31st of October, 2004


It's kind of odd sitting here, trying to write something about autumn, when the temperature outside is kicking on towards 90 degrees and the flowers and shrubs are just beginning to show their spring colours. Even after ten years, the reversal of seasons here in Australia still throws me. I guess it always will.

For me, August will forever be school holidays; riding bikes through silent and still woodlands, fishing, mischief and those English evenings that just drift away casually into darkness. September was always a terrible time -- the return to school. Then there's October. I miss the slight nip of winter, teasingly biting at bare arms in the late afternoon, and the incredible smell of the autumn bonfires, the clearing away the piles of leaves that just can't fit onto the mulch pile. Unfortunately here, very few trees lose their leaves over the so-called winter (though I do have a lovely Tasmanian myrtle to the front of the house that does an admirable impression of a beech hanger with it's shift from green, through red to gold). And of course any sort of combustion is highly frowned upon.

October in Brisbane brings with it warnings. Sudden days where the temperature can flash up to nearly 100, before dropping back down to a more respectable 45 or so, always making me think that this year, the summer won't be quite so hot. But of course it always is. There are the bright colours and smells, unlike the muted pastel browns and greens of England, the return of the koels, the cuckoos with the most unbelievably eerie night calls, and let's not forget my old friends the possums, out looking for nooks they can slip into unobserved.

So for a time at least, I'm going to pretend that it is indeed autumn here, that I don't have a fan blowing on me and it's not piercingly blue outside. I'm going to pretend that yes, perhaps the trails and episodes of this last year can indeed be cast off, and that if I can hold on long enough, winter will pass.

The following is something I was noodling with when I was back home earlier this year. Originally it started life as a simple little piece for a cameo reading, then shifted into a song for the band, and once again (as seems typical with anything I write) it changed its mind and decided it might like resting here for a time.

Safe journeys all, and save me a nice glass of Greene King ale!

Elf-shot, faerie led, Never trust the restless dead
Oak roots, blackthorn sticks, Pixies up to usual tricks
Corn ears, gentle rain, Time of the King here again

Hang him high, boys,
Nail him high
Fa-ra-to-ra-li boys
Time for him to die 

Wild brook, mossy stone, Lead me to the harvest home
Dark beer,  summer wine, Revel in the blackberry time
Hop wreath, acorn cap, Hammer home the ale keg tap 

Hang him high, boys,
Nail him high
Fa-ra-to-ra-li boys
Time for him to die 

Rough bark, crimson pain, One man's loss is others' gain

Hang him high, boys,
Nail him high
Fa-ra-to-ra-li boys
Time for him to die 

Fa-ra-to-ra-li boys
Time for him to die


[Paul Brandon]

 

 

Entire Contents Copyright 2004, Paul Brandon and The Green Man Review.
All Rights Reserved.