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bloodlines

The room

1918

The couple walked along the length of platform looking for their carriage.

He was a slim man, dark, with a fine moustache.

She was small and round faced, a girl, and she grasped his hand as an excited daughter does her trusted uncle

And the hand he held wore a ring that he had given that had sealed his promise to her of marriage and faith, and love, and an everlasting companionship.

1918

Sixteen million dead and twenty one million wounded in the Great War – men and boys, women and girls.

Sixty two thousand Australians dead.

1918

They sat upright for the eighteen hours it took for the train to reach the Emerald City – Sydney, the Pacific City

A place quietened of young men, so many gone.

A city of prayer for the young dead, fathers and sons. A home of mourning and sorrow, where victory wept hardest.

They left the train at Redfern and walked a while in the hot streets looking for a short term lodging – this honeymoon couple  – only one bag,

Hers.

1918

He left the bed as she slept – though only mid-afternoon – and he dressed for travel.

And he shaved his face and shined his footwear, and he slicked back his dark hair and watched in the mirror as the girl awoke and asked him where he was going. Soft she was in the honeymoon bed, watching her husband.

He had taken the ring off her finger as she slept and he held it up – for valuation he said, there is a place I can insure against its loss – then he came to the bed.

He kissed her so gently, and she laid herself back against the cheap pillow, content.

A furrow already made to her womb, a creation of life there so soon, a blossoming of life that became my mother.

Bless her soul.

1918

He never returned.

She stayed three days in the room waiting for him.

A bed.

A chair.

A basin.

A window.

He never returned.

Mon grand-père

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Pete, the poetry of heartbreak . . .

    August 26, 2011
  2. I feel such heaviness in even my breath as i read this – wow. That’s all – it’s too good to say more. 🙂

    August 26, 2011
  3. One of the family found his name and where he lived, here and there – and when he died, a conman to the last my grandfather – we would have got on just fine.

    August 26, 2011
  4. Beautiful and sad, and beautifully understated.

    August 26, 2011
  5. Imagine the sories he held on to – what a tale that would be.

    August 27, 2011
  6. Becoming Herself directed me here, Pete. And she says it perfectly. This is so full of love and sadness…in its truth and its telling.

    February 6, 2012
  7. sjh #

    got the book and bloody oath its a rippa

    November 25, 2015
  8. commas and all, eh?

    November 25, 2015
  9. sjh #

    yea its a bit tidy but you cant get very thing right can you

    December 16, 2015

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