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    dots Submission Name: How was I to know?dots

    Author: TD
    ASL Info:    34/f/Aust
    Elite Ratio:    8 - 92/81/21
    Words: 397
    Class/Type: Poetry/Misc
    Total Views: 719
    Average Vote:    No vote yet.
    Bytes: 2251

       This was a challenge from a friend – a poem that tells a traditional Australian story without too much flowery description (yes, he actually said "flowery"), without any references to flora, and doesn't require getting inside my head. Well, let's just say I tried …… will wait for the verdict :-) (must acknowledge that it feels a bit like a bushie verse, but given the challenge, I found it hard to depart from that)

    Also, FYI – for those non-Ozzies:
    * bloke = a man
    * Nambour = Australian town
    * Brisbane = Australian city
    * two bob = old Oz currency, roughly 20 to 40 cents
    * to bum a ride = to get a ride for free / to get a lift
    * mates = friends
    * kids = children
    * divvy van = police vehicle / wagon
    * Kingswood = model/make of a car
    * Govie = Government

    Make the font bigger!! Double Spacing Back to recent posts.

    dotsHow was I to know?dots

    Dad was in the ground only three weeks when Mum and Betty waved me off;
    It was the end of the farm, so Betty later said.
    The bus out from Nambour took its time, though I'd called the depot months before;
    There ain't enough miles once you've closed one of life's doors.
    And I met this bloke in Brisbane, he gave me two-bob everyday
    For driving round a lorry; it seemed I had it all my way.
    And two-bob goes real far when you're a young bloke, so they say;
    How was I to know,
    that I had a debt to repay?

    I started hangin' with a local, Vic, and his mates,
    We'd bum a ride from his dad, a '51 Chevrolet,
    And park near the tennis courts, whistlin' at the girls as they walked by,
    And two-bob a day took a short walk, as I was easy prey.
    Her name was Laney, and she had bloke in the wings,
    But I'd be damned if I'd let that hinder things.
    I showed her the town, while she showed me a wedding ring,
    And before I knew it I was thirty, driving lorries for what it'd bring.

    There I was with six kids in tow; and Laney long a drunk,
    I'd been in and out of pubs for months now,
    Dragging her out before divvy van came–
    I knew better than to ask for her boyfriend's name.
    Then a letter came in the post (and Laney left for good),
    So I bundled the kids into the Kingswood, and made for the old neighbourhood.
    Betty had only written two lines, I guess she did what she could.
    How was I to know,
    that mum'd pass before she should?

    Dad never told me about the god awful burden I would have to bear
    And I never thought he'd killed himself because he was scared.
    I wish I had have asked him then what it was that he feared,
    How was I to know,
    that it was all he held dear?

    And now here in my faded chair, with a Govie pension plan,
    The evenings pass by without a word as I grip a warm beer can;
    And who's this bloke with wrinkles I see every now and then?
    How was I to know,
    that I would be an old man?

    Submitted on 2005-11-06 08:52:14     Terms of Service / Copyright Rules
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    1: >_<
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    ||| Comments |||

    Interesting poem, i swear you must have the blood of some 19th century bush poet running in your veins. You always seem to write these pieces from the male perspective too, i find that perpetually intriguing, always the hard working unassuming male with a silent burden and a partner who is uncaring, or lost in their less noble concerns.

    I like it a lot though, but i think that it could do with a little spit polish here and there. The intermitent rhyming sometimes works and sometimes doesn't for me, mainly it does gel when the rhyme is too obvious. It's the subtlety of this poem that is its most powerful aspect and poor word choice spoils it occassionally. I can't really be arsed picking out the bits though (i will say pension plan, beer can shat me the most - i would work nicely just dropping the can). Another nit pick that i do have to raise - '51 Chevorlet? I thought we were in Queensland here where the EH or the FJ? (classic old Aussie cars for those others not hip to the lingo).

    Back to the real issues though, i really liked how you raised do many questions in this poem, you paint such a rich picture without spelling out all the details. I'm sure i'd probably drive others made but i liked it. I'm talking specifically about the obvious unanswered questions - what the dad held dear, the final fate of the farm. I could interpret these in several ways, but they way i think you may have intended, and the way i like the best, is the theme of mortality. The fear of seeing things whither and die in front of our eyes when we can't do anything about, this is always the most poiniant when it is ourselves and our lives work.

    Watch me wither and squirm 60 years from now.

    | Posted on 2005-11-08 00:00:00 | by Abzy | [ Reply to This ]

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