poem: Sir John

Sir John

Sir John – he was my dad, but Bill to all

His friends. A rich and varied life he led,
Right-wing and tough, but sensitive. Grew up

In Brighton – World War One had just begun

When he was born. He starred at football, joined

The Saints while working hard at Preservene,

The family firm; but then came World War Two.

Enlisted, fought in PNG until

A faulty parachute or just bad luck

Meant hospital for two long years. He read

Karl Marx while lying there, was not impressed

So joined the Libs, and rapidly became

A star in blue. While on the mend had met

His future wife, our mum, and she was cute

And very much a woman of her times.

He fought the commies, unions too, with Bob

From DLP; he cleaned the party up

And set the Libs on track for many years

In power. He spent some years as President

Then Treasurer of Libs Victoria.

He ran his own small bus-i-ness: imports,

And came to be ‘the bagman’, raising cash

From business, keeping Libs in front.

We lived in flats in Brighton; family life

In fifties Oz was pretty good. We kids

Knew love, were never short of food or all

The stuff that makes the country lucky, but

It all became less wonderful when Pete

My brother sickened, later died, with years

Of struggle in between for parents not

Accustomed, not in any way prepared

For such a challenge; Dad was more a man

Of action than adept at handling rage

And bad behaviour from a frightened child.

He had the love of wife and t’other kids

To help sustain him. I was often far

Away at studies, work or overseas.

His loving daughter Kim and Aud, our mum

Gave strong support. His firm did well and mum

Was kept in manner she thought fit. The pain

Of wounds of war would dog him all his life,

But live he did to eighty-eight and then

He quietly bade goodbye, just faded out,

Away. I loved him and respected him

And though we were of different hue in talk

Of politics, I think he felt the same

For me; to show affection not his thing.

Whatever were our differences, our dad

And mum both loved us; that is really all

That parents need to do. Vale Sir John.

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at about 75

at about 60

at about 60

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