She moved into a smaller flat
near town, less to clean, closer
to work, better surroundings.
For over thirty years she had
earned her living, brought up
her daughter, cared for her grandson.
Now in her fifties her body
is giving up its active life.
Her family’s genes puff up
her asthma, weaken her lungs
with increasing infections.
Her fading heart strains to
walk beyond our letterboxes,
she has to drive her little car
to hospital, doctor, supermarket.
So hard to lose her independence
have the chemist deliver her
prescriptions, neighbours put
our her recycling bin, weed
and prune her little garden.
But her family’s genes fade
out in their fifties.
Another ten years on the
sickness benefit until her
old age pension starts.
She cheerfully invited herself
to stay for my one week holiday
as I had done to her in the past..
She was recovering from a long
hospitalisation, looked forward
to a carefree holiday.
We explored my local region
on daily trips, enjoying cafes
under bright blue sunny skies.
On her last night she invited me
to dinner at a place I chose.
I knew she was thanking me
for a fantastic holiday week.
Our excellent meal lived up to
the restaurant’s reputation
both main course and desert.
Just before the final coffee
a ten ton broadside –
she pressed me hard to join
her now in her new church’s
worship, following Jesus.
I accept the right of others to
choose if and how they worship.
She does not allow me that right.
Having done what she came
to do she departed next day.
In youth her presence and
intelligence shone brightly
in her professional career
in her singing and playing
in local music groups
in her buzzing social life.
At 44 a rogue vein inside her
skull burst, its damage finally
repaired by eleven hours of surgery.
At length she slowly moved again
staggering, then tottering at
last walking more steadily.
Her brightness, her music evaporated,
she at last married the man in her life,
her rock for the next twenty years.
Now in her Christian church she
sought support for her unsteadiness.
At their urging she worked to
convert long time friends and family
to her church, both in town and
over long distance phone calls.
Each year they continue to refuse
her faith, her man has died.
Her calls become more pressing,
more despairing, pleading with
them to join her in Jesus,
to be together in heaven.
We have not joined her.
From an early age I feared
the dental clinic drill with its
high pitched scream bringing
piercing pain to my quaking tooth.
My loud howls and wriggling
displeased the head dental nurse
who brought my mother into the
room spoke sternly to us both.
From then we paid yearly visits
to Dad’s dentist with his huge
needles of local anaesthetic.
Less painful for me through more
pain for Dad’s besieged wallet.
In the twenty first century
new horrors have come forth.
A screen showing x-rays of my
heavily capped filled teeth.
Another screen showing video
of my mouth, with a view
of my fillings from above.
Australia New Zealand Army Corps
landed at Gelibolu on a little
Turkish peninsula in the Dardanelles
on 25 April 1915. They called it
Vast numbers of Australians and
New Zealanders died there under
Turkish gunfire obeying orders
from their British homeland.
Since 1923 on 25 April both
countries have commemorated their
war dead in all the wars since the
Boer war at little local memorials
to big city memorials with military
parades, returned servicemen, medals
bands, wreath laying, all at out
ANZAC Day services.
Now police say our red alert status
makes it unsafe to hold all our many
services. Our police can only guard
some services, we must go to larger
services guarded by armed police.
Many wanting to commemorate
their fallen ancestors at home
are deeply distressed.
White supremacist neo nazis, for so
long discounted, attacked us in
Christchurch seventy two years
after WW II. Will they return again ?
Refugees processed through Red
Cross, United Nations crossed our
vast ocean to this distant little
country seeking to live in freedom.
Among them, the first Muslims
to arrive here, their numbers
growing as their children were born.
Our active vocal racist minority
rejected them, attacking women
wearing hijabs, headscarves.
The Friday after the mosque
shootings, many non Muslim
women wore hijabs, headscarves,
bore the brunt of the racists’
poison, especially white women.
In a group interview a young
Muslim woman did not feel right
with hijabs worn for non religious
reasons. A middle aged Muslim
woman felt well supported by
many wearing headscarves, hijabs.
Another young Muslim woman
laughed, was happy for each woman
in the world to make her own choice
of headgear, welcomed the wearing
of it for any reason.
All three made their choices
freely, were appalled that
some women are compelled
to wear or not wear their
Muslim women’s headgear.