Poem: Two Worlds, One Love

In honour of my mum and dad.

At mum’s we ate Lindt, sour dough and caviar;
We rarely had soft drink or fast food.
At dad’s we ate Cadbury, macaroni and cheese;
We made pools of gravy in our mash potato.
The rule at mum’s: use the proper utensils;
The rule at dad’s: serve yourself or miss out.

Mum drank wine and mineral water;
Dad drank bourbon and Coke.
She wore diamonds and silk,
Lipstick, perfume and heels;
He wore blueys and blunnies,
Sawdust, grease and dirt.
She wanted a Labrador;
He wanted a Harley.

Mum took me to movies, restaurants, and botanical gardens;
Dad took me to hardwares, milk bars, and fish and chip shops.
Mum took me to art galleries, symphonies, and museums;
Dad took me to footy games, sheep farms, and garages.
Mum gave me a journal and bought me books;
Dad gave me a spade and built me toys.
Mum gave me piano lessons;
Dad gave me shooting lessons.
Mum told me to sit down and do my homework;
Dad told me to go outside and climb a tree.

Mum grew flowers and taught me how to make salad;
Dad grew a moustache and taught me how to make cement.
Mum taught me the names of flowers: impatiens, clematis, bougainvillea;
Dad taught me the names of tools: ratchet, spanner, Phillips screwdriver.
Mum taught me manners, spelling, and common sense;
Dad taught me laid-back, hard work, and fend for yourself.

At mum’s I sat up straight;
At dad’s I jumped on couches.
At mum’s I wore new clothes;
At dad’s I wore hand-me-downs.
Mum moved from house to house;
Dad built his brick by brick.
At mum’s on weekends,
At dad’s on weekdays.

Two worlds hard to reconcile,
To know where I belonged.
At six years old,
I wished they were one.

* * *

I love ballet and football, I love music and bonfires,
I love art and sport, I love essays and the ‘sticks.’
I wear silver and jewels, flannies and trakkies,
Now that I choose the clothes that I want.
I collect crystal and Akubras,
I write thoughts and I speak slang.

I’m cultured and I’m ocker;
I’m an academic bogan,
At home in classrooms and tin sheds.
I study literature and anthropology;
I live in hoodies and eat like a man.
My favorutie food is fish and chips,
The kind you get at a restaurant.
I eat the fish with the correct utensils,
I eat the chips with my hands.

Sushi reminds me of mum;
Maccas reminds me of dad.
Mum with hair so short it feels like velvet,
Dad with height so tall he looks like a tree trunk;
Her hands as soft as cream,
His hands calloused and cracked.
Her hands held me,
His hands held me.

Twenty years on,
I know where I belong:
I’m two worlds in one.
I am Dad’s,
I am Mum’s,
And I am loved.

* * *

This poem is adapted from one I entered in the Melaleuca Blue Life Writing Competition 2014. It was highly commended and published in the book You’ll Eat Worse That That Before You Die edited by Kari O’Gorman.

It makes an appearance in the book To and From: Mother, which combines To_and_From_Mother3the words of 76 contributors from around the world as we honour and celebrate mothers.

The eBook is available on Amazon for $5. It’s also available as a pdf. Just send me an email to order: wordslike@gmail.com

Or if you’d like to get a free copy in exchange for posting an honest book review on your blog, feel free to email me.


4 thoughts on “Poem: Two Worlds, One Love

  1. Hi JD –

    What a lovely thing to pop into my inbox on my birthday! I’ve read this poem before, but it was so good to see it again. Thank you.

    We’re off to the Cook Islands for a week – leaving this afternoon. Hopefully the weather will be better than it is here!

    I’ll write again when we get back.

    I love you 😉



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