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From Patterson's Heart

Reviewed by Dorothy - 24/07/09

From Patterson's Heart
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From Patterson's Heart is a collection of country ballads ranging from expressions of sorrow to entertaining narratives. It will have a special appeal for those who look back with nostalgia to a different way of life and different values. When speaking the ballads Colin adopts the character of an ageing farmer looking back over the years. The demand for his performances has increased as he has reached a wider audience and he is now invited to perform his work right around New Zealand.

Those who wish to hear the ballads in their own home can purchase a DVD of Colin speaking them against backdrops drawn from the family farm and the surrounding area providing a scenic enrichment to the verse.

A book of the Patterson family
The book was first printed in 2007 but Colin Patterson had been composing the ballads over the years as he spent long hours working on the tractor on his Lakeside farm in Canterbury. Thinking that they would not be of interest to other people he did not write them down. He did share them when he felt it was appropriate by speaking them at family social functions.

Certainly this is a family publication. Stories of pioneer ancestors, memories of growing up, the family farm and family friends provide the themes of many of the ballads. It was his sister Margaret who persuaded him to enter the performance poetry competition held as part of the Christchurch Writers Festival in September 2006. He won the competition and in 2007 in response to many requests published From Patterson's Heart. The publication is the result of a combined family effort Colin writing the poems, his wife Valmai taking photographs, and their daughter Sharon Earl providing finely drawn and realistic illustrations.

Poems honour his brother Murray who wrote a history of the Southbridge area and died just before the book was launched, and his brothers and sister hit by the heavy toll taken by cancer.

Ballads of country life
Poems about the farm and the Lakeside/Southbridge area express his appreciation of the beauty of the area - What a Wonderful World This Is, his love of animals - The Sale at St James, The Faithful Dogs and Old Dick, and his enjoyment of farming jokes - The Humble Cow's Tail and Jack meets Elle Mcpherson.

Ballads about change
Particularly the older readers will respond to these - The Good Old Days, and The Old Meat Safe. School and home discipline is the theme of The Days when I was a Boy.

Ballads about Southbridge
There are lyrics marking the closing the Southbridge District High School, the anniversary of the opening of the new Southbridge Fire Station and the 125th jubilee of the Irwell Rugby Football Club which had an annual match against Southbridge.

Three ballads honour people from Southbridge who have achieved outstanding success in their special fields Dan Carter the All Black, Graeme Ede who won a Gold Medal for shooting in Melbourne in 2006 and Beatrice Hill Tinsley, the distinguished astronomer who for a short time was a pupil at Southbridge School.

A wide coverage of contrasted themes
Tales of sorrow and tragedy and philosophical comment are not excluded from this collection of poems as would be expected from work in which nostalgia is a recurring theme.

Many of his views are summed up in the last verse of The Good Old Days.

Oh if we could just return
to the good old days,
for days gone by you tend to yearn
in the good old days.
But sadly this can never be.
Life was simple and fancy free,
all that's left is the memory
of the good old days.

If you enjoy ballads and rural or nostalgic themes order this book or the DVD and you will almost certainly find some which will hold interest for you and wake a chord of memory.


  • Book$30.00
  • DVD$25.00
  • Plus P & P$3.00
  • Book and DVD$50.00
  • Plus P & P$5.00

Send orders to Colin Patterson
22 Spring Place
Canterbury, NZ
Email: click here

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