A While Between Poems

The first time I had a poem published I was 10 and at a small Catholic school in a country town. It appeared in the children’s section of an Adelaide newspaper and I was paid the grand sum of $1. My father held onto a clipping of it for many years. Here it is, dusted off for old times’ sake. (Dad’s favourite line was the one about him and the school fees.)


Slowly up the road
the wagon goes

Slowly the old man
touches his toes

Slowly the snail
slithers up the path

Slowly the children
have a bath

Slowly the clerk
sorts out his keys

Slowly my father
pays our fees

Slowly the kettle
boils on the stove

Slowly the children
walk through the cove

Slowly the tide
creeps from the sea

Slowly the school days
pass for me.

You can see traces of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series – there weren’t any coves where I grew up in inland South Australia, only in the books I was reading. I once heard someone say that what you’re into when you’re 10 or 11 is a clue to what you should be doing with your life. It’s that in-between time when you’re no longer a child and not yet an adult, and your imagination still roams unfettered.