On my first night there. The RSL.
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 breast 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 1”
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 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?’

H,St.V.Beechey.

1982