Friday, April 24, 2009

The Perfect Gift

(These photographs are not of the actual crew or plane but I think they capture the mood.)

I belong to a social club and one of the conventions is that members will be called-upon to give a
Ten-Minute Talk.
This is a true story.
 Alan Scanlan moved us all with his account.


Alan stood at the podium to give his little talk
A fine old man nearing ninety, with a stick to help him walk.
He described a recent visit to a friend, from days gone by;
He'd taken along a kangaroo and we all wondered why.
'A nice little thing it was' he said, 'And Ron was very pleased
Because it played 'Waltzing Matilda' whenever it was squeezed!'
We all looked rather puzzled; it sounded like a toy;
Something not meant for an old man, rather a little boy!
'It happened like this' said Alan,' He gave me a kangaroo
When we were in a prison-camp, way back in World War Two.
We flew a Manchester bomber, my friend Ron and me,
But, on June 6th, 1942, we went down in the sea.
We were lucky survivors, but prisoners of war,
And, for us, three years in German hands, sadly, lay in store.
I had my twenty-first birthday in October of that year.
There would be no cake or candles, no cards from the near and dear.
But, what a surprise! A kangaroo! A formal presentation!
A crowd of other prisoners! A proper celebration!
But where did the kangaroo come from? It was nearly as tall as me!
A great big hessian creature stood there for all to see!
It seems that Ron, in secret, had made it out of straw,
Stealing it from his palliasse*, and I never even saw!
He'd cut it out of sacking, the ears, the tail, the feet,
And now, my great stuffed kangaroo was standing there complete!
There's never been such a present for a lad of twenty-one!
I've never felt so Australian; I've never had such fun.
So I gave Ron a kangaroo when he turned ninety-two!
There's never been a present as good as a kangaroo!'
A palliasse is a straw-filled mattress. Ron must have endured some uncomfortable nights after some of the straw was removed from his already meager mattress!


Kat said...

Was soooooo moved reading this poem.

One has to travel back in the time capsule to "FEEL" the event.

In the dark cellars as war prisoners, a birthday and a loving present made there.

And as your footnote says - Ron sacrificing the straw from the mattress to make his friend happy.

And so nice of Alan to have presented that to Ron - reciprocating a present that must've brought flooding memories to both.

spacedlaw said...

What a lovely story! Is it a true one? I so want it to be...

Sherri B. said...

Not only did your poem move me deeply, but I am in awe of your ability to tell it so seamlessly while creating such beautiful rhythm and rhyme. Bravo! What a wonderful story...thank you for sharing.

SandyCarlson said...

What a great story of friendship and its magic.

Tumblewords: said...

A most inspiring tale - you've poetically rendered it with first-rate form.

Tammie Lee said...

this tale shows the depth and breadth of a human heart. You have breathed life into this with magic in your words.

Maxwell Mead Williams Robinson Barry said...

love your take on gift,


Merry Christmas.
stay blessed.

LifeInVerse said...

That is SO sweet!
Thank you so much for sharing!

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Awesome story and wonderfully written!

Hema said...

Wow..such a sweet touching story ad written so beautifully rhyming!
loved it.