To Shanan, Rachael and Danielle
who bring light into my life
About the Author
Eric Barnett was born at Gosford, on the Central Coast of
New South Wales, the youngest of four sons.
When he was six years of age the family moved to live at
Newtown in Sydney. Eric played first-grade Rugby League with the Newtown Club at
17 years of age as a goal-kicking centre. He then went to England where he
played three seasons with the prestigious Huddersfield first-grade team in
Yorkshire and during this time he was also a cricket professional at Leeds, also
He returned to Sydney where he played first-grade Rugby
League with the Balmain Club.
Eric was also a player/coach of Rugby League in Darwin and
Port Moresby where he was captain/coach of the Papua team. He also played League
in Christchurch, New Zealand.
He later played Rugby Union with the Wasps Club in London,
the Nomads team in Toronto and the Wanderers team in New York. He played cricket
in Toronto and with the Staten Island team in New York.
While living in New York, Eric studied television
production and was dux of that year, which allowed him to work with the American
NBC Network in St Paul, Minnesota, where his eldest daughter, Shanan, was born.
He later returned to Sydney to work for Channel 10.
Eric then joined the Regular Army with the rank of Captain
and saw war service in Vietnam, serving in various regions there. While Eric was
serving at Army Headquarters in Canberra his second daughter, Rachael, was born.
From 1968 to 1995 Eric was a financial member of the
Australian Journalists’ Association.
Eric is a multi-instrumentalist, playing the guitar, the
Japanese harp, the Hawaiian pedal-steel guitar and drums. He has performed in
Ireland, New Zealand, Fiji, the Solomon Islands and New Guinea.
Eric is also a songwriter, playwright and author.
Read a sample:
Through and After
As I sit on my verandah at the old homestead
on a raining, chill afternoon,
the air is clear,
the birds are perched,
the grass is a glossy dark green.
The old blue cattle dog is under the house;
he rolled a bed in the dry, powered dust.
The black Kelpie, too, has left the
and sits under a gum tree,
alert for a whistle.
The dapple-grey Clydesdale, with his proud
flicks his tail as the wet cools his hide,
and the cud-chewing cows, with their udders
stand close in their sentry-like pose,
as they await the milking machine beat.
The lightning clickers and the thunder
a lone bantam hen jumps, squawks, and hares
for the shed.
The old spayed cat just dozes by me,
oblivious, as all neuter genders surely must
The water tears across the corrugated iron
into the guttering held firm,
rushes through the rusting downpipe,
fills up the tank and splashes over –
devoured by the ground.
The small tombstone where my Grandad lies
ne’er caring to be wet or dry.
The cabbage and celery down near the dam
stretch high as their roots draw in.
The old stock whip upon the dray
with its handle so worn and now wet.
The moisture soaks deep into the leather
and the dye runs off with the excess.
And now the drops cease; as dusk moves in
the clouds part as the rays filter down.
I see blue sky, pink clouds and pink
as the cumuli move on to open elsewhere.
The old blue cattle dog trots to the
as the mud in the dam starts to sink.
And the Clydesdale canters through the back
with a momentary feeling of colthood.
I throw the switch down,
the sucking cups draw in.
The first cows by habit shuffle forward
I fill deep my lungs and enthuse
… my acreage.
An Arabesque for Atoms
The two-world atmosphere of life;
the air within our skins
and the air outside our skins
that understands something
and imagines more.
As rain floods down
on flowers polluted with
the burning of war and peace
and graves that once breathed life.
Every step taken through the shadows of life
and every turning at the end of a lane
is a heartbeat of life.
Like the dying swan on the lake pirouetting
an arabesque of atoms.
A grand chat and a petit chat
of fallout of every creature
in its own generation.
White crosses of peeling paint –
covered with wreaths of wars infinite –
bleach in the warmth of “This is the last
as shrapnelled stubs of limbless soldiers
ache in the winter of thawing marrow
as pink bubbles of sweet champagne
splash in crystal glasses
in the peace rooms of the warmongering
As I cast my affection upon the sea of love
rolling and foaming through eternity,
my life is soaring above mountain peaks
since your lips first formed my name.
Our love is like light on the wings of doves
and your memory is the power to remember
roses in winter
or to recall the first dew of spring
long since devoured by the parching sun.
If the world were a warehouse of palaces,
for you I would cross every threshold
or lay bare my lungs
to the talons of the polluted air of the
As the moon glows down, it reflects in
the goldenness which is you.
My love goes out and offers all that is me.
Be it wealth, illness, fame or hope –
and in return to seek your nearness
in depression, joy, fear or laughter
or every emotion that weaves into life and
and on this elevated plain
our hearts have joined
to be devoured by the mists of time.
My daughter, Amy,
whom I may never be allowed to see or hold.
Our hearts in sacred bonds are entwined,
bound by paternal love too true,
binding your youthful heart to mine.
For to live without thee, Amy, is all my
while your memory will my heart retain.
So now you’ve turned one
and time passes swiftly on.
And as you glide through life like a dove,
you are lost to your father’s and sister’s
For you are worthy of our peerless love
and as we stay in forced isolation from thee
we send you the purest hope
your young heart will ever know.
For we wish to see your joy
in living childhood’s happy hours.
To share the beautiful scenes
of your early baby life.
Warmed by the light of glorious growing
in laughter, joy and tears
… all these and more we wish
for your passage through life
is not shared with me and your two big
For we seek all our lives to share
and to hold and soothe your little sorrows