1915-2015: 15 Homefront Verses, Then and Now

Bonnie Goodfellow

Slow moorings…

passenger ships’ in
decent haste to push our men
and nurses off to war

Could we?

our desert rats learned
to wash in petrol tins and
shave themselves in tea

In muddy trenches…

they were returned
to dust though knitted together
in their mother’s womb

Tax write-off…

proud governments
see no value to move
from war to peace

Return to Sender 1919…

we see that mouth
on grandfather’s face bloodless
distant from our touch

Slow mournings…

her mournings drowned in
drinking long hot cups of tea
towards each evening sup

Broken promise…

age weary women
left to read mourning pages
without widow funds

Fe/male preserves…

men bring in firewood
cut kindling to make fires
women left to put them out

Homefront comfort…

sunlight in her lap
comforting as a cat
curled up warm asleep

1915 homefront cottage…

land subdivided then
now rust red bent tin roof
with fallen weatherboards

Family values…

not sure family
still has value except
to say you are loved

Inter-family fending…

on the train again
northbound drawn as magnets
by childlike charms

Post-war kindergarten…

post-modern morning dads
trundle little lumberjacks
to work in childseats

Careful step in time…

discarded bottles
smash faces of those not healed
or scar playground flesh

Barred from here…

we demonise
call them terrors
yet all are sacred

Partly written in response to Peter Temple’s Quinella: Love. Not a word for casual use. The life-scarred use the word with extreme caution. If you’re lucky, you go through life held up by people loving you…one day the love isn’t there anymore and you’re sinking…can’t touch bottom.