© Leonie Parker

Winner, 2010 Ipswich Poetry Feast – Themed Section, Ipswich, Queensland.

I wonder what old Banjo might be thinking if today
he managed to come back again, perhaps out Ipswich way.
I think he’d feel at home here where the Jacaranda blooms
and shades the stately mansions with their timeless formal rooms.

Our cities are much cleaner now I think he’d notice that,
though manners have deteriorated men don’t doff a hat
to women who are passing like they used to do before,
but in Ipswich, for a lady, gentlemen still hold the door.

Our beautiful old buildings from a bygone era may
entice him with the memory of cities of his day.
If he stayed a little while here I am pretty sure that he
would soon be captivated. There’s so much for him to see.

The lovely gardens of Japan, the nearby Ipswich zoo,
at dusk down by the river there’s a dinosaur or two
that frolic in the water, but they’re secretive and shy.
I saw them once myself, it’s true, I wouldn’t tell a lie.

He’d ride a big old steam train out to Grandchester and back,
check out a workers cottage or a picturesque bush shack,
then stroll through our great city with its mix of old and new,
see a club show or a movie, there’s so many things to do.

He’d travel out to Willowbank to watch the dragsters race.
I think it would be priceless just to look upon his face
when he hears the roaring engines as the dragsters make a start.
It’s a long way from the era of the draught horse and the cart.

He could still Waltz his Matilda, like he did in day’s gone bye,
but make a stop at Amberley to watch the hornets fly.
If he came back soon enough he’d catch the roaring blaze
of the sleek F111 in its final flying days.

I think he’d visit Riverlink, a shoppers’ paradise.
I bet he’d be amazed at that, would not believe his eyes.
A modern shopping centre where a steam train and its crew
attracts a mob of spectators as it goes chugging through.

He could drop into the parklands, have a barbie by a stream,
or pop around to my place for some scones and clotted cream.
I would love to talk to Banjo, share a cuppa, have a chat,
perhaps the Mayor could join us in his mayoral robe and hat.

I reckon Paul and Banjo would get along just fine.
Paul could bring along his teapot, or borrow one of mine.
We could even boil a billy if he thought that would be best.
Is there one in your collection mate? We’ll put it to the test.

I would love some tips from Banjo about my poetry.
Should I stick with rhyming sentences and metered symmetry?
Or branch out into free verse, which now seems to be the style.
I’d love to hear his take on that, could chat for quite a while.

Perhaps we could try tempting him to judge the feast this year
or maybe he could enter one of his, but no, I fear,
if we did allow the Banjo to put an entry in
nobody else would have a chance ‘cause he’d be sure to win.

I bet he’d be surprised at just how famous he became.
I wonder would it please him that so many know his name
or would he maybe feel a little overwhelmed somehow,
intimidated by the pace of life we’re living now.

When Banjo walked upon this earth the pace was slower then,
but he might find Ipswich ‘liveable’ if he came back again.
I think that he might like it here, although it’s growing fast,
that small town feel of friendliness still lingers, unsurpassed.

This city has been voted the most liveable on earth,
so it might suit our Banjo if his spirit needs rebirth,
and for a while at least this place might tempt him and he’d stay.
I think he might like Ipswich if he came back here today.

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