Life at G. J. Coles – Poem

Posted on 2 August 2010. Filed under: Guest Blogger | Tags: , , |

Life at G. J. Coles

The buzzer rings, the panic starts,
Grab cash in bags and go
Throw the money in the till
Get ready for the show

The streaming population
Start crowding through the door
When you’re in the middle of
Mopping up the floor

You ring your little bell all day.
You’re on the floor Men’s Back,
You dare to make a sally.
And then you get the sack.

Joanie Rose, so sweet and kind,
Saturday is her day,
Purdew let’s them in at 12,
Then Joanie has her say.

Her voice is heard for miles around
“Serve the B’s yourself”
And things begin to rattle
Even on the highest shelf

Poor old Cooney works so hard,
Each day he travels miles
His wages can’t be chicken feed,
He must be making “piles”!

Our storeman, Ian, happy chap
He rants and raves all day,
We really need a referee,
To settle every fray.

Gillie’s not a bad old stick,
He has a nifty car,
He loves to pass me on the tram
One day, he’ll go too far.

The lean and lanky lad
With rooster strut and air,
Reacts to our tinkling little bells
With a rather vacant stare

With many thanks to my friend, Peggy, who has shared another poem with me. She wrote this one in Camberwell in 1951 when she worked for G. J. Coles, now called Coles Myer.

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The Secret – Poem

Posted on 24 June 2010. Filed under: Guest Blogger | Tags: |

I need to apologise to anyone who was looking forward to ‘pearls of wisdom’ from me over the last couple of days. I’ve only really got a half an excuse for yesterday. I generally write at night as I find I write better when I’m tired and last night it was challenging to concentrate on anything useful. It was the night that changed the world, well someone’s world. It was the night we heard rumours of a spill in the leadership of Australia. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd eventually announced there would be a caucus vote this morning and there was so much speculation in the world of Twitter and so much to watch on TV that I just wasn’t able to focus to even type up a poem. Today ended up being a very historical day as we ended up with our first female Prime Minister. Mr Rudd stepped aside and Julia Gillard was voted in and subsequently sworn into the position of Prime Minister. This is a big step for Australia and I admit to being rather distracted last night and this morning.

Anyway, what I would have been posting last night is a poem. It’s not mine and I don’t believe it’s been published anywhere else. The author is a friend of mine from the op shop. Peggy is currently in her eighties, that’s her chronological age and her body age is probably closer to 120, but she has great spirit and keeps going despite everything. She left school at the age of 14 and is totally fascinated with words having done crosswords and other word puzzles for many years. She’s fairly well read and literate and the other day gave the honour of showing me her poems. She doesn’t show many people and as I was rather taken with a couple of them she’s letting me show them both to you. This one was written in 1939.

The Secret

If you can keep a secret
I’ll tell this one to you,
I’ve only told my dolly
And she’s so very true.

She’ll never say a single word
So different from the “Dickie Bird’,
Who tells my Mummy, all I do.

Just bend your head a little low,
I don’t want anyone else to know,
Mummy is sick with a very bad cold
And I want her to see it, before she is told.

I found it tucked in my old cot to-day.
When every-one thought I was out to play,
‘Twill be the biggest surprise Mummy ever has had
And when she has seen it, I’ll show it to Dad.

I’m the only one knows, the stork has been
With the sweetest baby, you ever have seen.

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Dragon Slayer (The Story of Beowulf) – Rosemary Sutcliff

Posted on 9 July 2009. Filed under: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Beowulf is the ultimate in adventure stories it was written somewhere between the 8th and 12th centuries. The poem itself has 3,182 lines. I had heard of Beowulf and had even been read a brief except from it by my English Literature teacher a couple of years ago, but I’d never read the whole story in full so when I found Rosemary Sutcliff’s interpretation I was delighted and picked it up immediately.

Rosemary Sutcliff was a wonderful author, I remember her works with great fondness from my childhood. She wrote fabulous historical fiction for children but the depth and quality of her writing make her very good to be read by any group. I do recommend people start reading her in the pre-teens and early teens, but if you haven’t read her works before then now is a very good time to start.

I’m actually meant to be reviewing Dragon Slayer and not Beowulf so here we go. Dragon Slayer is the story of Beowulf for young people. Beowulf feels obligated to help out the Danish king Hroðgar as he has helped Beowulf’s father pay weregild. He and his men spend the night in the hall Heorot and he kills Grendel, a marauding monster. Grendel’s mother takes offence at this and Beowulf finds himself battling and killing her. He eventually becomes king of his people and at a great age he battles a dragon, killing with the help of Wiglaf but the cost is too high and Beowulf dies.

What a great story and I know understand why they had to make a movie out of it as it is exactly that sort of story. I enjoyed it all the way through. Rosemary had a way with words and could make any scene sound alive. I couldn’t quite visualise Grendel or his mother, but there are some line drawings which go a long way to help. This book gives a fabulous insight into the period it is likely to have been set. I express it in that way as there is a lot of argument as to when it was actually composed. Whether it was composed when it was written or whether it was oral history passed down the ages. As with a lot of her books I would recommend it for pre-teens to early teens who are okay with violence and gore.

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