take you on

take you on

the hard-case crew: my dad (left), maternal grandfather and uncle (of the piece below), and my cousin

my uncle told us
more than once how
his father, our grandfather,
of whalers’ stock,
blue eyes, a locomotive
of a man, an old locomotive
driver going wide at
the boiler, once called him,
his grown son, to task,
told him he’d take
him out and thrash him,
and not to think he couldn’t.
my uncle who’d been in
uniform could hold up his
end of whatever he put his
two hands on, just couldn’t
resist to try it on,
knowing full well
his dad was past his
brawling years
if he ever did,
they went down those
concrete painted steps to
the back yard on the
slope overlooking the
pond split with a
railway across
– orakei basin-
his dad swung
hooking left and
right, the son blocking
with hand and elbow
shouted out a
minute on his
dad still had it
just like he said.

when she heard,
my mother knew
again how he was
younger brother in
years and sense,
knew him almost
as much a fool as
their father.

our grandfather
died cradled in a
neighbour’s arms
an afternoon out on
that same lawn,
his bluff finally up,
the day pulling his
heart up by the root.

they were
men of a kind
brawling on in
word, years, or
look in the

august 2012
bucklands beach

Copyright © 2021 Peter Le Baige. All Rights Reserved


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