© Shelley Hansen
Winner, 2015 ABPA Queensland State Championship and Bush Lantern Award, Bundaberg, Queensland.
Teddy, Teddy! Daddy’s shouting, now he’s come home from his outing –
and he’s smacking all the windows with a chair!
And I know that he’s been drinking, but I don’t know what he’s thinking
to have given me and Mummy such a scare.
Teddy, Teddy! I’m so frightened! Now my bedroom door has lightened
and I know that Daddy’s standing right outside.
He is muttering and talking, but I hope he’ll keep on walking
if I lie here very still and try to hide.
Teddy, Teddy! Mummy’s crying and I think she might be dying
’cos I heard him hit her really really hard!
And I know I should be sleeping, but I’m standing here and peeping
through the curtains, where she’s lying in the yard.
Teddy, Teddy! Hold me tightly! Mummy’s face is so unsightly –
purple bruises from her mouth right to her hair!
Look! Her eyes are dark and haunted, and her spirit seems so daunted
and she doesn’t even notice I am there.
Teddy, Teddy! Grandma’s here now. Daddy’s all polite and cheer now.
When he’s sober he can be quite nice, you know.
Mummy thinks that he is changing, so she’s started rearranging
all the furniture – to make it look “just so”!
Teddy, Teddy! We were hoping that at last he might be coping
and not wanting to be drinking day and night.
But he had a bottle hidden, and when Mummy came unbidden
she discovered it – so now they’ve had a fight.
Teddy, Teddy! They are calling a policeman! Mummy’s falling
with her arm all cut and bleeding from a knife!
Daddy stabbed her in the kitchen – said he couldn’t stand her “bitchin’”
and a mongrel dog would make a better wife!
Teddy, Teddy! Grandma’s praying but I can’t hear what she’s saying –
now she’s shooing me to bed while it’s still day,
’cos she doesn’t want me knowing all the coming and the going –
but she doesn’t know I know it anyway.
Teddy, Teddy! Daddy’s leaving and I know that Mummy’s grieving
and she wants to rush right out and bring him back.
Though he pushes us and shoves us, she believes that he still loves us
and it’s only drink that causes each attack.
Teddy, Teddy! Mummy’s lonely and I think that she is only
waiting day by day for Daddy to return.
Though she thinks the best about him, it’s so peaceful here without him!
But she doesn’t want to listen or to learn.
Teddy, Teddy! He’s returning, and now Mummy’s fondly yearning
for the days she tells herself were happy – then.
So it must be right to treat her like a whipping post, and beat her!
If it wasn’t, why submit to it again?
Teddy, Teddy! There’s no glories like they tell us in the stories
of a happy-ever-after fairytale.
There’s just violence and weeping, and a midnight footstep creeping
to my bedroom – where I watch, and wait – and quail.
Teddy! Teddy! That’s not caring! Shouting, fighting, beating, swearing!
They don’t love me. They don’t want me anymore.
There’s just you and me. Together we must find a way to weather
out the storm until we reach the sunlit shore.
Teddy, Teddy! It’s confusing! Will I too, one day, be choosing
to be married to a man who loves like this?
Will I bear his sudden rages – just another of life’s pages
smudged with staleness of his alcoholic kiss?
Teddy, Teddy! I will never marry anyone! Not ever!
For it isn’t right that love should hurt this way.
Teddy, come to me and cuddle, pull the covers up and huddle
while you listen carefully to what I say …
Teddy, Teddy! When we’re older and we’ve grown to be much bolder
we will run away to make a brand new start!
Then we’ll fill our days with laughter and be happy ever after
and I’ll love you from the bottom of my heart!