On my first night there. The R.S.L.
Signing me in with grandfatherly pride. Tattered
remnants of old Christmas decorations stir limply
from dusty rafters. An architectural monstrosity
Early Scout Hall, Clusters of cronies prop the bar
and past presidents, in faded gold, challenge the Roll
of the Fallen. He proudly displays Australian disrespect
for rank. “C’mere Jacko you old bastard – son – meet the Major”
and I murmur politely while they fight old battles and get
excited about Lawn Bowls. He takes me for walks in the beech woods
Autumn for his Autumn and the leaves are falling like his hair.
He is striding on, impatient with young city slickers.
Poor old bugger, I gasp up the hills, Doesn’t he know he is old?
- St.V. Beechey.