Poetry 2 Pt3 My Way Tour – Outback then home.

At the township of Wauchope, a bit down the track,

Cricket’s a great relaxation.

Should a ball fall upon the roof of the pub,

All adjourn for a generous libation.

The batsmen all aim for the roof of the pub –

While the game’s on they all drink alot.

The fans and the players at day’s end, in fact,

Are quite rotten and stinking and shot.

One day o’er the grandstand a fellow was draped:

His face had a horrible twist.

An odour of beer killed the flies at ten feet.

He was totally Mozart and Liszt.

Ted Hill who’d stopped by, sought further advice;

“Pray, who is this beer=sodden wreck?”

His informant said, “Well, we’ve been playing three days …

… And this is the Umpire, by heck!”

“How utterly crude,” said Ted. “Surely the cop

Who looks after the law around here

Could pick up this joker and shove him in jail,

Thus removing the odour of beer.”

The man said: “The thing is, this Umpire you see,

Whose smell alcoholic won’t cease,

Is also a much valued townsman. He’s our …

… Representative of the Police!”

Lest you should think that we’re rough and uncouth,

Our tour had it’s cultural side.

In Darwin we studied the farming of crocs;

At Katherine – The Gorge! – High and wide.

At Alice the work of the old pioneers

In the Centre, in great isolation,

Was brought to us clearly. We marvelled how they

Had helped to establish our Nation.

We were slated to visit the great Standley Chasm

Where dingoes ferocious are found.

Ted said: “Now Marj, please … Just a quick word …

… Concerning your playful pet hound.”

“Just keep the Blue Heeler on heat do you mind …?

Oh, my Gawd … That’s all wrong … NOT on heat!

Just keep him away from those wild dingo dogs.

Make sure he’s chained up to your seat!”

“Forty long years have we two been wed,”

Said Marj, “and it’s quite plain to see …

… The bugger’s a wild uncontrollable dog.

Why, he worked for the old PMG!”

Once more a Casino – At Alice this time.

Spend a bit! Why not lighten your packs?

If you hold on, tenacious, you know that mendacious

Public servants will take it in tax!

The pokies spewed coins. Jess shouted: “I’ve won!

The casino has come up with pay dirt!”

A frenzy gripped Jess – She pressed coins in galore

But she lost the damned lot plus her Tay-Shirt.*

*Irish for T-Shirt

Noel Fullarton’s place has camels galore;

Each one of us got up to ride ‘em.

It’s a toss-up which sight is more greatly bizarre –

The camels or people astride ‘em.

Mavis the elder, leaving her beast,

Staggered bow-legged over the course.

She looked like a cowboy who, riding the range,

Has been sitting too long on his horse.

But Mavis the Younger sat up there in style;

She really deserved a medallion.

Quite clearly she felt for a moment as if

She was home on her thoroughbred stallion.

The camel boy helped Irene down from her steed.

(He told her his mates called him “Andy”.)

She cried: “Oh, my God! This is all that I need!

I’m sure I’ve gone totally bandy!”

The Roll of those heroes who got to the top

Of Ayer’s Rock shall now be set out:-

Melva and Nevill, Bev, Barry and Mavis –

The stars of our Rock Walkabout!

Regarding Ayers Rock it was Bob who came up

With a scheme both bizarre and original.

“Do away with th climb. Put a flying fox in.

Help the oldies and folk aboriginal.”

Most of our Mob took a flight round The Rock

And The Olgas … In glorious weather.

Kids in their teens flew our flying machines

With expertise and no effort whatever.

We had a short sip at the red Sunset Strip.

Then as sunset gave way to the night,

The huge … colour-changing … great bulk of Ayers Rock

Slipped softly and gently from sight.

Coober Pedy’s next stop … The weather stays fine …

Everybody is having a ball.

With these few brief words your Scribe now signs off.

Thank you Ted, thank you Baz, thank you all.

““

We finally enter a township of dust –

Immense mullock heaps all around.

“Coober Pedy,” in fact, in the old native tongue,

Means:”White-man-in-hole-in-the-ground.”

Men toil just like moles beneath the brown earth.

Will the hard rock its jewels ever yield?

Houses and churches are built underground

In the world’s largest known opal field.

Our coach stops outside the Umoonah Mine

And inside we all of us trundle.

The opals displayed are so sparkling and bright

Each one of the guys drops a bundle.

The girls on their fingers have opals like fire,

(And for all that I know on their toes);

Each guy has a dazed sort of look on his face

And an overdraft wherever he goes.

Barry and Ted checked the nightclub at Coober;

They thought that it might be a ripper.

They said that the girls were all A-One Okay,

But completely wrote off the male stripper.

The ladies cried, “Ted, why can’t WE come along?”

Ted said, “Girls, now please … I’d be HUNG …

If I took you ladies to a show out of Hades …

AnyWAY… You are ALL … Far too YOUNG!

“Old ladies I’d take … OLD ones have calmed down …

But NEVER young ones in their prime.

There could be a riot ‘cos none of you girls

Is older than sweet thirty nine.”

Coober behind us, we’re out on the road,

Just like a southerly buster.

Before daylight fails we shall all have arrived

Way down at the Port of Augusta.

Nelson and Jess toddle often up front,

Inventiveness never yet waning.

Jess tells us yarns of galahs in the toot,

The Blue Heeler’s most entertaining.

The bus gave a jerk. Ted said: “Listen, Jess, love –

If your hand on my knee starts to roam

I must tell you, my dear, I’ve now spent damn near

Two full weeks away from my home.”

Jess said: “That’s enough of your nonsense and stuff!

Just give us no more of that bosh!

The bus jerked; had I fallen, then Teddy, old boy,

You’d have gotten one hell of a squash!”

“The trouble with men – they can’t help it, poor dears,

Is – giving no reason or rhyme –

They lose their docility, get full of virility –

And think it’s once more Christmas time.”

It’s far from surprising that Nelson is known

As Professor and Surgeon of Trees.

He has lectured on this and on Blue Heeler Dogs

Upon which he shows great expertise.

Remarkable trees are the type “Never-never.”

(They’re not found in any museum).

Nor are they found in any place else,

“Cos you never, but never can see ‘em.

At the Port called Augusta we’d beds soft and warm;

Our sleep was calm, sweet and profound.

The exception was Bev, who’d not slept a wink.

(She denied Bill had chased her around).

We crossed Spencer Gulf, drove through Horrocks’ Pass,

Had a comfort stop at Orroroo;

(An old fashioned town with horse hitching posts,

And a ballroom-sized gentlemen’s loo).

We pulled up for lunch at a wild one-horse joint,

A place that was called “Mannhill”.

But anyone hoping to find manna there

Must have been some sort of dill.

They locked up the pub, refused us their toots,

Would not even give us a beer.

Ted said to the boss: “Your rotten pub stinks.

Be sure that we won’t come back here.”

At Broken later a banquet chinese

Was eaten, and Oh! What a feast!

With chopsticks deployed everybody enjoyed

Exotic delights of the east.

Certificates issued to all on this night –

To those who were Ayers Rock ‘On-toppers,”

Who’d travelled the long north-south bitumen road …

And those who were just “Chicken Rockers.”

Why, even those chaps who looked once at Ayers Rock …

And gave up! … (Is this reprehensible?) …

We’re given a prize! … For of everyone there,

Those chaps were the most bloody sensible!

After drinks, with The Heeler a few sallied forth

To start the Club pokies a-bleeding.

A defeat quite complete set our crowd on its seat,

And our dough got one hell of a kneading.

But never mind, folks! – To Dubbo next day,

By way of Cobar and Wilcannia.

At the long journey’s end – a first class motel,

A warm shower, a cold beer … Rule Brittania!

Presentations were made by Ted to us all.

(Barry distributed prizes).

Weddings and birthdays were suitably marked

With cakes of all shapes and sizes.

We made presentations to Barry and Ted

Who’d done such a wonderful job.

Many were those who expressed the good will

Of the guys and the gals in our Mob.

Happy we’ve met, most happily been

Together o’er half of our land.

Much laughter we’ve shared and many sights seen,

From the south to the Timor Sea strand.

Advance, then Australia so beauteous and wide,

Source of our deep inspiration;

Home of our people from so many lands –

But one indivisible Nation. 

END

Poetry2 Pt1 My Way Tour – Toowoomba

“MY  WAY”   TOUR,   JUNE, 1988  –    

TO   DARWIN   AND   BACK  –  

Jim Foxon’s  Meanderings.

—————–

The worst night of my life I spent ‘

Twas on the eighth of June

‘Twas worse by far than when I went

Upon my honeymoon

~

The wife was up and down all night.

(It wasn’t what you think).

The waterworks were quite all right.

We’d never had a drink.

~

Upon that morn at half past five

We had to catch a bus.

So mother stayed awake all night.

What a bloody fuss!

~

For SHE kept ME awake as well –

Nearly drove me barmy!

Brought back all those awful years

That I’d spent in the army.

~

And when we got out in the cold

Of morn – stars in the sky!

‘Twas cold enough to freeze ’em off!

Oh my, oh my, oh my!

~

But when we climbed aboard the bus

So mis-er-ab-le still,

We both thawed out a little bit.

We met a Ted called Hill.

~

The red-rimmed dawn came up and Ted

Unfurled the Aussie flag.

“Sing loud the National Anthem chaps –

No one’s allowed to lag!”

~

“Just sing, and don’t salute,” Ted said,

“The bus is rather jerky.

If you stand up and then salute,

You’ll fall head over turkey.”

~

That night up in Toowoomba

We all sat down to dine.

We’d had a session in the pu

With Fosters, Scotch and wine.

~

Thus while we exercised the fang,

No one was really stinking.

Yet still and all there’d been a bit

Of fairly serious drinking.

~

So when the girl who was in charge

Told jokes of love and lust,

We all sat back and held our sides

And laughed out fit to bust.

~

Toowoomba – Garden City    

Of Aussie’s Sunshine State!

To say it’s merely pretty

Would greatly under-rate.

~

The neat, attractive gardens

The eye continually meets,

The bright and lovely houses,

The wide and sweeping streets.

~

Then on to Miles, a well kept town,

With Pioneer Museum. 

Were all such things so well concealed,

Most folk would never see ‘em.

~  

In central Queensland Roma is

Where boab trees abound.

They line its dusty, faded streets,

Misshapen, portly, round.

~

At Charleville straw hats appeared, 

Fitted by Baz and Ted.

The fitting was a trifle weird,

But each lid found its head.

~

Yet there’s a price we have to pay

For anti-sun protection.

Our hats are marked with “Tours My-way”

Er…….”Myway Tours.” (Correction).

~

We saw the Stockman’s Hall of Fame –

Queen Liz was at this spot.

From miles around the people came;

The sun was flamin’ hot!

~

When she was asked just how she felt

The Queen said, “Well, of course,

My anal pain recalls the taim

When I fell orf my horse!”

~

In central Queensland towns, you know,

All people far and near

Will only wash in water, but –

They drink the Fourex beer!

~

In Winton’s pub I said: “Now mate –

Your water’s rather strong.

You pump, I guess, outside the town,

From some old billabong?”

~

“This water, mate,” says he, “don’t come

From any billabong. 

It comes from DEEP BELOW, and hence –

The bloody awful pong.”

~

“I must confess,” said I, “that beer

Is better…Even stout.”

“Good-oh,” he said. “I’ll order two!

And don’t forget…Your shout!”

~

We’re taking off for Darwin now.

Say, just how does that seize ya?

Darwin! – Lovely northern jewel!

The next stop…Indonesia!

~

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Poetry 1 To Irena

Although you always did deplore 

My frequent locking of your door,

With gentle, kind and boundless tact

You pardoned this egregious act;

And swore – despite my mortal sin – 

You’d save me from the loony bin.

Should I grow frail and get the flutters

You’d keep me from the House of Nutters.

And I — to show that I’m true blue –

Will do as much, my dear, for you. 

Ch13 Epilogue and poetry.

This is not the end of the history of the Foxon Family. Hopefully it is only the beginning of our story in Australia. The rest lies in the future, and is unknowable to me. All I can do is to wish those future generations good luck.

I am pleased about one important thing. Although our ancestors, through no fault of their own, knew hard times, we have escaped. We have escaped from the back-breaking toil, the telltale blue scars, the lifelong slavery of Yorkshire company coal mines. We have escaped from the squalor of the East End of London and from the contemptible isolation of the European ghetto. We have escaped from the physical poverty engendered by lack of money. And we have escaped from the spiritual poverty of ignorance. In Australia, the slate has been wiped clean. What we now write on that slate is up to us. If we go back to poverty or regress to ignorance, the fault is our own.          

The next generation, provided we can be blessed with peace, has the opportunity of a better life than any before it. What they make of that opportunity lies within their hands.

Progress depends partly on ability, partly on work, and partly on luck. But luck, after all, is when opportunity meets preparation and preparation involves perseverance. So above all, one’s success depends on perseverance and preparation.

The world becomes ever more crowded and complex. How can one make sense of the pullulating human ant-heap?

Once I had a goldfish pond in the front garden. The algae, nourished by sunlight, provided ample food, and the happy fishy residents bred up from half a dozen to over a hundred. It was interesting to see how the awkward, exotic fantails decreased in number and reverted to more basic forms – survival of the fittest! There must be a lesson in that!                             

One day, fifty yards down the road, a Council workman sprayed some weeds with poison. A zephyr of wind deposited a few droplets of hormone spray in the pond. Over a period of a week the fish slowly succumbed and floated white and lifeless to the surface. 

So it is with humankind. A nuclear holocaust, a melting of the ice caps, a tilting of the earth’s axis, a collision with a lump of matter from outer space, the explosion, or the collapse of the sun ………..One day our planet Earth will become the communal “Vernichtungslager” of us all, and it won’t matter a rap whether we are Christian, Jew or Muslim, white, black or brindle, fish, fowl or reptile. As more of us realise this, the Theatre of the Absurd gains added significance. But it does not supply any of the answers.

Actually, nothing has changed. All men are cousins. That is biologically demonstrable. We all live, and we all die. We must survive as long as we can because that is our inborn nature. And we must live together and seek happiness, for happiness is the ultimate goal.

But first we must have sufficient food and shelter ………For who can be happy in the cold with an empty belly? These things we must obtain for ourselves and our families. And that means continuous effort and the acceptance of responsibility.

My Yorkshire father and my Cockney mother believed that all should work and do the right thing by each other as far as possible, remembering that in the last analysis one has a sacred and primal duty to look after one’s own family. 

In this connection my father said to me many times, “If a man has children with a woman, he should never leave her, or them.” I believed him, and I still believe him. I might add that in my view the same strictures apply to a woman, and the only possible excuse to break the union in her case might be extreme and unbearable cruelty. Many of the modern generation would disagree, I know. It is easy for articulate moderns to juggle with words and show that licence and self-indulgence are permissible and even intelligent, while duty and responsibility are unnecessary. It only worries me that in sowing the wind, they may in later years reap a whirlwind in a delinquent and unstable society.

Did I say that we should seek happiness? Of course we should. But true happiness and an integrated society can only come from the acceptance of duty and responsibility by all of us.

One could now enter into a lengthy and extremely boring dissertation on religious morals and political philosophies and hypocrisies, but enough is enough. My descendants will decide of their own accord whether they wish to be socialists, Marxists, capitalists or opportunists, Catholics, Shmatholics, Protestants, Jews or Callathumpians. All that has no importance, provided they are good people.

I have one regret in my life. I wish I had spent more time with my children when they were young. But, too often, I was working overtime, or was too upset or worried to be able to give more generously of my time. Children are our greatest treasure, and we have them for such a short while. I hope that my own children learn from my mistakes. 

Oscar Wilde said somewhere: “As they grow older, children judge their parents. Sometimes they forgive them.”

I wish this for my grandchildren and great grandchildren all down the years – that each one of them may become what Irene’s mother, in Yiddish, would have called a “Mensch”!  A Mensch is a courageous, well-balanced person, able to control every situation with intelligence and strength of character.

If I were ever elevated to the English House of Lords (a very remote possibility!) and had to look for a family motto, I would have emblazoned on a scroll the words of Edith Piaf, the French nightclub singer. She had known great poverty, being literally born on a Parisian sidewalk. 

With typical Gallic economy of phrase, she said: “C’est pas une honte d’etre pauvre, mais c’en est une de vouloir rester dans la crasse!” – It is not a disgrace to be poor…But it certainly becomes one if you are prepared to remain in the shit!”. 

…Now there was a Mensch!!!

When Irene and I came to Australia in 1949, I looked from Caringbah towards Sydney one night, and was inspired to make one of my rare, mostly disastrous, and always incautious incursions into verse.

I might finish off this memoir with those lines.

Before doing so, I should explain that in those days “Displaced Persons” was a euphemism for a refugee from a camp in war-torn Europe. “New Australian” was a term coined by the Department of Immigration to distinguish those Pommies and Reffos who had only recently arrived from the other Pommies and Reffos, (now dinky-di Aussies), who had been in this country for at least one generation. The term “New Australian” had an honoured currency for many years, and in some fashion might even have helped to weld together those of different ethnic origins into one Australian amalgam.

Well ……………here comes the poetry.

                          Silent suburban Sydney, softly folded in the star-shot fog of night…

                          What other being of some far-off time gazed upon a similar sight?

                          Perhaps some dark-skinned hunter on his nocturnal way,

                          Perhaps some exiled convict stared as I across the black of Botany Bay.

                          I too am exiled from the land where I was born,

                          And my heart too is by a sweet nostalgia torn.

                          Yet this is pure illusion, I suspect…

                          Because all things – the good and bad – are good…in retrospect.

                          The squalor, slums and class distinction one forgets.

                          Time heals the festering wounds…then one regrets.

                          Yet this Australia – just another land for me – 

                          Shall for my children and their children “Homeland” be.

                          Here Displaced Persons, once denied the right to live,

                          Their strength, their talents and their sons, shall to Australia give.

                          The dreaming, red-tipped bushland gums shall start

                          Then to the muted thunder of a nation’s heart.

                          And we will build within this southern space —

                          We Britons, Greeks, Italians, Poles – a new Australian race.

To survive, my children, that is the object, to survive without hurting the other fellow any more than you have to. Perhaps, with luck, in this new country, we may do a little better than survive.

So good luck to you all – family, friends and readers of my tale – and very much love.