I fell in love once. I was twenty-one...
on shore leave from our boat in Sydney Harbour...
woman’s face reflected in a window...
beautiful. One glimpse and she was gone...
Odd thing to tell a girl just turned thirteen,
but I knew he needed dreams and some escape
from nappies, our small house,
the boring civvies’ job.
He drank barley wine, and talked about retiring:
I’ll read Shakespeare when I’m sixty,
go exploring; we’ll strike out across the moors!
He died at fifty-two.
I see him striding out across the dales,
The Complete Works, quite well-thumbed, under one arm.
He’s off to Robin Hood’s Bay where he was born,
to board a boat that’s bound for New South Wales.
We weren’t alike – you’d never take me for his daughter.
No time for dreaming – I’m a doer, me.
I’ll leave this room, this glass of wine and these stale
I’ll strike out somewhere soon. You wait and see.
If you have any comments on this poem, Annie Fisher
would be pleased to hear from you.