At the close of day, December 31, 1970


Photos by John Lucy, Carlton, 1971


Picture if you will a white-washed room

Where seagrass matting covered the floor.

A few friends and I sat smoking, expecting no more,

Our evening unplanned, more bust than boom.

One of two wooden doors open to the east.

Two parties declined. No chance of a feast.


Two pairs of shoes clattered up the stairs

And two young women came into my loft

Seeking my friend Di Ruby, who was there,

For they had failed to find her anywhere.

First entered Margaret: hair curly, eyes soft,

Followed by Nancy. That caught me unawares.

“This reminds me of my parents’ place,” Nancy announced

After clambering up the steps. Then she stood, tall,

Quite regal, with striking long hair, but that was not all.

Waving her nut brown arms, she held us in thrall

With a rapidly told story about the Champs Elysees

And being stopped by some gendarmes from proceeding that way.


“Let’s find some parties,” they challenged, so I rose to go.

Crammed into an old Morris Minor, green and slow,

Lent by Margaret’s aunt, we reached two houses, almost empty,

Their kitchens short of food. I brushed her hair,

We talked without end then, just before first light,

We parted for the night.

I’d have to check with Nancy, but I’m fairly certain that’s right.


The next three days were full of truthful sharing:

Soul talk that is a little like poetry.

Lying side by side on coloured lengths of cloth outside, we

Conjured up the lives we’d lead and offered them for inspection,

Then more bright talk, silence, and soon introspection.

“What would you say if I asked you to marry me?” I ventured.

“I’d say yes,” she said, her ticket to Bali still on the sideboard.

“Should you ever wish to leave, remember it’s there,” I said.

“No need,” she replied. “From this moment forward

We can travel together and be of use to others.”

I, who would write and ceaselessly learn alone, agreed.


Betrothed so soon after three days. What a dope!

Let’s face it, everyone. This was a match unlikely to last

Though no-one would ever know until the years had passed.

As it turned out, although seemingly insubstantial,

There’s nothing quite as solid as trust and hope,

And the awesome power of kindness-in-togetherness.

It is enough to temper a man’s unsatisfying wildness!

Brian Devlin
Sunrise Beach

December 31, 2016

Photo by anonymous photographer, Mexico City, January 1972

Honeymoon in Mexico.png


2 thoughts on “At the close of day, December 31, 1970

  1. Pingback: At the close of day, December 31, 1970 | Snippets

  2. What a beautiful poem, Brian: A celebration of love.
    ” Love begins in a moment, grows over time and lasts for eternity”…

    Some terrific few days on the Sunshine Coast: The celebrations… getting to know your children and gorgeous grand-daughters… the superb company of your friends… The champagne in the sea breeze of your terrasse and not the least the walk in that ancient rainforest of your property… Merci, Nancy and Brian.


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