Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pea and ham soup and poetry

I love pea and ham soup. My family does not. They classify it as a smelly abomination.

My family has gone to bed. Unusually at this hour (I generally get up very early) I am awake, sipping a Benedictine, drinking coffee and well entrenched in the three small poetry books I referred to in Hockey and the Armidale poets.

I took them with me for my train reading this morning. I read them on the bus jotting notes. At Central Railway Station I bought a Financial Review. I read it briefly while waiting for the train, but then put it away because it was breaking the mood.

the train was late;

on the platform
children from the boarding school
are going home
Winifred Belmont

This poem is really about betrayal, but the stanza captures me because I can remember the boarding school trains when they still ran to the south at the end of term. The steam train at the station, the long line of carriages, the kids from the three local boarding schools milling around while the teachers watched just waiting until the train loaded and left.

As a local I normally did not join the train. This time coming up on Christmas I was heading south with the others because I was meeting a friend in Sydney to go hitchhiking in Tasmania.

Once the train pulled out we were on our own. A friend and I found a carriage full of girls. There we shared our cigarettes, multi-coloured Sobranies among others, and chatted. One girl's father was, as I remember it, a semi-feudal lord of Cocos Island.

Oddly, I had skipped that last day at school because it was only speech day and a friend and I had decided to go adventuring. I found at the train that I had won a prize for general knowledge, but since no one had told me I did not know. Later the book arrived by post.

Now, while the bacon bones cook, I am immersed back in the poetry, writing a post. The dried peas are soaking. I can add them later.        


Anonymous said...

This is essentially a solidarity comment because I love pea and ham soup too. It doesn't surprise me that you won a prize for general knowledge.

Jim Belshaw said...

Solidarity for ever, eh, anon? It's just a very rich taste. Re the general knowledge prize: blush!

bathmate said...
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