When I'm asked

Stephen Chinnock

4 September 2020

When I’m asked
in the future
by the young ones
Tio? As they call me,
How was 2020 for you?

I’ll say say listen up kids
and I’ll tell you a story
long and complicated
beautiful and sad
you’ll learn a lot

The beginning of that year
the very day I drove you
to Bomaderry to catch
the train and the plane
back to Tasmania
There was a great disaster!

A terrible fire descended
on your much loved
Lake Conjola
My house and Nani’s next door
where you were born
played in so much growing up
sadly burnt down.

Not just our places
but 89 in all
a whole community
plunged into great shock
and grief which lingers on

But then a huge and wonderful bird
flew up out of the ashes
it’s called the Phoenix
famous in history
it carried on its wings
generosity and hope
and people became kinder
more generous

I was so lucky because
I was given so very much
all the things I needed
to begin again
I’ll show you when you come
beautiful blankets lovingly stitched
a beanie made from
hand spun wool
dyed and crocheted
by caring hands

But then came more disasters
floods and terrifying storms
like the ancient Gods on Mt Olympus
were angry with the human race
and to bargain a deadly virus
disrupting life all over the planet

We have survived all that
and now people are rebuilding
new houses
looking forward to the future
and I’m in Mollymook
five minutes from the beach

In my garage there are
bicycles and boogey boards for you
in my house there are
Teddy Bears, a whole family
coloured pencils
beautiful books
puzzles and more

I have two new flat mates
expanding our family
we’ve even bought a boat
to go fishing of course
can’t wait to see you here
so the fun can begin again

But oh no there’s been
another disaster
Tio fell down the stairs
broke his ankle
has to wear a great big ugly boot
for six weeks

Never mind
the Spring has arrived
I’m making a new garden
so we can eat lots of yummy
fresh salad and vegetables
with roast lamb of course

You know what
my great little nephews
Tio has learnt so much this year
even if he’s old
Imagine how much more
you’re going to learn
Like how to help other people
when they need it
And that’s always !!!