Enemy Squadrons

Down our driveway waft
enemy squadrons of invisible
fungi spores bombarding
my garden, my neighbours’
motley leafed maroon and
green pittosporums, the
demure viburnum out the front.

Armies are entrenched along
the front hedge surrounding
the little front lawn; blotches
of curly leaf, powdery and
sooty mildew severely oppress
those poor sad dulled leaves.

The front flats’ gardening man
was outraged when I asked
if he sprayed that depressed
overpowered hedge. It remained
defeated and overpowered
after he had gone.

That spring I sprayed the gardens
the hedge. Lush foliage spread
upwards and outwards all along
our drive. The viburnun
crowded out its front garden.
In summer the bees returned.

Now the gardening man is
far more frequently trimming
rampant vegetation around
our front flats.

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Enemy Squadrons

Two Young Lads

Two young lads, ten and six
carried Dad’s bags down the
lane to the horse drawn tram
running along the main road.
Mum sent him away for he
drank all his wages, left nothing
for his children or new baby.

After his illness the doctor
had prescribed for this fine
husband upstanding church man
that standard remedy, stout
to build up his strength.

Working in that colonial town’s
port office everyone saw his
shame, her humiliation. Now
he would sail the Pacific
on trading ships, die
in a foreign port.

This devout churchwoman
swallowed her pride, went to
the mayoress’ committee for
the indigent, accepted their
charity until her sons’s wages
supported them all though
it stuck in her craw to beg.

Two Young Lads

Sickly

Before World War I our Dad was
born sickly, retained little food.
“Arrh !”   said Uncle Jimmy
“they’ll never rear that one !”
He told the family often, Dad’s
siblings reminded him too,
baited him as he grew stronger
throughout his school days.

Lean and wiry, he survived
long weeks on naval rations for
six long years of World War II
……scant limited rations.

After war’s end he mostly ate
plain food, no sweets cakes or
biscuits, no ice cream or fruit.
Sometimes he craved fried foods,
On Friday nights out with his
mates he ate fish and chips,
pies and fritters, then made
long dire sounds in the toilet
at home,  late at night.

At 87 Dad wanted to tell
Uncle Jimmy he was still
alive, but Uncle Jimmy
had passed away at sixty
such a long time ago.

Some of Dad’s grandchildren
and great grandchildren have
serious dietary disturbances.
Was he lucky to survive ?

Sickly

Night Time Phone Calls

From city to town to city
I moved over the years.
“Our address books have
so many entries for you !”
friends and family exclaimed.
Some of them moved often !

I used to visit long distance
now energy and funds curtail !
Instead I travel in cyberspace
on skype and long distance calls.

Late night chats strengthen long
time bonds as we talk of those
we know, share our news, come
up to date with each other.
Children, grandchildren, funny
moments in daily lives, sadness
and grief for those around us,
genetic time bombs taking
us by surprise.

So we build each other up
take strength from these
late night network connections.

Night Time Phone Calls

Handwriting

My newly purchased town
house stood on its back section
in newly built splendour.
Its letterbox read “114A“.

After unpacking, settling in,
weathering Christmas and
New Year, my rates bill
was truly overdue. The
council office was puzzled
on the phone, so I took my
documents to their offices.
A senior man checked their
records, assured me
my number was….”116A”  .

In those days of handwritten
documents over thirty years
ago a hurried “4” could
become a “6”.  We agreed
that this had happened here.

If I change my number
again, I said, my mail will
all be “returned to sender”.
At the council man’s
suggestion I wrote a
letter to the council.

One month later I was
officially …… “114A“.

Handwriting

Bathroom Window Sill

Toothpaste shower gel shampoo
line up along my bathroom
window sill with the bath plug
to remind me that I bought them.

My previous bathroom purchases
were forgotten all tucked in
around the large pack of toilet
rolls, boxes of hair dye, packet
of razors jammed in against
the outlet pipe in the tiny
cupboard under the hand basin.

Now they all stare at me
as I enter the bathroom.
I know I won’t forget them.

Bathroom Window Sill