Treasure Island

Alison Cassidy

(6th August,1945 / Melbourne, Australia)

! ! Just Gus


The Gossips
stand proudly
on their shelf above the kitchen -
a singular reminder
of Gus McLaren -
friend, cartoonist, animator
and potter extraordinaire.

I remember
pouring Gus
into his battered Combi,
after many a Sixties party -
when the claret
came in flagons
and cigarette smoking
was still sexy.

Gus was an artist.
Everything he touched
drew the eye.
A leftie and a larrikin,
he threw pots with ease
and a precision that amazed.

Gus never stood upright.
He leaned.
He was loose-limbed and affable.
His long hair hung limply,
His head listed to one side.

Mum didn't really approve of Gus,
but she liked him, I know.
She used to boast
how Gus told her once
that David and I were
'the best brought up kids in Warrandyte'.

I think she agreed with him.

Gus loved chess.
In his cups,
he could take an hour
to make a single move.
And he usually won.

His pottery was original and quirky.
Each piece held a fragment
of his cartoonist past.

He died last year.
I heard he had dementia.
Apparently the family are still fighting
over the will.

Submitted: Thursday, July 02, 2009
Edited: Tuesday, July 14, 2009

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Comments about this poem (! ! Just Gus by Alison Cassidy )

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  • C. P. Sharma (7/13/2009 12:32:00 AM)

    Ali, This is a beautiful animated poetic sketch of Gus written with intimacy and care. It is a great tribute to the soul with imagination and insight. I also enjoyed the dig at the greedy world at the end of the poem.
    CP (Report) Reply

  • Andrew Blakemore (7/10/2009 4:33:00 PM)

    A wonderful tribute to Gus, you have brought his character back to life with your expert portrayal. Best wishes, Andrew x (Report) Reply

  • Bob Blackwell (7/9/2009 1:01:00 PM)

    Ali, I found this one brilliant, I can see Gus now..in my minds eye from your word portrait, this is yet again a wonderful caricature. Love Bob 10++ (Report) Reply

  • Sandra Martyres (7/9/2009 1:58:00 AM)

    A spendid piece Allie...you have done a perfect introduction to Gus and his talents and ended it poignantly with a mundane problem....10+++ (Report) Reply

  • David Harris (7/7/2009 10:24:00 AM)

    Allie, you have weaved the old Cassidy magic yet again. The wonderful reminisce of someone whom touched your heart very dearly. You have again delicately portrayed the wonderful spirit that was within Gus and helped us all to know him intimately. Top Marks and thanks for sharing Gus with us. Another icon to put in your treasury of poems.
    Hugs
    David (Report) Reply

  • John Weber (7/6/2009 11:33:00 AM)

    I love the nostalgic tone and whimsy of memory here, Alison! Wonderful to read and contemplate. I had a buddy named Matt that feels reminicent of Gus in my lifetime, so I can relate without reservation. The final stanza feels heart-wrenching within the typical nature of death and the struggles of the living to cope. Thanks for sharing this wonderful write! Warm regards, John. (Report) Reply

  • Naseer Ahmed Nasir (7/5/2009 7:41:00 PM)

    A poet and a potter seems to be intermingled in this splendid
    piece of very well worded write. Another specialty of Alison.....10/10.
    Regards
    Naseer (Report) Reply

  • Sandra Fowler (7/5/2009 1:52:00 PM)

    A brilliant character sketch of Gus. It is unfortunate that
    he could not have created until the day of his death.
    But he is still vividly alive in your compelling poem.
    You have given Gus the gift of remembrance,
    There is no greater gift. Beautiful work.

    Love,

    SandraX (Report) Reply

  • Shashendra Amalshan (7/4/2009 3:37:00 AM)

    hello Allie! ! !
    how are you? .. hey this an interesting and entertaining and piece indeed, and sort of touching to towards the latter part.. hey what lady Karin says is very right.. you can bring characters to life thorough your poems.. nice ma'am...10++++

    with lots of love
    shan (Report) Reply

  • Karin Anderson (sorry can't vote or comment) . (7/4/2009 1:48:00 AM)

    Gus sounds an unusual, talented and an extraordinary creative man. The 60's what memories this brings with cigarettes and 'grog' at parties. Liked your alliteration 'leftie and larrikin' and 'long hair hung limply'. You have brought this original character to life, as you always do so brilliantly,
    this with someone you knew so well, and other times when you use a snippet of life and it appears on one of your poems so brilliantly too! 10 Karin Anderson (Report) Reply

  • Lee Crowell (7/3/2009 10:33:00 AM)

    Standing up straight represents a life of high morals and intentions. Obviously Gus was very aware of his limitations. I'm sure we would have been friends, me and Gus.
    thanks for sharing this (Report) Reply

Read all 15 comments »

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