A ROCKLEY man's rhymes have been committed to print thanks to the help of a volunteer visitor to his home.
Bush poet Syd Riley's book When Every Bubble Had A Rainbow has had an exclusive print run - just 10, intended for family and friends - but there are already plans for a follow-up publication.
Mr Riley, 84, lives independently in the historic village south of Bathurst with the assistance of the Christian charity HammondCare.
He gets help from HammondCare At Home care workers and regular visits from HammondCare volunteer Jasmin Hooper, also a Rockley local.
Ms Hooper said she realised the village character's words needed to be published after hearing him recite his poems.
She spent months typing his poems and stories from pieces of paper whenever he recounted one of his recollections.
Some poems are even illustrated by his own drawings.
Mr Riley can recite his poems - which include pieces about his school days, employment in an airconditioner factory, even recuperating after a gunshot wound - at a moment's notice.
He created many of them as a young dad as a way of sharing with his two boys, Paul and Peter, tales of his boyhood in the Sydney suburb of Caringbah during the war years.
"Some of the poems are kids' stuff, but there is also plenty in there [the book] for adults too," Mr Riley said.
One of his favourite poems, One Tonner, is about the varied ways the utes are used around a farm.
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First Day At School, meanwhile, shows how he felt like a prisoner in his classroom:
"So when the open window, came into my sight,
"I quickly scrambled though it, and ran with all my might."
An especially quirky poem, Bloke At The Tip, is about his childhood memories visiting the local rubbish dump and seeing all the abandoned magazines and books on offer for the curious.
Ms Hooper said she believed Mr Riley's poems and recollections had to be put to paper and shared.
"I've read quite a few of his poems now many times - each one can hold you," she said.
"Some of these poems have brought people near tears.
"When I visit, he often worries we won't have anything to talk about. But then as we start to talk about our week, sprinkled with a few recited poems and stories, before you know it I have to go."
HammondCare head of pastoral care and volunteer services Andrew Nixon said Ms Hooper's commitment to helping Mr Riley publish his work was an example of the extraordinary work done by HammondCare volunteers.
"HammondCare has more than 1100 volunteers who generously give their time to add an extra dimension to the quality of life of our home care clients, aged care residents and patients," Rev Nixon said.
"Sounds ordinary perhaps, but as Syd and Jasmin show us, it is anything but."
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