Colin F. Jones

GETTING OLD

~ 1 ~

I thought not of death in youth, as I think about it now,
I did not know how deep a furrow, I would have to plough.
Even on the battle field, I thought not that I’d be killed;
Perhaps I thought I was a God or a warrior to finely skilled.
I was closer to my birth in youth, now I’m closer to the end,
It is no use in thinking that , against times march I can defend.
My hair is grey, what little left, clings to the shiny dome,
I would more often want to say, “I’d rather stay at home”.
I cannot run to catch the dog when he runs and gets away,
I find it hard with all the kids who want to frolic about and play.
I can’t jump fences anymore so raiding orchards is now out;
I know what consequences are and what rules are all about.
Still, there is the internet, where I can “stir the possum”, right?
And write a simple verse or two when I can’t sleep at night.

~ 2 ~

The sandstone cliffs surround us in this valley where we live,
I guess I should be thankful for the peace and privilege
The forests stretch for miles; over the range there is the sea,
There are open fields a-plenty with fine horses running free.
There are waterfalls and rivers; hidden clear rock pools and ponds
Where orchids grow and Elk-horns cling to rocks among the fronds.
There are Kangaroos and Wallabies that feed in the longer grass,
Where the Glenreagh Mountain steam train hisses steam going past.
We get white frost in the Winter time but perfect sunny days,
There is always something blooming as something else decays.
In the cemetery lays my Father my Mother and my heart,
In the same place I’ll be buried when it is my time to depart.
So I guess this long winded innings that is far from over yet,
Is one for which I should be thankful no matter how old I tend to get.

~ 3 ~

When the Summer comes the bush fires rage across the forest slopes,
Heat waves dance monotonously but with its sultriness one copes.
We change our clocks to suit us that more daylight we enjoy,
Not like it was back in the past when I was just a boy.
When we swung like Tarzan from a tree to land in McPherson’s pool,
We did it over and over again and the water was so cool.
We rode our “push-bikes” for miles then with fishing lines and poles,
We knew where all the fishes were and we had our favourite holes.
We did not know that other kids did the same things in their lands,
That we might well be killing them for reasons we’d not understand.
We did not think that we would grow to be like those old blokes,
Who sit in the park on Sunday telling stories and old jokes.
But alas I am one of them for I’ve survived my youth and war,
Now I sit here just writing, wondering what the hell I’m living for.

~ 4 ~

I served alongside gallant men from all sorts of walks in life,
Servants of the cannon; the rifle and the knife.
We were linked by war as brothers we shared the pain and fear,
We all had dads and Mothers and others we held dear.
We were fit and well trained soldiers skilled in every role;
We knew how to fill a sandbag and how to dig a hole.
We drank more alcohol than a fish would in a lake of amber beer,
Then we helped the grass behind the trees to rot and disappear.
What did we think then; I dunno I suppose girls filled our minds
What better thoughts could pass between, two ears so refined.
I can’t recall which demanded most the good lady or the beer,
Either way the other one would be apt to disappear …
As you blokes know the two didn’t mix so the women had to go,
You can’t complain you drunken bums if you now have a lawn to mow.

~ 5 ~

Some blokes got home the better and some much poorer were,
Some still stood at attention and called their bosses Sir!
Some did not make it back and some lost their lives at home,
Some married and were happy some lived their lives alone.
Some moved from bar to bar just looking for a friend,
But getting drunker all the time; others could not comprehend.
Some ran for the wilderness among the friendly trees,
And found themselves castaways on the summer breeze.
Some married but were unhappy their family homes destroyed
Their children scattered and suicidal their mother unemployed.
Some lived on the streets and on their wits and skills;
Some gave in to the demons and got stuck on drugs and pills.
Now they are all growing old and their pain is growing worse,
As the master of the morgue with his dark assistants rehearse.

~ 6 ~

We all found a way to suffer thinking we were all alone,
Never calling up a friend although we had a telephone.
In silence we all suffered as some still suffer now,
But some started writing poetry and found a relieving valve somehow.
Their feelings came pouring out from their painful bitter souls,
The anguish and desperation boiling over like hot bowls,
They were crying as they wrote of the sadness in their hearts,
Of sleepless nights and demons that from their dreams would not depart.
Then they found a common thread linked them to good men far and wide,
Who had also been to war and were willing to confide
To share their thoughts by writing what they had been afraid to say,
That slowly very slowly they held their demons at bay.
We won’t completely forget the war the sadness will not depart,
But understanding and respecting is a fine way to start.

~ 7 ~

Then those ladies who had known them but did not understand their fear,
Were writing right beside them exposing what to them was very dear,
Soon the heartaches and the sadness the guilt and heartfelt loss,
They began to comprehend and could weigh the dreaded cost.
They understood the nightmares the reasons for the screams,
For the ever constant anger the multitude of hellish dreams.
They knew then that they loved them with all their hearts and soul,
That the pain that they carried was but part of their whole.
There was no desire to hurt them their angry voices were a cry,
To their various Gods to help them else allow their souls to die;
For a man is made from muscle some blood and some bone,
But his head is filled with reason and great love for his home.
He knows his flesh is weak and he knows he has desire,
That for love he will commit himself and face the flames of warfare’s fire.

~ 8 ~

I suppose when thinking backwards one can get carried away,
But now as I look around I see it’s still a lovely day,
I am alive and I am happy despite the demons I possess,
Though I live with lots of pain I might as well confess.
The poetry that I write is but the thoughts that come to mind,
That are better said and spoken than kept locked away confined.
Sometimes it comes out properly sometimes with some distaste,
It really doesn’t matter when it is posted in this place,
Because there will always be understanding; someone fair and true,
Who does not have a hang up when I state a different view.
I do not know why I write things; why do I breathe or see,
If I did not write these verses I don’t know what would become of me.
No doubt I’d find no answers talking to a flower or a stone,
And I would be more than I am, a man lost and all alone.