Cussen’s cards now a book

By Robert Muir

Poems written by Merv Cussen which he sent as Christmas Cards to some 40 people over the past 40 years have been published in a book.

Titled ‘A Yammering Yoke of Yuletide Yarns’, the 170-page book was launched on Sunday, December 2 at Mulwala Water Ski Club by long-time family friend Terri Lyons.

Encouraged by family members, especially wife Christine, Merv decided to consolidate all the poems, “to put all them together”.

“It all began innocently enough, in 1979 with the first Christmas missive ‘Santa’s Abduction’ which was sent to family and friends,” 62-year-old Mulwala resident Merv told attendees.

“There are 40 different poems pontificating all manner of hair-brained schemes which make for an entertaining assessment of the annual celebration.

“All sorts of topics are covered including political wish-lists. As in say, 1986, still, same things are happening which I find amusing.”

While at Ballarat University in 1979, Merv was media chairperson – a role and a subsequent future in the Commonwealth Public Service including Albion Explosives Factory he preferred over his Applied Science course at Ballarat.

It was this part-time media involvement which brought out a flair for the written word. Now logistics co-ordinator at Australian Munitions Mulwala, Merv was persuaded to put pen to paper by two university friends. 

Fast forward 40 years to a few months ago, family members, especially wife Christine, convinced the writer to become an author.

“It’s an amazing book,” local school teacher Christine, who was Master of Ceremonies at the book launch, said.

“It’s a real achievement and something our family can have for a long time.” Daughter Lauren recited the poem from 1989 and son Andrew delivered the 1986 poem. 

“Obviously we’re proud of Dad and he’s inspired me to write,” son Jarred from London texted. “It’s amazing he’s persevered for so many years.”

Close family friend for the last four decades, Terri Lyons 85, said she was very honoured to launch the book. “I have the copies of all Merv’s poems, including the very first one in 1979,” Moira Shire’s inaugural Citizen of the Year told the Yarrawonga Chronicle.

“The poems are very complex, very interesting – they make you think. It’s a gorgeous book and would make a good Christmas present.”