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The Avondale Poets
Ernest James McLachlan - Allen

Ernest James McLachlan - Allen  (1909 - 1997)  born @ Bellingen,  northern NSW, Australia,  was a great grandson of "McLachlan of Avondale"  in Australia.

"Ernie" (as he was called)  was the eldest son of Lilly McLachlan 1885 - 1930 who had married Ernest James Allen senior in 1908 @ Hillgrove NSW. Ernie, with his wife, Mary  (nee Bright),  became prominent Salvation Army officers of the Eastern Territory of Australia from January 1932 - 1974.

Not only did Ernie Allen write poetry &  excellent sermons but he was also a competent artist. In his retirement, at Christmas Time,  he would draw a scene on each personalised Christmas Card for each loved one.

I Remember When

I remember the days when our trains ran on steam
Long journeys to me were a fanciful dream.
For money & distance were not in our class
I sat on the fence & watched them all pass.

To go to the beach & enjoy a good swim
Was just an occasional holiday thing.
The ferries & trams were an exciting ride
With hopes to be there & to enjoy a good tide.

For some of the journey of course we would walk.
It was so inspiring with plenty of talk
Of what we would do; & plans to be made;
Then gratefully drink a cool lemonade.

Those beaches seemed wide & the sands were so clean.
The grasslands & parks were a country boy's dream.
The deck chairs on hire were in constant demand
Where older folk watched the waves break on the sand.

The games that we played were harmless enough
With hide & seek, cricket & blind man's buff.
All in it together throughout the whole day
Till afternoon closed with cavorting display.

Or sometimes we'd harness the horse to the cart
And off to the bush we were anxious to start
The family of course was loyally bound
To keep all together so all could be found.

Though sunburnt & tired when daylight was done
No grumbling allowed for we'd had lots of fun.
I look back so whistful upon those happy days
When simple contentment affected our ways.

Oh yes ... I remember those times that are past
And wonder their innocent trust didn't last,
For progress of technology has come a long way.
Nostalgic memories are what I'm left with today.

Times now have changed & we all have our cars
With money to spend in the cafes & bars.
Our skate boards & surf boards now take up the space.
Travel today resembles ... a giant rat race.

- Ernest James Allen

 No Turning Back 

I saw a winding narrow road,
That climbed life's distant hill;
And as I paused ... an inner Voice
Called me to follow still,
And leave behind my many plans
That I, myself, had laid,
And labour at my Lord's command
In paths that He had made.

I recognized the Master's Voice ...
Why should He condescend
To stoop & choose unworthy me? ...
I could not comprehend.
His Spirit lay it on my heart
To walk that lonely track.
So urgent was His persistent Voice
I knew no ...  "turning back".

I questioned what was there beyond.
No other way I saw ...
Till footprints I could faintly trace ...
My Lord had gone before.
No matter where that path would lead
'Twas marked with stains of Blood.
I'm glad that I obeyed His Call.
It was the Will of God."

- Ernest James Allen

 A Night in the Australian Bush

When shadows of darkness creep over the trees
And the Australian Bush fades into the dark,
There's a mournful whine of a soft dying breeze
While creatures of day cease their work.

The silence that pauses until time is just right
Holds sunset's bright colours in vain.
The nocturnal creatures preparing for night
Get tuned for their gentle refrain.

The soft furtive rustle of life on the ground
The twittering song in the air
Give a murmuring chorus of insects that sound
Their joy in a world free from care.

I listen enthralled to the lone curlew's cry
While billabong frogs join the spree;
And the mopoke calls as the stream babbles by
To the lowlands & down to the sea.

The shadows that give such a phantom effect
Through gullies & high rugged range
Make mountains & grags stand gaunt & erect
Like sentries that guard against change.

The sombre transition from wide open fields
Gives calm like a soothing embrace;
And nature's companionship placidly yields
A charm found ... in no other place.

I'm not quite alone in such bushland's delights
Where life still goes on without rush.
This veil of thin darkness without city lights
Enhances the great  "Aussie"  bush.

Beneath the dark sky with its star-studded dome
Harmonious beauties abound.
A wonderful chorus of humming & song
In the Australian bushland is found.

To those sympathetic with eye & with ear,
There's life that leaves no-one forlorn.
A nocturnal medley of chorus you hear
Till kookaburra's laugh greets the dawn.

- Ernest James Allen

 Prayer & Practice

The family sat down to breakfast one day.
The father then bowing his head to pray,
Had asked a Blessing on all the good food,
And then prayed the Lord to keep them all good.

As soon as he'd finished & he'd said "Amen".
He started with all his complaining again.
The children were noisy.  They'd just wanted fun.
The coffee was weak. The toast overdone.

His bacon & eggs had not been cooked right,
And everything else seemed not very bright.
"Time is fast going & I'm running late.
To miss the bus is a terrible fate."

His little girl hearing all that he said,
A number of questions entered her head.
"Daddy, do you believe that God heard your prayer?"
'Why yes, my dear girl, & why do you care?"

"And then ... did He hear your grumbling too?"
"Oh yes, He did ... why does it bother you?"                 
"Then do please tell me, Daddy, if that is so ...
Which one did He believe?  I would like to know."

How inconsistent can some people be
When prayer & behaviour show differently.
Our actions & words together must go.
This is the way for God's Blessing to flow.

- Ernest James Allen

 On Wings of Faith
(based on - Biblical book - Isaiah chapter 40, verses  28 -31)

O have you not learned
And have you not heard,
That God has created the world by His word?
By Him was the birth
Of heaven & earth,
And He is the One who gives life its worth.

Eternally wise,
He never denies
The disconsolate soul that on Him relies.
Though faint you may feel,
If to Him you appeal,
His promise of strength He will surely reveal.

If dangers surround,
And by fear you abound,
Increasing strength in the Lord may be found.
To those who believe,
And to His words cleave,
Life's journey grows bright with the grace you receive.

The soul that relies
On the strength He supplies,
On strong wings of faith, like eagles, will rise.
If you trust in His Word,
And wait on the Lord,
Renewal of spirit will be your reward.

There's no fainting then.
Like poor helpless men
New courage He gives to revive you again.
Don't lag in the fight
Just lean on His Might,
And God Everlasting will be your delight.

- Ernest James Allen

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