Joyce Delivers the Flowers.

salvation jane.

“Joyce Hartingdale .. Secretary” the writing on the triangular wedge of wood prominent at the front of her desk was written in bright, gold paint. It was there the first day she came to the job at the office situated at the front of the “Shoebridge Furniture Factory”. A job she had come all the way from Manchester, England for…well…it was not just the job, but she had applied for the secretarial job while home in England, fresh graduated from the secretarial college where she had seen the advertisement seeking young ladies to come to the Australian colonies for a bright, fresh life…or at least that is how Joyce saw it… and she took it.

The telegram from her mother back in Manchester sat on the passenger’s seat of the Morris Minor 1000 sedan she was at that very moment driving out to the country town of Kanmantoo so as to attend the funeral of an obscure uncle who had just passed away.

“ Uncle Stan has died”. The telegram started “ Funeral at Kanmantoo Ch of Eng 1pm. Fri. Chance meet family..go!” ..and it was signed : “Mother”.

Joyce, having no friends before she came to this new country, was keen to make contact with those distant relatives her mother had told her lived in the country there..and what better way to introduce oneself than at a funeral..She had her Mothers telegram handy as a note of introduction when she arrived at the church.

It was nice of Mr. Shoebridge to allow her the day off to attend the funeral, and considering that she had only been employed for one month, it gave credibility to how high her secretarial skills were held in the office. In fact, the whole experience of her new life in the antipodes was working out just fine..the weather was much to her liking, the job was a breeze considering her long years spent in training in the cold corridors of the Manchester college and her flat in the western suburbs by the sea was so comfortable with its own little patch of garden that she had every intention of planting out with her favourite flowers just as soon as time allowed.

It was the thought of that flower garden that brought her thoughts right down to earth with a crash!

‘Flowers!” she exclaimed out loud.. “I haven’t brought any flowers!”

The suddenness of the arrangement for attending the funeral, the buying of clothes and instructions of how to get to Kanmantoo from the kindly young man next door threw Joyce’s thoughts for flowers right out the window. Now here she was, out in the countryside, barely a few miles from her destination and only now has she thought of flowers..What could she do?

Fate, at this desperate time had smiled upon Joyce, she decided, for there, not one yard from the verge of the road, was a veritable paddock full to the wire fence of the most brilliant, beautiful purple flowers, resplendent in their fulsome healthy bloom..

“They must be a native species” Joyce concluded as she pulled to the side of the road, for she had never seen such resplendent flowers before. She gathered a bouquet of these blossoms before she threw caution to the winds and gathered a large number more..

“Why not?” she reasoned “be generous”…and she rummaged for a slip of ribbon in the glove-box and tied the volume of flowers into the most bright, fulsome bouquet. “This’ll make a splash!” she pouted in satisfaction…and though she could not add a card of identification of the gift of the flowers, she consoled herself that it would take little effort to enlighten anyone who asked.

Upon arrival at the Church of England chapel, Joyce was obliged to find a park away from the gathering at the front and park the car around the side of the little church. It was apparent from the glimpse she saw of the minister at the door, there was intent to soon start the entrance to the ceremony. Hurrying out of the car with her huge bouquet, Joyce saw the side door to the church ajar and peeking in, saw the coffin on the bier with many bouquets of flowers on top…she quickly slipped into the empty church and placed her bright purple fronds amongst the dahlias and gladiolas and other blooms there, snuggling her generous purple bunch right on top in the middle..Satisfying herself the bunch was secure, she hurriedly slipped out and made her way around to the front of the church to try and meet some of the other mourners there.

As Joyce made her way around to the front of the church, she couldn’t help but notice here and there along the fence-line of the church yard, those very same flowers that she had gathered into her bouquet and placed on top of the coffin and she was wondering if she had been a tad overzealous in her gathering so many into a bunch..

“Coals to Newcastle.” She pondered…

Joyce moved close to a couple and smiled..they smiled back..and she just coyly introduced herself as ‘Joyce’ ..a distant relative…a niece..The couple smiled back. Then Joyce tried to break the ice a bit with some light conversation about the purple flowers along the fence-line.

“Those purple flowers are quite pretty now, aren’t they?”

“The Salvation Jane?”…the lady replied.

“ that their name? ..I..I didn’t know…from the city, you see…” and she smiled her secretarial smile..” A lovely name…most suitable to the occasion, one might say.”

“Hrumph!” the lady snorted ‘Good job old Stan is no longer around to hear you say that!..’Patterson’s curse’ he called ‘em..a blight on the district!”

“Oh..they troubled him?..Was it hayfever?” Joyce inquired.

“Hayfever!?”..the lady pulled her shoulders back ”Hardly…You mustn’t know what old Stanley Knowles did for a living all these last twenty five years..he were the council weeds and pests control were his life’s ambition to rid the district of them purple curse!”

“But they are everywhere..” Joyce quietly exclaimed..”He hardly was a success story then.”

“You can blame that on those lot over there” the lady motioned to a group apart.

“And they are?” Joyce now wide-eyed asked.

“The local Bee-Keepers and Honey Distillers Cooperative…Every time Stan pushed for greater effort and funding to really get stuck into the Patterson’s Curse problem, they’d come out swingin’..’cause they depended on the flowers in any off season and drought..But they weren’t deep enemies for all that and now they come to pay their neighbours do.”

An awful realisation of doom was starting to descend upon Joyce and she was almost at the point of making a dash around to the side door of the church to remove her bouquet from the coffin when the minister made a call for the friends of Stanley Knowles to come gather inside the church for the service.

It only took a little while as the congregation settled into the rows of pews in the chapel that someone noticed Joyce’s bunch of Salvation Jane (Patterson’s Curse) sitting proud as punch on the very top of the collection of funeral wreaths and bouquets on the coffin of the local council’s recently deceased weeds and pest control officer. Things moved pretty fast from that moment on.

A cry of exclamation heralded up to the rafters and it took only a little guess before the obvious conclusion for this gross insult upon a dead man’s reputation was laid upon the shoulders of the ‘Bee-Keepers and Honey Distillers Cooperative’ and the rest, as is so often recorded in moments of public disorder where accusation and abuse colours what should be a sombre celebration…is history.

Joyce did not wait to see the outcome of the fracas, but at the first cry of outrage, she deftly slipped out of the chapel doors and hastily making her way to the trusty Morris Minor 1000, she was already in third gear as she shot out of the gate onto the main road back to the city. The introduction to the country cousins would have to wait till another day.





Ode to Women’s Beauty.

Ode to Women’s beauty.p1000234

Speechless and numb, I gazed on her beauty there,

Her limbs, her hands, her soft flowing hair.

Her voice the whisper of an angel’s prayer..

SHE..roamed her eyes over the banquet fair,

The roasts, the salads, the fruits so rare,

And of my adoration, just so….au contraire.

“There is so much beauty before us here ,

It is so hard to decide….you tell me, my dear,”..

She said..”What to you is the most desirous fare?”


[ Perhaps I should explain this poetic burst of feminine adoration…especially after all, in this time of “men behaving so very badly”….In a week I will be 68 years old…I have truly reached the end of that “Autumn” of one’s life, and as I go toward that inevitable “Winter”, that three score and ten.. I am just thankful of having reached this time and as we all do when we reach this age, we have seen revealed to us most of those “mysteries” of life…those “magician’s tricks” of fate that have confounded and affected us through all these years…but there is ONE living “mystery” that, thankfully, has eluded my comprehension…and eluded me in the most delightful and sweet way…and may it ever be so…. : Joe Carli ]



The end of stories.

Image result for old script on paper pics.

I can remember exactly when that feeling came over me that here was one of those moments when, through some “native intuition”, you can feel that it is the ending of an era…a passing of a moment in time when something important is being lost…

I was at my aged mother’s house doing some regular maintenance..I am a carpenter and her house, built by my Italian father just after the second world war, was a hotch-potch of scrounged materials and added-on-as-needed rooms that now, some sixty years later was a veritable endless loop of patch-up and maintain.

My mother was quite old at the time…she is deceased now..and I was there having a small lunch after doing the jobs..and it was at the moment when I was spreading some honey on a bit of toast that I remembered something..

“Mum….do you remember telling us about that old chap back there in your Mallee days, who used to raid those honey-bee hives in the hollowed trees and he had a big square tin of honey and comb mixed that he used to give you and your brother and sisters a scoop of honey and comb in a twirled cone of wax-paper when you went past on your way to school?”

My mother was fussing around over at the kitchen sink as I asked..fussing over nothing in mothers seem to be able to do..

“ Oh, yes…old Charlie Rhidoni…yes…I remember..”…she had looked up and now went back to whatever she was doing.

“Yeah…I suppose that’s him..if that’s his name”…I continued..” You oughta jot that little story down so others can read of what life was like out there in the Mallee in those days.”..and I bit into my toast.

“Ah…nobody’s interested in those silly yarns anymore.” Mother absently remarked.

“I don’t know..” I persisted..”there are so many I remember you telling me of those the Italian men at the charcoal burning camps near the Murray River during the war, where you met dad when he was interned there…and that old German man who carried a small pebble with him every time he crossed the river because he couldn’t swim…an’.. (here, I paused, hoping my mother would pick up and run with the yarn…but she didn’t) ..and he did so because he said the little pebble represented his soul..and if the punt started to sink, he believed that if he could throw that stone to the closest bank and it reached the bank, he would be saved..but if it didn’t and fell in the river..he would drown…That’s a good one too!”

But my mother just kept at her business in the kitchen sink, neither acknowledging my enthusiasm nor exhibiting the slightest interest in my I had to catch her attention..

“Mum…?” I called to her gently.

“What?..Oh yes…they may have been interesting then, but people are busier with other things now..There’s mortgages and car payments and the cost of living and all that…even IF they have a regular job now..they don’t have time for some old stories of olden times…nobody’s got time anymore for old stories.”

And that was the end of that.

But as I sat there, I could feel like an essence of spirit was escaping from me..a losing of that muse of enthusiasm when YOU are the only one showing keenness in an idea and you have to let the feeling go. So I didn’t press on with the conversation…but I sure as hell could feel that at that particular moment, an era was passing from my grasp..

It saddens me at this moment to even write about that gives an ache to my body..for now, my mother..both parents to be exact..and all those earlier generations I grew up with in those times…grandparents and their friends, Uncles and Aunts ..have all gone and with them passed away a record in oral anecdote and short tale all those wonderful, colourful, terrible and tragic snippets of stories of when work, home and childbirth was an enormous struggle with life itself..just to survive..just to make ends meet..especially if you came from the place where my folk came from..and so many others of that class of people.

So I have written them close as I can remember them having been told to me..I have written them down, but now too, I am getting old..and being a recorder/writer of no note, I am certain those stories will die with me. There is not many in my immediate family holds great interest in either story, anecdote or the times and the people. It is like a whole episode of the past has been boxed and sealed off and put up on the dead-storage shelf to be forgotten.

I have written of that old man with his pebble crossing on the punt on the Murray River .. …I have written of the birth of my Aunty in a smaller punt on the river whilst my grandfather wrestled with the mid-wife who was trying to trick them out of the birth-endowment money from the government.. ..  I have written story and tale of love affairs and loss in the Mallee..  story after story of that generation who had so little that they would be willing to take a chance on WHATEVER came their way..truly courageous folk hardened in the wars and a great depression..Their everyday events taking on a almost mythological epic…like the story of old (now long deceased ) Alma suddenly breaking pregnancy waters at home with no-one around to help her with the birthing save her own thirteen year old son…who had to act as mid-wife to the birth of his brother…story after story…moment after moment..I cannot empty the pail for them..the stream of stories is unending… .. For me, I will persevere while I can maintain this isolated enthusiasm…I work on alone.

But not for my mother…her enthusiasm for a past was being slowly squeezed dry..where once there was enormous enthusiasm to write of the world around her, I could now see that the weight of social responsibilities in trying to raise six children in the city suburbs drained the last bit of creative energy from her and she sacrificed her story-telling ambitions for the duties of a hired domestic cleaner to wealthier ladies who could afford to pay (so little) for time to persue THEIR own pleasures. Here is a little of her writing :  .

I remember she paused at one moment in what she was doing at the kitchen sink and spoke out to her garden outside the window there..and in that last mention of the subject, in that hiatus of forever, what she said sent a shiver through my soul and I could hear in the emptyness of her words the passing of time itself and a portend of the possibility of my own loss of connection to the past…

“No…no-body’s interested in those old things anymore…there comes a time, I suppose, for the end of stories..”

The Vanishing Door.

Though pleasant enough ;

These days of wine and roses,

When the wash of an evening sunset

‘Purples the fleece’d horizon.’

And yet..yet..does this doubt seep

Over me, like the fevered shiver

Of an approaching cold.

I have everything..and yet the

Small freedoms I have traded

For some obscure security

Seem to hark back to me as whispers

From behind a wall..or door!

A vanishing door!

Through which passes every thought,

But I stay.

I see them vanish, but I stay.

Last night’s dreams..I’ve forgotten,

Yet , I still feel I enjoyed them so.

Gone, with my youthful memories,

Through the vanishing door.

And even the door soon will close forever.

But I fear;.I will stay…

Into a future darkly.

It won’t be long before Australia has one of the most important Federal Elections of its times. This next election will determine if the nation thrives or totally collapses into a miasma of hate, cruelty and economic and social degradation … seriously, it is that important.

The problem we must face, is that if Labor DOES win the election, will it be able to restore all those now destroyed safety-net systems and authorities that held our society together, or will it even want to restore some of the more political intrusive authorities of governmental oversight that were conveniently removed by a criminal-mentality LNP govt’?

It has to be admitted even by some of the most obtuse and biased commentators we are all familiar with that both parties now cosy-up for warmth to middle-class ideology in border security, law-breaking punishments and economic manipulations … plus quite a few other of those petty personal insecurities that plague the middle-classes in the early hours of the morning … like ; “Oh! .. did I get those tax receipts for my investment properties off to the accountant yesterday?” … little things like that … ”Have I run out of under-arm deodorant?” … worry, worry, worry ..

What WE of the peon classes, who seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in just producing things rather than profiteering from them, will need, is to see created by our demand, with any new governance .. some in-situ authorities that consult us and our representative unions on the need to assess and implement those large industries that encourage mass employment, mass apprenticeship training for the future, secure and permanent job prospects for the peon-class to support a family in dignity over the long term and to re-instate those essential public utilities that keep the cost of overheads down so that every working household can save for those unexpected costs like annual holidays with the family by the sea … that .. unlike the middle-class politicians .. they cannot bill against the State as “travel expenses”.

Alongside those reclaimed public properties, will be many Royal commissions that will be necessary to get to the bottom of all those LNP/Media/ fellow business travellers swindles and criminal activity, plus, perhaps, the odd case of treason against the State and the people and those crimes against humanity .. little oversights that can slip under the radar of human decency in ANY LNP government. Then there is the ICAC investigations that will keep a legion of jurists flat out getting RSI injuries just from the ticking of guilty boxes and also the need to open a completely isolated branch of Social Security staffed with psychiatric tag-teams to deal with those now poor, poor middle-class political folk who are finding the “falling from grace” criminality convictions depriving them from a once toothy-jocular café-latte sipping coterie to a now unemployable “dole-bludger” class just too, too difficult to face.

Frankly, I just don’t know how they are going to manage it! …

I have spent years and reams of ‘E’ paper writing of the need to transfer the “perceived right” of that one deluded class to govern and administer the nation to hand over to the correct and capable producing class … but I have grave doubts if this will happen in just one term of governance … I suspect I will be kept at the keyboard for a few more summers yet correcting the translations of ruling-class buffoonery that has claimed idiocy as its sage, stupidity as its guide and the God : “Boor-Ing” as its muse and wit.

Strange, now when I reflect on it .. that as a young man I was mistakenly enthralled at the rich, idle chatter and the casual dropping of lines of poetry for succinct if abstract explanation of a moment’s required response by a class of tertiary educated punctilious poltroons whose company I kept in the days of mud-brick houses and “hand-woven cloth” scarves and ill-fitting jumpers … The sort of voluptuous conversation I could not join in with due to that lack of further education and a limited vocabulary … (having left high-school to start in full-time employment at age fourteen) … a seemingly easy-spoken, loquacious fruit of delight from those middle-class hippies that I envied not having …

I even remember one sultry Summer’s evening, a group of them gathered around a small, crackling fire made from the off-cuts of a post-‘n’-beam frame I was building for one of the group’s “muddys” .. and these high-educated dilletantes were taking turns in memory quoting stretches of poetry … one by one they sang the lines of some well-known verse .. Banjo, Lawson, Slessor, Adam Lindsay-Gordon .. etc … till it came to my turn … I didn’t know shit! … except one little thing and I apologised and said .. :

“I only remember one short poem from my youth, and THAT is from a Donald Duck comic … :

“Twinkle twinkle, little starfish … How I wonder what you are fish.”

My effort was not met with any serious consideration nor mirth .. and unfortunately, the one lady there that I would have liked to gotten to know in a more “familiar way”, now did not want to know me at all! … But they are like that .. the middle-classes … if they can’t use it, abuse it or make a pet of it, they discard it.

Their way of life, actually!

Funny though, when you think on it .. there they were .. these troubled oracles of taught wisdom, full to the gills of quotations rote-learned at the feet of their tutors and all marked and passed with heavens knows what degrees on the strength of it.. and there I was doing all the hard yards building their houses … and not knowing a worthy line of elocution nor poetry … and now .. here am I, writing reams of stories and poems myself! … and heaven knows how much wasted knowledge I place on these blogs, learned at the feet of working-life experience and god only knows where THEY have all gone to .. I have never seen one of their names on Twitter or on blog sites .. perhaps they are now all doing courses in “building practice and theory” and finally doing something useful … But in reality, most probably ensconced in some “leafy suburb” filing their tax receipts on investment properties to send to their accountant.

But hey! .. that’s how it goes.

Bring me no roses.

Bring me no roses, on this sad day.

No fancy words, no bright eulogy, pray.

Bring nothing but your tears,

Your regrets and fears..for what has gone awry,

And what is now come into play.

My people are scattered, their works repealed,

Their strikes, their rights, their hard-won wages reviled.

Their lives of toil and camaraderie forgot,

Traded away as an auctioned lot,

Along with their “crude and clumsy jot”.

Their fumbling demands for rights at work,

Dismissed by “class-less” finishing-schooled dolts,

With soft, crème’d hands and a tongue that is forked.

No..bring me no roses on this, such a day,

For I am still weeping for my lost comrades..

Give flowers to the “pretty people” as they go about their play,

The soft, sweet scent will hide the stench as they betray.


The working class Australia I grew up with is gone…dead..replaced with a younger, new class of risky-financed middle-class aspirants of part-time/casualised.. barely anybodies.. that, I have to confess..I have never seen SO ambitious to clamour toward such radical mediocrity.