Keeping the travel theme of my poetry collection alive.


The vaporetto chugs across the lagoon
Belching diesel fumes as it passes bricole and statues,
Palazzos are left behind to the tourists
Who now, in the distance are swarming like ants before rain;

A launch speeds past, its young passengers smile and wave,
In its sparkling wake the vaporetto chugs on,
Towards distant islands
Of coloured glass and snowy lace.


The Gum and the Wattle

It’s that time of year again, the promise of Spring is in the air in Australia and as I drive around Canberra I see the wattle trees beginning to bloom, so here is another poem from my book, I hope you enjoy.

The Gum and the Wattle

The gum tree and the wattle,
Standing side by side
With fragrance and with colour,
They stand with Aussie pride,

The gum tree feeds koalas,
Is home for many birds,
It turns the mountains hazy blue
Makes shade for cattle herds;

The wattle flowers golden
In springtime’s early sun,
Brings joy with early messages
That winter’s almost done,

The gum tree and the wattle,
Standing side by side,
Both beautiful Australians
Filled with Aussie pride.


Life Through a Door of a Spanish Restaurant in Antigua Guatemala

Alameda de Santa Lucia
Procession of the Immaculate Conception

From Laughter, Tears and Coffee – Helene Jermolajew –
Travel Section

Black wood, yellow render,
One side slightly closed,
Opposite, a barred, Antiguan arched window;

Life passes along the cobblestones
Rattling and squeaking noisily,
People walk carefully,
Striped shirts,
Floral skirts,
Baskets on heads,
Dogs on leads,
Tuk Tuks belch smoke,
Scooters roar to announce their presence,
And an old man passes silently on a bicycle,
Framed life,
Through a door of a Spanish restaurant.

Typical doors and arches in ruins

Farewell Outback

From Laughter, Tears and Coffee – Helene Jermolajew –

Farewell to Outback’s open spaces
Of coolabah, mulga and broom,
Farewell to dusty red-earth traces,
My leaving came too soon.

They say there’s not a lot to see,
They say there’s nothing there,
I’ll now dispute when they say to me
‘You’ll get bored, the place is bare’,

For I’ve seen life at variance
To what you see in towns,
I’ll let you know the difference
Of places of renown,

I’ve seen opal mining,
Dugouts underground,
Had a go at an excavator
That didn’t make a sound,

I’ve been to Cameron Corner
Straddled three Aussie States,
Travelled roads that bumped and shook,
I’ve opened station gates,

Paddy melon bowling
On roadside, bulldust red,
Emus, ‘roos, goats and sheep
With rains were then well fed.

We caught a shingleback to feel
Its dinosaur-rough skin
And climbed the rocks at Tibooburra
To prove where I had been,

We drank and ate at every pub
That we found on our way,
We talked and laughed and swore a bit
With folks we met each day,

I cruised upon the Darling,
I crossed the great Paroo,
I walked upon the little bridge
Across the Warrego,

So out in Lawson country
I saw things as they are,
Remote and dry and hardened,
The land quite often bare,

So every city person
Who thinks they have it tough
Should go out to the Outback
To learn what’s really rough,

To see how men and women
Work with flood and drought,
Manoeuvre roads of dust and rock,
Yet still they have no doubt

That where they really love to be
Is Outback, on the land,
Where those who know this hardened life
Will lend a helping hand.

Hundreds of miles from anywhere
White Cliffs hotel
Dingo fence
Yep, that’s where we were
Straddling three states
We caught a shingle-back
Emus and their bouncy skirts
Paddymelon bowling

My poetry book has gone live!

Laughter, Tears and Coffee – an eclectic collection of my poetry covering half a lifetime of various experiences and touching moments. Births, deaths, travel, fun, celebrations, family. If it happens in life there is probably a poem about it here. Surprise, surprise the largest section is poetry inspired by some parts of my year of travelling. The print version is available from and look out for the e-book version which will soon hit the web. I have posted a couple of samples from the book in this blog previously, more to come. I hope you enjoy and relate to my experiences of life.

Antigua Guatemala

Another travel poem written while I was in Guatemala.


Antigua Guatemala

El Fuego
El Fuego

Where full moons shine on cobblestones
And sunshine bleaches Mayan bones
Volcanos stand so strong and tall
And often Fuego makes a call
With smoky signals from his crown,
Or, is that a Vulcan frown?
To let all those way down below
See his force and let them know
Just how temporary life can be
While he stands tall for all to see?
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAntigua, where bougainvillea flowers
And Jacarandas send purple showers
Where Mayans walk with grace and sway
Bearing baskets on heads all day,
Where churches fell so long ago
From Hades quakes so far below,
The ruins stand in memory
Reminders for all here to see
That any day or night or year
It could repeat and end right here,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Antigua could become Pompeii
With no-one left to clearly say
What really happened in this town
When lava flowed the whole way down,
But meanwhile, midst techtonic plates
People live, still tempting fate,
Mayans walk on cobblestones
And sunshine bleaches their old bones.

Helene Jermolajew 2014 ©

My Ithaca


Hi all, it’s been a while since I posted my last travel story, life got in the way a little. Today I decided I’ve missed my writing so much and it will be a little while yet before I can post the next story. So…….to fill in the gap I’m going to post some of my travel poems instead. I wrote this first one while in Antigua Guatemala. I read C P Cevafy’s Ithaca. That wonderful poem struck a chord in me and I simply had to write one of my own. I wrote a few poems during my travels, all of them will be in my soon to be published (I hope) poetry collection. I hope you enjoy this temporary change of style.



My Ithaca

(Inspired by the poem ‘Ithaca’ C P Cevafy)

My Ithaca, wherever she may be,
Distant or close
In time and space,
Beauteous or humble
With a shining face
She waits,
As I travel
From birth through death
And back to birth,
From place to place,
My Ithaca waits.


My Ithaca waits
As I conquer gods of fear
And devils of depths,
Learn from every step,
Wipe away tears wept,
She waits
As I heal
Through sadness and joy,
Through friendships
Old and new,
Through travels
To distant ports
And mountains,
Along smooth paths and cobblestones,
My Ithaca waits
At my journeys end,
Wherever she may be.

Helene Jermolajew
Monday 6 January 2014
La Antigua


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