Australia Calling Home
I remember burning beaches and the rush of salty waves,
I remember long cool drinks in the shade of old tin shacks.
There were dusty tracks through bushland to hidden mountain pools,
And brainless boys who lived to tell of leaps from walls of rock.
We grew to slicked down teens on the hunt for bimbo blondes,
And our rusty hurtling cars were the terror of the streets.
We were careless of the hard bright sun, of booze and friendly smiles,
Then fell for love, the fix was in, Australia was our home.
(Port Macquarie beach, NSW; image courtesy of www.sydney-australia.biz)
.. for other examples of Thor’s poetry, see Time Passing
SATURDAY AUGUST 13, 1994 – A SMALL KISS, AN ODD DREAM
Dreams are tufts of cloud in the blue-black yonder. One second you almost have them, the next you have tumbled a thousand metres through space into another wooly concoction. Is the truth so insubstantial? She was small and grubby and freckled. If all little girls are meant to be cute, she was the one god forgot. She stood in my way with fierce determination, pulled me down, and said in a tiny voice “I love you.” Then she kissed me lightly on the lips.
We seemed to be in the hallway of some kind of apartment building. There was a sense that her mother had drifted in with another lackadaisical one-night-stand, and that for no particular reason I was the only person around who looked like a reasonable human being. No I don’t know what it all means. Only that a very few dreams have a long aftertaste.
This longish poem, Seventeen in 1962, is a pretty accurate description of my first job in Nundah, Brisbane, in 1962. I was a stranger in the city. My family came from around Sydney, and had just retreated, nearly bankrupt, from a failed migration to north Queensland where southerners were unwelcome. The bitterness of tone persisted for much of my first ten years in unskilled jobs after leaving high school, partly perhaps from disappointment after having topped the school academically, then colliding with the incomprehension of working class parents and the indifference of general Australian culture. The people I knew or met seemed to resent intellectual curiosity. They wanted to be respected vegetables in a very small garden plot. As a complete outsider without money or any social skills at all, it was a friendless time.
Seventeen in 1962
The wait was over, the growing done,
Just the filling out to come;
Time of promise, time to fear,
First job, be-clerked, minnowed and shoaled
With the eight o’clock tide, be-tied.
And the manager, Minikin, said marry yourself
To the company, boy-man to be made;
Tuck in your shirt and swear
Here will be done as your elders have done,
Let all debtors be blessed, amen
And wipe the smirk off your face.