Black gold

Their bungalow seemed

to grow out of the ground.

The garden was big enough

to lose himself in.


While grandchildren marched

importantly in and out of sheds,

Dad took me on a tour of his empire

that terminated at the compost bins.


Ran leaf mould through his fingers,

exulting at what he’d created,

the miracle of degradation,

black gold. It’s life that matters, son, 


he used to say, with urgency. 

Late at night he spoke

of wartime captivity, reckoning

I’d reached an age to understand.


Laughed at the way mum played

Monopoly, tears coursed his cheeks.

Once, when Match of the Day came on,

while eating a banana he danced a jig.

◄ No, Minister! or Whatever happened to the BBC?

Song of the Ofsted Inspectors ►


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Greg Freeman

Fri 17th Mar 2023 07:25

Thank you, Uilleam!

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Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh

Wed 15th Mar 2023 18:40

his empire
that terminated at the compost bins.

A lovely turn of phrase there Greg.

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Greg Freeman

Tue 14th Mar 2023 09:03

Thanks for those comments, MC, Steve, and Ray. Really glad you liked it.

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Mon 13th Mar 2023 22:42

A real classic Greg , layers of feelings here and all genuine and natural shall we say that reflects the man? - yes lets. There's a directness and a humour to add the twist in the history.


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Stephen Gospage

Sun 12th Mar 2023 21:39

Such sincerity in this, Greg. You can be moved by it and be thoroughly entertained at the same time. I was both.

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M.C. Newberry

Sun 12th Mar 2023 18:25

Captured in these lines - a man who knew the wonderrful irony
of nature -
that waste makes haste in the ceaseless cycle of renewal. .

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Greg Freeman

Sun 12th Mar 2023 13:58

Aw, glad to have put smiles on faces, guys. Many thanks for your comments. Keith, I didn't know about your Dad and Burma. Respect.

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Graham Sherwood

Sun 12th Mar 2023 13:52

On reading it I thought I'd read something like it before (then saw your reference Greg). I had a memorable (in more ways than one) day out yesterday with my eldest son at Twickenham!!!
In the car I mentioned that my father (his granddad) having passed away at only 61 meant that I had missed so many days out like yesterday. We had more than a hug upon parting and have vowed to repeat our days out more often.

Father/Son memories are tremendously important and I would urge anyone (especially if they write) to get them down on paper.

Great work Greg Black Gold indeed!

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Sun 12th Mar 2023 13:47

I LOVE this poem. Read it with a smile on my face. So glad you re-posted, Greg.

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keith jeffries

Sun 12th Mar 2023 10:52

Immediately on reading this poem my mind went back to my parents who were similarly situated; with my father in his 'inner sanctum', the greenhouse where all were forbidden to enter. Indoors Mum would knit or browse her way through 'People's Friend'. Occasionally Dad would mention his war in Burma, which he would not dwell on too much. Your poem produced some nostalgic images.
Thank you for this

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Greg Freeman

Sun 12th Mar 2023 09:43

I'm posting this poem from my collection The Fall of Singapore because of its final two lines. Match of the Day meant a lot to my dad.

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