Archive for the ‘Tales From Banjo Bay’ Category


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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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

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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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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 morning sun shines brightly on the narrow, cobbled streets,

As Jane Golightly rubs the chalky board,

‘Good morning children’ she exclaims ‘Come quickly, take your seats’,

‘Good morning Miss’ they chime with one accord.

Four and twenty little faces beam in adoration,

As teacher’s pet would everyone be known,

For joyfully she bears the burden of their education,

And every one she loves as t’were her own

As prim and proper as they come, the wagging tongues will say,

But maybe not as proper as they think,

For when the bell is rung and school is over for the day,

Jane Golightly likes to take a drink.

A drop or two before her supper helps her to relax,

Another drop to help digest the bread,

As she prepares tomorrow’s test she pours another glass,

Then one or two before she goes to bed.

Medicinal, that’s what it is, or so she tells herself,

A glass of comfort in a lonely life,

Long years now since Jane Golightly sat upon the shelf,

A teacher she will be, but not a wife.

No soul in Banjo Bay can know the secret that she keeps,

It never did her harm, and yet, of late

The devil’s demons hover at her shoulder as she sleeps,

And every morning chalky fingers shake.

No favourite should a teacher have, but rules are made to bend,

To one above all else her time she gives,

That one is little Jacob Brown, a boy who needs a friend,

For miserable the life the poor lad lives.

A mother who was laid to rest the day she gave him life,

A father who should hang his head in shame,

For every time he raises up a heavy hand to strike

The little boy who has to take the blame.

A grubby, frightened face set underneath a mop of curls,

Pouting lips that never learned to smile,

Too old to cry, too young to run from such a cruel world,

Innocence: grown old before it’s time.

No mother’s hand to comb the hair or wash the freckled face,

To gently rub the bruise and ease the pain,

No father’s hand to reassure, to cherish and keep safe,

No friend has he in all the world but Jane.

And now the sorry scene is set. The cottage dark and cold,

Jacob Brown takes up the leather pouch,

There inside he places every treasure that he owns,

Then Jacob, with a pounding heart creeps out.

Toward the lights of Banjo Bay he flies with leaping nerves,

Down to where the little school house stands,

In hopes to find the peace of mind that every child deserves,

Never more to fear a father’s hand.

‘Wake up Jane Golightly!. Come quickly! Let him in!’

‘Your friendship and protection does he seek!’

But lost is Jane Golightly in the deathly grip of gin,

With the devil’s demons does she sleep.

The little town of Banjo Bay prepares to meet the storm,

As Jacob crouches there beside the gate,

A simple cotton vest is all he wears to keep him warm,

A helpless lad, left in the jaws of fate.

And that is where she finds him, betrayed by friend and kin,

The father’s guilt not half as is her own,

For he has offered nothing, and nothing has he given,

But she has offered all and given none.

The morning sun shines down upon a restless, rolling tide,

As Jacob in the grip of fever sleeps,

And there is Jane Golightly sitting at his side.

A sad and silent vigil she must keep.

And now we see her taking up the little leather pouch,

That which he had carried on his flight,

There into her lap the meager trophies tumble out,

Pathetic tokens of a loveless life.

A marble and a penknife, a conker on a cord,

A handkerchief of lace, threadbare and frayed,

And here a little piece of chalk she used upon the board,

And there the scarlet ribbon she mislaid.

Now with her hand upon his heart she takes a sacred vow,

‘No more the demon drink shall pass my lips’,

‘My life I pledge from this day forth to thee, sweet Jacob Brown’,

And now upon his brow she plants a kiss.

A little lad in need of luck and luck comes none too soon,

For Jane Golightly takes the youngster in,

Little lads are hardy things and soon the roses bloom,

The boy who couldn’t smile begins to grin.

And what of he, the father, who had caused this misery,

Away to join the Legion some will say,

Fighting in a foreign land beyond the seven seas,

Never to return to Banjo Bay.

But thicker now than water runs the blood in Jacob’s veins,

And little boys will always need a dad,

Time and distance gently weave their magic spell again,

The villain now a hero to the lad.

Tis many a morning Jane Golightly comes into the room,

To see him dreaming, there beside the step,

Listening for a footfall she knows will never come,

Watching for a face he can’t forget.

But if Mohammed will not come the mountain has to move,

And so it is our story must unfold,

When Jane Golightly comes to wake the object of her love,

The leather pouch is gone. The pillow cold.

The chilling mist rolls in upon the narrow, cobbled streets

As Jane Golightly tosses back another,

Her shaking fingers marking the examination sheets,

A teacher she will be, but not a mother.


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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 morning star shines down upon the gently rolling hills,

As Mrs. Smart comes to her bakery shop,

There’s dough to kneed, buns to ice and steaming pies to fill,

Much to do before she opens up.

Long years now since Edna at the sacred altar stood,

Promising her love till death must part,

Deeply had she loved him then and deeply always would,

The lad whose honest face had won her heart.

A bride was she of 3 short months before he sailed away,

Gone to claim his shilling from the King,

Never more to see the shore of peaceful Banjo Bay,

Or kiss the hand that wears his wedding ring.

Along the lane comes Charlie Bright, the simple butcher’s boy,

Delivering fresh kidney for her pies,

The steak and kidney pies that hungry fishermen enjoy,

Edna looks at him with sadness in her eyes.

Too late now to bear the child she dreamed of long ago,

No babe has she to carry on the name,

She gives the boy a currant bun and watches as he goes,

Then turns back to her baking once again.

And now a pretty face we see come in the creaking door,

Little Annie, here to start her day,

Edna Smart employed the girl to sweep the bakery floor,

And help to keep the spider-webs at bay.

Next into the little shop a stranger boldly comes,

A merchantman with medals on his chest,

He buys a sugary do-nut and a bag of sticky buns

As Edna’s heart beats wildly in her breast.

‘Come to put down roots’ says he, ‘Need to settle down’,

Where better to plant roots than Banjo Bay,

Until he finds a cosy cottage somewhere close to town,

The Jolly Sailor Inn is where he stays.

‘A fool am I’ thinks Edna Smart ‘for who would think that he’

‘A man so tall and fair with noble chin’

‘Would ever take a second glance at someone such as me’

And with a shrug takes up her rolling pin.

The morrow dawns to find our baker waiting at the door,

She watches as he saunters up Tide Lane,

Looking even finer than he had the day before,

She prays that he will call and buy again.

Her prayer is answered; here he comes to sample Edna’s wares,

And Edna, who has always walked with fate,

This time with a silver comb upon her bonny hair,

Thinks, ‘Maybe I was wrong. It’s not too late’.

Now in the Lane, each day the same, the merchantman we spy,

And as the kettle whistles on the stove,

He drops the currants in the buns and crimps the steaming pies,

All the while declaring of his love.

Showered is she with gifts from every corner of the world,

Gathered on his wanderings with the fleet,

A ring of gold, a shawl of lace, a pretty string of pearls

And shoes of finest satin on her feet.

Every afternoon the handsome seaman and his lass,

Hand in hand along the sea-shore go,

The citizens of Banjo Bay whispering as they pass,

A-worrying for Edna and her beau.

For all is never as it seems or so the saying goes,

And every snake that slithers will be caught,

And everyone in Banjo Bay but Edna seems to know

That the scoundrel has a girl in every port.

But blinded now is Edna Smart and ignorance is bliss,

She cares not whence he came or of his trade,

Lost within the spell of he who gives the lying kiss,

The child she always dreamed about is made.

The evening star shines down upon the town of Banjo Bay

As Mrs. Smart slips on the satin shoes,

Along the empty streets she strolls, smiling all the way,

Off to tell her man the happy news.

Into the Jolly Sailor Inn comes Edna in all haste

As all eyes turn toward the cellar door,

And there her handsome seaman with his arms around the waist

Of she who sweeps the spiders from the floor.

The evening fog rolls in upon the sleepy little lane,

As Edna Smart takes up the sharpened knife,

Never would he trifle with a helpless lass again,

And never would she be a seaman’s wife.

They say that when she searched the town the lying rogue had flown,

They say that she had murder in her eyes,

And from that day, though none could say exactly what went on,

No-one bought her steak and kidney pies.

So now she bakes just bread and cakes, the simplest of feasts,

She brings the bowl of flour to the table,

Then with one hand she mixes in the foaming, fragrant yeast,

And with the other gently rocks the cradle.

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

Welcoming her sons home from their toil,

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

A place for growing up and growing old.

The morning sun shines down upon the busy little forge,

Sidney Armstrong at the anvil stands,

The mighty bellows suck and blow, the fiery furnace roars,

The hammer rings within his tattooed hands.

Not only on the work-worn hands the inky pictures rest,

But 5 and 30 do they count in all,

Decked along his muscled arms and o’er his rippling chest,

One for every year he has been born.

The sacred cross of Jesus, a ship ‘neath stormy skies,

A crouching leopard snarling on his back,

An eagle in ascendance on his shoulder gaily flies,

A heart of deepest red upon his neck.

No family does Sidney have, every soul passed on,

Taken when the fever stalked the town,

The sparks that burned his father’s hands now fall upon his own,

The forge, in perpetuity passed down.

The citizens of Banjo Bay treat Sidney with respect,

Not a one his wrath would care to see,

The hand that bends the chain could just as surely bend a neck,

So none would wish to be his enemy.

No foe has he to fight and yet no friend with which to bide,

No loving wife to claim as kith and kin,

None to know the caring heart that Sidney Armstrong hides,

The gentle giant ‘neath the tattooed skin.

No daughter born of Banjo Bay would Sidney care to charm,

Not one could bring a twinkle to his eyes,

Except for she who milks the cows upon her father’s farm,

She who he has worshipped all her life.


Sweet 16 and never kissed is beautiful Claudette,

A-dreaming as she goes about the farm,

By day she cuts the creamy curds that keep the family fed,

By night she weaves the cloth that keeps them warm.

“A blessing” say her family. ‘The best in all the world,

Never has she missed one day of work”,

“A credit” say the wagging tongues “A simple, modest girl,

Not one to wear the paint or twirl the skirt”.

And she, the beautiful Claudette, whose eyes know only good,

Sees the gentle giant ‘neath the skin,

Only Sidney Armstrong, no other would she choose,

Only he, to slip the wedding ring.

To spare her from the wagging tongues in secret have they met,

Strolling on the ever shifting sand,

But no longer can he live without the beautiful Claudette,

And now he comes to ask the milk-maid’s hand.

But sad to say, for such as they, no happy ending waits,

‘Too young” the farmer says, “to be a wife”,

As Sidney leaves she watches, beside the rusty gate,

Thinking on her simple, empty life.

Now hands that gently cradled, her shoulders roughly grasp,

“Away lass, to the loom” the farmer cries,

But she, with every dream of happiness so cruelly dashed,

Turns on him with hatred in her eyes.

“All my life, devotedly I laboured at your side,

And never have I asked for praise or pay,

But always have I dreamed that I would one day be the bride

Of he who works the forge in Banjo Bay”.

“No more will I cut the creamy curds or weave the cloth,

Away am I to seek my lover spurned”,

Then, cutting of the apron strings that keep her from her love,

She leaves the farmhouse, never to return.


But without the farmer’s blessing she can never be a bride,

So to the forge no entry does she gain,

She knocks the heavy door again, the blacksmith stays inside,

He loves the girl too much to bring her shame.


The cord is cut, the die is cast, and now we find the girl

Wandering a dark and stormy night,

Cast adrift is she upon an unforgiving world,

Will no-one here take pity on her plight?

Curtains twitch at casements, but ne’er a welcome here,

Only at the Inn is succour given,

To the swell of raucous laughter and the reek of foaming beer,

An arm around her shoulders leads her in.


And so the seasons turn upon the restless, rolling tide,

Another weaves the cloth and fills the pail,

Sidney Armstrong sits alone and tends his wounded pride,

The girl, deserted, hurtles from the rails.

Now in the little Inn we see the girl about her work,

All eyes upon her undulating hips,

And ne’er a sailor there who has not turned the twirling skirt,

Or smudged the scarlet on the pouting lips.


The chilling mist creeps in upon the narrow, cobbled streets,

As Sidney Armstrong takes his evening stroll,

And now, a moaning terrible as of a wounded beast

Echoes from an alley, damp and cold.

There upon the cobbles, ‘neath a pile of bloodied clothes,

Sidney finds the beautiful Claudette,

Tossed aside to meet her fate by hand of heartless rogue,

Lingering is she twixt life and death.

Sidney in his agony seeks a helping hand,

Every door in Banjo Bay is knocked,

But ne’er a hand is offered to the fearsome, tattooed man,

Every door in Banjo Bay stays locked.


So now into the quiet forge he brings the dying lass,

But at the door the sickened reaper waits,

Now beautiful Claudette into a kinder world must pass,

For hands that bend the chain cannot bend fate.


‘”Parted for eternity” you say. Well, maybe not,

The blame is his; the damage has been done,

Sidney Armstrong draws the blind and turns the heavy lock,

Even now, the happy ending comes.

For there we see, within the tattooed hand, a gleaming knife,

That splits in two the heart of deepest red,

Now joined are they in death as they could never be in life,

The blacksmith and his beautiful Claudette.


But souls in torment cannot rest and so it is with they,

Cursed are they to wander evermore,

Arm in arm together through the streets of Banjo Bay,

Their ghostly fingers tapping at the door.


Maybe their quest is over. Maybe they rest in peace,

Maybe they found an answer to their knock,

And maybe it is just a dream that wakens you from sleep,

And just the wind a-rattling the lock.

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 Old Salt

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 evening sun shines down
Upon a restless rolling sea
That brings the weary fisherman to port
It gently laps the peeling paint
of Lady Eveline
And sprays the silvery beard of dear Old Salt

Happily he turns the tiller
Firmly in his hand
Looking to the harbour of his heart
And there he sees sweet Eveline
Waiting on the sand
Waving of her pretty gingham scarf

He deftly slips the anchor
The longer for to spy
She who every day waves from the shore
And thinks “Who else in all the world
Is luckier than I
Truly I could wish for nothing more”

Long years now since little fingers
Clutched her slender hand
And little feet among the sand dunes played
One sacrificed to King and country
in a foreign land
One lost beneath the waves of Banjo Bay

For forty years and longer
Every day while out at sea
He dreamed about that pretty gingham scarf
The scarf she always waves
As she stands waiting on the quay
The gift he gave the day he won her heart

But endlessly the tides must turn
And so it is for they
Ebb and flow go on with measured pace
Even love as deep as theirs
Cannot keep time at bay
And soon the sickened reaper shows his face

The evening sun shines down
Upon a restless, rolling sea
No pretty gingham now to wave him home
It’s with a heavy heart
He leaves the Lady Eveline
To walk along the silent mile alone

An empty room, a lonely bed,
no-one to hug and kiss
no slender hand to stroke his silvery beard
no will to see tomorrow
no need to toil or fish
nobody there to share the golden years

With a sail of lost tomorrows
and a rudder forged in pain
her splintered deck awash with broken dreams
the lonely Lady Eveline
puts out to sea again
carried on a melancholy breeze

The sad, forgotten fisherman
Stands proudly on the deck
Gazing to the lights of Banjo Bay
His calloused fingers gently knot
The gingham at his neck
And with a sigh he sadly turns away

No baited hook or tangled line
No weight or snarling net
No deck to swab or anchor to be thrown
No map or compass does he bring
The final course is set
His memories will bring him safely home

The morning star shines down
Upon the lights of Banjo Bay
Yet nought is there to see for they who gaze
But the scarlet of another sunrise
Heralding the day
And a scarf of gingham floating on the waves

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 Charlie Bright

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
Charlie Bright the butcher’s boy
Rides his trusty bike
Along the quiet streets of Banjo Bay
His basket filled with sausages,
Bacon, chops and tripe
Delivering the orders of the day
Unlike the name he carries
Charlie isn’t very bright
People always stare at him and laugh
But Charlie in his ignorance
Atop his trusty bike
If by chance should notice, just laughs back
The citizens of Banjo Bay
Are partial to their fish
For fishing is the trade they most enjoy
But sometimes they will hanker
For another kind of dish
And that’s when Charlie’s bike finds its employ
Although the bike is sturdy
It has seen far better days
Used by many butcher’s boys before
And though no-one can quite recall
Just when it had been made
It certainly was long before the war
Now Charlie had no family
A foundling he had been
A mother and a father had he none
Mr. Bright had found the baby
on the village green
and being childless claimed him as his own
Mr Bright was happy
as a living soul could be
for Charlie was the son he never had
and though the boy was happy
with his new found family
never had he called the old man Dad

The morning sun shines brightly
On the narrow, cobbled streets
As Charlie’s rusty wheels spin wildly round
He gives a smile and waves a hand
At everyone he meets
Pedalling like fury through the town
As he goes he thinks about
the old familiar dream
and wonders at the face that lingers still
the face of she who left him
on the lonely village green
and face that didn’t care and never will
Sausages for Eveline
A bacon joint for Jane
A pound of tripe for poor old Mr. Jones
Chops for Mrs Smart
Who owns the bakers on Tide Lane
Then Charlie mounts his bike and cycles home

The house seems strangely quiet
As young Charlie ventures in
Amazed to see the sight that greets his eyes
A woman with a scarlet mouth
Tears dripping from her chin
And the old man standing mutely at her side
Mumblings and words of love
But nought he understands
Each word twisting one about the other
Words tossed on a hurricane
Like grains of drifting sands
But one above all else he hears is Mother
A sorry tale she tells him now
Of treachery and scorn
A sailor who would sweep her off her feet
A young girl forced to flee in shame
From innocence newborn
When her sailor left again to join the fleet

Now dressed in silk and fancy fur
She offers him her world
A life of riches waits if he will come
If he can find forgiveness
For the weakness of a girl
The girl will give the boy a happy home
But this is not the face of she
Who lingers in a dream
Shrouded in a veil of mystery
This is she who left him crying
On the village green
And not a face that Charlie cares to see
The Mother and the man are left
As Charlie mounts his bike
His dream is crushed, his world is torn in two
Secrets better kept
Have been revealed to him this night
Now he must decide what he should do

The evening star shines down
Upon a restless, rolling sea
As Charlie to himself in anguish says
“Dreams can be a blessing
for a simple lad like me
and simple is the life that I have led”
“But dreaming is for dreamers
And I am done with that
What good are dreams within the light of day”
Then Charlie, with a happy heart
Cycles gaily back
Back towards the lights of Banjo Bay
The haloed moon beams down
Upon the narrow, cobbled streets
As Mr Bright scrubs down the wooden slab
Then, lips as soft as thistledown
Upon his stubbly cheek
Kiss, and whisper softly ”Goodnight Dad”

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