FITZGERALD – CLARKE – MichaelFuneral Notice
The Memorial service for Michael will be live streamed on Friday (10th September 2021) commencing at 11am.
To view the livestream, please click here.
Michael, I was devastated to hear from Jacek that you had passed away. My deepest condolences to Susan and Stephen. Anyone who knew you, was aware of your gentle and generous soul. Thank you for your enduring friendship, you will never be forgotten.August 31, 2021
And I remember what you wanted for an epitaph:
GOD wrote the words, not me.
My deepest condolences to Susan and Stephen. I believe, you are already in a better place Michael.September 5, 2021
To Susan and Stephen,
I’m was shocked to have learned of Michael’s passing this evening, Sunday September 5, 2021. My thoughts are with you both at this sad time.
I hadn’t spoken with Michael for some months now, as my compuiter business had been on hold for a while due to the Covid issue we are all facing. I had briefly spoken with Michael over the phone about 4 months ago, and had tried unsuccessfully to contact him since then a number of times.
Michael, I’m sorry to have missed recent conversation with you these past months, and I hope your waxing lyrically with the big guy upstairs. We are all feeling less of ourselves without you here with us.
God be with you always my friend.September 5, 2021
I am so sad to hear the from Sue that Michael passed away in August. Michael was a talented poet and many people enjoyed his poetry newsletters by email. I first met Michael in about 1994-95 in the National Office of Local Government. I will attend his memorial service online in tears.September 5, 2021
I will always remember Michael as a poet of visions and some -one who once saw angels on the st. Philips rectory roof I hope they are still there and Michael has found peaceSeptember 6, 2021
I am deeply saddened by Michael’s passing. He touched my life in such a positive way. We have lost a good friend.
Condolences to Susan and Stephen and other family and friends of Michael.
As another poet would have said, “he hath awakened from the dream of life”.
Rest peacefully Michael.
Peter, Carolyn Caitlin and Tom StanistreetSeptember 6, 2021
My condolences to Susan and Stephen. Michael was a valued colleague and always a friend. I enjoyed our conversations, his Newsletters and our email exchanges. Michael was generous to his friends and we benefited from our friendship with him. He was a gentle, but troubled soul. W.B. Yeats was his favourite poet. Let me record here one of Yeat’s poems, The Choice.
The intellect of man is forced to choose
Perfection of the life, or of the work,
And if it take the second must refuse
A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.
When all that story’s finished, what’s the news?
In luck or out the toil has left its mark:
That old perplexity an empty purse,
Or the day’s vanity, the night’s remorse.
Rest easy, Michael, you have left a lasting legacy with those of us who knew you.September 6, 2021
I have just read the email from Linda Pascal and am shocked by the news of Michael’s passing. I last heard from him late April and replied immediately to his typically marvellous ‘irregular’. I had to tell him of my wife Loretta’s death only a few days before. Since that time I’ve been grieving Loretta and trying to pick up the pieces. I regret that i hadnt corresponded in the intervening weeks & months. We enjoyed many phone-calls over the years. Poetry (poetics & poems), English football (My Saints, his Dons) the alternating main themes. We were also recipients of unique Queensland honey he sent through the post. Loretta particularly enjoyed its distinctive taste. We were happy to buy & stock his poetry volumes at Collected Works Bookshop in Melbourne. Condolences to his family & friends. A sad day indeed.September 7, 2021
My dear dear friend. As I sit here in shock I think of one of ur beautiful poems let the sea find its edges. I will chat to u by the sea tomorrow. Always in Grow and ur friend KellySeptember 7, 2021
My heart is with everyone whose lives were touched by Michael’s community-building, gifts, and words.
I met Michael in 2012 when he organised a poetry event during my visit to Townsville. He gifted me an engraved pen and a beautiful journal at the end of the event, which proved to be the start of a nine-year epistolary friendship. Michael was diligent to mail me letters throughout each year, wherever I was in the world—even as far as Canada, Scotland, and Iceland. The past year, Michael sweetened my life by sending Castle Rock local honey TWICE. I think of him every morning when fixing myself tea. It is the sweetness of his being and of what he has brought in our friendship that will endure within my memory of him.
My heart is with you, Michael, in your journey, and with your loved ones as we learn from your generosity in this life.September 8, 2021
I called Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke-an “angel”.September 8, 2021
I have known him since the 1980s ,and we were partners in poetry since then. Michael is unique, and we are less for loss of him.
My deepest condolence to Stephen and Susan.
I was shocked and saddened to learn about Michael’s sudden passing. Michael had written to me in 2005 with admiration about a poem of mine he’d read online, and he and my family had been pen pals ever since. He doted on my sons like a loving uncle from the other side of the world (I am in New York), and they treasured his letters and tokens from Australia.
Michael, you were one of the most generous and gentle souls I’ve ever been blessed to know. Thank you for all the love and kindness you brought to our lives.September 8, 2021
I met Michael so many years ago while I was in college. It was before the internet had really bloomed and we found each other on a friend finder website called big foot. I wrote a funny question about a lost sock. He answered with a small poem about were my lost sock had gone. We had been pen pals ever since. I have a magnet ready to send to him from a beautiful state park my son and I visited within the past weeks. He was fond of these small tokens and always generous in kind…I’m sure he actually started it. He was thoughtful like this.September 8, 2021
I regret not writing him more. Ill admit being a bit intimidated. People let me tell you not to let life get in the way of the good stuff and don’t let your self limiting assessments of your abilities get in the way of trying something or at least nudging it forward. We shouldn’t and He didn’t, well, except that one time he threw his laptop away.
I hoped someday to meet him in person. Perhaps I will meet him in spirit instead. He had a strong belief where I didn’t. My hope today is he is right. May he rest in peace and visit when he wishes.
o, michael, i am so saddened to hear of your untimely death. you were such a beautiful, generous, thoughtful friend. though i knew you a little before from the departmental poetry group, i remember driving to sydney in the early 2000s to pick you up from one of your hospital stays and drove you back to canberra. we connected and talked all the way home and have never really stopped. i am still thrilled to be one of your contributors in pre-elegy garland, and to have received you irregular group correspondence, as well our own correspondence on football (your dons have lost a gem supporter), poetry, life and all its travails. i thought of you just last weekend, thinking to send you more hot chocolate – it pains me that you are no longer with us to send it. but i know your faith was strong and you will be forever happy. i will miss you. my deepest condolences to all your friends and family. go now and play with jim morrison and his friends!September 8, 2021
Michael and I met through Early Risers Toastmasters Club in Canberra in 2004-2005. Michael I soon discovered, was what most Australians would classify as a ‘larrikin’, a moniker he would proudly wear. I vividly recall him as a competitor in the Humourous Speech Contest, concluding his speech with his hair dripping with lamonge and sporting a Cheshire-cat like smile! Michael and I have exchanged personal notes over the years, several of which I have kept and will treasure. We also shared a common bond of Faith in Christ and so Michael, one day we will meet again Brother! In the meantime, you are sorely missed. Your Canadian Cobber, Steve.September 8, 2021
I have known Michael for many years having met him in Canberra in the nineties. At his request I hosted a number of lunches for him and prospective female partners that he had his eye on. He was a generous soul and I have had many lovely cards from him over the years. His death was a shock as I thought he would continue to live and write poetry in Townsville until he was an old man. Bon voyage Michael.September 8, 2021
Condolences to Stephen, Susan, family and friends.
I met Michael in 2010 when I joined the writers group in Townsville and then attended his poetry workshop in 2012. He instantly got me hooked and became my mentor. He taught me all I know about poetry until end of 2015 when I left Townsville. I will always be grateful for this joy he brought to my life.
Rest in peace Michael. I know you are happy where you are. I know you make music and still turn out the most beautiful words.September 9, 2021
Susan & Stephen so sorry for your loss. Many of us will feel a great loss at Michael’s passing. A kind & generous soul to the end. I fully expected & hoped to receive his funny & insightful Michael Irregulars for many more years. We met through Writers in Townsville many years ago & remained friends. I spoke to him on the phone about five weeks ago. So sad I will never hear from him again. Rest in peace dear friend. Lori & Peter HurstSeptember 9, 2021
These are messages I received by email about Michael. Some email writers have already posted messages on the condolence board, but it’s still good to read more about him.
Messages for Michael:
Michael was my first poetry mentor there [Townsville] and I will always be grateful for what I have learnt from him!! — Martha
I knew Michael in the late 70s when we were students at Monash. He was a funny and engaging conversationalist in those days.— David
I used to take Michael for coffee about once a month. He would then often buy some cards to send to his friends. He also used to gift random people with his signed books and he would always be delighted when they accepted.— Connie
I have three books that Michael gave me, no doubt you have them too. They are amongst my cherished books.— Peter
We hadn’t chatted for quite some time as our lives had moved on from our peculiar meeting when I worked at Griffith Uni and for some reason that escapes me now I contacted Michael when he was in the public service and we found out that our birthdays were only days apart. I will be travelling in our caravan on Friday but please pass on my deepest condolences to his family and I will be thinking of him with joyful and loving thoughts for a man without a streak of unkindness in him.— Robyn
Michael was a very kind and generous man who willingly gave much of his time helping others. Michael and I were in the Townsville Writers Group together and it was Michael’s encouragement that gave me the confidence to publish my own book earlier this year. I pray he is at peace with his God.— Olive
His email ‘chats’ were very much a part of my life’s landscape… I really hope Michael did not suffer. He was such a wonderful friend.— Gaëtane
Michael and I have been friends for almost two decades and i was only thinking on the weekend I need to send him more hot chocolate.— John
He was a dear sweet man. — Sarah
Michael and I had been pen pals since 2005, when he’d read a poem of mine online and reached out to me. Over the years, we became friends and he’d send notes and small gifts to my two children, which they treasured.— Christine
Very heartfeltly saddened by the loss of a dear friend as are we all.— Kelly
Michael has been such a generous heart to me the past nine years. — Angela
Heart broken at this news.—Nikesh
Michael & I went back many years to his time in Writers in Townsville. I was also a recipient of his Michael irregular. We emailed frequently and chatted on the phone from time to time… I feel a great sadness at his passing. He was a kind & generous soul. — Lori
So many words whirling about my head, none of them adequate. He was an amazing person, exceptional in so many ways.— Jo and Ed
The world has lost a special human being in Michael and will be the poorer for it. I will always remember his friendship and many kindnesses.— Glenda
I have a collection of Michael’s poetry going back to when we worked together in 1987. He was such a lovely and loving person. I will always remember him and I think of him when I use or enjoy the various gifts he sent over the years.— Andrea
I will miss him a lot…He was such a gentle soul.— Hairmony Hair (Tina)September 9, 2021
Condolences to Michael’s family and many friends. I first met Michael when we worked together in the 1990s. He wrote a regular office newsletter called The Speckled Trout which always included at least one poem. He had a keen sense of the absurd which I always appreciated. His ongoing friendship over the years has been a wonderful support during some of the darker times. While we did not correspond or chat regularly, I looked forward to his regular emails every week which kept me in touch with the small and large doings of his life. I will keenly miss his ongoing presence in my life and hope that he is now having great debates on poetry with his heroes.September 10, 2021
My heartfelt condolences to Susan and Stephen.
Michael was a rare and beautiful soul, sensitive, generous, gentle and kind.
I shall miss you Michael
ConnieSeptember 10, 2021
Thom said of M F-C
he humbled me
with his praise
his poetic metaphors
soared & dived & leapt
& married vast wonders
a soul nonpareil
heart most exquisite
heaven is a lucky place
Madagascar has seen no rain for four years
will suffer the first climate change famine
in history & dearest Michael has died
he makes a welcome place for usSeptember 10, 2021
he will listen & comfort as we all rock in
From Tobin Fish Tales
I am so sorry to hear about Michael passing. Many thanks for letting us know. I’ll be sure to pass on to our staff who enjoyed his visits and his gifts of poetry books.September 10, 2021
I was deeply saddened to hear of Michael’s passing. Michael was a kind and generous person and I consider myself blessed to have had him call me a friend. Michael was my mentor and his encouragement helped bring my dream of publishing a book to fruition. I had arranged to take Michael to coffee a few months ago so I could present him with a copy of my book , however, the meeting never took place due to Michael being admitted to hospital. He phoned me when he returned home saying that he was so looking forward to catching up and seeing the book but he needed time to get back on top of things and would contact me in a few weeks. I have been waiting to hear from him so the sad news of his passing came as a great shock. Michael’s generosity was recorded in an Acknowledgement in my book which I wished he had seen. I believe people walk through our lives for a reason…Michael you taught me the real meaning of generosity and friendship. Rest in peace.September 10, 2021
Our condolences to Michael’s family and all his friends. Michael has been a kind and generous friend over the years. We are deeply saddened by his passing. We will miss his words, humour, gentleness and honesty. May you rest in Gods love, dear Michael.September 10, 2021
I remember Michael as a man of kindness, gentleness, inspiration, colour and creativity. Thank you mate – I hope that we can meet up another day, I am confident we will. My condolences to Michael’s family.September 10, 2021
So sad to hear of Michael’s death, but so lucky to have know such a kind, gentle man who inspired so many people.. I first met Michael when we worked in the National Office of Local Government in Canberra years ago.. He spent a Christmas Day with us one year.and we went to Midnight Mass together
I confess that i did not always understand his poetry. But they were his gift to all of us, while his weekly digest of life in Townsville were always a joy to read.
Ar dheis lamh De go raibh a anam . (Gaelic blessing : May his soul be at God’s right hand..)September 12, 2021
I remember Michael way back from Yallourn High School, in the early to mid 1970’s. Although we weren’t from the same mould, I remember Michael to be a a quiet, kind and respectful. Rest easy Michael.September 12, 2021
From Westend Teahouse
We have missed him of late , always looking forward to his visits. So saddened by this news.—Kevin and VickiSeptember 13, 2021
& all the staff at The West End Teahouse, Townsville
We were saddened to learn of Michaels passing, we were fond of Michael. I met him at Wits and we became good friends and have always kept in touch, The last time I spoke to Michael, he said he wouldn’t be talking for a while as he wanted to devote all him time to finishing his book, I was starting to be concerned as it seemed to be taking longer than I thought it would, and then I got an email to say he had passed. We will miss Michael, and our thoughts and prays are with you.September 16, 2021
A very close friend who I met in 2006 at a poetry evening in 2006. It was the beginning of long friendship.December 8, 2021
He edited 5 of my poetry books. Four published online ( bibliotastic no longer exists)and one hard copy. 600 poems – involving Michael long hours.
I met Michael many times in Canberrra and continue to connect with him in Townsville.
I always found him to be a poet of depth, prolific writer, gentle, understanding, humorous spirit, and his friendships once connected never waver.
I only found out about his death yesterday. after been concerned when his phone was disconnected.
I Google his name and found the terrible news. Only a week before his death we were going to do another book together.
May he now rest in peace, form his mental illness.
A poem to my dear friend Michael.
Far Away in the Land Forgotten
Far away, in the land forgotten,, never to forget, amongst the leaves, grass grows, more to say, I can see flowers, soft incense, in sweetness, embalmed darkness, grass, ,fruit tree, wild, scent of musk, ,moving out, as the murmurs haunt me, distance cries, been half here, take in the air of a quite breath, rich to die, ease, cold night, the midnight hour, no pain, thou pour forth, my soul aboard, hear the angels sing, high requiem in a void.