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Shelley Hansen - Lady of Lines

Accordin' ter Rose

- 3rd Prize - Themed Section "The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke" - 2015 CJ Dennis Toolangi Written Poetry Competition
- 2nd Prize - 2016 Betty Olle Written Poetry Award
- Highly Commended - 2016 Blackened Billy Verse Competition


Rose of Spadgers Lane is an intriguing character in CJ Dennis' series of books beginning with "The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke". She is a woman of humble means, and is the sweetheart of Bill's best mate Ginger Mick, who enlists as a soldier in World War One, but never returns. What does life look like from Rose's point of view? I used this poem to capture Rose's thoughts, looking back.

Accordin' ter Rose
(c) Shelley Hansen 2015

They calls me Rose uv Spadgers, but I left there long ago
I useter be wiv Ginger Mick. Most people prob’ly know
’ow me an’ Mick, Doreen an’ Bill (the Sentimental Bloke)
knocked round. We wasn’t glamerus – jist ordinery foke.
But Bill, ’e made us famous when ’e put us inter verse –
I thort it wus a larf – but ’is Doreen, she weren’t ’arf terse
ter ’ear ’er ’ole life story bein’ spruiked all over town!
She shook ’er head. "My Bill,” she sed, "a poit of renown!”

So Bill, ’e’s tole me story – well, the bloke’s view any’ow.
It ain’t turned out so bad – I lives wiv ’im an’ Doreen now.
Their little bloke – young Billy – ’e’s a ruff an’ tumble kid!
It makes me wish that me an’ Mick … ah well … we never did.
I gave me ’eart ter Ginger Mick – a bloke wot knoo the score.
’E useter peddle rabbits in the years before the War.
’E’d visit me in Spadgers Lane while toilin’ roun’ the Town –
I’d ’ear ’is call, "Wile Rabbee”, as ’e pushed ’is barrer down.

’E wasn’t much at poitry, was Mick. This spoutin’ rime
wus furver up Bill’s alley. Ginger never took the time.
The most romantic words ’e sed weren’t filled wiv stars an’ bliss –
I’d give the world ter ’ear ’em now tho’ … "Rosie! Giz a kiss!”
We didn’t ’ave much money – we worked ’ard fer wot we got.
We sometimes earned enuff ter ’ave a treat – but sometimes not.
We thort we wus experienced an’ worldly in our ways –
but blimey! We wus innercent an’ they wus carefree days.

The world wus changed forever in the middle of ’14
Mick sed, "Ole England’s barmy, an’ the ’Uns are jist as keen.
It ain’t got nought ter do wiv us – Australia’s in the clear.
Jist let ’em go their road ter ’ell. We shouldn’t interfere.”
But then ’e went all quiet, and ’e sed, "’Ow ’bout a walk?”.
I knoo that ’e’d been down the markit, listenin’ ter tork
uv ’ow they should defend our shores, the need fer younger men.
I arst ’im, "Mick …?” ’E shook ’is ’ead an’ didn’t tork again.

Mick didn’t ’old wiv vierlence – ’e didn’t want ter fight –
excep’ uv corse down Little Lonsdale Street on Sat’dee night.
But that wus jist a stoush or two – ’e did it fer a larf!
This war machine wus diff’rent, an’ ’e ’ated it. Not ’arf!
But still ’e thort that joinin’ up wus where ’is jooty lay –
I stood there on the dock an’ watched ’is ship sail out the Bay.
’E sed we would be married when ’e come back frum the War –
’e didn’t know ’e’d lie forever on some forrin shore.

They sent a snowy-’eaded parson roun’ ter break the noos.
Me darkest dread in black an’ white. ’Ow does it feel ter lose
yer ’opes an’ dreams an’ everythin’ in one ’eart-stoppin’ day?
It feels like time ’as ended, an’ the sun ’as slipped away.
I couldn’t shed a blimmin’ tear. I ’ardly even spoke
until Bill brort a letter frum ’is mate – a soljer bloke.
I knoo it wus fer reel then – ’e was wiv Mick at the close.
I cried a river when I ’eard ’e’d sed, "Look after Rose.”

I didn’t care wot come ter me – I fell in wiv a crowd
wot wandered frum the straight an’ narrer – well, I ain’t that proud
ter tell the tale – but Bill turned up an’ stoushed ’em in a fight.
’E tole me ’e wus Ginger’s mate, an’ ’ad ter see me right.
So now I’m wiv ’em on the farm, the days is flowin’ fast.
The memory of Spadgers Lane seems way back in the past.
I wish that Mick could see me now, wiv blossums ’stead o’ dust,
an’ in the trees one ’undred songbirds – trillin’ fit ter bust!

This cove next door named Wally Free, ’e’s orfen droppin’ by
fer tea an’ biskits. Doreen seems ter think ’e ’as an eye
ter marry me. Ah well – I s’pose the future could be worse –
ter spend me life alone an’ sad – now that’d be a curse.
’E seems a decent bloke an’ Doreen says that ’e’ll provide,
an’ she is sure ’e’d like ter ’ave a woman by ’is side.
So if ’e arsts me, ’ere’s me chance ter ’ave a brand noo start
’an try ter make ’im ’appy – as they say, ’til death us part.

But sometimes I just goes an’ sits among the orchard trees
an’ seems ter ’ear a certain somethin’ waftin’ on the breeze.
’Ark! ’Ear it now! "Wile Rabbee” … an’ the scrape o’ barrer wheels
A throaty voice calls, "Rosie!” – as the sound uv larfter peals.
I close me eyes an’ see ’is curly mop uv ginger ’air –
’is footsteps break the silence – I can sense that ’e is there …
"’Oo is it? That you, Wally? ’Struth, yeh took me by surprise!
Wot’s that? No, I ain’t cryin’ … it’s the sunlight in me eyes.”



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