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The Green Gables - Poem by Mark Reed

The day had drawn to an end as a fiery night sky bid goodnight to all.
For Bill & Ted it marked the last night of their 4 month cattle muster.
Exhausted they dismounted their trusty steeds, walking them to water and to feed.
Tied up the men left them as they headed through the doors of the local pub.
With a beer in their hands and a steak before them they settled down to the welcoming sight of a home cooked meal. The mood in the pub was as normal and in the corner a telly showed the news, no need did they have whilst on the land.
Ted is alerted for a familiar sight he sees whilst looking up from his beer towards the telly, this sight it seems bringing back painful memories for him
“And here we are outside the now 100 year old Green Gables Cafe, the oldest in Ireland, and indeed the oldest Cafe around.”
The reported reads from a prepared script.
“Around me people are thronging together, telling stories and reminiscing about the past.
There must be many people the world over who have happy memories about this place.”
Looking up from his beer Bill noticed Ted getting a bit misty-eyed.
He looked over at his mate and wondered why, in all their years together he had never seen him cry, let alone get misty-eyed, not even when in his arms he held his nephew’s beautiful baby girl.
But this is something different, that cafe on the telly had stirred a painful memory
A story from the past.
Leaving the pub the 2 men walked out to their horses, and mounting them again they headed westward towards Teds place.
The 2 men entered through the rough wooden door and made their way to the chairs before the fireplace.
On the mantle above the fireplace Bill noticed the photo of an attractive red headed woman standing before the Green Gables Cafe.
It’s name clear in the photo.
Quietly Bill sat there as Ted, carrying an arm full of wood brought the open fire to life.
Sitting down beside his mate a beer in both their hands he began to tell his story a story he had never before told.
“You know when I was a young buck I had one dream in life, to travel to at least one foreign land before life and it’s chores and obligations stopped me in my tracks.
For the next 3 years I worked like stink in order to have money to achieve my goal.
I travelled from farm to homestead picking up work where I could.
I chopped wood, castrated sheep, branded cattle, and finally did I have enough, and what a glorious day that was.
To the English isle’s I travelled, it was a journey of 3 hard months travelling on that ship.
I swear it rained on almost every day, rarely did we see the sun.
But the trip was worth it when into England our ship docked.
London was my first stop.
You know that place where the Queen lives has a fence bigger than I had ever seen before, and what’s more there were these funny looking guards standing outside it rain hail or shine, they must think she’s something big to give her all that pomp & circumstance.
On one of the days I was there I actually saw the Queen.
I don’t know what it was but the crowds and those blokes in the big black hats were everywhere, it must have been something important.
My next stop after that was Scotland.
They say that there’s this monster down there, that people have to be afraid of it.
I don’t know what they’re so afraid of, she seemed friendly enough to me.
After that I travelled to Wales because a few people told me it was a grand place to visit.
I saw castles the like of which you could only imagine, and enjoyed some damn good tucker.
Now I knew I had to start heading back toward London in order to get home, for my money it was running short, and a ticket for home I had to buy.
I took out my trusty map, the one I had used to get to here and plotted a track for London.
Now there were several tracks I could’ve taken but the one I chose took me through Ireland.
It was such a grand place to finish my journey.
I was a few days short of travelling to London when I stopped at the Green Gables Cafe, the one that was on the telly.
I walked in there and was greeted by the most beautiful Green Eyed, Red Haired, Irish Lass I had ever seen.
I stood there for a few minutes just looking at her, at her red hair as it hung in a pony tail down her back and those gorgeous emerald green eyes.
Never in my life had I seen a woman as beautiful as her.
“Where you from stranger? ”
She asked me, I just stood there for a moment not quite believing she had actually spoken to me.
“I’m from Australia.”
I answered, “You’ve probably never heard of it.”
“Oh I have, I learnt about Australia at school.”
There was something about her, something special and I found myself actually talking to this strange beautiful Irish lass, I don’t know what it feels like but I do believe I was falling in love with her.
It was that accent of hers that caught me.
That and that incredible red hair of hers.
Fair dinkum mate I was like a fish on a hook.
She captured me hook-line-&-sinker and by nightfall she was calling me hers.
But as I was an awkward bushy from Australia I was no good for the likes of someone like her, she deserved someone better than me.
But no, it was me she wanted, and what a bloody shock that was.
My homecoming I postponed, for she bedded me at her place.
Never been one for the girls have I, and never before had I been kissed.
But I tell you mate she had lips like diamonds, and if there was ever a kissing competition she would win it hands down.
Fair dinkum mate, I was stricken by this girl, and soon I moved into her bed.
It was there I found that pale skin of hers, skin covered in more freckles than a man could count in a life time.
And by God she had me heavy breathing some nights.
A cleaner in the cafe I soon became, a job she helped me get.
To wake up beside, to work beside, lunch with, joke with and then go home with the girl a man is stricken on is better than all the aussie sunrises & sunsets a man would see in his life on the land.”
A pause came between them as into his beer Ted hid himself, he didn’t want his mate to see a tough bushy like him cry over a girl.
25 years they have been friends, travelling to all parts of Australia, never once has Ted let himself get close to woman and Bill wondered why, for he has seen many come into his life only to have him push them away again.
Ted is what a lot around call a ladies’ man, he is charming, has a way with words.
And many have wondered over the years why he has never settled, never married and never had kids of his own when he is such a wonder with others kids.

“I lost her you know on the day we were to say I do.
For months I had tried to ask her, to give her the ring I had saved for but it never seemed to be the right time.
It was on a Sunday Picnic that I finally popped the question; her response was to wrap herself around me kissing me with those luscious lips of hers.
She told me when she married she wanted it to be in an old fashioned way.
She showed me a photograph of her grandmother on her wedding day, she said she wanted to be dressed the same as her, and to travel to the church in a Horse & Cart.
A storm had been brewing for some days before our big day and it was on our big day that it struck.
The distance she had to travel from her place to the church was not far but the bridge she had to cross on the way was rickety and the wind was blowing something fierce whipping up the waves beneath the bridge.
The bridge it gave way under the weight of her horse & cart sending it crashing into waters below.
The horse, we found it running past the church, the remains of the wagon trailing behind it.
Me and some of the locals went down to the bridge to see what had happened.
Laying there amongst the remains of the wagon and the bridge was my bride in her beautiful dress.
She must have seen me because I heard her call my name.
She died in my arms you-know, her beautiful red hair laid wet over my arm, as her body it did go limp.
Our church, the one we were to be married in was where I buried her.
Raining it was that day.
People told me that it was good fortune to have it rain on ones funeral day, but what luck had the rain brought us.
Never have I been back, never again have I seen her in her final resting place.
The priest who buried her told me that when I part we will be joined.”
Bill left his mate that night, his heart was heavy, his mind a whirl, and he wondered how long his mate would last.
A storm struck the next day and Bill woke and looked out, looked at the rain that was pelting and thought of his old mate.
By afternoon the rain had ceased and Bill road to visit his mate.
The cottage it stood still and Bill could feel that a passing had happened.
Smoke billowed from the chimney, the fire was roaring hard.
Into the cottage Bill stepped and sitting before the fireplace Ted sat.
The picture he had seen standing proudly on the mantle was now clutched tightly between Teds hands and a smile lay fixed upon his face.
For his mate had returned to her.
Returned to that place so very far away.
Returned to her loving arms.
Forever more they would be as one.

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