poem: Fifties


Clip clop clip clop – the early morning horse
And cart delivered milk. We played board games,
Computers just a dream. We kicked balls
In streets that knew no drugs. Post-war was slow
And simpler. Now the pace of life is faster.
The beach and Brighton village small, uncrowded,
Not like the throng and queues and four wheel drives
That fill the streets today. Our gramophone –
You had to wind it – played sev’nty eights; Mad Dogs
And Englishmen, Lone Ranger, Tonto bowing
And scraping. Life was good for us – as kids
We never knew how rich we were, with war
And rations not long gone. My father, tough at work
And politics but kind to us; with Menzies
And Bolte fought the dreaded reds, kept blue
In power so long. His business grew, we left
The flats to find a grander home; my mum
So happy, though dependent – cause of quiet
Malaise. Could all those dresses compensate?
My brother Peter’s short unhappy life
Has scarred us all. And secrets were the way
To deal with tricky facts – like Jewish cousins
Unknown to me until discovered late.
My sister Kim got diabetes too
But had to use denial – bad mistake,
And likely due to all that secretism.
So on I went to private boys school – not
The way to learn of girls, for future bliss.
The school was big on winning. I, to match
My dad, did well – big fish, small pond. And yet
I think I peaked too early. Science the god
In those days. Winning also leads you on.
The other god was lost to me – church schools
Require too many hymns and prayers. Success
At school caused reticence about success
In general, maybe. On to Medicine.


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