Bedtime Stories.

Books and Art — Bedtime Stories. Little Golden Book Number 2, the...

I stare into time’s eyes…She stares back at me. Actually, it isn’t time as in measurement, it’s my cat..she has that stare of cats seem to she has been born into forever. I stare into her eyes sometimes as she sits on my lap..we exchange knowledge..I have to admit to her that I do not like raw, gutted mouse and she draws the line at chilli con carne…..lose the chilli, she says and she’ll give it a go…but she is partial to a nibble of smoked salmon…then she curls up on my lap and we both go to sleep.

I like bedtime stories….I like the night.

I am the night.

Beware the people of the day,

Their plans, their tools, the schemes they lay.

Beware the people of the light,

They have no feelings for the night.

I am a person of the night,

I bask and wallow in its quiet delight.

I stand drenched in the light of a million stars,

I wash my soul in Celest’s sweet baths.

Night..soft as scented smoke,

Velvet smoothed draping cloak.

Comes, caresses me gentle all around,

Sweet as complexion rain on a Derry Down.

I stand under the sight of a million stars,

Starlight pouring down on me,

Each a whisper in this night,

Each star a story delight.

I am a person of the night,

I bask and wallow in its quiet delight.

I stand drenched in the light of a million stars,

My soul washed clean in Celest’s sweet baths.

My mother used to read me “Lassie Come Home” when I was very young. My mother wanted to be a writer..she did write some short stories and sold a couple too. But in growing up in extreme poverty like so many of that generation from the great depression and the wars, she held her own self and her privacy closely guarded, so she couldn’t be her stories didn’t go deeper than a recalling of anecdote or observation..for to tell stories of a person’s situation, you have to reveal some of yourself…you have to cut out a piece of yourself every time you draw that picture.

But I do have a scratch of a poem of hers she wrote when a teenager in love…it is only a section, but it says a lot..I think..

“Now at last I am free!

Off through the scrub I run

Where sheep tracks only are seen

Nothing but bush and sun

Till all of a sudden I come

Out where an axe swings free.

Cutting, for love and money

The axe bites deep in a tree…”

My mother married that axeman…an Italian interned as an “enemy alien” during the war.. They made a sort of life in the fringe suburbs of the capital city..on the southern hills near the sea…far from the bush and Mallee, far from the Dolomites…two strangers in strange country..but the irony must be admitted in the revelation in the correspondence and account books of my parents after their passing, that while my father sent a not small amount of money back to his parents in Italy, my mother, likewise, invested regular amounts in the Brighton Parish of the Catholic Church…and we kids went around dressed in hand-me-downs…But the Rosary figured central to our meals every night after eating.

The Tide.

Like a sailor old, who watches the tide,

Life’s many moods I do abide…and still I watch,

For there comes a wash of the river flow,

That carries the ebb, what comes and goes.

That “tide in men’s lives” that carries their thoughts,

Like flotsam swept before a wave wild wrought

By wind and storm or by deceiving calm they be brought,

To wreck upon Charybdis rocks or wash up on rugged tor.

Fortune for that sailor who with astute eye,

Will risk the temper of mood and tide,

And call the exact moment makes best to ride.

He casts the ropes that hold him belay,

All wind and storm be no delay.

Yet I and thee, chained to life’s fickle destiny,

Can but watch as the vessel sails away from we,

While idly biding…

Like empty shells scattered on a wide, broad shore,

Awaiting tide and waves also, to move us ever-more…

Anyway, we grew up in spite of our parents…even though they tried to stall that inevitability by sending us to Saint Theresa’s Primary School, to be harangued and psychologically tortured by some sexually frustrated nuns…the “Sisters of Mercy”…I think they lost their “by name” calling somewhere along the line…for merciful they were not!…I still remember one of them..Sister Mary Lawrence..who stalked the playgrounds looking for victims (most prevalently amongst the boys) with a chastising length of jarrah in her hands…growing up as a carpenter, I can perfectly record the measurement of that flitch as around 18 inches long, by 2 inches wide and ¾ of an inch thick…it was marked by having a bevel down each side along the full length…presumably done on Sisters instruction so as to get a better grip when inflicting pain onto a child’s hide!..I can recall one particular moment when Brian Hurley and myself were playing marbles in a “verboten” area of the schoolyard and Sister Lawrence bearing down upon us at great haste with that piece of jarrah held high like a missionary’s crucifix and her nuns habit flowing about her in a voluminous black terror…and to this day, whenever I hear a rendition of Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries”, I am instantly thrown back to that moment of descending doom!  It’s a pity those nuns couldn’t find sexual satisfaction with the priests in the presbytery next door…as I’m certain THEY TOO could have done with some release of tension!

When a catholic priest goes to a convent to hear the confessions of the nuns there, it is said he goes to ;”Dust the Lilies”….the lilies, of course, being the ;”Lilies of the fields”…: The nuns.

“Dusting the Lilies”.

Wither goest thou, Father John,

On such a splendid day?

Do you follow whimsy’s course,

A carefree wanderer…say?

A laugh, a smile, pause a while..

Then, cautious answer, yea..

“I go toward yonder gate,

Under stately blue-gum tree.

There, (with blessings of God)..

I go to ‘dust the lilies’.

To dust the lilies gently,

Lest such petals fade and die.

I’ll embrace their hips,

Kiss their lips,

And whisper a little white lie!”

I blame our grandmother for the almost fanatical adherence to Catholic doctrine…SHE was a fervent believer that converted from Protestantism when she arrived in Australia…why..heaven knows..but I have my own suspicions and in any case, it caused the catastrophe of her meeting and marrying one Richard Hocking…Theirs was to be a tormented, impoverished existence that burned a sense of shame and frugality into the very souls of their children…I believe parents ought to consider very carefully their own state of existence before inflicting any such example upon their offspring.

I awoke in a startled fright

From a dream I dreamt last night.

From a memory so long ago,

I’ll recall the moment as it did go..:

A child, from the pusher,I broke free,

As my mother walked me by the sea.

I broke free to chase a rabbit fast,

Fled a shrub by the sea-cliff path.

I ran as does a child; sudden, swift,

As the rabbit fled over the cliff.

I too stumbled toward the edge,

But my mothers call of fright,

Drew me to a stop just right.

I could see the waves crash below,

She gathered me frightened in her arms…

But now, in this dream I did fall,

Tumbling over with rabbit and all.

As we fell in that slow dreamy way,

Each to each, eye to eye..knowing .

The creature looked to me to calmly say;

“Do not worry, you will not drown”.

But I kept falling, falling, falling down…

Just then I woke in chilling fright

And in that gasping, grasping struggle for sight

I stared and stared into the depths of night.


The stroking of a cat’s fur is so much more relaxing that that of a dogs…the cat is a more tranquil hunts, yes..just like a dog..but it hunts by silent stealth, whereas a dog will in most cases run down its prey and tear into it with force and brutality..and they hunt also in packs..I remember when I was in Rome for the first time around 1980 and the dog-packs were getting so dangerous that the authorities had to organize squads of police to mass shoot so many dogs to cull their numbers.

I like dogs too, mind..I like all animals…but I’ll be buggered if I will ever stoop to eating crickets and bugs for protein!…nah…fuck that!

Anyway, peeps..that’s all for tonight…I’ll read you some more tomorrow…goodnight.

The Beatles : “Goodnight”..











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