Mary Leonora Smith, better known to her friends as “Noreen”, turned 100 in September last year and is still enjoying writing poetry.
She grew up on a farm on Seven Hills Rd, Baulkham Hills as Mary Leonora Brown and was given the nickname Noreen when attending Baulkhams Hills Primary School and it stayed with her. The farm that she and her brothers Noel and John grew up on was where the Wagon Wheel Nursery and now SummitCare now stand.
Her short stories and poems have won numerous prizes including first prize in the Henry Lawson Festival of Arts. One of her poems was also accepted for the ABC publication: The Year of the Outback.
“Noreen” continues to write and post letters and cards to family and friends and she posted this summer poem to the Hills to Hawkesbury Community News which we have published.
SUMMER IN AUSTRALIA
When Christmas Bells are blooming and sunshine lights the plain
My heart sings out in gladness: “It’s summertime again.”
And all the dainty flannel flowers, soft petals tipped with green
Say: “It’s summer in Australia, just as its always been”
And high up in the mountains and the gorges far below
The dogrose and baronia add colour to the show
Their blossoms pink, and snowy white, perfume the balmy air
And in every nook and crevice grows, the fragile maidenhair.
The big tree ferns and waratahs, like sentinels do stand
To guard the beauty of the bush, in this, my native land.
And everywhere, the flowering gum and golden wattle trees
Give succour to our sweet-voiced birds and busy honey bees.
Summer in Australia, means the bushland scene to me
It’s not the same in cities, or even by the sea,
For city lights and milling crowds won’t ease this lonely heart
And the ocean leaves an empty space, as every wave departs.
I cannot save a season, to capture nature’s gifts
But in my heartI I oft recall, the loveliness that lifts
My weary spirit, to a scene where man and progress have not been
And, when I am not home for summer, my thoughts have ever turned
To the native flowers and sweet bush smell of moss and bracken fern.
To the laugh of the kookaburras and the magpies melody
These lovely songs of gladness say, “it’s summertime” to me.
BY MARY LENNORE SMITH