The first draft of this piece is the outflow of the emotion of memory. Next I want to write it more in a way that shows not tells. In this draft I like the way the porridge motif works and will think about metaphors and myths around magic porridge pots perhaps.
Remember the days when we survived on porridge and rice
and friends sometimes bought us groceries unasked
to make sure we didn’t go hungry
both of us students
with young children
striving for our qualifications
to move ahead with our lives
under thirty we were.
We even spent short stints living with friends
as we searched for affordable accomodation
who only asked that one day
when we were better off
that we passed it along
and shared that they had once
lived in the days of surviving on porridge
and rice perhaps with a splash of lentils.
Why do I remember these days now?
Perhaps it was the news last night
about the homeless
who are out on the streets
for mental illness
or substance abuse or even just
bad luck and a lost job and
who if someone like Mission Australia breaks the cycle
gives them a letter box
and a home
and helps them clean up their lives whilst in the
– move forward.
Perhaps its the memory of soup kitchens
that fed students
on the poverty line
who couldn’t afford the refectory food
and who sought to sleep in the library’s
warmth until it closed.
-I am sure that this still goes on
Because not everyone at university has a regular income
or parents who can, or want, to support them.
– I was thankful for my weekend kitchen hand job.
Maybe it is the couple who
homeless in their car
tried to heat it up
and accidentally died when
their ingenuity went wrong.
Thinking about how tricky it can be from seventeen to twenty one
as you build your life, often away from family
seeking an education and beginning to build your own friendships and family
-reminds me of the days of porridge and rice
where love was the main thing
that kept us warm
and the fuel that kept us going.
We could imagine our food tastier
wear our shoes until the holes made it impossible
and in parts of Queensland even go
barefoot if need be
-it was so warm
and rocks were like treasure
to paint into sneaker gifts for friends
with a small amount of paint and some
could even make thankyou gifts.
Now the pantry is full
but I am looking for a return to more stable work
after spending time concentrating on raising the children
and doing so much community work
I don’t want to return to those days of porridge
but rather help those in the days of porridge
achieve their dreams
(c) June Perkins