 1983.

Under the conditions of the Bronze Swagman Award, the poet always retains copyright for their poem, even though it was published by Winton Business and Tourism Assoc Inc. as part of the competition.

So you really need to get any official permission from Joy Collis's family i.e. Janet King.

A note about Joy, written when she received the award

I was born in England, but my husband is a “true blue: Aussie.  Most of our thirty years of married life have been spent in the bush, and we

reared a family of six children with very little in the way of “mod-cons” and education via the Correspondence School in the earlier years.We became interested in C.B. radio while living in one remote spot, and we found communication with the rest of Australia a great cure for isolation.

In 1978 we moved to Yeoval, and I obtained an Amateur radio licence.

Only one of our children now lives at home, and we currently have four grandchildren.

My hobbies include amateur radio, stamp collecting, crossword puzzles, and of course writing a bit of verse.

I work part time as a teachers’ aide at the local Central School.

Joy Collins, VK2EBX