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BANJO BAY..episode 17

 

The little town of Banjo Bay sits proudly in the cove,
Welcoming her sons home from their toil,
Her harbour filled with laughter, her streets bedecked with love,
A place for growing up and growing old.

The winter winds blow wildly along the rocky shore
As Nicholas DeWinter tamps his pipe,
The sparks fall gently down upon the spotless cabin floor
Like starlight on a dark December night.

He hears her gentle reprimand and then her cheery laugh,
His Clementine, his faithful loving wife,
Together have they basked in sun and faced the tempest’s wrath,
Together have they built a worthy life.

Their little cabin in the woods, far from friends and foes
Somewhat of a sanctuary it stands,
A bastion against the biting wind that oft times blows,
Every plank shaped by his calloused hands.

In his ancient rocking chair beside the roaring fire
Nicholas brings out his well worn tools,
Clemmie takes the other chair as every night before,
Busy with her needles and her wools.

A portly soul is Nicholas, as wide as he is high
But nimble in demeanour none the less,
His busy fingers flying as he works the little knife
That whittles on the shards of oak and ash.

And so they sit, contented, busy in their task,
Occasionally glancing to the door,
The door that rattles endlessly against the wintery blast
That sends a random snowflake ‘cross the floor .

Nicholas puts down the knife to gaze at she he loves,
Regret now rising in his caring breast,
No children was she blessed with though she had love enough,
As ‘mother’ she would surely be the best.

And now ’tis Clementine who stays her knitting to observe
With deep regret that far outruns his own
That she could not provide the son he surely must deserve
To share the tree of life which they have grown.

The northern lights rain down above the streets of Banjo Bay
As Nicholas DeWinter and his wife
Sit and smile together at the end of every day
Like book-ends to a hard but happy life.

………………………………………

The little town of Banjo Bay now settles down to sleep,
Another busy day has come and gone,
Tomorrow they will go to church, joyful thanks to give
To celebrate the birth of God’s own son.

Yet what have they to celebrate? This poor and wretched breed,
The fish that once were plentiful are gone,
Three years of harvests decimated by the searing heat
And still this wretched breed must carry on.

Wives take turns with frying pans as children gather round
For ne’er a child will ever go without,
Husbands gather at the Inn their sorrows for to drown
Where every tot of rum is on the house.

Counting every blessing, but blessings they are few
Yet always, where life blossoms there is hope,
The tide will turn, the fish return, a better day is due,
Until that day arrives they wait, they cope.

………………………………………

The blizzard roars around the wood, brutal in it’s bite
As Nicholas DeWinter loads the sled,
His great cloak buttoned to the throat, the lanterns all alight,
He gives the leading Husky dog it’s head.

‘Go carefully’ pleads Clementine for never has she seen
A cruel wind as terrible as this,
‘Tis now or never Clemmie, before the snow sets in ‘,
She gives a wave, they smile, he blows a kiss.

………………………………………

And now we see him silently along the cobbles cold,
No door is locked for none have much of worth,
Into the cosy cottages where families lives unfold,
The poorest yet the richest of this earth.

He sees the children sleeping, his old heart swells with joy,
He leaves the little trinkets he has brought,
For every child a knitted sock that holds a wooden toy,
‘Not much’ he thinks ‘but better this than nought’.

Every child in Banjo Bay will wake to this surprise
And wonder for their benefactors name,
As mothers turn to fathers, a twinkle in their eyes,
‘Nicholas has come to call again. ‘

And now the homeward journey where Clementine awaits
To hear the story of his escapade,
Of how he stalked the pretty cobbled streets of Banjo Bay
There to leave the gifts that they have made.

But not only is it Nicholas who stalks the cobbled streets,
There tragedy awaits to match his stride,
To wrap around the shoulders of he who leaves the gifts,
And tragedy will not be put aside.

The snow lies deep, the wind blows wild, the avalanche roars past
To leave an icy chasm deep and wide,
The sled is rent to matchwood, the Husky breathes his last
As Nicholas is cruelly tossed aside.

A jolt, a curse, a stab of pain that sears his screaming throat
For there it is his whittling knife has fled,
His saintly blood flows like a river o’er his rugged cloak
Now painted deep in gorey shades of red.

………………………………………

Meanwhile at the cabin Clemmie trims and lights the lamp,
The hour is late and still she is alone,
Throwing on her shawl she sets off through the cold and damp
In hopes to find and hasten him back home.

The chasm is before her, her husband at the crest
And plain to see his life is all but spent,
She casts aside her woolly shawl, the storm will do the rest,
Together will they go. They are content.

‘Did you get there Nicholas? Are our children served?
‘All are served my darling. Every one’
‘And is it finished Nicholas? Is this our final word?’
‘All is finished Clemmie. It is done’.

Two lives as one cannot go on when one is set to leave,
Like book-ends in a hard but happy life,
Their souls now rise to light the skies of man’s eternal sleep,
Like starlight on a dark December night,

copyright Catherine Turner 2019

 

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I saw the flicker of your flame and instantly was drawn
Drawn to seek your comfort as my love for you was born
Born from curiosity to bask within your glow
The glow that would destroy my life, yet how was I to know
To know how you’d seduce me and then hold me as your slave
A slave who’s at your mercy as you watch me beg and crave
A craving that’s insatiable, that makes me feel ashamed
But like a moth, I’m drawn once more, to perish in your flame

copyright S. Stone 2017

Pale young boys of tender years, sent underground each day,
To breathe the dust and risk their lives before they slipped away.
And womenfolk who worked like dogs from early morn till night,
With blackened face and haunted eyes that stared from pools of white.
Then ‘black by day and red by night’ was how our land was seen,
Where once grew fields of golden corn and pastures lush and green,
Transformed into a world of fire with heaps of slack and spoil,
By men who often paid the price with burdened lives of toil.
No accolades or words of praise, just meagre pay at best,
And scars they wore with dignity, like medals on their chest

copyright S Stone 2017

BANJO BAY……episode 15


The little town of Banjo Bay sits proudly in the cove,

Welcoming her sons home from their toil,

Her harbour filled with laughter, her streets bedecked with love,

A place for growing up and growing old.

Bert the Flirt takes off his shirt and hangs it in the tree

Thinking of the ecstasy to come,

As she who lies beneath unties her corset eagerly ,

Loosening the laces one by one.

Katy Lovatt is her name, a spinster of this parish,

Strong, and lean from years of honest toil,

Who, at the age of 35 has given up on marriage,

Content to be a tiller of the soil.

Many suitors came and went throughout her younger days 

But none could light the fire in Katie’s heart,

But he will do, her gigolo, too proud to change his ways,

Too fancy free for love to make a start.

Katie doesn’t crave for much, simple are her needs,

The pleasures of the flesh are all she asks,

And every Friday evening neath the ancient apple tree

Bert the Flirt proves equal to the task.

They will not be discovered for the land is Katie’s now,

From father to the child the farm has passed,

But with no child to walk with her behind the trusty plough

Katie now will surely be the last.

……………………………………………..

Bert the Flirt pulls on his shirt and sits beneath the tree

To watch the lights go down in Banjo Bay,

Then, gazing down at Katie, a-smiling in her sleep

The world about him seems to fade away.

He sees himself, a handsome chap, a ladies man they say,

And many knotches has he gladly carved,

But truly he must be the saddest man in Banjo Bay

With ne’er a wife to grace his lonely hearth.

If truth be known, the push and shove has lost it’s charm for Bert,

He hankers for a settled, simple life,

His carefree days are over now, no longer will he flirt,

The day has come when he must choose a wife.

And who better than his Katie, whose body he adores,

Who turns the skirt whenever she prefers,

Together they could move the earth as oft they have before,

Who cares for love with lust as fierce as hers.

The evening star shines down upon the streets of Banjo Bay

As Bert the Flirt falls down upon one knee,

And there upon a golden swathe of sweetly perfumed hay,

His life he gives for all eternity.

Katie, quick to answer yes, is haunted now by doubt

For Bert has reaped his share of failed romance,

She wonders, Will he ever change? Can he settle down?

But desperation bids her take a chance.

………………………………………..

And so the two are married as the townsfolk gather round,

The Jolly Sailor Inn packed to the rafters,

A voyage made in haste, they whisper , sure to run aground,

No hope, they say, of happy ever after.

No more the ancient apple tree, but now the oaken ‘stead

Bears witness to the moving of the earth,

Till soon upon the cotton sheets where passion’s fire is fed,

The issue of their lust is given birth.

The seasons turn and life goes on for Katie and her man,

And with each year another child is born,

More milk to feed the little ones, more meat to fill the pan,

More wood upon the fire to keep them warm.

Tide on tide roll in along the shores of Banjo Bay,

As Katie toils to keep the family fed,

Bert is left at home to rear the children day on day

And only sleep employs their oaken ‘stead.

Cooking, cleaning, darning socks, washing dirty clothes,

Sowing, reaping, milking, dawn till dusk,

The pleasures of the flesh are quenched, the spark no longer glows,

The children thrive as all small children must.

……………………………………………..

And so it goes, the years roll by, the children fly the nest,

More time have they to ponder on their life,

Satisfied that all will say they did their very best,

A faithful husband and a treasured wife.

But time has left its mark on Katie, life has left it’s scars,

Her back now bent from hours behind the plough,

Her auburn locks, once bountiful, now shine like silver stars

And fall around the furrows on her brow.

Her husband, now a shadow of the man who hung his shirt

Among the branches of the apple tree,

The passing years have gathered like a shroud around poor Bert,

No more the handsome gigolo is he.

Their job is done, their children gone, life is all but spent,

And some would say they did more than enough,

Hand in hand beside the hearth, now just the two of them,

They who fell in lust now fall in love.

He thinks her never lovelier than how she looks tonight,

And she thinks him the handsomest of men,

And so it is they wander now in evening’s fading light

To lie beneath the apple tree again.

A marriage walked without true love can seem a lonely mile

When pleasures of the flesh no more attend,

Passions, irresistible, may warm us for a while

But love hard won burns brighter in the end.

Cath Turner….July 2017


Welcome to the world my child, I hear your anguished cries, 

And share the apprehension I see mirrored in your eyes. 

Your needs are pure and simple, no unrequired demands, 

Unconsciously you place your trust in life’s unyielding hands. 

Your book of life has opened, its pages clean and white, 

Just waiting for the hand of time to take its pen and write. 

But soon you’ll be its author, each chapter your design, 

And hopefully you’ll write it well and savour every line. 

So welcome to the world my child, I hope it treats you well, 

And though you never chose to write, the story’s yours to tell.

Copyright S. Stone July 2017

Down in a green and shady bed,

A modest violet grew

Its stalk was bent, it hung its head

As if to hide from view.

And yet it was a lovely flower,

Its color bright and fair;

It might have graced a rosy bower,

Instead of hiding there. 

Yet thus it was content to bloom,

Its modest tints arrayed;

And there diffused a sweet perfume,

Within the silent shade. 

Then let me to the valley go

This pretty flower to see;

That I may also learn to grow

In sweet humility.

Copyright Jane Taylor

Don’t judge a book by its cover

Or a person by the skin

For though the cover is dusty and worn

A treasure trove hides within.

My hands are a little bit shaky,

I need glasses to help me see

And it seems that the world I have helped to shape

No longer listens to me.

An old person! Yes, that’s what I am,

I stumble and I forget,

But I still have a lot I can offer,

My time isn’t over just yet.

My shaking hand still rocks the cradle

And brushes away a tear,

My tired eyes still read the fairytale

While holding my little one near.

He smiles as he runs to my open arms

And for me that is more than enough

For a little child’s eyes never see the years

They only feel the love.

By Catherine Turner

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The little town of Banjo Bay sits proudly in the cove,

Welcoming her sons home from their toil,

Her harbour filled with laughter, her streets bedecked with love,

A place for growing up and growing old.

The scarlet dawn awakens to the song of Mrs. Jones,

Four and twenty children has she bore,

And every time the father says ‘Enough! The final one!’

And every time the mother says ‘One more?’

Three sets of twins and three of quads then six, who came alone,

And every one is loved as is his right,

Every mouth is filled, every head is neatly combed,

And every rosy cheek is kissed goodnight.

A for Annie is the first, the second B for Brad,

And C the third is beautiful Claudette,

Then D for Daisy, E for Eve and F for Ferdinand,

And thus they travel, through the alphabet.

A hard life hers but happy and no other she desires,

With spark enough to take all life may bring,

Contentedly she stirs the pot upon the cheery fire,

Each scarlet dawn awakened as she sings.

A farming man is Mr. Jones and happy with his lot,

Providing for his wife and swelling brood,

His vegetable garden fills the ever-bubbling pot,

So never will his children want for food.

His herd of cows give up the milk that growing children need,

His sheep give up the fleece that keeps them warm,

Fresh laid eggs from happy hens and apples from the trees,

Oats and barley gathered in the barn.

Waving fields of wheat supply the flour for the dough,

Snuffling pigs provide the breakfast feast,

Self sufficient Mr. Jones no other life would know,

The little farm has everything he needs.

From ‘morn till night the busy farmer ploughs and reaps and sows,

While Mrs. Jones is left to do all else,

Cooking, cleaning, shaking beds and washing dirty clothes,

All the while a-singing to herself.

Soon she will be bouncing yet another on her knee,

The family crib waits in a tiny room,

Tomorrow she will go to town, a doctor for to see,

To turn the sweet Yolanda in her womb.

For unlike every other who was born with ne’er a hitch,

Yolanda is a baby in a hurry,

But Mrs. Jones is confident that though the babe is breached,

No cause has she or Mr. Jones to worry.

Now there upon the cobbled street the ailing wife we spy,

For sweet Yolanda can no longer wait,

In haste, back to the little farm her stumbling footsteps fly,

Where Mr. Jones is waiting at the gate.

And there, beside the little gate, delivers he the girl,

But near to death his ever-loving wife,

No other child will follow sweet Yolanda to this world,

For sore the damage done to give her life.

The evening tide rolls in upon the golden, sandy shore,

As Mr. Jones a silent vigil keeps,

Little faces peer around the creaky bedroom door

A-watching o’er their mother as she sleeps.

But when the sickened reaper calls he finds no soul to claim,

For on the little farm the tide has turned,

Against all odds the roses bloom upon her cheeks again,

The pot is stirred, the cheery fire burns.

But all can see, that changed is she, the spark of life she lacks,

No longer does her song bring in the dawn,

Only tears of longing for the little baby, Zak,

The baby who will never now be born.

No morning kiss to send the farmer out to till the soil,

No loving arms to hold him as he sleeps,

Sad is he to see the love they shared so badly spoiled,

But thankful he, his tortured wife he keeps.

Tide on tide roll in upon the shores of Banjo Bay,

The baby crawls, the woolly sheep are shorn,

The wife scrubs out the heavy pot and clears the toys away,

The husband ploughs the field and sows the corn.

A life that isn’t perfect but a life that could be worse,

The tragedy behind, but not forgot,

But tragedy is never far, it waits to cast its curse,

And now it comes to twist the strangling knot.

The evening star shines down upon the narrow, cobbled streets,

As sweet Yolanda wakens with a start,

The fire of fever burning on her pretty, freckled cheeks,

The drums of hell a-pounding in her heart.

Along the alphabet they fall, as would a pack of cards,

Mrs. Jones in torment kneels to pray,

‘Dear Lord above reach down and save the harvest of my heart,’

‘Take the devil’s pestilence away’.

‘How wrong was I to weep and wail and shun a loyal man’,

‘To worry for a child you cannot bring’,

‘When every blessing you could lend was here, within my hand’,

‘Heal them Lord, and ever will I sing’.

The evening fog rolls in upon the gently waving wheat

And shrouds the empty streets of Banjo Bay,

Many a prayer is said this night on many a bended knee,

Some are welcomed, some are turned away.

The citizens of Banjo Bay stack up the bales of hay,

For all must help to bring the harvest home,

Singing as they swing the scythe in glory of the day,

And singing there beside them, Mrs. Jones.

And now beside the rusty gate the happy farmer stands,

Listening to she he calls his bride,

A-singing to the children who will work this blessed land,

And every one is present, A to Y.

copyright Catherine Turner

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If you can keep your head when all about you

are losing theirs and blaming it on you

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you

but make allowance for their doubting too

If you can wait and not be tired of waiting

or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

or being hated, don’t give way to hating

and yet don’t look too good nor talk too wise

If you can dream and not make dreams your master

If you can think and not make thoughts your aim

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

and treat those two impostors both the same

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools

or watch the things you gave your life to broken,

and stoop and build them up with worn out tools

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

and risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss

and lose and start again at your beginnings

and never breathe a word about your loss

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

to serve your turn long after they are gone

and so, hold on when there is nothing in you

except the will which says to them hold on

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue

or walk with kings nor lose the common touch

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you

If all men count with you but none too much

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

with sixty seconds worth of distance run

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it

And which is more you’ll be a man my son

Rudyard Kipling- 1895

The first star of the evening

through a misty window pane

Prompted me to whisper

that old childhood rhyme again

I didn’t wish for beauty

for all beauty has to end

I didn’t wish for friendship

for she was my truest friend

I didn’t wish for money

for I knew a Mother’s worth

Not even for security

for this I’d had from birth

I didn’t wish for guidance

for she taught me wrong from right

I didn’t wish for love

for I had known it all my life

The wish I made was for the thing

I thought I’d never ask

For what I knew must happen

I hoped would happen fast

Through a misty window

in a room of sterile white

My crying eyes looked out

upon the first star of the night

The saddest star in heaven

that I made my wish upon

The star that made my wish come true

that last long night with Mom

copyright Catherine Turner 2001

Star light, star bright, the first star I see tonight

I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight

Alfred Bester