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!
December 31, 2016
Photo by anonymous photographer, Mexico City, January 1972