Chapter 8, section V11|
With the sun trying to shine through a stained glass St. George
we filed into the front pew: Fiona sedated and pale,
John with Marj and their children, Nothing can forge
a family better than death. I spent Jack's service squinting through a veil.
My husband had phoned from Sydney: promising a few surprises
when he returned. "Hold your patience El." But a day on, any question
turned immaterial: for the minister, off observing naval exercises,
had died. The mildest mal de mer? Slight indigestion?
Whatever had sent him early to bed wasn't correct.
At seven a sailor serving coffee and toast discovered
my marriage was over.
Who better than the PM to bring me
such news, ease what I couldn't understand? My son catching rumours,
had checked with an admiral. I phoned Fiona.
As clouds started to cover
the church grounds with drizzle, over his bearers' shoulders Jack's
coffin bobbed like a dinghy.
Chapter 9, section 1
A night out with brother Bob and mates:
a screaming session sponsored by some church:
wishing to strut each hopeful gets a perch.
this is your chance to Meet the Candidates.
To play with their dithering member; to heckle
some ageing mule statesman by default,
abuse his spluttering back-up crew, their insults
forced to a grudging charity: the odd misaccounted sheckel
tossed out for an oh-they-suppose-so deserving poor.
To his phalanx of tweedy harridans
(plus consorts) this is Good Ol' Davo, one of the better samaritans;
though able to relax into joke time :
"Haw haw haw ...
now seriously folks..."
A lush but pukka he shudders as a shark;
has seen and defeated all of them through decades of attack:
the scarlet-faced storeman, the peace padres, the crazed quack.
(And wheels in his Haw haw haw... worse than any bark.)