Retirement Flat

This little flat is my home
now I live on my pension.

Three bedrooms worth of
household contents reduced to
two bedrooms worth for storage
while I worked abroad
my boxes and furniture now
packed in so tightly
it’s hard to squeeze
from room to room.

Square by square
in this Rubik’s cube
I ease contents from boxes
into cupboards and drawers.
The Salvation Army
take the overflow.
I empty bookshelves,
move them again,
return their books
to their shelves.
Daylight comes through
windows as I take boxes
down from sideboards.

I am slowly fitting into
the glove of my flat,
the sleeve of my pension.

First posted 17 March 2016

Retirement Flat

Suddenly Retired

Suddenly I am retired
back in my hometown
after toiling for a living
in other towns
in other countries.

At sixty five my chances ran out.
No other employer would take me on
with referees far away or long gone.
The community expects I will now
live on my pension.

I move into my new home.
Social Welfare give me
forms to fill in to say
I live alone at this address.
They say I will have
a living alone allowance
added to my pension.
They are paying me not to work.

I had always expected
to work part time while
living on the pension.
Now the young unemployed
are hired first.

What will I do ?
It seems only yesterday
that I sat in the library
covering books, gluing labels
fifty years ago.

It’s happened so fast,
what to do now ?
With thirty years to go ?

Originally posted 1 March 2016.

Suddenly Retired

Night Shift

With our company always on call
we were rostered on different shifts
though some did only night shifts.

Some of us died young,
under retiring age.
All those who died within
my ten years there had
only worked night shifts
for at least several years.

Doris had a brain tumour
Enid had stomach cancer
May had lung cancer
Alf had a massive heart attack.
Young Jack was medicated
for seizures. He went to
sleep one night for ever.

Relief workers came in
each time staff attended
yet another funeral.

We all knew those who passed away
had spent so long on night shifts
yet no one questioned it.

I do wonder
are our bodies
chewed up turning
day into night
night into day ?

For some do not survive night shift.

Originally posted 13 March 2016.


Night Shift

Call Centre

A huge office is
crowded with desks
clacking computers
headset people
transacting on telephones
with faceless callers
who can not see them
on this free call number.
The callers must explain
their business to
faceless operators
who can not see them.

Hapless operators let loose
on a hapless public
after a few days’ training
must remember many pages
by rote to repeat back
relevant sections to
their baffled callers.

They must follow
the company script
with no exceptions
to what the company
has publicly advertised.

Originally posted 11 March 2016.

Call Centre

The Last One

A bright sunny church
with soaring rafters,
vast windows unlike
Ada’s childhood church
did not lighten her desolation.
Outside traffic roared through
the busy suburb evolved
from the beach side village
to which Ada had retired
after her husband’s death
nearly thirty years before.

In several pews sat the senior
citizens’ club, so young to be retired.
Those Ada had first known
in that little village now
all laid in the cemetery.
Only Rosie and Ada had been left
to ring each other every morning –
“I am well …. how are you ?”

Now Rosie’s children, grandchildren
filled more pews to farewell her.
Ada had no children only
a few relatives scattered
around the country.
Who would come to Ada’s funeral ?
More parishioners filed in,
young and middle aged.

Ada sat in the back pew,
in a foreign land,
her own country folk gone.
So many vacant birthdays
and anniversaries of people
no longer there to inhabit
them only their ghosts
surrounded Ada.

First posted 6 March 2016.

A bad virus and then family matters
have taken up my writing and blog
reading times, so for the moment I am
posting earlier poems for early 2016.








The Last One

Changing Landscape

Green lawn and lush vegetable
gardens sprawled beyond Nana’s
windows and French doors,
surrounded by lush leafy trees.

The lawn sprouted daisies until
mowed, and a random spread
of dog toys ignored by their
elderly owner but still thrown
by hopeful grandchildren.

Silver beet packed densely into
a dark green mass, carrots sent
up a delicate feathery forest,
thick dense heads swelled
from cabbages and cauliflowers.
Strawberry plants covered their
own patch, covered themselves
by black stretchy bird netting.

Nana’s weak heart can no
longer nurture this garden.
The contractor mows grass
over the old back yard.

Changing Landscape

He Is Gone

She rang me from her home
at the far end of the country.

“He is not here,” she said.

“Is he in the hospice ?” I asked.

“They take me to see him
at the hospice every day.”

She said no  more
did not answer me
hung up.

I wrote to her instead.


She rang me from her home
at the far end of the country.

“He is …. he is …. ” she said.

“I am so sorry  he is gone,”
I replied.

I persuaded her to tell me
who stayed with her
who cared for her.

The small private funeral
he requested spared her
much distress.

They are helping her
supporting her at home.

But he is gone.

He Is Gone