The Travelling House

Time is a house that travels, jogging down
by horse and buggy to the parkland of the town
where grandfather dismounts to give it a show of draughts;
the board was metal and its pieces slung by shafts.
He grooms his beard and wins the mornings for me
in matches beneath the pepperina tree.

I hand the mornings to my mother on her knees
where they shine like a last resort and the checkered years
cease to crown us with their scrubbing pain;
the house was time in a corrugated lane.
I pass them towards my father’s hammering lunch
and there they warm white knuckles at a bench.

This was my house and the givers of mornings it won;
and it stands like the house I am that I pass on.

* Published in The Australian 2002.