This week’s poem I wrote for Jon’s JVG Radio Method on 3RRR is a beaut, the topic Jon decided on for today is “SIN”. Nothing like having a topic that you have some experience with.

Click to hear today’s poem… [audio:JVG_Poem20071104.mp3]

Jon and I chatted about the theme music for the segment (you will have to tune in to hear it), the new Clare Bowditch album, it’s a good one and some of our favourite sins.

Ed Bates supplied an appropriately sinful guitar backing today.


Around the age of five or six, I was caught playing doctors and nurses
Her father, a Baptist, made us kneel before the Bible while he read us the relevant verses

He ranted and raved for more than an hour, hardly took time to draw breath
One line he repeated over and over, “The wages of sin is death”

Worms, fire and the gnashing of teeth, awaited all who didn’t repent
I knew sin wasn’t good, but this had me worried, it was time I found out what it meant

Keen to not end up a shashlik, I thought I probably should do some research
I’d ask family, and friends, other kids in the street, hammer it out church by church

Since I was born Presbyterian, it seemed a good place to begin
For the righteous they had a full itinerary, but bugger all for the masses who sin

They never went into the details, you were left to imagine your fate
As long as you turned up Sundays and left a generous bequest in the plate

Next door, Lyn Fitzgerald, a good Roman Catholic, but as far as I could assess
She could sin her arse off, and regularly did, then go to her priest and confess

“Cough up your crimes, and all is absolved,” so said “Rabbit” McGorry our neighbour
“There’s only one unforgivable sin, that’s if they find out you voted for Labour”

The Carver’s at number thirty four, joined some American sect
There was only one thing you had to accept, an endless list of things to reject

This earth was the devil’s playground, of which the rest of us were a part
To be damned for all eternity, required little more than a fart

Sin was a pox that fed on your flesh contaminating every cell
So eager were they to be free of this world, they were already living in hell

There was only person I knew I could trust, who was relatively impartial
A card carrying bona fide atheist, the neighbourhood drunk, old man Marshall

A drinker, a smoker, a gambler, ill tempered, four wives and each had deserted
His unpardonable sin, he barracked for Carlton, round here that was considered perverted

He could tell I was frightened, so he sat me down and tried to allay my fear
First thing he gave me was a cigarette, I was a little to young for a beer

He said “Don’t worry son, your six years old, the devil’s not after your soul
It’s the other bastards, who know that fear is a good way of keeping control”

“So just relax, enjoy your fag, we’re not going to get hit by lightning
I’ll explain a few sins, in no special order, to show they’re not really that frightening”

“Murder I’ve witnessed a number of times, going back to when I was a boy
It’s generally committed, by whichever team, happens to be playing Fitzroy”

“Stealing’s a fraction more serious, harder to turn the other cheek
It’s what those white maggots, the umpires, do to Carlton week after week”

“The illegal farming of emus and roos, that’s a sin known as Faunacation
Lust is more of an attribute, shows you’ve got an imagination”

“Greed is a form of monopoly, you get points for how much you amass
Put simply, Covet, is sort of like lust, involving you and your neighbour’s ass”

“Envy applies to the ignorant hordes, those who don’t follow the Blues
You won’t find Sloth in Australia, outside of a couple of zoos”

“But Adultery, that’s very serious, and should never be considered a joke
That’s when someone takes a good whiskey and adulterates it with coke”

I immediately thought of Mr Thomas next door, just divorced by his ex wife Nola
Now it appears, his only transgression, was a liking for scotch mixed with cola

Old man Marshall was killed a year later, according to one of his sons
As he staggered home drunk one Sunday morning, he was hit by a busload of nuns

It wasn’t the crash, but their praying that killed him, seems he went into anaphylaxis
In death they uncovered one final sin, in three decades he hadn’t paid taxes

In the subsequent years I learnt a lot about sin, but I still recall Marshall’s advice
To this very day, when I’m having a scotch, I won’t even let them add ice

© Copyright 2007 Ian Bland

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