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?

  1. St.V. Beechey.