At school, I had little time for English studies, language or poetry. Perhaps due to my Irish lineage, however, when I wanted to tell a story, I could usually find a way of expressing myself.
I wrote my first song when my late wife, Penny, was diagnosed with cancer and my world was falling apart. When I started an environmental group, the Friends of the Avon Heathcote Estuary, Penny suggested I join Toastmasters to learn how to chair a meeting. It was during this time that I was asked to enter a humorous speech competition and that was when I wrote my first bush ballad ‘the Royal flush’.
Over the following years I have nurtured the art of writing ballads in verse. I have been given many performance opportunities and often been asked for copies of my verse.
Listen to Roger tell the complete poem “The Tail of a Rhode Island Red”
Read the first few verses of the poem
Jazz was our dog, we’d had her since new
She came as a puppy, the way that dogs do
A Hungarian Vizla, she was fast she was lean
She could run 40ks to the hour, she was keen.
She liked a good run, she was Deirdre’s dog
And Deidre loved taking Jazz for a jog
Our dog’s life was busy, pointing things out
with rabbits and pukekos running about.
We taught her to heel, to come when we call
She’d sit when we told her, no trouble at all
But just this last christmas, when we went away
We called on some friends, and they asked us to stay
They said “Bring the dog, she’ll love it down here”
They had lots of room and they sounded sincere
So we stayed for Christmas, we had a good time
And Jazz went exploring, we thought she’d be fine
Now down in the gully, on the way to the shed
Was a petrol tim chook house, all rusty and red
Where Mary kept some of those Rhode Island Reds
Mary was famous for their free range eggs
The hen house was under an old blue gum tree
Those healthy brown hens were delightful to see
All scratching around with their tails in the air
A sight that for Jazz, was just too much to bear
She pointed them out, but noone said “Heel”
So thought that a couple would make a good meal
With her tail straight out back, and her nose in the air
She started to stalk them, the hens unaware.