Day 25 — make love not war (3 for the price of 1 today)

For once, I don’t feel conflicted about writing an Anzac Day Poem. And as happened 2 days ago with Bill Shakey Day, (& last year for both days) having a superimposed theme (“love” this year, “climate change” last) made me look at the day in a whole new way — which in turn has generated not 1, not 2, but 3 poems of which I am exceedingly pleased. 

Looking at love in war time is a wonderful way to get around the whole uncertainty I have about A25. 

It’s also a lovely way (pun intended) to honour, commemorate, call what you will my grandparents in poetical form.

*****

Anzac Triptych
1. Atherton Tablelands 
2. Goodbye Will Moon
3. TIL


*

1.
Atherton Tablelands

In April 1943 following three weeks leave after seeing action at Tobruk, Mersa Matruh and El Alamein Gunner RL JONES of the 2/7th Field Regiment arrived at Kairi in the Atherton Tablelands.

It was love at first sight.

Even though he was from 
a notoriously lush part
of the Adelaide hills the green 
in Far North Queensland 
is several degrees greater 
than most mortal eyes 
are used to — or able to endure.

Gunner RL Jones remained 
on the Tablelands with his unit
for almost two years — training
and playing upon the rich red 
loam born in ancient volcanoes.
Before being sent to Tarrakan 
that began the Allies’ Borneo 
Campaign. He survived those jungles 
by thinking often of the equally 
lush Atherton tablelands — 
until the Americans blew up 
the world and the war ended.

Gunner RL Jones eventually 
made his way home & made
Florence his fiancé.

Rueben told Florence. 
Of the green.
Of the red soil. 
Of his desire to move there.

Florence said no. 

He never saw the Tablelands again 


*

2.
Goodbye Will Moon

In late 1944 Corporal BI Burgan of RAAF 1 Squadron was likewise on leave when he visited his parents in Port Wakefield.

Quiet Sunday evening.
Parents off praying.
It’s been a long journey 
and I’ve only a few precious
day’s leave. But I know
dad will be disappointed
if I don’t attend. So 
although I don’t feel like it
reluctantly walk across town.

Only one seat remains 
in the very back pew.
Slide into that space next 
to a beautiful young woman
who smiles as I sit down.
Can’t concentrate. On 
what the pastor is saying.
Nor the service itself.
Nothing but —
that sublime smile.

Afterwards, I offer to walk 
her home and am bemused 
and delighted to discover 
she’s boarding with our next 
door neighbour.

We stand talking for ages
til I brazenly lean in
and kiss her over the garden gate.
I’d best go in now, she says.

The best night of my life.

During my leave we spend 
as much time as possible
together but it ends
all too quickly. Before I 
deploy to New Guinea 
I must tell her. I confess
undying love. The hammer 
blow. She’s engaged to another!
I didn’t know I say 
and chivalrously
offer to step aside. 

Leave it with me.
She says.
I’ll deal with it.

And. She. Did.


*

3.

TIL

today i learnt 
that unlike my
gran and grandad
nana and papa 
weren’t engaged
or even dating 
while he was away 
during the war
they only started 
seeing each other
after he got home 

her first  love 
     died     flying   bombers
over    germany 
   she       was                s h a t t e r e d
when   Will    was  
                                     killed 


suddenly saw my frail
ninety nine year old nana
       with  newer 
    sadder  eyes

Day 04 – time travel (& road rules)

Orange Dwarf

Several poems started, then a last minute contender rushed in demanding to be completed with 37 minutes till midnight to go. Such is the joy of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo. 

Further complications were added when my wireless keyboard batteries went flat & I had to see if any of my dozen or so randomly distributed rechargeable batteries had enough charge to fire this badboy back up. 49 combinations later, little green light was go.

*****

the speed of light

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:
for the foreseeable future my favourite
star is going to be 12 Ophiuchi
a main-sequence orange-red dwarf
BY Draconis-type variable star
in the east central corner
of Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer

at around 83 percent of Sol’s mass
85 to 100 percent of its diameter
& being similarly as enriched
in elements heavier than hydrogen
as our sun it is a semi-sort kind of a twin
i guess, i don’t really know much
about the astrophysiwhatsit specs
the reason i’m interested in
this faint little blip of light
in a relatively unknown
constellation is simple

it is 31.89 light-years away

which means the light my eye
is trampolining onto the back
of my retina & zipping off up
the optic nerve to my visual cortex
left the star 31.89 years ago
which according to my (admittedly
roughly hewn calculations)

… is about 3 days before we first met

 


 

BONUS POEM: April 4, 2018

*****

Crash Course
(A Poetic Interpretation of the 12 Rules of Driving on Italian Roads)

1.
i’m just kidding of course
there’s no such list

 

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Day 15 – BONUS POEM … BOOK READERS BE ALARMED, VERY ALARMED

So as a kind of NaPoWriMo2015 midway point bonus poem, here is a Semi-Sort-of-Narrative Poem about one of my favourite passions, pleasures, pastimes, pursuits & predilections. (Today’s actual poem, still to follow.)

If you love reading, be warned, the following 244 words could terrify you.

*****

big angst over a relatively small number

in the 365 days of last year
i physically completed reading
56 new books ; give or take ;
another 8-10 audiobooks ;
for a lower than expected
1-&-a-quarter-a-week average ;
not included are books begun
but abandoned ; nor a half-dozen
reread books , first timers only
— but none of these
are the small number in question

i’m 44 & semi-fit-ish ,
if you look at me while
squinting into the sun ;
blood pressure 120 over 80
at the last doctor’s visit ;
my grandparental average age
is 90.9 , & still rising
— but none of these
are the small number in question either

assuming i can maintain
this minimal completion rate
until my , now meticulously
mapped-out , demise ;
& assuming i survive
to at least 80 ; 10 years shy
of my long-living familial median ,
the second assumption
far less likely than the first ;
then i only have 2,376
books left to read in my life!
— welcome to the small number
& the big angst

less than 2 & half thousand!
10,000 new books are published
in english … E.V.E.R.Y. year ;
360,000 during my imagined
remaindered lifetime ;
& i’ll be able to read a measly ;
0.69% of them ; if i’m lucky ;
not counting all the classics
never read but always intending to ;
the books already bought
but not yet dipped into ;
& of course the faves i’d like
to revisit at least once more
before the big shuffle off

hence my goal this year ;
& the next 15 at least ;
to religiously devour
2 a week ; that’s 1664
before i’m 60 ; leaving a lazy
712 to knock off between
then … & 2050
— should be a doddle

*****

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