Child Of My Child
Child of my child,
in whose dark eyes
the generations meet and merge,
and separate again,
and other lives and other loves
have transient reflection.
Yet, here’s an individual so unique,
so different, so challenging, so strange:
or gambler’s throw, or chaos unpredictable,
combined to make this babe.
A character unformed.
But let her be herself alone,
not judged by antecedent mark,
or on potential beauty, charm, or wit,
or skill as lover, mother, wife.
With trust, and chance, she’ll make the best of it.
Child of my child, I welcome this new life.
Night And Day
The sunlight slowly starts to drift in
Rising over the night like its polar twin
Warming the earth with its dazzling white rays
This giant overseer of our many days
As the light takes over the night
There is no unrest, no show of might
For they have long found balance so both can stay
We could perhaps think of them today
As we search for inner balance in every way
We have much to lean from night and day.
The Contentious Bonk, 1788
On Sydney’s shores on February 6, 1788
A travesty occurred where wretched women,
Dressed in rags, were ravaged by
Many historians argue whether it was rape or an orgy,
Smyth, a surgeon on the first fleet,
confuses us as to what happened as his report was vague.
Wouldn't the soldiers, and those in charge of the first fleet, have been able to curtail such acts? After all, not all female convicts would have been immoral.
Where was the reverend Johnson?
Could the women have said no when outnumbered and denigrated by so many frustrated rum-infused males ready to spread their seeds?
Recently an eminent British historian titillated his audience with a smirk while filming a simulated rape inside a tent near the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
As a direct descendant of those who were there,
I felt indignant about the implication that all the women were willingly participating in an orgy.
After all, those women would have been depleted of strength after sitting in a hulk and spending many months at sea.
Was the incident of white woman's first day rape or
Jack wanted to be a private eye,
On other people he would spy
In order to get a licence in private investigation
He had to do a fair bit of education.
Jack found the training to be rather hard
But the day finally came
when he had his business card.
He was staring at his certificate on the wall
When his first client came to call.
She was tall, blonde and walked with grace.
She had a smile that lit up the place.
He motioned her to a chair,
He couldn’t help but stare.
She said her name was Gloria
and Jack thought it suited her well.
He wondered what sort of tale she’d have to tell.
Her smile disappeared as she revealed
why she was there.
She was concerned her husband was having an affair.
Jack said he would do his best to find out if it was true.
Three weeks later and at last Jack had his proof,
Compromising photos that left no doubt,
Jack thought, ‘I bet he didn’t think he’d get caught out.’
When she saw the evidence, she cried -
Jack handed her a clean hanky to dry her eyes.
Three years later, down the track,
Gloria was promising to marry Jack.
This furious day once was mine,
Now withers, dies upon the vine,
Exalted, pure in every breath,
Sweet elixir, in essence death,
Tricks the senses and to lure
one more, for one is fewer,
Last grasp at the vanish light,
Before final closing of the night.
Michael Garrad January 2021
Feel the tremor this last-born day,
Ride with the wild horseman, away, away!
Hear the crumble and tortured disarray,
Dally not in chaos, flee the fray,
Scream descending while snarl-dogs play,
Even fools and soldiers cannot stay,
Carrion hordes, held first at bay,
Came charging, ravenous, without delay,
And smothered mortals where they lay,
In the aftermath, cacophony of grey,
For the rearing steed with corpse and dray,
had plundered all in the final say.
Michael Garrad December 2020
The field sleeps under wisp cover of thistledown,
The breeze, gentle, ripples this delicate overlay,
Souls in hibernation,
The silence, in crescendo, deafens whisper in retreat,
Now the beckoning quickens with passing night,
Souls in ascension,
Slumber shallow as dawn strikes down awesome black,
Souls in harmony,
For in glint of sun, there is new-day birth,
Thistledown eddies in this warming caress of morn,
And this field stretches beneath in lush and splendid growth.
Michael Garrad January 2021
A Day In The Mine
(with thanks to Tony Conlin relaying his story)
He headed to the pit, he had to be on time,
The daily shift would start at half-past six.
He raced into the change room where he dressed
in hardy gear,
It was what he did for daily money kicks!
The lift was waiting for him, full of mining mates, sharing the latest news event.
The cage shut surely on them, like a prison’s metal gates,
With the shout: ‘We’re in!’ they started their descent.
Seated side by side, facing forward to the goal
Where big money, but huge risk, would weigh the scale.
The journey down the pit today would take half an hour
Then they’d feed there to stop their spirits flagging.
They grabbed their tools to start the shift and
headed to the face
They drove machines to break that silent coal.
They scooped it on the moving belt at ever-constant
It was liquid in that dark, but holy hole…
The sweat, the grit, the tiring muscles ached beyond extreme
As they mined into that ever-golden coal.
The more they crushed, the silence hushed each
miner in his place
And achieved a constant frenzy for that goal.
They lived with constant fear of roofing
But the leader kept his eye on overhead.
He pushed them to the limit, then he promised them
Ever thankful that the walls stood firm instead.
Once the shift was over, they headed to the lift,
Where the talk was all about a goddam drink,
Then they yakked within the shower room and
ribbed their mining mates
As the sullied water drained into the sink.
They walked to their watering hole like cowboys
Continuing their macho blokey talk.
Bravado reigned supreme as they finished off that day
By guzzling down that ever-dusty, blackened chalk.
Henry Hellyer (a novel)
Previously: Hellyer, the VDL surveyor, with some convicts, had begun to build the road to Surrey Hills into the bush from Emu Bay, against the will of the company. Lieutenant Barnard, who is ex-navy and also a surveyor, has come to take everyone back to Table Cape. Soon the lieutenant left. Richard and Sandy, both servants to the company, were splitting logs when something like a mouse ran out. Hellyer sketched it.
Sandy looked over Hellyer’s shoulder and said, ‘That’s a good drawing.’ Hellyer nodded.
Sandy continued, ‘Do the blacks eat these animals, sir?’
‘I presume they do,’ answered Hellyer.
‘They trap fish at Table Cape, sir’, said Sandy.
‘They are very adept. Have you cut up enough wood for the fire?’
‘Yes, sir, plenty,’ replied Sandy.
‘Get Richard to help you and then you can cook for tonight.’
‘The blacks, sir…’ said Sandy.
Hellyer raised his head from his drawing and said, ‘What about them, Sandy? I haven’t seen any. They keep to themselves.’
Richard, who stood next to Sandy as he put another log onto the chopping block, said, ‘Not down south, they don’t, Mr Hellyer.’
Hellyer looked up. ‘What do you mean?’
‘They are devious, Mr Hellyer. They are.’
‘I don’t think so,’ replied Hellyer. ‘They are noble savages - pure at heart and I feel sorry that we had to take their land.’
‘No, they’re not, down south, a family gave some of them shelter, food and love. The natives saw this as weakness and one night they came and killed them all.’ A pregnant silence followed where all three contemplated.
Hellyer answered, ‘This might be just a rumour. Some of the escaped convicts rape the native women and sometimes kill the men and also spread diseases.’
‘I hear, Mr Hellyer, that they kill their disabled by hitting them over the head with waddies, also one of twins and some children are being killed if the tribe becomes too large.’
Hellyer shakes his head. ‘If these rumours were true, Sandy, I’d shoot myself.’
‘You are too kind-hearted, Mr Hellyer. For example, Ward and his mate, what's-his-name, they steal food from the company store and you let them get away with it. Just say one word and Richard and I will put them in chains. No need for soldiers.’
(To be continued next month.)
Brave New Year
Yay! A new year has begun .
Hopefully, it is better than the last.
Or will it be same old, same old,
As the one just passed?
Covid still dominates the news.
With experts sharing their expertise
There’s an insurrection in Washington DC.
I am watching it live on my ABC.
It’s summertime, so the temperature is
Queensland has floods and WA is on fire.
This Brave New Year has just begun.
I am hoping it gets better than the last one.
Robbie Taylor Jan 2021