I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world,
to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')


These poems are works in progress, and may be subject to revision without notice. Completed versions appear in my books. Nevertheless copyright applies to all texts found here.

8 February 2012

Generational Adolescence


I was just fifteen
when everything changed –
when freer children,
who were allowed to go
to movies like that,
leaped up and jived in the aisles
to Rock Around the Clock,
even – or especially –
in staid country towns
around regional Australia.

I was still fifteen
when Elvis arrived.
Handsome as the devil;
voice of an angel.
The mothers and fathers hated
his slim gyrating hips.
We loved the tilt of his lips,
the wicked light
in his laughing eyes,
and the singing, the songs, the beat.

At seventeen
I moved to Melbourne.
Every Saturday night
there was a Town Hall dance.
Hawthorn, Caulfield, Albert Park, Box Hill.
Diane Rosewall and I went to them all.
We wore circle skirts, wide belts,
flat ballerina slippers,
and white flouncy petticoats
hemmed with ropes.

We were good middle-class girls.
One night two real-live bodgies
claimed us for a dance.
Oh how those wild boys moved!
swinging us through their legs
and up on their hips.
Oh how we twirled and swirled.
But we must have seemed tame to them.
They thanked us very politely
and went hunting faster girls.

Tall lads they were,
in the extreme of fashion:
skinny black pants, long jackets
with shoulder pads and shiny lapels,
their hair slicked back
into lovely ducktails.
Oh how our careful parents
would have disapproved!
That makes anything
more exciting.

Or anyone.
I ended up choosing men
who worked with their bodies,
rode motorbikes,
knew how to use their fists;
men who swore.
Later I preferred
beards and flowing hair.
I wore long robes. We sat and smoked
in dark coffee lounges, listening to Folk.

But that was after the era ended;
the wild boys and girls and the rest
all sang "That'll Be the Day,"
and cried when Buddy died.
And it doesn't matter where I am,
every time the band
plays Rock Around the Clock,
I'm up and dancing
and shouting the words
till I drop. Till the broad daylight.

Written 14-15/3/07; posted now to accompany previous post, Face to Face
and submitted along with that to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #86 
(not #87, sorry for posting wrong  link there; try the next).

6 comments:

  1. LOL
    Reminds me of the Mods and the Rockers mid to late 60's UK craze. Happy memories for you :)
    I thought about a bot too but, it seemed to be interested in comments too. Anyway, I changed a lot of passwords today just as a precaution. It was peakwebhosting... that was the domain name it was listed as, and strangely nothing showed up on the wordpress site stats, so, it may well have been a bot, but, I've had bots on there that haven't behaved like that before. Odd.

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  2. We were a bit earlier than the Mods and Rockers (which we had here too).

    May we all stay safe on the internet!

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  3. I loved this little bit of history, Rosemarie. "Bodgies" must be an Australian term. Hadn't heard of it here in the U.S. Ah, yes, I remember when Elvis arrived on the scene too and also when he died. I was visiting a friend in Germany when he died, and they, too, mourned greatly.

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  4. Yes, we had bodgies and widgies, distinctly Australian terms. Bodgies were as described above. Widgies (the girls) had very short hair, wore bright colours and looked 'tough'. They were the rebels of the time, usually working-class. I have been known to say since (with sone truth), 'I wanted to be a widgie but my Mum wouldn't let me.' A joke — because a true widgie would not have obeyed her Mum.

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  5. I enjoyed your words and the images that came to light!
    Such great times and wonderful imagery, you captured so many era in one poem! I loved it~

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  6. A happy and reflective piece of remembering when...

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