The theme this week for Jon’s JVG Radio Method on 3RRR is “WINE” Why?
Because someone thought it would be fun to do a road trip to a winery and do the show from there. Great thought guys. I enjoyed it.

Ed Bates is in his usual spot on the backing slide guitar.

Click to hear today’s poem… [audio:JVG_Poem20081116.mp3]


Wine

“Migrants” huffed old man Greeves, with more than a hint of scorn
The sneer he normally reserved for weeds that dared to invade his lawn

Across the street a taxi stuck out from the end of the drive
The day the Tarrallos entered our lives when they moved into number five

Vincenzo and Mirella left their village in Puglia, south east of Rome
For factory jobs in the suburbs of Melbourne and a run down fibro home

A tailor by trade and better than most, but Vincenzo’s English was poor
So he worked as a cleaner six days a week and Mirella, on the factory floor

They transformed their house into an urban oasis, using nought but their hands when they started
They improvised, salvaged, restored and re-used, with no money to spare they bartered

You’d sit on the porch and over a wine you’d start negotiations
You supplied the cloth, the Tarrallo’s the labour — win win situations

A few barrows of soil for a pair of slacks, a couch for a tailor made shirt
The milkman, a cart of what his horse had discarded for a herringbone jacket and skirt

A few second hand bricks might procure a new suit, even tempted old Mr Greeves
He swapped two bantams for a brown tweed vest — had he smiled they’d have thrown in the sleeves

Every adult and child in our neighbourhood was walking around like a dandy
The local wags referred to our street as the Paris end of Sandy

Slowly their efforts began to pay off, exploiting every resource
They lived on the smell of an oily rag – olive oil of course

The reward was a backyard like the Garden of Eden, fruit trees, vegies and vines
Sun dried peppers, artichokes, eggplant, and Vincenzo’s garage made wines

They were soft as a kitten, the fruit of an orchard, a blush like they’d captured the sun
Served with a plate of Mirella’s anti pasta, flavours second to none

“Wog Juice” muttered old man Greeves to his patient and long suffering wife
He didn’t like migrants, they were taking “our” jobs – but he’d never worked a day in his life

“Melons” he scoffed “Are for natives and parrots – like your berries and your bananas”
“As for grapes” he declared “Fit only for monkeys” as he chewed on a bowl of sultanas

But no-one paid heed to old Mr Greeves, old Mrs Greeves not the least
Swept away by the tastes of this suburban bounty, the wine, the bonhomie, the feast

Lunch was a celebration, a banquet and a neighbourhood meeting
Wine was not just about drinking – and food was not just about eating

Vincenzo held court, playing host to his guests, lunch was both a meal and a stage
After countless toasts, he’d always end with the proverb, “Old wine and friends improve with age”

Sometimes Mirella would respond in Italian, the most lyrical accent I’d heard
So beautiful, my mother repeated it often without ever understanding a word

Christmas and birthdays, whenever she needed a greeting or salutation
Till a dinner guest, Italian herself, offered a literal translation

Il tuo cervello e come i tuoe coglione – piccolo coma l’uva secca, chiudi la
bocca e dammi da bere!

“Your brain, like your balls is the the size of a raisin, shut your mouth and pour me a wine”

© Copyright 2008 Ian Bland

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