Maisie’s Byrne’s bee farm

Helen Sheil (2017)

maisies poem page









While there are other grand stories

that originated in humble


triggered in our memory

by images of a bright star

in a clear sky.

They were from another time.


So the invitation to make our way

to Josie’s camp on her mother’s

bee farm, to speak aloud

thoughts held silently in our hearts

created an opportunity

for another grand story of hope

to emerge in the quiet

of the small clearing

between the highway and the lake

that many have heard about

but like the mythical Camelot

few have entered.


Listening to a snippet of Maisie

Byrne’s poems of life on Lake Tyers

in the 1930’s

written in pencil,

on lined pages

held together with a nappy pin

you glimpse a life surrounded

by beauty and abundant happiness.



So listen and I’ll tell you

Of the bush I love so well

And all the pleasures round about

The spot in which I dwell.

A land of wide horizons

Of mountains plain and lake

There’s pleasures here for all of you

Whichever way you take.


There’s bushland all around us

So friendly and so green

I’d like to tell you all about

The wonders I have seen

For the bush is full of interest

For those with eyes to see

There’s living things hide in the scrub

And almost every tree.

Maisie offers such a


view to that of ‘legendary’ bush

Poets who wrote of

families battling to clear trees

struggling with drought, fires and

flies, the hardship, heartbreak and

loneliness, especially for women.


Maisie’s daughter, Josephine Jakobi

Has eye’s to see the beauty and the

creativity to map the complexity

of life in the lake we love.

Her unique style

a Josephication

of the world around her

is immediately recognizable.

Her art, paying attention to the

cycle of seasons

the length of days relating to

the ebb and flow of salt and fresh

water mingling is stitched, inked

and embossed onto linen immersed

for weeks in the lake to impregnate

the fabric with qualities of the

constantly halocline.


A visit to the bee farm

is an invitation to immerse ourselves in this time and place

to bee present.

To re-connect

with nature’s gallery of life.

July 13, 2019