Featured Poem or Prose

Not the Annual Letter
by Ian Coulls

No, it’s not the annual letter,
the one you send to everyone,
the one in which you tell us
how the child has grown this year
and the cat had seven kittens,
six of which were drowned at birth.

It’s not the letter telling how
you and your good man
go to church
on Thursday night
to practise ringing bells.

Nor will I, who write so little,
tell you of my sister’s motorbike,
her boss’s roving hands
or how I had to shoot my dog
when it killed the neighbour’s chickens.

Nor will I tell
of that one grey morn
when, on the road,
my cat was turned to pizza.

But yesterday, I don’t know why,
I thought of you
and how you’ve lived your life.

‘Cause back there then
so few were friends,
You weren’t like them.
They treated you so poorly.

They didn’t see your strength…
not the strength
of men who lift things,
nor the strength
that knows no pain,
the warrior strength
of those who fight,
attracting admiration.

But there among those fine, fine folk
you faced your own Golgotha,
and wounded by their cruelty,
but steeled by something deep inside,
you found another world,
where people take the time to care,
give more than take
and freely share.

And those who mocked in Adelaide
will never see the life you’ve made.

(Published in Words by Ginninderra Press, 2017).