EAST COAST HOLIDAY'S 1972


Up, crack of sparrows,
fun week ahead,
Mum, dad, brother, me.
Rice Crispies at dawn,
three sugars in your tea.

Pile into Austin Morris,
sweat box on wheels,
steamed up windows,
it’s an automobile ordeal.

Boot packed to gunwales,
Bed linen, tinned food
Forget the rear-view mirror.
Going back to hand-signals


Dad, stressed smoking JPS,
Mum in a flap with massive road map.

Off we go!

Twenty minutes..

Are we there yet?

One hour...

I need a wee!

Park in a lay-by,
pee behind a hedge.
Tupperware and flask
hard boiled eggs,
potted beef rolls.

Dad has another fag,
mum dunks the tea bag.

Back in the sweat box,
Legs fused to vinyl seat,
Brother plays “spot the Austin”
Car begins to overheat.

One hour..

Another hour.

Scenery a blur...then, Mum says....

“Look, Bec there's the sea”

Hurray!

Lunch makes a comeback!

Windscreen gets it!

Dashboard gets it!

Mum and Dad get it!

Annual holiday
Fun week ahead
First day spent in
Camp Laundrette.




MY FATHER’S HANDS

My father's weathered hands
worked wood into boats
for wealthy people with time
on their hands.

His treasured chisel smoothed
and defined rough timber into
exquisite pieces of art that belied
the red and swollen joints
of his knuckles.

My mother took her small rough
hands and rubbed my father’s fingers
with liniment to loosen his joints.

Yet, despite the pain,
his large hands swathed mine
as I struggled to control my first kite,
wrapped their comforting roughness
around me when my child-tears fell
and when I became a man,
guided my hands as he passed
on to me the grace and artistry of his trade.

And when we faced the horizon together,
the waves freezing our bare feet,
his warm hand anchored me to the shore.

On his last day I wrapped my hands
around his gnarled and shrunken fingers.

He smiled and said,

“Time for me to set sail lad.”

I weighed the anchor and let him go.
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