Proverbs, Parables, Stories and Verse … An e-Book … By Joe Carli.
We cast our nets at eventide,
We draw them in at dawn,
And in the darkened hours between,
Are trapped the dream we spawn.
Proverb: “Bread and cheese at home is better than roast meat elsewhere.”
Parable: Nicole detested polenta! So that when he came home from the fields and spotted the polenta on the stove, he started thinking fast.
”I won’t be here for dinner,” he said as he flung a scarf around his neck. “Giovanni has invited me to his table tonight.” And he rushed out the door before his wife could say anything.
Little did he know that his wife had cooked up enough polenta for all the relatives in the village. all he saw was the little she kept for themselves! So he rushed over to his son’s house as fast as his little bow-legs could carry him. There, he milled around in front of the fire and chatted small talk while the wife prepared the table.
“You’ll stay for dinner, father? she queried. “ … we’re having polenta.”
He winced at her in horror … ”Oh bugger!” he said to himself … then; “No, no, caro … er … my sister, she has invited me to her table for dinner … speaking of which … I better hurry on … ” and he flung his scarf on again and hurried out the door.
“Hungry, hungry, hungry … ” he whispered in time to his quickening steps and his stomach rumbled as he passed through his sister’s front door.
“Ah … Nicolle!” she greeted him … ” just in time for dinner. Sit down, I’ll get you some polenta!”
”Gesu Christo!” he cried as he flung his hands to the heavens … “Doesn’t anybody in this town eat anything but bloody polenta!?” And he stormed out leaving them with open mouths and a slammed door. He came home to his own kitchen with a long face and slumped shoulders. He was beaten and resigned to his fate, polenta it would have to be.
His wife (who knew his dislikes by now) glanced at him out of the corner of her eye and smiled. She reached into the oven and pulled out a covered dish which she placed in front of the dejected man at the table and uncovered a bowl of ravioli and cheese … Nicolle’s face lit up into an ecstatic smile and he sighed very, very deeply. His wife patted him on top of his head …
“Better, you see, to eat at your own table, rather than run around town for scraps from others.”
Nicolle nodded his head gratefully, for his mouth was full of food.
God I was feeling good … you know those days when you set out with a heavy work-load of appointments and things to do so you think you’ll never have time to do them all … and then suddenly this one and that one falls off the list through no fault of anyone’s and suddenly you have half … (Continue reading).
Kapitan Kemp’s Diary
This story has two connections … The first is the idea for the setting which came from a contribution in a WW2 official government publication; “As You Were” … one of many such publications put out during and after the second world war from the Australian military … The writer was T.G.Hungerford … the article was; “Last Entry in Red.” … (Continue reading).
Proverb: “Those who need a good ambassador should send themselves.”
Parable: Daniel was adopted out at six weeks old to a childless couple who loved him dearly and raised him as best they could. His natural mother and father were separated several months before he was born so that he knew neither true parent. Years later, when he was in his late twenties, he felt the need to contact his natural parents. He could not find his mother, but through one of the special agencies that help adopted people, he obtained the address of his father.
“Well,” the father said as he sat down at the table, “this is a surprise!” and he dropped a spoonful of sugar into his cup of tea, “sugar? … Daniel … Daniel isn’t it?” the father asked.
“Yes to both questions,” Daniel replied.
“Well … then … it’s good to see you all growed up and healthy … even without my guidance.” The man nervously laughed.
“I’ve had good … care,” Daniel said as he put the cup to his lips.
“Well then … “the father rubbed his left hand on his thigh uneasily. “Well then … er … tell me; how’s your mother?”
“My mother? Daniel looked puzzled, “I don’t know, I haven’t seen her.”
“What … what do you mean – haven’t seen her,” the father, puzzled too now, queried.
“No.” Daniel went on; “Not for as long as I can remember … I was adopted out at six weeks old!” Daniel blinked at his father.
“The Hell you say!!” The man leapt to his feet upsetting things on the table, “the hell you say!” he cried again as he turned away and raked his fingers through his hair. He turned then and brought his great fist down … crash!! onto the kitchen table. “Your mother had me paying maintenance for you for sixteen years!” and he stood back from the table and welsh-combed his hair again.
“Well … you could’ve gone around there and you would’ve seen for yourself” said Daniel. The man flicked his hand away angrily.
“Ahh! … me and your old lady didn’t get on, so we “talked”, as you might say, through a mate of mine who … who went … over … oh bloody hell … ” The father stopped suddenly and stared as though in a trance. He sat down on the chair slowly.
“Oh bloody hell … a mate of mine … ”
The most common insults and abuse that are given , are done in an atmosphere of intimate coercion, where the dominant party can take advantage of their position and the moment to exercise without criticism or reproach their quiet act of oppression. My first job when I arrived in Darwin in the early seventies was … (Continue reading).
Three blows on the church bell meant a child, twice three a woman and thrice three a man. After a pause the years were counted out at approximately half-minute intervals. The word teller in some dialects becomes tailor, hence the old saying “Nine tailors maketh a man.”
I stare at the wet leaves
Of the Camellia bush,
In the patio .. In the rain.
As I take in with my eyes,
I stir the cup of tea.
The spoon chimes on the porcelain;
I mind the strikes;
Three … Six … Nine …
“Nine tailors maketh a man”
So much to see out in the patio.
But nothing to absorb.
Just the everyday …
I will forget the vision,
But will remember the peace.
I woke in startled fright
I awoke in a startled fright
From a dream I dreamt last night.
From a memory so long ago,
I’ll recall the story as it did go .. :
A child, from the pusher, I broke free,
As my mother walked me by the sea.
I broke free to chase a rabbit fast,
Fled a shrub by the sea-cliff path.
I ran as does a child; sudden swift,
As the rabbit fled over the cliff.
I too stumbled toward the edge,
But my mother’s call of fright,
Drew me to a stop just right.
I could see the wave’s crashing foam,
She gathered me frightened in her arms …
But now, in my dream I did fall,
Tumbling over with rabbit an’ all.
As we fell in that slow dreamy way,
Each to each, eye to eye .. knowing,
The creature looked to me to calmly say;
“Do not worry, you will not drown”.
But I kept falling, falling, falling down …
Just then I woke in chilling fright,
And in that gasping, grasping struggle for sight,
I stared and stared into the dark of night.
A Box of Spoons
There is innocence in childhood that has the capacity to reduce a complex situation to the simplest of solutions. It has it’s own shining beauty in that it need not be corrected, nor adjudicated upon … just to be sure that such innocence will be perhaps, irretrievably lost once past the “coming of age.” But then, … (Continue reading).
Saying Goodbye to Ferruchio
You may have read my bits about “Ron the brickie” … He was sponsored to Australia as a young lad a few years after the 2nd WW. He left behind his mother and siblings when he came to Australia … a difficult situation not of his making. He went to school for a couple of years here, then worked … (Continue reading).
Proverb: “The dog runs a little, the hare runs a little.”
Parable: Angelo Pescari “had a woman on the sly”. His wife knew that, but he didn’t know she knew. Till one evening she sent the kids over to her sisters and sat down with her husband for a “talk”.
“A what!!” Angelo jumped up in mock surprise.
“Sit down and stop the theatrics,” she spoke calmly.
“Who told you that?” he continued to bluff “The things you think”. he continued in vain seeking to regain his ground. But she knew and now he was sprung.
“Settle down … I’m not going to leave or divorce you or go into hysterics over it, see, I’m perfectly calm … all I’m asking is that you finish the affair and we go back to normal … husband and wife … agreed?”
After some more talking and seeing the futility of trying to proclaim his innocence, Angelo Pescari sighingly agreed to his wife’s request;…
“Yes,” he said, he would terminate the affair immediately.
But he didn’t! He continued seeing the woman after work sometimes and of course his wife found out again.
He arrived home from “work” one evening as his wife was setting the dinner. She glanced wickedly at him.
“So … a hard day at work … eh?” She smiled.
“Why … yes … yes,” he hesitatingly answered.
“And a hard night on the mistress?” She smiled wickedly again, he just stood there in dumbness.
“Well” she continued “You can have your little coquette … but then so will I have mine … but the difference is … I don’t even have to leave the house!”
Angelo stood there dumbfounded. His wife served the dinner.
Nine months later she gave birth to a lovely, healthy boy … they did not separate, but grew closer and raised the child as their own.
Like a sailor old, who watches the tide,
Life’s many moods I do abide … and still I watch,
For there comes a wash of the river flow,
That carries the ebb, what comes and goes.
That “tide in men’s lives” that carries their thoughts,
Like flotsam swept before a wave wild wrought
By wind and storm or by deceiving calm they be brought,
To wreck upon Charybdis rocks or wash up on rugged tor.
Fortune for that sailor who with astute eye,
Will risk the temper of mood and tide,
And call the exact moment makes best to ride.
He casts the ropes that hold him belay,
All wind and storm be no delay.
Yet I and thee, chained to life’s fickle destiny,
Can but watch as the vessel sails away from we,
While idly biding …
Like empty shells scattered on a wide, broad shore,
Awaiting tide and waves also, to move us ever-more …
Australian Aboriginal Woomera ( spear launcher). Ahh! … yes … I can see that you are all a tad jaded and tuckered out with the political shenanigans. I tell you what … I’ll tell you a story. It is constructed from two events .. one, when a friend told me of finding a very old woomera in the cleft of a very … (Continue reading).
Proverb: “A bitter heart will sour the sweetest soul.”
Parable: Milan’s first wife left him and her baby very early in their marriage. She became ill with a rather common debilitating mental illness, and as the medical treatment in those days in Australia was hopelessly inadequate, she was left to carry on by her own . She couldn’t cope and simply left home, left the baby girl, left her husband and finally left the country and went back to Europe where she disappeared from Milan’s life.
In due course after several years, Milan met another woman, a single woman who helped him raise the child. She lived with him for ten years and then they married and she had a baby also, a son. The girl had grown up and was cared for (if maybe a bit too sternly) as the new wife’s own daughter.
Now, every birthday from seven years on, the girl would receive a letter and a parcel from France, from her estranged mother. Sometimes there would be a few notes of currency enclosed. Janice, Milan’s second wife was at first not perturbed at these little gifts. But over the years, and particularly when the girl reached teenage years, she seemed to become a little offended at the daughter’s glee upon receiving these gifts.
“Oh”, the girl would exclaim in happiness, “My mother has sent me something!” and she would take the parcel off to her room to open it.
Janice would look scornful and sorrowful at the same time and would complain to Milan.
“See, see, off to her room with the precious gift, ha! and it wasn’t that woman who raised her, no … it was me who worried when she was sick! So what does she care for me? … no … (and here she would sometimes have tears come to her eyes) not for me the respect she saves for her mother that deserted her” Milan would drop the corners of his mouth and sigh.
One day a letter arrived saying that Milan’s first wife was coming out to Australia for a visit, to see her daughter. Janice was caught between her love of the daughter and the bitter-ness of a feeling of betrayal of the girl’s love for her mother.
Not long after the visit by the mother, one evening, they were visiting a friend, and as they sat in the darkened lounge lit only by the open fire, Janice talked off-handedly of the mother’s recent visit.
“Oh yes, she came over one night last week … humph! the way she talked, humph! as if I was an interloper, as if I was the one who broke up her family … I soon put her in her place!”
“Well, she didn’t really infer that you … ” Milan spoke up.
“Oh no! not to you, no you wouldn’t see, you’re not a woman … but I know that tone of voice … you men are blind … and … and she brought over a dress for Corina (the daughter) .. ha! what a dress … it was terrible eh Corina? eh? … the colour ugh! the cut, the style … what a laugh … har har” and she laughed a forced bitter laugh without looking at the daughter sitting there alone, slump shouldered in the corner, her tear-filled eyes shining sadly and looking to the floor. “Obviously she doesn’t know her own daughter” Janice finished huffily.
End of stories.
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