Since writing poetry things have changed.
Now when I have a memory emerges, I try and capture it by writing a poem about the memory. My words become the butterfly net, the memory the butterfly, and the pen and paper the jar where I keep the butterfly. But the butterfly isn't kept in the jar for long, it's released into the word and given new life when people read the poem.
This is what I did for the poem Dad's Tea.
During seeding and harvest Dad would spend long hours on the tractor and he would need a packed lunch taken out to him, sometimes even a packed dinner.
Mum would get me and my sisters to help make the packed lunch, which involved making up a bottle of tea and well as sandwiches (four, one from each of his daughters).
When making the tea, the bottle used was an old soft drink bottle, the one litre kind made of glass. It was reused to hold Dad's tea because it was cheaper than buying a thermal flask. We saved money and we recycled. And I always remember when the soft drink man came to our home to deliver the bottles of soft drink. It was a real treat if Mum decided to buy a crate off the back of his truck. We got whatever flavours were in that particular crate. I loved the brown creaming soda, and would always ask for a bottle or two in the crate, and sometimes the bottles would be exchanged.
Dad's tea was always made weak, black with lots of sugar. We used loose leaves to make Dad's tea, and sometimes when pouring the tea a few of the leaves would escape into the bottle.
I would put in extra sugar to make it sweeter because I wanted to give Dad a treat for being out on the tractor (I was about 6 years of age). Sometimes I put in so much sugar it would sit undissolved in the bottom of the bottle. Dad never complained! (at least that's what I remember)
Then there was the making of the sandwiches. I remember spreading a thick layer or corn relish on the bread, mainly because I don't like corn relish and I didn't know how Dad could eat it. Silverside meat, corn relish (sometimes tomato), tomato, and lettuce. Every time!
So for a little poem there's a much bigger story behind the words. But I captured enough of the memory so that it will always flutter to my mind more easily to be enjoyed whenever I read the poem.
Read Dad's Tea.