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it occurred to me yesterday
the only reason i began writing again
was because old mates from the 60s encouraged me to….
but i never found the magic rhythm i had back then….
the spontaneity is largely gone…
replaced by a stultifying cautiousness
born out of a low estimation of myself
it’s the same reason i don’t paint anymore
or act…
it’s hard work now….
the ingenue has become hidden
amongst the debris of life experiences
not gone altogether
but her voice is muffled….
so….today is the last time i’ll post anything
on here….or anywhere
i have nothing to offer

F. Yule 2010

What do i think of Jackson Pollock?

there’s so little form and rhythm
and colour in poetry nowadays….
the same goes for painting
form and rhythm and colour
diced and cubed in the 50s
mashed into chaos in the 60s
unsalvagable in the 21st century
splashed onto different canvasses
albeit words/paint/music/sculpture
form and rhythm and colour
form and rhythm and colour
without it
how does the spectator begin
to appreciate the spectacle?
whitman steinbeck thomas
art noveau impressionists
old masters gone
no new masters here

f. yule 2010

1965 to 65


September 1965
after escaping a locked mental ward
in South Australia and hitchhiking
back to Sydney…with only enough money
to buy a cold meat pie….
a truckie picked me up
at the top of the hill outside Adelaide
and shared his speed, food and drinks
on the long haul home
2 days later he delivered me
outside The Piccolo
both raving about a tiger
we’d seen somewhere on a back road
we saw the same animal so….
i was 21 shortly afterwards
dear god what a miserable day that was
somewhere in Kings Cross
while soaking in the bath
eating the chocolate cake
my grandmother had posted
as a celebratory present
February 2010
44 years later
the young woman i was
and my foolhardy escapades
seem to be someone else’s dream
or nightmare
or mad whim trapped in
an ancient memory bubble
which i can no longer relate to
or recognise as something to do with me
the trappings of youth hidden now
within the creases and scars
of aging skin
and cautious mind
made so from experience
and i wonder often
how i managed to survive to write
of those times
f. yule 2010







most of my life i dwelt
in a parallel universe
on a lonely planet coloured blue
completely alone

I had thoughts
not mathematically correct
brimming over
with shapes and forms and colours and voices
born of my imagination
all as solid and existent
as if they were real
and good company

i knew what i meant
even with my  fractured
day dream speak

scattered with
sibilant sighs
i understood everything
that came out of me


all my life alone on planet blue

until you came along
formed perfectly
and i found myself struggling
with words and feelings
spoken and written
formal and informal
involving complex gestures
using a rough voice alien to me

two of us on planet blue

romance blossomed
into common relationship routines
you demanded
i finish my sentences
tell the truth
in facts and figures
and i didn’t know how
but i’m learning
practicing daily
to precisely utter
with my dying breath

most of my life i dwelt
in a parallel universe
on a lonely planet
coloured blue
completely alone
until i learnt
far too late
to love you

f. yule 2056



spare change on the desk
won’t buy a packet of cigarettes
or soft drink

seven library books
piled on top of the printer
only two were interesting
need returning

forms to fill out
for free public transport
and cheap state housing

Avatar’s prayers
printed out
and left in a neat pile
rarely read

he’s in bed
avoiding the heat
or avoiding

i’m dodging bullets
aimed at my brain
from a .38
held in my own hands

and the telephone bill
for two thousand dollars plus
sits on my bed
disputable but unchallenged
and way overdue

f. yule 2010



she picked up
the kitchen utensil labelled
and slowly stirred
inside herself

f. yule 2010


the first poem i wrote
was in a locked ward
of a mental hospital
in a state that i wasn’t born
or bred in
it was published in melbourne
six years later
and so began my short stint
as a poet
within the Melbourne Push
i stopped writing when
i moved to New Zealand
and took up sketching
and painting
i had my only exhibition
in The Boathouse
Shortly afterwards
making pictures stopped
Moved back to Australia
and got into making gardens
and ponds
all this is established
now i crave to write a story
but i don’t know where to start
or stop
so i’ll just continue gardening
and housework
and sending emails
until something happens
to get me on a roll

f. yule 2010



in his garden
he has planted
plastic plants
of many colours
size and shape

there’s no need
to fertilise or water
to toil nor weed
a plastic garden

he’s too busy
his self-importance
to notice
the fading and cracking
in his garden

the plastic artist
plants plastic seeds
which in his garden
yield plastic fruit

f. yule 2010


This is the first time I’ve addressed these memories publicly and have rarely spoken about them to anyone, including close friends. It is profoundly difficult to remain cohesive. My brain is jerking, swerving and braking; doing anything but actually remember with flow and clarity. I had no idea how powerful an influence the short period I spent in that orphanage had on me for the rest of my life until now. I found The Forgotten Australians History site a few weeks after Kevin Rudd’s ‘Sorry’ speech. All the stories appearing in the media preceding his speech had not touched me personally. I didn’t particularly relate to the stories of others who had suffered abuse in public and religious institutions. Today, however, I do. Apologies cannot give me my life back.





Dear Fran,
Thank you very much for courageously sharing your recollection. Do I have your permission to upload your reflection onto our website?
Thanks again and kind regards,
Dr Adele Chynoweth
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Program (ATSIP) Team
National Museum of Australia
GPO Box 1901
Ph: (02) 6208 5088
: 0428 699 905

It was a cold grey building run by cold grey nuns who mercilessly controlled the children in their care. When a child cried, or laughed out of turn, or stumbled over their prayers, or wet their bed, they were punished. Children in the orphanage were not allowed to be children. There was no compassion, no love, no nurturing. The rage I feel when I recall my time there is also cold and grey. How could human beings treat innocent children as if they were criminals? These women were "brides of Christ" dedicated to serving Him through good charitable works?!! I remember one particular nun, Sister M, who looked after the under-5 children. She was cruel. There will never be another way of describing her. It was as if she hated children. She hated their neediness. I hope she went to hell. I hope Christ turned His face from her.
Fran Yule

Dr Adele Chynoweth email asking if she can use my comments on the site

Yes….you may use my comments on the site….re-reading it is a shock….I can’t believe I wrote it….how long has that particular monster been lurking inside me, I wonder!? While I observed the events leading up to Sorry Day I didn’t feel a thing. Only when my older sister reminded me of our time in Goulburn did a slow burn begin happening. I simply couldn’t dismiss it. Thanks for the opportunity to let off the steam.


Dr Chynoweth email asking for a short bio to go with the comment.


In 1947, when I was 3, my sister (5) and I were taken to St Joseph’s Orphanage, Goulburn, by our mother when she learned that she had lost custody of us when our father filed for separation on grounds of adultery. As far as I know she had told the nuns that she was a war widow and was in dire financial straits. She kept our brother, then 18 months old, and left him in the care of one of her brothers. I’m unsure if she had simply made temporary arrangements with the institution but I imagine she would have. To all intents and purposes we had "disappeared" and, apparently, Dad and his family went to the police and filed us as missing. From a legal standpoint Mum had kidnapped us. I have no idea how long we were there. How we were found and was never discussed. There’s a memory of being alone with my father for a few months before I went to live with my father’s parents, and shortly afterwards I started school. It is possible that we were there for almost 18 months. I didn’t see my sister again for 11 years and was reunited with my mother when I turned 16. My brother and I saw each other during school holidays, birthday and Christmas celebrations and later, every fortnight, until I was 10. My sister didn’t reunite with him until he was 16. The time my sister and I spent in the orphanage has left a permanent psychological wound. It is only now, as I write, that I’m finally facing the profound and destructive effect our time in St Joseph’s has had on my life. Thank you for providing a healing outlet for those of us, most with worst case scenarios than mine, who suffered institutionalisation as innocent children.

electronic snub

meet new people while overseas

swap email addresses

promises inherent in the process

write to them a couple of times over a period of a month







written in a fit of pique


I’ve read
your biographical notes
on the net
and how you dismiss
with a broad sweep
of your intelligence
the art of almost everyone
around you
during your emergence
as a writer
in the 60s…

Were we
worthless artists
all trifling pretenders
to being part
of the 60s revolution?
amounting to
a hubbub
about nothing
of any value
worth savouring
or saving
for future elucidation?

Were we irritating grit
and dust
trapped in
the shambolic outer rings
of the Real Stars
of the Melbourne Push
La Mama
the Pram
and the other places
where we gathered?

In that brief period
in that great flurry
were we merely flotsam
to be washed away
by the great tide of time
easily forgotten?
Detritus in the scheme
of things
bit players
merely setting the stage
for the grand entrance
of the Real Stars
in the romantic drama
“Modern Australian Literature”?

You are now
a Grand Old Bard
You are a Real Star
Oh! Yes, you are!
Most pompous
collector of feathers!
with your name
and arrogance
in the glare
of  bright lights

Bedazzled by
your own brilliance
illuminating the long shadow
of your ignorant youth
still trapped in academe.
You are a Real Star
Oh! Yes, you are!

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