Niamh Clune

Environment, poetry, comment, children's books,

Plum Tree Books Features: DiAnne Ebejer & Susie Bertie

It is my very great pleasure to feature two of my favourite poets: DiAnne Ebejer and Susie Bertie. DiAnne’s style is dry, to-the-point, clear and so very deeply human. Susie is quirky, mystical, digging deep into the underlying essence of atmosphere. These are two of the poems they submitted for the Song Of Sahel Anthology, available on Amazon. Proceeds to SOS Sahel.

anthology cover small

Beyond The Acacia Trees

by DiAnne Ebejer

What lies beyond the Acacia trees
and dust filled terrain
may not be meant
for kind eyes and warm hearts.
And yet, it is kind eyes and warm hearts
that are desperately needed here.
We cannot let the dust make us blind
to what is happening beyond it,
We cannot turn away because
we cannot bear to look.

Sahelian Kingdoms once benefiting
from trade across the region have long ago passed through.
Flora and fauna is nearly extinct.
What was once a beautiful homeland of fertile lands
lay cracked, parched and barren.

Large populations of grazing mammals are nearly extinct.
The long dry season stretches on and on with no measurable rain.
Natural resources are scant, if at all.

As we step beyond the acacia trees and
dusty terrain, the scene plays out in stark reality.

A baby boy, hands on head cries out in sheer terror.

A famine relief family of many huddles outside their too-small
shelter awaiting food.

A young child in obvious malnutrition seems abandoned
on the side of the road.

A mother and her children and a long empty bowl sit alone
awaiting food and water.

And the scene replays over and over as if produced in
a hall of mirrors by a circus of horrors.

A profound ache of helplessness
hangs heavy in the heart at the magnitude
and the sadness of what is before you.
Who wrote such a lullaby of despair?
What fate spins such a destiny?

In the whole of it, we can only hope
for peace eternal for this wounded land.
But – we can reach out with a helping hand
in some small and meaningful way –
A way that can make a difference

Using our kind eyes and warm hearts we can
Shine a small ray of hope for Sahel.


hymn of sahel  susie.p

Hymn of Sahel
by Susie Bertie

Of a million suns . . need rises
from the branches of baobabs
from the arms of mothers ….
mercy lies in shade
the generosity of distant
why suffering is held in the smallest of hands
why rains don’t come to bless parched lands ….
of a million suns ….
weary of hollowness
blanched steps
it takes but one
one hand
of change
to shade the sun
the brightest hope

Many thanks to both of these special poets who have also become my friends.

About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books.

21 comments on “Plum Tree Books Features: DiAnne Ebejer & Susie Bertie

  1. Juliette
    February 14, 2013

    Beautiful and moving! Thank you for keeping this out for all to see.


  2. Pingback: Plum Tree Books Features: DiAnne Ebejer & Susie Bertie « West Coast Review

  3. DiAnne Ebejer
    February 14, 2013

    Thank you Niamh! I was very proud to be a small part of the Sahel Project!


  4. Betty Dravis
    February 14, 2013

    Thanks many times over for shining a ray of light on the tragic plight of the people of Sahel. My heart breaks whenever I see those starving children. Shame on us for not doing more; shame on the world with all its plenty.

    But kudos to you, these fine poets and artists for reaching out helping hands. I hope the sales of this book make a dent in the problems and encourage others with money aplenty to help.

    Thanks, Niamh, DiAnne, Susie and all who helped compose this project.

    Hugs – Betty Dravis ❤


    • ontheplumtree
      February 14, 2013

      Many thanks Betty! Your recognition means a lot. I conceived of this when Doug, (my husband) went to Niger to help build a refugee camp. I put out the call to poest internationally, and they sent in their poems. Artists sent in art and musicians sent on music.


  5. Darlene
    February 14, 2013

    Incredible talent!!


  6. Uncle Tree
    February 14, 2013

    Warm, lovely, and poignant –
    both DiAnne and Susie.
    Very well done, and
    wisely said. Ty!
    for sharing.


  7. the secret keeper
    February 15, 2013

    DiAnne and Susie, though you approach words’ expression in different fashion, the depth and meaning cries out the same meaning. Calling for a miracle that will create hope but in its place the sadness and terror of small children and a land that has been forsaken and a people who need a land that lives in a long ago memory. We must continue to feel hope and to give our help. Both poems are brilliantly conceived. I feel the compassion held in each. You both are amazingly gifted and creative artists that I feel so lucky to know and I love both poems. I want to thank you both and to send a special thank you to Niamh for having and keeping the courage of her conviction to dedicate her heart to caring about and helping others no matter who they are and what their needs may be. Love is what I feel for this entire post and moved by such touching words and sentiments. Peace and Namaste.


    • ontheplumtree
      February 15, 2013

      I am certain that DiAnne and Susie will be delighted with your comments.


  8. Patricia Tilton
    February 15, 2013

    So much talent! The poem and song are heart wrenching, but need to be heard. I’m glad you’re keeping them alive as you revisit them.


  9. thiskidreviewsbooks
    February 15, 2013

    Wow. Well done, both of you! I love them!


  10. patriciasands
    February 15, 2013

    Words that go straight to the heart – their anguish and beauty create a sad hopefulness. We cannot lose hope yet the solutions often feel beyond reach. Niamh, is progress truly being made? Is there a place to go for an update? Thank you for all you do and your encouragement of such fine talent to aid the cause.


    • ontheplumtree
      February 15, 2013

      I know that SOS Sahel is doing great work, Patricia. Unfortunately, because Al Qaeda have moved into the area, it makes it ever more difficult for aid. Because of the war in Mali, refugees increase. And then, because the parched soil could not absorb the torrential rain, Niger was flooded. Poor people.


  11. DiAnne Ebejer
    March 1, 2013

    Oh, just now getting back here to see all these lovely comments from everyone! Thanks so very much to Betty Dravis, Darlene, Uncle Tree, the secret keeper, Patricia Tilton, thiskidreviewsbooks and patricia sands for your lovely comments! Apologies for my lateness for this very sincere thank you!


  12. DiAnne Ebejer
    March 1, 2013

    Reblogged this on poetry and then some… and commented:
    Hello and happy weekend!

    My friend Susie Bertie and I were recently featured “On the Plum Tree” Plum Tree Books blog for our contriubution to “Song Of Sahel Project”, an anthology of work for charity still available on availble on Amazon (all proceeds to charity). Other contributors have and will be featured; here is the link to the blog.

    Additionally, Niamh Clune, the head of the Sahel project was recently awarded a humanitarian “Betty Award” for Song of Sahel Anthology. I am sharing an entertaining short video production put together by Betty Dravis in honor of all Betty Award recipients in the video link included here.

    Betty Awards Video:

    From Sunbeams (Sun Magazine) “My mother and I could always look out the same window without ever seeing the same thing” Gloria Swanson


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