Saturday, November 7, 2015


You can sue me
For the little money
I have left -
That tiny amount you missed
The last time
You had your hand
In my pocket.
But my memories
Are mine to keep.

Those little chairs in Sunday School,
Set in semi-circles.
A mother ironing on a cold night,
And giving flannelette pyjamas
A quick going over before
Her children put them on,
And she'd cook curried sausages
With steaming long grain rice -
Sending our minds
Somewhere hopelessly exotic
Where people ate this way everyday.
A father coming home
With T-bone steaks
For Saturday's barbecue;
And sheep’s hearts for the corgi,
Who ate them in one gulp.
Dozens of football fields,
Where the known world was conquered,
Except when we lost
That grand final at Windsor,
And we sobbed
In the visitors’ dressing sheds.
School teachers
Who knew about books
And how to open them
Just the right way.

And the tragedies,
And imagined remedies:
Two tiny boy babies,
Sluggish and slow,
Now starters
In Heaven's back row.
They'll have played
Thousands of matches
By the time their father arrives
To lock the (competitive) scrums;
And ten thousands more before
Their little brother slots in at dummy-half.

And hard lessons:
Learning to live with shame and disgust
When a lady discovered
That knights on white stallions
Were just as often cowards
Who could be replaced.
Burning out in a shattered career
When the crooks won.
Rejections and deceptions
Upon reaching out
From the flames.

But there were also times
Of silliness and laughter,
Learning her language,
And discovering our heartbeats
Sounded out the same dialect.
Marvelling at her speaking Spanish like a local
But mumbling French like a Spaniard.
A Scottish sword dance,
Her toes missing
The imaginary blades
By magic more than mere skill,
And the bagpipes playing their usual overkill.
Netballers who warmed up for their games
By braiding each other’s hair.
A happy little rugby player,
Scoring every time he touched the ball,
Joking that it was in his blood.
Debating teams and speeches,
And the praises of her teachers.
Seeing the world
Without being seen,
Exam marks and graduations,
New jobs and new places.
Talking about Shakespeare,
Discussing Rand and Friedman,
Puzzling over the Middle East,
Driving lessons and beach walks,
Cheering on our team -
So many losing seasons.

Yes, you can sue me,
But don't be surprised
If I thank you.

Thank you
For reminding me
What is really important.

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