The Day I Got the Wog?!

The Day I Got the Wog

Before we take offence, let us recall that the usage of colloquial and slang words changes over time.  In ‘Ozzieland’ (Australia) back in the day, when this little poem from my childhood was written, the word “wog” had at least two popular connotations.  It was used to refer to certain ethnic groups of people.  This was mainly Italians, but it, for example, was also applied to Greeks and Croatians.  Sadly, at times, this usage was a derisive and aggressive means of address.  We would say that is racist.

There is some information on the use of the term “wog” on google, if you have the time and inclination to search. 

The other connotation of the word “wog” referred to times when we had a cold or flu (influenza).  I am not sure if it applies to “man flu”.  We might have said in former times: “Sorry mate, I can’t play footy on the weekend, coz I’ve got the bloody flu!”  The poem I wrote back in about 1983 is about the experience I had of the flu. I would have been about 11 or 12 years old.

Given this latest southern hemisphere winter has been a severe one for colds and flu I thought it timely to extract this silly little rhyme from the archives.  I hope it does not sicken any readers! 🙂

The Day I Got the Wog

The day I got the wog,

I got so very hot,

My eyes thought they were on fire,

Not to mention the rest of the rot.

And when I got into my bed,

I sweated something rotten,

For when I went to get out,

I found I was stuck to the cotton!

I shivered and shook like jelly,

And boy, how sick was my belly.

Simon C.J. Falk  circa 1983.

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Light

Light

CaseysNorth

One word writings – be they books, stories, or poems – seem to attract our attention.  I recall seeing some titled “salt”, “colour”.  Might it be the spareness of expression?  Perhaps?  It may invite us further into the beautiful mystery before us.  This one is light.

Light

Light

Shining ahead

Illumining the road

Showing a way

Warming the face

Kindling the heart

Rising before

Adorning our way.

Simon C.J. Falk 15 June 2015

Days on Decks

Days on Decks

Our lives are full of little rituals and daily habits. Some are as menial as the morning routine. Others are the ritual of catching up with friends, over meals, on decked verandahs and so on.  This free verse is about life and love and how it can happen around timber decks.  It finishes with a note of how our lives can be like timber.  Our knotty parts absorbed by the grain of our lives.  All of this contributes to the beauty.

FrostyDeck

Days on Decks

(i)

Crisp

Early morn.

Crunch, crunch

The icy frost is

Under foot.

The biting air nips

At unsuspecting ears, nose

Eyes and toes!

And the panels of the deck

Slip

Under the soles.

(ii)

A cacophony of currawongs perch

Above where we are.

A carpenter’s canopy

Behind the house.

A bedecked surface

Where the table is set

Pieces of pizza

Homemade and kneaded

With love and care

Sit upon plates

Headed by generous pourings

Of Barossa Reds.

And the stories flow.

And we hope

That currawong

Perched above

Won’t open its ‘bomb-bay’

Onto our precious pieces

Perched on plates.

(iii)

Down the road towards rivermouth

A south head

In the near dark.

A capped head

Standing in sentinel,

A beacon in the blur.

And

Upon a deck

A face full of welcome

Shines with possum-like eyes

And a beaming smile.

So we enter

The threshold of timbers.

One deck gives way

To another below

Like a cascade of warmth

Closer to the heart and hearth

Of the home.

Lengths from hewn logs

For us to lean on

Table our tales and support,

Steaming mugs,

And stories among friends.

(iv)

So we are built

Upon little rituals

The daily habits

The visits with friends

That graft together

The grain of our lives.

Binding the knots

Warmly holding the blemishes

To create a total

Work of beauty.

Simon C.J. Falk                      9 June 2015

Taken

TemoraCenotaph2015

Taken

We who are left behind do not know, taste and smell the real horrors of war. It is relayed to us. We see it in those who return. Occasionally, at times like Anzac Day, we are given a rare gift of empathy with those affected by war. We are somehow taken into their experience. We are also taken to a place of raw emotion ourselves.

Taken

(i)

They were taken

By a cause

By ‘the Services’

To the front.

They were taken

And some

Were never given back.

(ii)

Some returned,

Some with spirits broken,

An innocence in them

Taken away.

As we think on them

We are taken

By their courage and sacrifice.

We are taken

By their pain

Their listless, wistful

Half-lived life.

(iii)

At memorial services

We are taken

As the hymns play

And we are taken

Somewhere deep within.

Where we hear:

Whistling shells,

The crack of guns,

And booms of cannons,

And drones of aircraft fly by.

The sound hits upon us

Like a torrent of rushing waters

And we feel as if we

Are taken

Under,

Drowning in a sea of war.

(iv)

At Dawn Services

We are taken

In the silence before the dawn

By the solemn flying over

Of planes in peace time,

Like sentinels,

Guarding our ritual remembrance.

We are taken by their care.

BarellanMonument2015

Simon C.J Falk           25/26 April 2015

Preparing for the Morning Service this Anzac Day by Remembering 2013

Preparing for the Morning Service this Anzac Day by Remembering 2013

We are approaching another Anzac Day here in Australia. A day where we remember.  By way of remembering I was asked to go over what I said at our local gathering two years ago.  What follows is a paste of my words at the Morning Service that follows the march.

TemoraCenotaph

Anzac Day Morning Service 2013

Earlier today we gathered in the dawning light and remembered our brave Anzacs.

Now, approaching the noontide of our day

We have moved on.

Like pilgrims, or like soldiers marching, we come to rest at a further spot.

After our brave Anzacs valiantly served us in what we called the ‘Great War’, we sent some   Again…. later.

In the Second World War, our people excelled once more.

The Kokoda legend began and many people still travel that track.

But the ones who originally blazed that trail

How did their boots fall upon the duckboards?

Or how did they slip in the muddy mire

As the tropical sun and pests beset them?

Did they feel something of the ancient Israelites leaving Egypt

But traveling to a new land with foes nearby.

We hear some stories, but not all.

My mother’s uncle,

A supply soldier in New Guinea, seldom spoke of his tour of duty.

War saw new developments in this conflict

As technology advanced the bombs borne by sea and air,

The guns shattering the silence, the cities and the sanctuaries.

Farming families of Europe

After centuries of sieges

On their grass and in their barns

Again saw their fields and pastures invaded by the machines of war

As they became battlegrounds for territory

resting places of the fallen,

Atolls of asylum for shot down pilots.

Mighty cities near the ocean

We’re massacred in moments of mushroom cloud.

Pens and prisoner of war camps

Housed slave labour for rail lines in tropical paddies in icy tundras.

Back home families continued on coupons,

And mothers at times had to be fathers for their children as well,

Not knowing if the fathers would even come home,

And the state they would arrive in if they did come back to their families.

The home front were consigned to waiting

Yet their anxious wait gave energy to their work

As they kept our shops open, our classrooms filled

And our farms fielded.

As the sun rises higher in the sky

And the dial moves on

More names fill our roll call…

Korea

The Vets of Vietnam

Peacekeepers of East Timor

Aussies still in Afghanistan as we gather here today.

We remember them all.

As our youngsters, and not so youngsters

Take the Kokoda track today

What happens for them?

As the ground speaks its stories to them

Do they burn with revenge

Or fan a resolution

To not repeat the history?

As thousands of tourists pace over the pebbles of Auschwitz-Birkenhau,

Do they rejoice that work today can be free?

Travelling Eurostar trains over the green fields of France

Do we hope those farms will not become forts again?

May the courage of those before us put courage into us,

May their valour teach us to vie for peace instead of conflict.

As we stand here today by our own choice may we be thankful for those who freely chose lay down their lives for others.

May we find peace in our hearts and be ourselves peacemakers

That those who cross our way may know peace,

Even in times of conflict.

And may our families still tormented by past and present war know that we stand with them sharing their sorrow and willing them hope.

At the going down of the sun

We will remember them

And we still hope

That one day there will be a dusk to the devastation

And all will be made new.

Simon C.J. Falk

Anzac Day 2013

Preparing for Dawn this Anzac Day by Remembering 2013

Preparing for Dawn this Anzac Day by Remembering 2013

We are approaching another Anzac Day here in Australia. A day where we remember.  By way of remembering I was asked to go over what I said at our local gathering two years ago.  What follows is a paste of my words at the Dawn Service.

TemoraMorn0315-2

ANZAC DAY DAWN SERVICE, TEMORA 2013

As we greet the rising sun this day, a new day dawns on us –

a day to remember

And a day to hope.

As shadows clear and shapes appear

We begin to see

And find our way

From our slumber

To what is before us.

We remember as our brave Anzacs woke all those years ago

What shapes did they see

emerging in the shadows of the dawn?

With the grit of the Turkish coast against their brow

How did they see the mission lying ahead of them?

How did their ears encode the echoes

Of gunfire and orders and cries around them?

We will remember them.

But, as another day dawns further from that action

How will we remember?

Gaining more help by second-hand means

Of television or computer screens, film reels,

And pages of text and photographs.

As more days further from the Anzac Cove Landing dawn,

we hope we can faithfully pass on what we have received that others too may remember.

As this new day dawns we remember as light falls

Upon the graves of the fallen

That light, ever older,

Then illumines the graves

Of the those who fell upon the beach

All those years ago.

And also, a light, younger one, that drifts upon the graves of those who fought,

Came home, marched and have since fallen.

And we remember those who stood longer

And whose hearts were fallen upon,

Who experienced something of a dying within

And lived a lesser and wounded life,

Harrowed by the horrors of their experiences.

May their broken hearts be raised up whole again.

And we recall those blessed ones who

Buried the dead, tended the sick and wounded,

Supplied food and clothing, and

Delivered letters to and from the front lines

They too fell

Into line with great and noble service.

As the psalms tell us:

from the rising of the sun to its setting

A perfect offering is made.

In the rising of the sun

May we be mindful

And remember

Those who lived and died

In the hope of a day yet to dawn

Where there would be no more fighting or weeping

But peace at last.

May God’s peace rest upon them

and in our hearts and homes.

Simon C.J. Falk

Anzac Day 2013

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