The Last Day of Jonothan Andrew Potter.

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The Dying Gladiator.

Jonothan clipped shut the lock on the double doors of his workshop…he then paused with one hand still clasping the large padlock..he was looking at that lock…but in truth, not really looking at it, but rather in deep contemplation..if asked of what, he could not was just a momentary fixated stare at everything and nothing…he woke from the trance, shook his head and made his way to the parked Ford sedan and drove home to his flat on the ground floor of a three storey block of units in the suburb of South Brighton.

The usual habit of Jonothan when arriving home from work was to go to the fridge, extract a can of beer, sit in his big lounge chair strategically placed at comfortable distance from the television, and with remote in hand search through a familiar mental list of channels until he found something satisfactory to contemplate while he tossed down two cans of beer before a sketchy meal of supermarket purchased pre-cooked was heated up in the microwave oven.

This night was little different from a legion of others that fell one after the other in a repetition that would be considered a futile, boring existence except that it was a lifestyle totally fitted to one such as Jonothan Andrew Potter as his social life circulated out from his workshop where he met customers, salespeople and varied people who made their way to the big double doors of “Centerline Tooling” a one man show for precision manufactured tooling instrument repair and service.

Since the early morning, Jonothan had been feeling “off colour”…and it was with a heavy head that he fell into his chair that evening, his ill feeling sedated by several aspirin along with a third beer to settle the dull ache in his was in this state and with a half consumed lasagne in its packaged container while he being serenaded by a streamed repeat episode of Midsomer Murders that Jonothan dozed off into a deep sleep….a sleep vividly coloured by strange dreams.

This sleep was to be Jonathan’s last sleep as he would pass away this evening.

If we look to the small coffee-table to the right of Jonothan’s hand, we will see two things that were instrumental in the ending of this night. The first of interest is a wad of final notices held in a bulldog clip…these final notices were descending order of dates..the landlords of a) the leased workshop space informing him that if due rent was not paid by the end of that month, he would be void of the workshop and a padlock put on the big double doors..b) the landlord of his flat there on the ground floor where he now sits was arrears in rent and if such were not met in sixty days (dated one month previous) he would be evicted according to regulation…etc, etc…the other final notices were of lesser importance to having a roof over his head, but still would be disconcerting to his well-being, coming from the household energy provider, telephone and internet provider and gas supply…in short, Jonothan was snookered..

For several months there had been no work save the odd small cash job that didn’t really even cover food and petrol bills..the world of disposable technology had caught up to him. So when Jonothan came home from the workshop that evening, he took several cans of beer from the refrigerator, settled himself in front of the television and with a decided, set look on his face proceeded to settle the question of his situation.

Which brings us to the second thing of interest on that coffee-table, a white plastic tablet bottle labelled with a particular type of sleeping draught that he had persuaded his GP. That he badly needed as work was so busy, he needed to sleep solidly so as to be able to meet all his contracts…Regardless of the GP’s reticence, Jonothan had obtained those tablets in the white plastic container that now lay on its side devoid of contents…the last of the cans of beer sat half full next to the white, empty pill container…it would soon go flat.

But for the while as sleep took temporary command of Jonothan’s mind, he started to dream..

He dreamt he was sitting on a short column of sandstone somewhat at the edge of what appeared to be training arena for a young man riding a bay horse..the boy was quite young and being given instructions by an man dressed in a long toga, who gesticulated with each instruction of heel and toe necessity of where to touch the horse’s flank…Jonothan lifted his eyes to see on a plateau in the distance, above a white city bathed in brilliant sunshine, a temple that he could easily identify by its famous name..The Acropolis..except in this dream it was complete and shining brilliantly on the plateau above of what he was now certain was Athens..He showed not the least wonder as to why and what he was doing in this place..all was as it should be.

Jonothan stood as the young boy on the horse rode over toward him ever so slowly…they faced each other and the boy turned in the saddle, pointed to a small temple at the edge of the training arena that Jonothan hadn’t noticed before and said..

“You have to go there..” and that was all he said.

Jonothan was surprised at this instruction as he had never met either the boy, the man or had been to this place before but somehow it all seemed normal and natural that he should obey the boy’s he got closer to the small temple..really not much larger than a wealthy family’s mausoleum..the man too pointed to the door of the temple and said..

”you’re late..they’re waiting inside”..

Jonothan opened the solid door of the temple and entered..and the room had changed already to a square with beige coloured flat, plain walls and ceiling but with four doors of normal size in the centre of each wall….the big entrance door had disappeared..and when Jonothan turned around, there were four people standing, one at each of the doors..yet he had not heard nor seen any of them enter..All four wore the long togas of ancient Grecian personages…all this seem so normal and not at all out of place. Jonothan looked to each in turn and then asked.

“Why are you here?” for he thought they all looked familiar..

“Because you’re here”….one answered..and Jonothan was surprised to see a young woman of around sixteen years old..then he recognised her as the young woman he admired way back when he was an apprentice and would catch the morning train to work and she would be there three stops before he would get off..and for one whole winter and into the spring, they stared at each other across the baggage-car compartment, filled along with all the other workmen standing there in dead-pan silence…but they only had eyes for each other. Unfortunately, their mutual shyness stopped them even saying hello and after that summer she never came on the train anymore..Jonothan was heartbroken.

But now here she full exactly the same dress as back then..white stockings, red shoes,  short , white woollen skirt, a red jacket over a pale top with her long-strap small red handbag slung over her shoulder and an extremely cute red beany over her blonde hair…Jonothan was enthralled to see her again.. he made move to go to her but another voice spoke to him..

“Jon?”….Jonothan turned to look behind him and there stood a woman in her thirties..of short stature, very curvaceous with a bob of thick, red hair..

“Diedre!?” Jonothan answered. “ I thought you were gone a long time ago…I was twenty five years old.”

“And I was thirty five..but that didn’t matter…at least not to me.” And Deidre gave him an exaggerated wink. “but then you ended it by going away from me.”

“You were married…to a policeman…he could’ve killed me if he found out.”

“I wanted a child!” Diedre protested..”..and now here we are…it’s still not too late, Jon’…you can stay with me now”…Indeed, she looked as inviting as the first time he had met her all those years ago..

But then another voice called his name..

“Jonothan Potter!” the voice of the nun was stern and chiding..” Jonothan Potter! know you are forbidden to play in that drain!…come here!…this instant..stop dawdling and come here!” Jonothan could see the cane in her hand..he had felt that cane before……and another place..with another woman..Maria Rosa was suddenly there in place of Sister Mary Joseph..and instead of the flowing robes of the nun’s habit, was the tight, black leather-lacework of a corset that allowed little to the imagination but so much to the excitement of the moment..

“You know what you must do, Jon..let’s have no more whining and have done wrong..”

“Hold your hand out!” Sister Mary Joseph scolded…Jon held his hand out and swiftly felt the cut of the cane across his naked buttocks…it was very painful..but in a soft, sweet sort of that he knew he was paying the debt of his he kept his hand there while Sister Mary Joseph again brought the cane down and then suddenly there was Maria Rosa with nothing on bar that lace intense yet sympathetic, almost pitying expression on her face looking down at Jonothan as she brought the cane down in strategic, measured strokes..each with a “whip” sound as it cut through the air..Jonothan writhed in ecstatic pain under the professional domination of the dark-haired beauty of Maria Rosa..and as he knelt there in contrition on his knees, Sister Mary Joseph was whispering sweet words into his ear..and there were the Stations of the Cross on the walls all around the room

“‘Look!” she said, “look how they laugh and mock our Lord Jesus……..” Jonothan’s eyes all wide and staring at the horror of the gore and blood on the crown of thorns and the leering faces of the torturers.  His hands clasping and wringing in fear and horror…He clung to the habit of the squatting sister as she related the means of cruelty inflicted on the body of the Son of God as “He suffered for our sins here on Earth…He suffered for us..” her eyes alight also with the self-inflicted emotional pain of the scenes she described. The young nun then proceeded to instruct Jonothan in the ritual of the journey through The Stations of the Cross..she would say the Leaders chant :

 “We adore thee O Christ, and bless thee.”

 Then she would ask Jonothan to repeat after her..:

 “By your holy cross Thou has redeemed the world”.

Then Sister Mary Joseph softly told him a little maxim of life ; “As a child, we sometimes feel alone..sometimes others do not stand up for me when I am picked on and help me Jesus to be strong and protect me in thy light”.

On the habit of Sister Joseph, he touched to feel the heavy-starched white cloth parts of her cowl as she cooed , as with a lover’s breath, the corrupting words of indoctrination into his ear, wondering why it was so sharp…he knelt by her side and felt the heavy wooden beads of the Rosary belt that wrapped around her waist then dangled down the side of her habit-skirt..He was mesmerized at the large, pendulating black cross that swung against her breast as she leant down to him, now voluminously exposed under the loose cloth to his enthralled vision.

Jonothan looked up as the caning had stopped and he was met by a woman in a long gown who informed him that there was a person here who claimed to be his mother…

“who are you?” he asked…

“I am your Aphrodite”…the woman answered and gave a little smile.

Jonothan looked to a dark side of the room that had now become circular with a row of Doric columns around the perimeter…an aged woman in soft knitted clothes approached him and he was now dressed again. His mother reached for his hand and frowned at the welts left there by the cane… completely ignoring those other more salacious welts on his backside…no mother would ever consider her child would indulge in such behaviour.

“Oh dear..this is no good at all”..she cooed..then reached into the pocket of her skirt and produced a round tin, golden in colour with close-knit writing on the cover, but with one familiar identifying brand word emblazoned …

“Rawleigh’s”..then the words “antiseptic salve” under it..

Jonothan’s mother praised the lid off the tin and that familiar smell of the ointment once again wafted to his could he ever forget that comforting scent..for hadn’t it been the mainstay of home remedy for cuts and scratches all his childhood..

“Here we go…” his mother again cooed “let’s put some ointment on these scratches..” and she applied a generous amount of the balm on the welts..then, taking up an old bed-sheet, she proceeded to tear a narrow strip off it until she held a length of the cloth of about one and a half feet in length and about two inches in breadth…she held the strip and then ripped it down lengthways for several inches to make two tails..this bandage she wrapped around Jonothan’s hand and with the tails, ran them in opposite ways around the hand and tied them in a nice precise bow at the back of his hand..She inspected her work and then looked lovingly into Jonothan’s eyes..

“You’ll always be my brave little man..always..” and she stood, looked down at him then turned and walked away..

‘Wait!..wait!” Jonothan called after her..he made to follow, but the woman in the gown stopped him..

“You can’t go there yet..” she spoke..

“But I am here..I am here now…” Jonothan pleaded as he saw the other women turn to walk from the room back through the four doors.

“Not quite…you still have one hand in your other could yet return there”

Jonothan was aghast at the prospect of confronting yet again that abhorrent world of anguish and pain..endless, endless work and worry, while here was everything that ever mattered in his life..condensed into this one room..these few people..He flung his arm out in frustration and cried ;

“NO!…NO..I will not return to that horror!”

And if one was present at the chair-side of the dying Jonothan Andrew Potter, you would see his left arm suddenly shoot away in spasmatic jerk to knock the ashtray from the arm of the sofa with the still glowing remnant of his last cigarette onto some screwed up bills due from several of the aforementioned complainants..these in turn after some short time caught fire and the accompanying smoke gave warning to a passing tenant of the floor above who saw the danger of a fire in the very flat under his own and so called both the fire brigade and the police in quick succession…in consequence of the discovery of the current occupant of the flat in question unconscious under suspicious circumstances, the ambulance attended post haste to Jonathan Andrew Potter’s inert body..

After initial conclusion that sleeping draughts had been consumed, the medical officers immediately applied CPR to revitalise his breathing…in this they were successful..but only for a moment as the body of Jonothan again went into arrest and once again the ambulance officers revitalised him to once again see him fall back into relapse..they continued this until a doctor appeared on the scene..

“Damn if I can make it out, doctor”..the ambulance officer complained..”We no sooner get him breathing again when he goes back into a death spiral..”

The doctor applied all his skills to bring life back to the body of Jonothan Andrew Potter, but it seemed as if the Gods themselves were working against them..and he for the last time slipped away into a final deep exhale of breath and sank into the stretcher..the medical officers and the doctor looked in despair at the corpse..then one spoke for all.

“It’s almost as if he didn’t want to even try to come back”. Another said.

“Look at his’d think that was a smile on his lips.”

Jonothan rested with his arms around the woman in the long gown..he was weeping in joy, for surrounding him in the big room were the women he treasured in his past to be together with him forever..

“Thank you.” He murmured into her ear. “Thank you.”

“It’s alright…it’s’re here now”. The woman replied.

The perfect act.

The Fisherman and the Siren.

It takes four different personalities to make a relationship partner..: The one for material security..Another for personal/emotional security…then another for intellectual compatibility so that leaves the fourth…perhaps the most demanding and important..; the lover…the sexual personality..

Of the four, three are provided via a pragmatic, realistic application.

The fourth can only be realised through the idea of a desire..and desire has infinity in its can last forever..but it is like a wild beast and you have to hold it tight to your a wild horse on a lead-rope..if you are distracted by jealousy, spite, possessiveness, it will see that weakness and break from you..only supreme passion will hold it to you in full flight.

I sometimes wake in the early hours of the morning with such a passion and I imagine someone I want to hold and share that passion, like that wild beast wanting to satiate its desire…it can go on for quite some time..and I imagine ourselves making love..with the body in full consent, it is now the mind’s turn to subject itself willingly to the body’s every desire..the mind becoming servient to the body’s sexual desires…unstoppable..unresisting.

The perfect act.


Between the soul and the Divine,

Between that love you seek and the love you find,

Is a place of absolute beauty,

Is a place concealed and undefined.

You may not physically touch this place,

Like you may not touch the divine..

Only worship the possibility,

When there is no possibility..; only desire.

You cannot intellectualise this place,

Like you cannot intellectualise grace.

And like grace..once you think you have it,

You’ve lost it.

It is an avalanche of ecstasy so nice,

It is a want of devotion, comes at a price.

You can never find this on the cheap rack,

You can never keep this with a half-filled cup.

And you ask ; do I desire thee?

What can I say to you..does the eagle the sky?

And you wonder; will I touch thee?

I say yes..yes, there, I will touch thy..

In that place with no name, no shame..

In that place where unfeigned lovers go,

Between love and the soul, between the soul and the divine,

Not of your body..but that subtle beauty in you..

Not of this world, but where pure delight is held.

not your body..but that subtle beauty within you…

not your body..but that subtle beauty concealed within you…

Where there is no name, no shame..

Only the Concealed.

It was a generous act to let me sleep on the sofa at her place..we had long been attracted to each other, but circumstances allowed no capacity to carry any ambitions further..but a job opportunity in the country nearby, allowed the generous favour of letting me bunk down in her lounge..and there I would lay quietly listening in sensuous impatience to her movements as she went about her preparations for bedtime..I was not to learn till later when we finally had the chance to come together in a relationship that on those nights of the short time I spent there sleeping in her lounge, she made it a point in her undressing to do it as quiet as possible so I would have no chance to either actually hear or to imagine I was hearing her taking off her clothes..taking off her dress, her underwear…but as I replied when told of this didn’t stop me imagining it..not at all…in fact my straining both my ears and my passion TO HEAR of that wonderful feminine virtue to a man..I over-imagined the entire act..

I remember that affair I had when in my twenties and it started with me brushing her long, thick dark hair….slowly, gently with my other hand trailing through after the brush….it was so beautiful that hair…that touch…she was wearing a nightgown and as it turned out nothing underneath..and we were talking while she brushed her hair..and I suddenly asked ;

“Can I do that…let me brush your hair?”…at first Diedre…”Dee” as I came to call her later…demurred a little..

“Do it carefully..don’t pull on it if it tangles…” of course I promised..and indeed I made certain to take extra care while I performed this extraordinarily delightful experience..for how many women would allow a man to touch one of the most precious of her glories?

Diedre handed me the brush and we settled ourselves on the sofa with her back between my knees while I took those long, thick locks of hair in my left hand and followed through most, most gently with long strokes of the brush…of course I had an objective in mind..I too am servant to desire…my male desire..and as it  turned out, both our desires, for it was but a short time of this intimate brushing of Dee’s hair that she let herself settle back into my crotch and I placed the brush on the floor by the side of the sofa and with my kissing her on the crown of her head, I slipped my hands down, under her dressing gown to cup her warm breasts…and so it began.

…we had a lovely affair for some time..

Unfortunately, as I mentioned above with those four conditions for a relationship, I could not fulfill some of those necessities…and myself being most aware of my shortcomings in that area, I slipped out of the relationship before it could descent into an acrimony of disappointment..perhaps I was more of a coward than I then realised..but I plead the innocence of youth and a desire for adventure in the world that a settled life could not satisfy.

But there was a time in that relationship where we touched that place between the soul and the does exist, that precious place, that ecstasy that can be reached either through a loving moment of embracing or through a moment of passionate sexual activity…it was the latter in our case that we reached the height of ecstasy of sexual pleasure..

I had completed a job up north on the mines and was returning to the city, to stop and see Diedre on the way through..She had shipped off her no-account boyfriend for the weekend to some motor-racing carnival so we could have some time together. But this wasn’t just a “dirty weekend”, for we did have deep affection for each other and as I said, it lasted for quite some time so the night ahead was a planned thing with dinner at home, some wine and then to a bath to soak those long weeks up in the bush out of my pores…

I had chopped some wood for the fire so it would be going strong by the time we finished our bath…and that was the start of the pleasure of the night..and it was a fun night in that we giggled and laughed our way to it and through it…love on a high-note…The bath was one of those square ones so we both squeezed into it…and we played with the soap suds and teased each other with our toes exploring each other’s genitals in a playful way..all laughter and fun as we soaped each other with thick lather of the aromatic soap…and I have to say that the lathering of a woman’s body is a sensuous thing..while the male body may have hair on chest or face, women have that soft, smooth run of flesh that lets the hands slip and slide over the curves and valleys of that most delightful shaped body..what man would not lay his pride and manhood as trophy to the feet of such beauty if called for…no greater reward could be given than the loving favours of a particular woman one is in love with..

After the bath, we stood before the fire towelling each other dry..a most delicate action to be sensitive to those particular parts of the body that need close attention…on the male, particularly, it takes a gentle hand of a woman in drying those most delicate appendages of his manhood…a rough hand cannot give confidence…fortunately, Diedre had that most gentle touch of the caring woman..after wrapping one towel around my shoulders, she used another towel to caress dry my lower limbs and trunk..then to move to very carefully dry those most delicate parts…and with a cheeky smile and partially open mouth with her tongue playing teasingly upon her lips, she slowly and silently dabbed at my genitals with all the care and affection of a lover…

After Diedre had finished drying myself, I hooked the towel around my waist and proceeded to dry Diedre in turn…she had her hair wrapped in a towel around her head and another towel around her body at breast level…it was this one that I removed by the light of the glowing fire..and by the living gods…is there even in paradise a more gasping sight of evolved beauty than the body of a woman in full feminine glory..can simple words of adoration give justice to a man’s gasping of breath when confronted suddenly with such purity of was that sight that drew the breath into my lungs in a wholesome inhale that filled both my body and my sight with gorgeous delight at this vision before me…how can something be so beautiful?…oh woman..I die for you..I die a thousand deaths for you..

“Diedre… look so beautiful..”

“ You think so, Christopher, that’s nice…then let me be beautiful for you…I’ll be your beauty..”……how does a man reply to such a gift?..except to kiss that most delightful woman with unspared passion..and kiss we did as we knelt there on our knees in front of the soft glow of the fire…

I dried that extordinary body with all the care and affection that I could give…I dried her shoulders and arms, then moved to her breasts that were full and soft..large enough to be dropped but full rounded and pert with lovely tan areolas and erect nipples..I put gentle attention to those twin delights, then moved to dry her belly and then pat dry her vulva and Mons Venus…taking the towel away for a moment to apply a gentle kiss to that soft copse above her pussy..the drying done, we settled before the fire in loving embrace and proceeded to make preparation with gentle touching for the lovemaking soon to come.

And that was to start sooner than I could imagine as Diedre lay me flat on my back and reached for a small opaque blue bottle that I soon discovered contained aromatic body oil….warmed in front of the fire, I let her drizzle oil over my chest and stomach which she then proceeded to gently rub evenly over all my body…using both hands to caress the oil over my penis and testicles, her hands slipping over those parts with tender euphoria of feeling..I repeated the same application of the body oil onto Diedre’s body with all the delight of a male’s pleasure to touch a woman’s body.

With oil generously applied over our entire bodies, back and front, we slithered in laughing joy over each other, our limbs like slippery tentacles entwining around and over each other and we were kissing in a delightful enthral of passion and sensuality.

This writhing on the rug went on for a while before we decided to move into the bedroom onto Diedre’s queen-sized bed…there were black sheets and pillows there and we fell onto those cool cotton sheets in giggling ecstasy, still slippery with oil and arms and hands all around and over each other…

It wasn’t too long before we fell into position to make love..Diedre’s arms around my shoulders and her legs over my back embracing me in a clasp…it was no action needed for my erect cock to find its way to the entrance of Diedre’s vagina…the body oil and mutual enthusiasm all that was needed to introduce the one to the other…coupling was ensured, and then gentle copulation first with the cautious entrance of the erect penis into the vaginal passage until full insertion is completed..then a pause for both bodies to become familiar with the intrusion of the male member deep inside the woman’s body…for it is a moment desirous of tender meditation and contemplation, this action of copulation…no need to hurry the moment..let gentle touch of penis to vagina take place…THEN..the slow repeat of withdrawal and insertion with familiarity and heightened pleasure for both parties..

I could feel my cock all around and right along its length being caressed inside Diedre’s vagina…no words can describe such words can possibly do justice to even imagine that sensation..

“Can you feel that?” Diedre asked.

“How so?” I asked in curiosity…then I felt it!…with her vagina she could tighten the entrance muscles to tighten around my cock as I moved it in and out in gentle pulses…

“That’s amazing!” I admitted..and indeed, the action hightened the sensation.

“I can do it better if you ride me from behind..” she smiled at me and I fell into that deep, deep pool of serene adoration…

We moved into position for me to enter her from the what is called “doggy position”..and indeed, Diedre was as true as her word as I could feel her vagina tighten and loosen around my pulsating cock as I rode her in a more and more vigorous passion..indeed you could say Diedre was “milking” me…her hands holding onto the vertical bars of the bedhead…my hands in tight grip on her body crashing onto Diedre’s buttocks with sloppy sounding delight and her gorgeous bottom-flesh rolling in waves with each delightful meeting..and her vaginal muscle contracting and tightening in coordinated unison to the rhythm of my plunging penis, until I could feel that surge of heat telling me that orgasm was about to happen and happen it did with an ecstasy uncontrolled and after the other..after the other..after the other…until I literally fell from her buttocks in exhausted ecstasy…Diedre quickly moved into position on top of me where I could apply my mouth to her vulva as I licked and caressed her most sensitive part with wonderful glee…while Diedre played with my now half erect and exhausted cock…the entire sense now one of body-fluids and gentle giggling until Diedre started herself to come with forceful thrusts of her vulva onto my only too willing mouth until with cries of ecstasy she lowered herself fully along my body in groaning relief and smiling delight…

It was while in this position, post copulation, in resting euphoria that I realised that we were held in a different place than just resting..we had entered that mysterious place that holds lovers in a state of passion and euphoria, sheltered from intrusion from the outside world..we were here alone in a kind of bubble of peace and tranquility…soaked in our own body-fluids and sweat and smeared oil and saliva…completely awash in ecstasy with no inhibitions or reservations, to envelope ourselves in absolute perfection of lovemaking and sexual decadence….a perfect act of submission….the perfect act.

Je T’Aime..

A Brief Encounter.

Raffael..A Pompeian Beauty.

Yes, well…I’ll tell it to you if only to reassure myself that it really happened..and it almost didn’t happen…we nearly walked right past each other, it was the scent of a particular perfume that caught my senses and I turned just to recognise that shape of face and corner of eye…it’s strange how some things stick in the consciousness…that look I saw in the street there was exactly the same one I saw when we said goodbye to each other some…oh..what would it be….forty…fifty years ago…

“Eve?” I said.

The lady in question turned her surprised person to me and her eyes had that questioning look for just a moment, then..

“Jack?….Jack Kirchner….well..I never..” and she smiled the same smile I remember from all those years ago.

“Evie James…”I reassured myself “ I never thought I’d say that name again around here”…and we moved to give the regulatory hug…and I have to say there and then it felt like a continuity of that brief encounter we had back in our teen years.

“Eve Harbin, these days, Jack.”

“Oh..of course…I should expect so..some fortunate chap would sweep your heart away back in those days.” And I smiled in sincere well-wishing.

“Not that lucky, I’m afraid..he died in a car accident..”

“Oh dear…that’s bad luck…damn car accidents…so sudden too.”

“ was fifteen years ago…so the “suddenness” has worn off a bit…as has the sadness”..and Evie tilted her head in acknowledgment of the passage of time. “And you, still married to Meg.?”

“Oh…” and I exhaled a breath “Actually never even got married.”

“Oh..” Evie seemed surprised “The date was already set when we said goodbye at the station”.

Here I gave a little guffaw at the faded memory of that hurt.

“Well, the date, the cake and the guest list had been set, but the bride hadn’t been.”

“What happened?” ..I made a grimace and let a laugh out..

“Got left at the altar….Meg never turned up…seems she did a runner with the church organ player…who was also the mechanic at Stiller’s garage…”

“Oh that is so terrible..” and she touched my arm in sympathy..

“No, no…he was shithouse at both it was a relief for the whole town”..and I laughed..”But it was better it happened before any children came along, eh?..and I’ve about gotten over it by now….just give it another dozen years or so and it will be all forgotten.”

We both laughed out loud at that one..and too right, too..I had long gotten over the “passing” of Meg.

It was low afternoon and I was making for the “see-saw café” for an afternoon cuppa before driving back to the farm and since we were just there outside the same café, I suggested we could have a coffee there if Evie would like.

“Eve”…she said and ;”Yes …why not..that would be lovely on such a glorious day”.

I ordered a couple of café lattes and we grabbed a table down the back away from the noisy clutter of the street tables…

It felt so very good right from the start..her company was so comfortable to me I became enthralled and we talked of anything and everything and laughed at the lot…

“I’m retired now from teaching”, Eve said “but I still do some part time work when needed to replace an absent teacher…strangely, with the year twelves, it always seems to be on a Monday…they must party something terrible over the weekends , those young people…I’m employed as a “relief teacher”…more like “detox” I say!” and she laughed that beautiful, sweet laugh that I so recall…and of course I laughed with her.

“So what’s been happening with your life?” Eve asked.

“Well…as you know or at least can see..I stuck around the farm until mum and dad passed and then took it over…and no..I never did marry..I lost some skin off that last effort…and you know these places, I lost some cred’ as well…so I just put my head down and my arse up and got stuck into farming…then the impulse seemed to pass and I lost interest in that side of things….” We both drank from our cups..” ..and here I am….still” and I smiled a wry smile.

“Well, you’ve kept yourself in good shape” Eve made a nod of her head in respect..I was flattered.

“I’ve never was one of the boozing crowd..and never smoked, so that helps…and the work on the farm keeps my weight down..”

“Oh that dreaded thing.”Eve pshawed “I have to go to a gym every now and then to keep THAT beast at bay.”….Here it was my turn to deny any negative appearance and to compliment Eve on her still enchanting looks…and indeed, I didn’t have to fib on that subject, for the passing of years had not been detrimental, but rather enhancing to herself..for a mature woman gains a certain sensuousness in the process that is denied those is a “knowing awareness” of her sexuality and confidence to use her female attraction in a manner of her own those of her own choice..her eyes said it all.

“Had a bloke in suit and tie at the last stock sale ask me how I keep in shape..’You do weights, running?’..he asked…work, I replied…and he stared at me like I was taking the mick.”….and again Eve laughed out loud…I was getting used to this lovely woman..

“What’s happened to the district since I been away?” Eve asked.

“Well…the weather’s got a tad less predictable..the old families more predictable..especially when it comes to considering the climate changing…but there has been a shift in the makeup of the farming community now.”

“How so”.

“Some other nationalities have come in and taken over some “old family” spreads.”

“ what nationalities?”

“Well..I have an Italian neighbour now…Cesarino..though we call him Ron…too many syllables otherwise…you know..and there’s a English chap…sorry!..I was corrected by him recently…he’s a Yorkshire man born and bred…”

“Well that’s a miraculous change for this area…used to be Australian – German to the bone..How do they fit in?”

“Ah…no worries now…we’re all multicultural now…”

We finished our first cup of coffee but were so having a good time we ordered another.

“But that Italian told me he hit a language hurdle when he first came to Australia in the late seems after he arrived, he ended up at Adelaide Railway Station with all his luggage and no one to help cart it to a he looked around and saw these men in cap and uniform walking past so he thought they were porters and he called to them…trouble is, the word for “Porter” in Italian is ; “Facchino”..and it sounds just like that too! he’s there calling out “Fuckino! Fuckino!” but no-one is coming to help him until two police turn up and arrest him for shouting abusive language in a public place!”….and we laughed and laughed..oh how sweetly lyrical is a woman’s laugh when let deeply penetrating into my soul was that laughter..I felt myself falling into something soft and embracing..falling deeper and deeper..I looked into Eve’s face and I could see her I could presume…tentatively..that she was feeling the I continued with my relating of the migration adventures of my “new” neighbours..

“And the poor Yorkshireman was wandering around the city centre just after he arrived in the country, just to familiarise himself with the habits of the citizens of his adopted land and he too was at the railway station and he saw the “Cowley’s Pie Cart” parked up there by the steps..curious as to what pies these people were gathering to eat and being quite familiar with the many varieties of pie back in his homeland, he approached the counter of the van and asked of the obviously very busy attendant there what was in his pies?…The harassed gentleman behind the counter paused for the slightest of moments and then tersely replied..

“If I told yers, yer wouldn’t eat ‘em!” and moved to serve another customer…”welcome to Australia!” I added…and we both chuckled at the recognisable idiosyncrasies of our country.

Well…there was more of this gentle banter and chatter until we noticed the afternoon had slipped past and the shadows outside had grown we decided that it was best to call a halt to the café experience and get on with our business…I had yet to get home to my empty house..

Outside in the street, we again talked of light pleasantries until Eve pointed down the street and said that her car was parked that way…and by chance my van was also in that direction..I had parked it off the street in a vacant lot near some storage is an old van, The Sandman, and not too flash looking..but by has served me well..

“Here’s me” I said pointing to the van at the back of the lot.

Eve turned to gaze to where I gesticulated..and when she saw the Sandman, she drew in her breath, held my arm and leant into me and gasped..

“Not THE Sandman!…still?’ve still got it after all these years!” and she left me to walk toward it..when she came to the old van, she stopped and gently reached her hand to it..touched it and turned to me..

“You still have it..after all this time…” I stood near with my hands in my pockets, a little shamed at the feeling of a frugal attitude I had adopted over the years.

“’s a bit worse for appearance “ I apologetically replied “But the old girl just keeps on going…getting to the third time around the clock now…but she just won’t I just keep putting new boots on her…a lick or two at this and that and she just keeps on going..they’ll probably have to shoot her when I pass away.” And I giggled at that prospect..But Eve just silently walked the length of the van..not taking her hand from the body-work, but trailing her fingers along the curves of the door so I continued my lame talking..

“Of course she needs a new coat of paint, but I cannot bring myself to spend the cost of a spray job on her…and anyway..there’s history in that old paintwork..

“I’ll say”..Eve replied..and then squatted down to look closely at something behind the front bumper bar…she rubbed a bit of dirt away, turned her lovely, smiling face to me and with her finger called me to come to her..I squatted down next to her to see what it was that she was looking at..Eve rubbed the dirt away more, then licked her finger and wiped it over some faint scratches there…and the letters..E.J. with a small heart pierced with an arrow followed by J.K. ….I looked and stared at that old notation, blinked several times and looked to Eve…who had a mile-wide smile on her face..

“I knew you’d go spare if you found someone had scratched your precious Sandman back then, so I scratched it here where you wouldn’t see it straight away…but I did hope one day you would see it…appears I was too secretive!” and she laughed..

I have to admit I had never seen it..and I was flabbergasted that I had been so denied the pleasure of knowing that here, in this small deed, was proof that I was indeed loved at one time..even if it now be redundant..there was a time when such assurance would have graced my heart with a gladness so welcome..I was speechless..fortunately, Eve could fill in the vacant seconds of talk with her pleasant voice.

“So all this time you didn’t know?…well that’s a shame..but then, neither of us knew where our lives were heading after our short time together…and then I went away to teacher’s college and the rest…as they say…” and Eve stood up and dusted off her hands..I slowly rose to face her..I could feel a strange heat rising in me..a warmth of longing I had not felt for so was this delightful woman whom I had let go for little more than a folly of desire.

“Well, Jack..I s’pose I better let you go…if I recall this is shearing season and you must be busy..” and so we hugged again and Eve turned to go…to walk away out of my life again…I…I don’t know what made me do it…I’m not a forward kind of man…perhaps it was a desperation not to let go this last chance of holding such a pleasure to my soul…but as Eve turned and was nearly out of reach, I suddenly reached and held her arm…she turned to me with a questioning look in her eyes…but I was speechless…speechless…all I could mumble out was a “I…..I..” and then as suddenly, like Eve had likewise made a decision in her mind, she came to me without a word and we embraced tenderly and our lips first ever so gently..a brushing over each other’ if exploring the possibility then pressed harder until all abandon was let go and we kissed with a passion from our young days…I pressed against Eve’s body as she leant against the side of the van and was so good…so fine…so sweet and welcome…Eve made a little noise of contentment and I had to join her in the delight.

When we drew away for breath and reflection to gaze into each other’s eyes, seeking reassurance for what we…and I have to say “we” now, considering what followed..silently, mutually consented to.

Taking Eve’s hand, I led her to the back of the van and opened the back up…Eve held to me and whispered…”In the back of The Sandman….how delicious”..and we both giggled..

It was fortunate today I was in the town to pick up a couple of large tarps I had repaired and two new single-bed mattresses for the cabins to house the shearers who came from further away when they stay for a couple of days at the farm…

“Mattress too!…tell me you don’t have a mobile bar tucked away here too!”

“ bar…and the mattresses are for the worker’s cabins…I just picked them up today..” Eve smiled to me most affectionately, we kissed again and climbed into the back of the Sandman van.

At the closing of the back doors, a new, quieter, more secluded space enclosed us..I spread the new mattresses..of high density foam covered in a patterned cloth…evenly on the floor of the van..the tarpaulins I had repaired were folded neatly behind the driver’s seat and their canvas and straw scent gave the impression of a loft of a hay barn and lent a scented atmosphere, cramped as it was, to the location…

“It’s just how I remember it.” Eve laughted softly..for we still held the moment in “secretive pleasure”…which indeed it was..for this was certainly not planned…and the roughness of our situation gave thrill to our intentions…of which it has to be said that our age and experience let us proceed with deliberate intent and it was no time at all before Eve had removed her jacket and was preparing to take off her top when I stopped her..

“Eve…let me…please..” and I took her hand away from the zip at the back of her top..Eve was wearing a pants/matching top of a dark, soft flecked material with a zipper at the back…She smiled shyly and let me proceed..

I looked to the zipper and noticed the small curls of hair on the nape of her neck..I couldn’t resist placing a soft kiss there as I unzipped her top..I then with both hands eased the top away from her arms and folded it and placed it over the seat in front…We again embraced and kissed passionately fingers unclipped the hook and eyes of her bra and it sprung a little as it’s elastic eased..I gently drew the straps from over her shoulders and removed the brassier from her body, noticing as I did so the soft flow of her breasts fall from the underwear..the bra I also placed with her top.

Eve’s breasts were the full, soft breasts of a mature woman..a woman who had fed three children from those ample, so full, so warm and yielding yet at the same time softly firm and rounded..the mark of beauty of the mature woman..not the pert hardness of a young woman’s, but better by far..the soft glow of beauty of all that is meant of a woman..all that mother nature granted as a mark of desire for a man to embrace…and embrace I did…I first kissed Eve on her lips then let my head lower to kiss her breasts, Eve caressing my neck with tender touch..First the right one and then to the left..running  the tip of my tongue around the areola to then take the nipple into my mouth to gently run my tongue around and up the side of the nipple and to softly suckle the nipple itself…so firm and yet so malleable so I flicked it several times with my tongue before drawing away to keep on with my undressing of Eve.

I unclipped and unzipped Eve’s pants and with her assistance, I took them down to her ankles and removed them entirely, folded them and placed them over the other items on the seat..that left only her underwear to remove..a soft shade of apricot to match her brassier..mostly plain but with a band of lace around the hip..with both hands at Eve’s hips, I eased her underwear down and removed it one leg at a time..I gathered the svelte cloth into one of my hands..amazed how small such an item folded into..a mere slip of cloth to cover that most pure part of a woman..I looked into Eve’s eyes and pressed that underwear onto the side of my face-cheek, placed it with the others and leant in to again kiss left hand cupped her breast and we fell into each other..for more passionate kissing…then Eve pressed my chest away and said..

“Now it’s my turn..” and she smiled as one who was about to take a delight.

There.. in the half light of the umbra glow of a setting day, naked as the day she was born, was this curvaceous, beauty of a woman undressing say I felt both flattered and excited would be a gross understatement…the male in me was burning an inferno to reach out and ravish Eve..but…I would never do such…and I have to say that the restraint I was showing gave even more excitement to the moment and I took time in my awareness to make note to myself to mark this exact moment to take a mental picture to preserve this most exacting and beautiful of moments in my life..

Eve undid the buttons of my shirt, her long fingers deftly but slowly, as if making a show of the action twisting the button with her fingers and her other hand easing the shirt cloth over the button..all the while looking deep into my eyes…her experienced hands moved from button to button until she could remove the shirt from my back…her fingers running a soft touch over my back as she did so..thankfully still firmly muscular from the many years of physical labour on farm and land. I lay back so Eve could in her turn undo my belt, un-clip then unzip the fly of my trousers…I lifted my buttocks from the mattress as she took my pants down..and in doing this my male member…my cock, sprung upright in a sudden flick that took Eve by surprise and she uttered a short involuntary yelp..followed by shaking laughter and she fell onto my shoulder, tears of delight coming from her eyes..

“Oh..Oh..that did surprise me..” she gasped..” I was NOT expecting that…no undies?”

“No”..I apologetically said…”I can’t stand too much clothing about my I never wear them…except when I have to visit the doctor or other “administrative locations” demanding a bit of decorum…I hope he didn’t frighten you” I added mischievously.

“Oh no…”He’s” and old acquaintance of mine…after so many years of marriage, he would wander into and out of my life like the obscure relative…though I have to say in this last decade or so he has made a stranger of himself..” and she smiled that beautiful smile and bent to kiss me again on the lips..she then completely undressed me and pushed me back onto the mattress.

Eve then traced with the tip of her tongue down my chest, her left hand pressing against my breast while she lowered her head toward my belly…I will leave your imagination to fill in other details of her delicate touching and caressing of my erect penis..sufficient to relate her taking of me in that most personal and intimate of sexual choices that both excites and dominates a man. We did after a moment of such ecstasy move our bodies in position to allow intimacy of encounter most enjoyable…

We joined in this love-making for a short time until I felt the want to excite Eve to climax and so I took moment to ease myself down her body, my tongue tipping along her breasts, down her belly till I breathed heavy on her mons Venus and then took the liberty to kiss that most treasured of part of a woman to a man..

I first breathed softly onto the lips of her vulva kissing them gently and repeatedly with a soft affection..Eve touched my hair and caressed my ears as I did so…I then let some saliva flow over the hood and labia lips to allow my tounge to move easily through the soft folds of her vulva…so with such tender touches of my tongue, I sought for and found that singular, tender place that most excites a woman..and it was to this place that I concentrated my intentions with soft, gentler yet pressing action of my tongue until after a surprising short time, I could feel Eve giving in to her body’s surrender to her climax and she started to make sighing sounds and to arch her body in time to my movements…Eve started to groan softly and she suddenly reached to feel for and found the leather belt of my trousers and placed it between her teeth so as to bite down and not raise Cain with her ecstatic cries…I could feel Eve coming to climax as her pelvis made a slight ‘crick’ and she held my head in a clasp and pulled it tight into her shuddering body until my entire mouth was filled with vulva, labia and my tongue firmly loving that most sensitive part of the woman!…her teeth biting on that leather belt so that only the softest of whispering whimpers escaped her lips..

After a short time in this position, Eve’s forceful tremors, soft cries and her grip eased and that was my cue to reverse my action and make my way up her body repeating the actions I made in coming down to once again take a missionary position to feverishly thrust my now rampant penis into her body…Let no man try to describe with weak words that feeling when the erect cock first enters a woman’s body..for to try to do so would be a blasphemy on Nature…and insult on the delight of the moment…sufficient to sigh and groan in indescribable delight and unlimited ecstasy…

It was after a short time of forcefull thrusts with Eve’s legs clasped around my body that I too came..I ejaculated into Eve’s body with a surge of uncontrolled male energy…I came…and came…and came…surge after surge until surely I was completely emptied and wasted…my body limp and breathing deep and panting..both of us totally rested in our crying ecstasy…we fell to our sides and embraced in delighted euphoria..kissed and lay silently and ecstatically exhausted..and there we relaxed in each other’s embrace..I had unfurled the softest tarp..the one I had repaired that covered a nice mahogany sideboard of my parent’s that I had stored in the shed..the tarpaulin was of a softer weave than the others..I unfolded this tarp and we covered our naked bodies and after soft kissing, fell asleep in each other’s arms..

Of course it was quite late and very dark when we awoke and we dressed and stepped back out into the night…Eve came close to me and we again embraced as lovers now and exchanged contact details with trembling eagerness to again get in touch to continue this budding, delightful relationship…

I drove back to my farm that night with the elation of a man wholly warmed by lovemaking, but now, with intent and direction..perhaps for the prospect of a love returned.

Song of the Mallee.

Part 3 The Last Empire.

In the hour before the umbra,

In the hour before the gloaming,

In the hour before the sun is setting..

When the crow begins its nesting,

When the galahs settle in the mallee,

When the shadows grow longer in the mallee.

With the hardest work of the day done,

With the bulk of the fortnight work done.

This day marked the winding-up of the harvest,

This day saw the last bringing in of the grain.

End of a year’s work of harrowing,

Ploughing, seeding, praying for rain.

Watching crops grow in spring,

Watching till now, winding down,

Watching a year’s work and worry.

The crop is in, harvested, winnowed, bagged,

The carrier with his sons loaded the last bag,

To cart the bags to the railhead,

Bags to be shipped to the port.

A “paying year” for the cropping,

Not a bumper year as two years ago,

A good year for the end of an era,

A good year as far as the head of the family went.

A good harvest to finish up on.

Mattheus Kreuger tipped the last bucket,

Last bucket of hard-feed into the trough,

Mattheus cast his eye over the mix,

Ran his hand through to feel the texture of the mix,

Looked with the experienced eye of an old horse farmer.

Never one to over or under-feed,

His team of working draught-horses.

Knowing from bitter experience,

Knowing from days of want and scarcity,

Knowing the needs of how much,

And of what balance gave good condition,

The health of a working field horse.

“Mattheus!” the carrier called over the yard,

“Mattheus!…we’re on our way” the carrier called,

“Catch you with the receipt at home..”

“Right you are, John..Tomorrow then..”

And the truck gave a heaving, creaking groan,

And lumbered out of the farm gate,

In a cloud of dry, raised dust.

Home for the Kreuger family not these dry paddocks,

Home was in the hills above these dry paddocks,

Home, the main house and spread in the hills,

The wet hills above these dry lands.

Grazing of fat-lambs was more reliable,

Rainfall higher and the grass richer.

Big, blowsy blue and red gums grow,

Where the clouds go by like galleons,

Where the fog and mist lay thick among buildings.

Where home and family grow and prosper.

But as many Mallee farmers,

The Kreugers came to these drylands,

To lay crops of golden grain,

Rainfall high enough to grow rich crops,

Flatlands ideal for horses to pull the plough,

Turning the soil for the taking of seed,

Harrowing to turn the soil,

Harrowing to turn in the weeds.

Whole families with workers and horses,

All the equipment to stay several weeks,

Stay to work , plough and sow the crops.

Then when the crop is harvested,

Again stay several weeks to bring in the crop,

Winnow, clean and bag the crop.

A spacious stone hut built on the paddock,

A stone hut that housed women and children,

Where meals were cooked and served,

Cooked and served to workers there.

At night women and children sleep there,

Workmen bunked down in outbuildings,

Where the harness and feed-stores were kept.

Outbuildings of rugged post and beam,

Outbuildings of pug and pine infill walls,

Rustic outbuildings, but warm,

Rustic thatched roofs giving heavy rain,

Soft, almost silent drumming sound,

As it fell…

Such the routine for many years,

Such the method of farming many years,

But new technology had risen over the last few years,

A new method that his sons were keen to apply,

Mattheus was troubled about handing over to the sons,

Mattheus knew the day of the horses were done,

Horse-drawn methods were redundant,

The age of mechanics had arrived,

The diesel tractor had arrived.

There was talk of “making life easier,”

Mattheus was suspicious of “easier life”,

Time had worked its abrasive grit,

Into both patience of mind and,

Callous of hand.

But he too convinced his father of the benefits

The mechanical stripper over stooking,

Over the old stooking..threshing method of harvesting,

He was willing to give the sons an elder’s respect.

Today was the end of harvest,

Today the family and workers would sit at table,

Today marked the relief of the end of repetitious

Rounds of up at dawn..crack on till sunset,

The work cycle of harvest time.

Magdalena, Mattheus’s wife of forty years,

Would cook and serve the last family meal,

Would serve the last meal of the harvest.

Along with food, end of harvest prayer,

Along with prayer, thanksgiving, and health,

Magdalena would lead the prayers.

From the foot of the long table,

Followed by a loud and solemn “Amen”.

From Mattheus at the head of the table.

This was ritual that finished the year,

This ritual finished the end of harvest,

That bound every member to home and hearth,

Bound every member to family consciousness.

Repeated by many sturdy pioneers,

Many of those gatherings,

Across length and breath of “Breakheart Country”,

The glue that formed tie to community,

Tie to church and from there to each other.

The familiarity of like habits and procedure,

This was the culture of a community.

What food there was,

Gathered from farm garden,

Produce that bore skilled hands of growers,

Skilled makers and preparers.

Recipes for cured meats and cheeses,

Handed down generations,

Sauces and spices made from smallest measure,

Small measure of condiments,

Extracting the richest flavours,

Cuts of meat from home-grown stock,

Into the large wood-fired vault oven.

Served in the hut that held them all,

Whole family, children, and workers,

At the one long table,

Groaning every night with sumptuous fare,

Groaning every night with sumptuous, frugal fare.

Not a banquet of a gluttonous merchant,

Necessary food for hard working people.

Such would give each person fair share,

Every person fair share of the products of their labour,

From both field and garden.

All was good.

All was well.

When an air of sighing satisfaction perceived,

Time for the head of the family to make a speech.

Mattheus rapped the wooden serving spoon from the plate of vegetables onto his plate.

     Mattheus’s Speech.

“I make my speech to you this evening,

This end of harvest night,

Not standing at head of table,

As is the usual sight.

With cup of good cheer in hand,

Giving thanks for a job well done.

Tonight..I will remain seated,

Neither in disrespect nor indolence,

There cannot be a person in this room,

Would doubt my nature by now.

Tonight I remain seated to talk as brother,

Tonight I no longer can claim “boss” overseer.

Tonight…I hand the reins to my sons,

To Peter and Christian to take the reins,

With full blessings of myself and Magdalena.

To take the family farm to the next evolution.

That will change the entire work practice.

That will change work from horse to tractor,

That will end horse and harness era,

That begins the new of tractor and steel couplings.

Myself, now at God and nature’s allotted time,

Of three score and ten years,

I am the proverbial old dog and new tricks,

I cannot change, no right to stand in the way.

But tonight, I talk of other things,

And I trust give my sons, wives, and grandchildren,

Both warning of consequence,

And top up the cup of cheer with measure of hope.

Nature has granted her hand to us,

Given us soil, water, and sustenance.

From time immemorial we harnessed her beasts,

These fellow toilers,

These mute companions of our labour,

We have turned the soil,

We have harrowed the earth,

We have seeded our crops.

From the time when my father and mother,

First set foot in this strange country,

Drew our section of land,

Marked out the space for their home on the soil,

To now when their children sup at the table,

Of their dreams and promise,

It has been done with eyes firm set,

On that measure of a man’s worth,

On the measure of a woman’s worth.

On the measure of home and family,

On a measure of hope.

Our forebears built an empire here,

An empire upon a new country,

Not an empire of an imperial kingdom,

Nor an empire of expansive proportions,

Rather, an empire of hopes and dreams.

Their backs bent to the chores of that ambition,

Without doubt…without fail,

With high faith in their mission to succeed.

Indeed..succeed they must or perish trying!”

        Mattheus paused to drink from his stein of beer.

“A parent’s greatest treasure is their children.

It is the children who carry the future,

Carry it to further horizons,

Further than can be dreamed by a parent,

The safety of children most exercises concern,

What measure of gold equals the harvest of seed,

Seed giving new life, every season to a garden?

What reward of contentment equals a full stomach,

Clear mind and love in one’s heart,

Greeting the start of a full day,

A day of productive and rewarding toil?

Why arise from bed if not to fulfill promise,

And bounty of a life of hope?

That measure of hope that is the right,

That is given to every person born,

Under Nature’s sky and God’s heaven?”

           Again Mattheus paused to partake.

“When I gazed upon the healthy meal,

Magdalena, my loving wife set before me,

I saw the fair measure of meat,

Of potatoes, of the pumpkin grown prolifically,

Over old composting stable heaps,

Its tendrils seeking distant promise,

Like an arm reaching for distant fruits,

A wonderful meal.

All in good measure.

It is that measure I now speak to each,

To each and every one of my children,

To their families to heed, be watchful that envy,

Greed and envy do not cast shadow,

Over future ambitions.

         Mattheus paused to breate deep..

A long life, a hard life taught our parents,

The creed of what is fair measure to aspire to.

Just reward for one’s labour,

There is no sense of satisfaction,

Shirking of one’s fair share of labour,

For where one shirks fair share,

It falls to another to pick up and carry that load.

And THAT in anyone’s sense of justice,

Is failure of duty toward brother and sister.

I hear talk of new mechanics of farming,

Having the means of “making life easier”..

And I have to admit after a bad day,

With horses, harness, and machinery,

Such a phrase would make my eyebrows lift,

Lift in inquisitiveness,

Bring a smile of delightful possibility to my lips.

“To make life easier”….

Isn’t that a hope and dream to aspire to?

To make life easier…but then I ask..;

“Easier from what?”

If one was held in slavery,

Driven to extreme by brutal master and lord,

One would indeed wish for easier life,

Such conditions are un-natural to nature and humanity,

I would trust to all of us here ;

Let no man proclaim ownership,

Over another’s life,

Lest he too be given like punishment.

But, now, on these paddocks,

On this farm, in this part of the world,

What measure of life can be claimed the better,

For the making of it easier?

Will children grow less frolicsome, faster?

Will they learn their lessons more swiftly?

Will the food be more hearty?

Vegetables grow faster, sheep more wool?

Will the ache of work be more assuaged,

With a full stein of beer at day’s end?

And if injured in body…or love,

Will the hurt be less?

And what of this day…this end of harvest celebration,

Will such a thing exist once the mechanics,

Takes away the shared camaraderie,

Of shared, shoulder to shoulder labour?

And what of the table of food,

As we see here in front of us..

Where waste from stables goes to heaps of compost,

Thence to the garden whence comes,

Vegetables to our table..

Where will the waste from the tractor go?

Does diesel and oil give nourishment to soil,

Or will it make waste of the soil,

Thence make life less easier,

For those who must clean the waste?

Will there be need for gathering of family,

Giving thanks for the blood, sweat and tears,

For a year of toil,

When less folk are needed for the harvest?

Will the making of life easier mean,

A lessening of rewarded pleasure, for job’s end?

Is there anyone among us not to breathe,

Sigh of relief at hard work’s end.

But also be content, soul fulfilled, satisfied,

At a job well done?

Does that not also feel good?

And I wonder on the lessening need,

For hired labour to attend the many chores,

For the maintenance of the draught horses.

The Harness repairer, farrier, smithy,

And if they go..what of the town band,

The church choir, baker, grocer?

And what of our neighbours,

Who cannot afford to tool-up to the new mechanics,

Are they to become sacrifice..

To a new world order of “an easier life”?

      Mattheus again took draught and breath.

No..I cannot stand in the way of progress,

But I do give notice to you, my children,

Use caution with this new method of farming,

Let it not take control of YOU.

I know you will have to go to the bank,

To up-grade to the tractors and machinery,

Be warned about the banks…

They have no friend save compound interest,

No mercy save the court of bankruptcy,

And no soul save that traded with the devil.

No..I cannot stand in the way of progress,

So I will leave the farm in the steady hands,

Of our children and wish them well,

While myself and Magdalena seek retirement in Tanunda.

I shall perfect my arm at bowls,

And my ear at listening to the idle chatter of the town.

So let us fill our cups to give thanks,

For the measure of hope,

Promised and now fulfilled…..”

The next morning, while the sunrise was yet low,

And the morning breezes mild in the mallee trees,

The trappings of hut and camp were packed.

The women and children driven back,

To their farmhouse in the hills,

While Mattheus and his sons led the horses,

Down the whitened limestone track toward home.

(Nb. This is a “work in progress” and could be subject to change and/or alteration any time).

Song of the Mallee.

Cliffs of the Murray River.

Part 2..A New Generation.

Driven even to further places,

To the Adelaide Hills they went,

To Lobethal, valley of praise.

To Hahndorf to join other pioneers,

Further East to Hamilton, Victoria,

Verdant fields and fruitful crops.

Set up their Lutheran Faith and churches,

On more rich and promising soils.

Still they the tenacious pioneers

Stepped off ship with families,

Stern determination of a surviving peoples.

Nothing could deter their ambitions,

Then came the wars,

Then came again the oppression,

Then came again the name changes,

Town names of German flavour,

Family names of German ancestry,

Department of nomenclature opened,

A ludicrous absurdity of an absurd people.

Facilitate German names to French.

Rhine River becomes The Marne,

Rhine Villa becomes Cambrai.

Hahndorf becomes Ambleside.

Steinfeld is twisted into Stonefield.

Sedan remains Sedan..

French name chosen by German folk,

Mockery of French defeat there.

So Sedan remains,

Mockery of the department of nomenclature,

Mockery of the government historical knowledge.

But the family names change,

Umlauts are dropped,

Letters in names are erased,

Anglo first names used to ameliorate hate

Of anything German.

Then came the second war,

Then came suspicions worse.

Then came reportings,

Then came arrests,

Then came the internment camps.

What dignity the Great Depression,

Had not destroyed, Anglo Government did.

Unity and community not only victims,

The mechanics of war machines,

Perfected the tractor.

Horse farming was broken,

Horse trades were dismantled,

Gone the harness makers,

Gone the saddlers,

Gone the blacksmiths and farriers.

Gone with their families from the towns.

Gone in almost the blink of an eye.

Come the diesel tractors,

Come the motor mechanics,

Come the motor garages centre,

Of the town’s gathering activity

Alongside church and hotel.

Gone also the town bands,

Gone the choirs,

With them the cultural songs.

The small bakeries, butchers,


But the smell of petrol and diesel remain.

And the lending banks came to town.

Like the parasites they are.

And compound interest came into their lives.

Tooling-up is expensive,

Family farms were mortgaged,

Bad years for cropping came and went,

Families mortgage payments came due and went,

Family farms became hostage,

Families became hopelessly indebted,

Families went bankrupt.

Whole era drew to a shuddering close.

Enter this community the wily Cornish,

Enter the carefree Irish,

Enter those Italians interned as enemies.

From the new war.

Step into the picture a Cornish Tinker,

Step into the picture an Irish Mother,

Step into the picture an Italian mason.

Step into the picture the maiden he woos.

“Fair maiden” Riccardo calls “wither goest thou?”

Riccardo’s hand flat, inquisitory,

Like Italians do.

Tess instinctively understands.

“I go walking in the evening air, sir”,

She replies……He nods his head..smiles.

For this maiden was as beautiful as a rose.

As serene as a purpled sunset,

As welcome to the Italian’s eyes as a song to his heart.

“And a beautiful evening it is also, my lady”

“Yes…good sir…I mark how the evening light,

The pale pink of the evening throws gentle shadow,

On the soft, flowing waters of the Murray River.”

Tess wanted to become a poet,

Riccardo wanted to become employed.

“And you wander here every evening?”

“Yes, kind sir…for now is the time of my rest”

“From the big house?” Riccardo asks

“From the station house” Tess replies.

“From the Charcoal Burning camp, I come”

“From the deep mallee of the Italians, I come”

“You are then of the people of Italy?”

“Yes, fair maiden…I am of the Dolomites”

“You are from the interned Italians?”

“I am of those same ones” Riccardo answered.

“I come to this place twice a week”,

“I come to this place for water for the camp”.

“I come to this place for the pleasant scene” Tess said.

“Then when I next come here..” Riccardo said..

“Pray tell me you too may join me,

“In admiring the pale colours over tranquil waters”..

Riccardo smiled the smile of an admirer.

Tess blushed the blush of the admired.

“If good fortune allows, kind sir……I may.” she replied.

For Tess admired the form of this man,

Admired his calm confidence,

His strength of body,

Happy disposition.

“Addio till then fair maiden…addio!”

A passing moment a lifetime make?

A moment’s passion a lifetime’s mistake?

An Italian from the Dolomites,

A maiden from “breakheart country”.

A Maiden from the Murray Mallee.

What can be their union?

What can be their fate?

Can a moment’s passion become a lifetime mistake?

Riccardo to speak barely a word of English,

Tess not knowing one word of Italian,

But they met and exchanged pleasantries,

As only such attracted, diverse strangers could.

For what speaks the language of love

Better than those who are loving..

So will we listen in to their idle talk

With the knowing ears of a universal language.

As even their great difference in age vanished,

As even Madam Time is paused,

Her dead hand held fast as woman slips past,

With but a glance, a wistful smile

To those who adore.

Touch not vain man lest the moment spoil,

To but gaze upon and weep with desire.

And so they met, this diverse couple,

And Tess taught Riccardo the song of echos

Off the cliff-face over the river,

And there they sang songs of love to each other.

At first their songs were for their own laughter

And then their songs were for their own tempting,

And then for their teasing,

And then came the songs of loving….

Tender songs whispering to the swirling waters,

Humming the touch of breeze to leaves of the gum trees.

He sang the songs of his people,

Tess sang the song of her liking..”Thora”

Riccardo sang into the echos..

“What a lovely girl as she does pass,

Oh how beautiful she steals my heart!”

Oh how well you dance, my bonny lass,

How you dance so well your part.

See the Wren in the tree,

How beautiful it sings, it steals my heart!

Come, bonny girl..come dance with me.”

The words reformed and reverberated to Tess’s ears,

As a deep swirl of manly delight.

And then Tess sang into the echos..

“Thy voice in mine ear still mingles

With the voices of whisp’ring trees;

Thy kiss on my cheek still tingles

At each kiss of the summer breeze;

While dreams of the past are thronging

For substance of shades in vain,

I am waiting, watching, and longing —”

And her lyrical voice thrilled Riccardo’s ears,

And filled his heart with longing.

Each to each they sang into the echos

Of the cliffs over the river,

Over the soft swirling calm of the river,

Over the evening light of the river,

And the reverberating echoes mixed their songs

Until the words blended together in soft harmony,

Until the words flowed back to their ears,

Each to each filling their hearts.

Each to each the words filled their senses,

In gentle, joined ecstasy..

And their eyes met each to each,

And their hands joined each to each,

And their arms reached for each to each,

And their faces turned to each together

And their lips touched in a kiss…

Each to each…

Riccardo gazed in loving embrace to Tess and spoke;

“Oh woman..thine eyes alone would tempt,

Greater gods than man’s humble creation,

Thy beauty, even if only beheld in mine eye,

Enough to blind the honest to thievery

And if thou desires,

Let thee accrue the price or cost,

Beholden to no man’s pitiful measure..

For it is thy cup that pours the bouquet,

Let know that YOU will choose the bloodline,

Your body the time and disgrace”

Tess pulled Riccardo close to her body

So her breasts were hard against his chest,

She looked up into his gaze and smiled,

And then let a drop of her spittle to tip of her finger,

And lifted it to the lips of Riccardo,

Who parted his lips and took her onto his tongue.

Tess took Riccardo’s hand and placed it on her breast..

And there under the fall of the evening light whispered;

“Come to me Ricci’..come to me..take me here..take me now.”

And so they lay together on the banks of that mighty river.

On the banks of the gentle, swirling river,

Under the soft evening glow by the river.

And the woman made her choice,

Her choice..glory or vainglory,

Time can grow jealous, men grow old,

Let her choose to look to either,

Heaven befits a granted grace,

And such beauty will reach even the heart of a stone,

But the moment loaned of a woman’s touch

Is enough for a wanting man,

To satiate his thirst for a sensual desire,

To satiate any longing hunger for Heaven’s Gate.

(Nb. This is a “work in progress and may be altered or added to at any time….J.C.)

Song of the Mallee.

Pioneer homestead.

Part 1 ..A New Homeland.

They rolled across the flatlands of the Murray River plains like an unstoppable force of nature..

They rolled with tenacious persistence,

They forged a new Silesia.

They forged a new Posen.

They forged a new homeland.

From the Vistula River they came,

From those fertile river flats and valleys,

From The Oder River they came,

From those hills and mountains.

Where myths and eagles flew,

Where Roman legions once fought,

Took their dreams from their own land.

To this strange country,

To this strange and distance place.

Where dreamtime and eagles fly,

Where the indigenous people danced.

Sang their songs to a new land,

New life gifted from their God,

God of one people, one faith, one fortune.

So they were told by their pastors,

So were foretold by their gospels,

In the faith their version of religion,

Twisted, shaped to fit their character,

And to fit their culture,

And to fit their nature.

No deviation allowed,

No forgiveness those who fell from grace.

No forgiveness for not pulling their weight.

A weight owed both community and Pastor.

Pastor’s words were the words of their god,

Words of their God were to be obeyed.

Churches were quickly built,

Churches were proficiently built,

On that land that still held scent,

Scent of wild animals hunted,

Hunted and held and respected

Hunted by the indigenous peoples

Totems of the indigenous peoples.

Indigenous peoples driven away,

Driven away at gun-point,

Driven from their hunting grounds,

Driven from their living lands,

Driven from their ceremonial grounds,

Alongside stream and river,

Along hills and valleys,

Driven from their own particular “churches”.

The settlers had arrived in numbers,

Didn’t understand the indigenous peoples,

Forced themselves from their own lands,

Forced at gunpoint from their Homeland.

Kaiser’s army breaking the towns,

All the weavers and crafts people,

All the trades and craft people,

Despised also for their culture,

Despised also for their nature,

Farmlands enclosed by cruel governance,

Work-skills torn from their hands,

Forced to re-make their religion,

Forced to re-learn another language,

Forced to change their family names,

Forced at gun-point to flee their country.

So they come far away a sailing,

Far away to this new country.

From far away to this strange country,

With their folk their clatter and cluster.

A desperate people with nothing to lose,

A determined people with nothing to lose.

To create a new home from memory lost.

So the English governors of the day,

Knowing their plight,

Knowing their flight,

Used them to open out that wild country,

East of the Ranges, West of the river,

Open out those hunting grounds,

Open out those indigenous lands,

Used them to push into, force unto,

Confront the indigenous peoples.

Confront true owners of the land,

Force confrontation force the hand,

To “Justify” retaliation.

To “Justify” indignation.

To “Justify” brutal militia retaliation,

By the governors of this new nation.

A collection of criminals,

A collection of prospectors,

A fascist corporate state,

With no regular military,

No sober police force, only delinquents.

Seeking any excuse to break,

The agreement of The Letters Patent.

The Letters Patent that gave right,

To the indigenous people’s rights,

From the King came those rights,

From the Parliament came those rights.

A signed agreement for their rights,

Directed precisely to the governors,

A betrayal of King and Parliament,

By the Governors of the State.

“Governors”..Ha!..better called lazzeroni!

The lands of the Ngayawung,

The Ngawait,

The Ngarkat of the mallee region,

Each with its own beliefs and laws,

Each with its own language,

Each with its own culture.

Driven out from their homelands,

Driven at gun point from their lives,

If not guns then swamped and ruined

By the running of thousands of sheep

Through their hunting grounds,

Over their living grounds,

Through their water holes.

Tens of thousands of sheep and stock,

Ruining feed ruining quarry, water..

Ruining the bloody lot not a jot!

When the indigenous stood ground,

They were shot.

They were small-poxed,

They were given disease,

They were given alcohol.

The women prostituted.

Their whole system was betrayed

Religion, laws, ceremonial culture,

A society guarded by kinship,

Knowledge from the Elders,

Knowledge passed to the younger,

Exactly as our “civilized” culture,

All this was lost in the melee.

Hunting grounds and boundaries lost,

A network of respect lost,

A network of ritual lost,

A network so lost and destroyed

With the coming of the middle-classes.

White men with their property boundaries,

With their titles of land ownership.

With their grazing erosion,

With their grazing destruction,

The end of millennia ways of life.

Of corroboree and songlines.

It is gone,

It is gone,

It is gone.

Came the Silesian settlers who knew no better,

Who too were fighting for their lives,

Used as blunt-instruments to confront

Used to clear-fell the mallee.

To clear-fell too small blocks of land to farm,

Allocated to them from far away.

“Trees don’t pay taxes” they were told,

So the taxes were eternal,

But the trees were not.

Some will have to break,

The weak will fall, strong take all.

“Let the strong swim,

The weak may sink”.

Underestimated were these new settlers,

Determination, perseverance in measure,

Already had they been tested,

By their own German government

Had they not been harried, shot, chased

From their own homelands.

Compelled to “Germanize” their names,

Their religion, their cultures..

The new Republic of Germany.

Suffer the consequences….

So they came,

A multitude came,

With their Pastors,

With their gospels,

With their songs,

With the village,

To Australia…to South Australia.

To the end of the century,

They came,

The Sorbs,

The Wends,

Slavic peoples in ancestry,

Germanic in nationality,

Eastern European in geography.

They came, veni.

They saw, vidi.

They conquered. Vici.

Three waves of Germanic migration,

The Eastern farmers and trades,

They brought their animal husbandry.

The cultured Urban Middle-class,

They brought opera to the state.

They brought vineyards to the state,

The proletariat industrial workers,

Brought their skilled metal trades.

Held themselves to themselves,

Settled in The Barossa Valley,

Settled on the St. Kitts, Kapunda lands.

Farmed the Steinfeld,

Farmed the Truro,

Farmed the Murray Flats,

Farmed from Eudunda to Sedan.

Worked their tynes knife-blade thin,

On the “Break-heart country”.

Spoke their own native tongue,

English in their homes a second language.

As any families who have lost everything,

As any who had been granted second grab at life,

They took no prisoners, social, pragmatic.



Protected their own.

Small hamlets scattered on the mallee,

Small hamlets under one pastor,

Families all working together,

Families all praying together,

Their land leased from a tyrannical landlord.

A fascist corporate state,

A fascist South Australian Company,

Even before the name “Fascist” was defined.

Cruel landlords keen on speculation,

Keen on entrepreneurialship.

Using the German pioneers as cheap labour,

To clear that land recently stolen,

Stolen from the first peoples.

Northern clans and tribes driven,

Massacred by advanced weapons,

Weapons imported without restraint,

Weapons of the American carbines,

Carbines to replace the black-powder muskets,

Muskets that needed close-quarter contact,

Close contact that at least gave a chance,

To the skilled indigenous spear throwers.

To at least fight back.

Then on it was shooting fish in a barrel.

It was all over..

New hamlets come to grow,

More children come to grow,

Hamlets come to grow into towns,

Farmlands start to produce profits,

German peoples start to organize,

Civil governance, local councils,

Town bands, choir, theatre they made,

Organised around church and pastor,

Liaison with central state government.

But kept at arm’s length,

Kept away from state intrusion,

Kept themselves to themselves,

Still suspicious of the English landlords,

Still wary of the English system.

Still leery of the hard hand,

Hard hand of the ruling class.

Ruling class that valued little,

The use of an alternative culture,

The songs of a cultural people.

Would cast adrift any group,

Any peoples hindering their path,

Toward total capital domination.

Suspicion from both parties ruled,

Little done via civil intrusion,

Intrusion into health or education,

The Germanic clusters with own schools,

With unpronounceable names,

With inflexible natures.

Watched with suspicion,

Watched from afar,

Left to their own devices,

So when disease swept the clans,

So the central administration,

Did what they did to the indigenous peoples,

…..They left them to rot!

So they drained the swamps,

So they farmed the flatlands,

So they farmed the hilltops, stoney flats,

Draught horse and harrow,

Picking up the stones by hand,

Making piles from the back of a dray.

Farmed their lands with wood and iron,

Wood, iron and steel ploughs,

Till the tynes and shares were worn,

Worn to a slither, blunt as a gibber.

Farmed the wind-blown flats,

Sang songs to the billowing clouds,

Even as their families died with the fever,

Even as their children died with diphtheria,

Or harrowing births gone wrong,

Attended only by young girls as midwife,

Too frightened by ghastly complication,

Of a childbirth gone wrong,

To do little but cry in shock,

What could very well be their own fate.

Died in fires and accidents,

Too frequent to collate,

On a statistician’s slate,

Too far from medical assistance.

Left buried in sad cemeteries

Serenaded through the fall of time

By lonely, sighing sheoaks around the perimeter of the church yard..

“Peter’s Hill”,

Under the lee of Marschall’s Hut,

Under the soil interred sixty-eight souls,

Forty two there are children.

What can a people do with an “unholy site”,

That taken so many of their small ones,

The count of tears becomes so high,

The count becomes so intolerable,

Move away from that “unholy” place,

Move over the flat-lands of the Murray plains,

Their names spread like Summer chaff,

Place to place,

Town to town,





Driven by a faith unstoppable,

Driven by a courage inviolate.

(Nb. This is a “work in progress and may be altered or added to at any time….J.C.)