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The Time of My Life ~ a Poem

John is a long-time poet, short fiction, and article writer. He loves story-telling and also has a Certificate in Permaculture Design.

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Poems From the Porch 40: Special Edition

If you are a regular reader/follower you will realise by now that, occasionally, I write a special edition of my Poems From the Porch if I feel the topic deserves to stand alone or if one poem has turned out to be longer than the norm. This one isn't short, in fact, at around 650 words it is probably one of the longest I have written.

As I say in the poem, writing this took me out of my comfort zone. I enjoy the diversity of trying to write poetry about almost any subject people can think of, hence my creation of this series, however, if there is one thing I don't really like writing poetry about - it's myself.

Those who may remember The Cackleberry Farmer series may dispute that, as it was an account of my life month to month, or later season to season. It wasn't a poem though. For some reason, to me, poetry seems more personal than prose. Don't ask me why, but to me it just is.

Anyway, I can't refuse a challenge/request and Eric Dierker is responsible for this one. Eric asked as follows:

"Now you would/could not just write a piece on how great you are in autobiographic terms. But since I ask you have to -- right?

Please write a poem about you/your life. And try to make yourself out the hero that you are."

Eric, thank you for the push..prod..ambush..or whatever you call it to write this. You better like it, just saying.


Image by Лариса Мозговая from Pixabay

Image by Лариса Мозговая from Pixabay

The Time of My Life

I write verse on many subjects,

Compose poems upon request,

But this suggestion challenged me.

It really was a test.


To write my personal story,

Or autobiography,

Is not within my comfort zone.

My favourite topic is not me.


I was born in 57,

“Sputnik” launched that year-

First satellite sent into space.

To be named that was my fear.


Time at school was uneventful

Though we moved around a lot.

Three full years at any school

Was the longest stretch I got.

Sputnik, any of a series of three artificial Earth satellites, the first of whose launch by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957, inaugurated the space age.

I was in the top 15 percent

Of almost every grade,

But sport was where I did excel

And that I wouldn’t trade.


Athletics, football, tennis,

Cricket and volleyball.

Swimming was my weakest sport,

But the others, I loved all.


I was always good at sketching,

From a very early start.

I began a course while still at school,

It was called “Commercial Art.”


The Railways was my first career,

I joined there straight from school.

Moving all around the state -

Two decades as a fool.

Queensland Rail Network: By Pytomelon87 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73786065

Queensland Rail Network: By Pytomelon87 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73786065

Table tennis, pool, and bowls

Took over as my sports.

I had no time for training,

My leisure time was short.


Reading novels was my passion,

My escapist release.

Jack London’s “Call of the Wild”

Was the book to plant the seed.


Our marriage was in 82,

Kathleen became my wife,

My partner and my closest friend.

Four kids would grace my life.


I retired from the Railways,

After 17 long years.

A needed change had beckoned,

To me, that was so clear.

Then came a job at CQU*

In the Library- a bookworm’s dream.

I stayed on there for ten more years,

Until my parents were in need.


My good wife relocated

To help provide them care.

My son was in school’s final year,

So I stayed with him there.


Then life took another turn

As it is prone to do.

My father sadly passed away,

So I moved closer too.


I took on my mother’s care,

So my wife could go to work.

I held a part-time local job

As an office clerk.

Broken Heart: Image by gerardom from Pixabay

Broken Heart: Image by gerardom from Pixabay

Within a year my mom passed too,

She had a broken heart,

It’s hard to lose your life-long love

Or go on with life apart.


A family feud just made things worse

In this unhappy time.

Disputes and accusations

We felt like victims of a crime.


My wife was injured on the job,

So work she could no more.

Anxiety and depression called,

You don’t know what’s in store.


Our children had all left the nest,

And no jobs to tie us down.

So we were free to do our thing

We decided to leave town.

So, we packed all our belongings

And took the “tree change” route.

We moved away from urban life

And went “off-grid” to boot.


I studied “Permaculture”,

It took a few years, fine.

But now I’m trained and qualified

In Permaculture Design.


The bush life held its challenges

But each that arose was met.

We built an outdoor kitchen,

And bathed within a tent.


We constructed a “Mechano” shed,

A solid roof over our heads,

Solar panels provided power,

And chickens supplied eggs.

The “Cackleberry Farmer”

Was the nickname that I chose.

I wrote articles using that name,

Some may remember those.


Ten years of blocky lifestyle

Was good experience and fun,

But eventually, we realized

That way of life was done.


We sold our 40-acre block

And moved to this small town.

Murgon, in the South Burnett

Is where we now call home.


We miss the open spaces,

The wildlife and the bush,

But amenities are closer here,

When a shove comes to a push.


Now I am a writer.

Which I always loved to do,

But as a hobby, nothing serious.

I guess dreams can come true.


(* Central Queensland University)

© 2020 John Hansen

Comments

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 12, 2020:

Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comment, Li-Jen. Yes, got to keep dreaming. Good to see you back again.

Li-Jen Hew on September 12, 2020:

Hi Jodah, you did a generous job in writing about your life although you felt uncomfortable. Your house in Murgon fits the description "home sweet home". It is an emotional poem and you finished off with dreams come true. You've come so far! I hope more of your dreams become fulfilled. Stay safe to you and your family!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 04, 2020:

Thanks, Mark. Much appreciated.

Mark Tulin from Ventura, California on September 04, 2020:

You had a very interesting and rewarding life, John. Good job in your life as well as your poem.

Debangee Mandal from India on September 01, 2020:

Thank u

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 31, 2020:

Thank you so much, Debangee. Always great to see a new face among my comments.

Debangee Mandal from India on August 31, 2020:

Fantastic

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 26, 2020:

Hi Adorable Pen. Thank you for reading and for your generous comment.

Adorable Pen from Onitsha on August 26, 2020:

So amazing nice life story in poem...

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 25, 2020:

Thank you, Nithya. It was a summary I guess, but I did my best to write it in a poem.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on August 25, 2020:

Well done! You have narrated your life so well through this poem. A fantastic journey, thank you for sharing.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 19, 2020:

Hello Brenda, thank you. I did my best with this. Glad our found it interesting. I certainly hope there is a lot left to come..mostly good.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on August 19, 2020:

John,

Well done.

You mastered this challenge.

It was a very interesting read.

Quite a journey...and I am sure there is more to go.

Take care.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 18, 2020:

It is never too late, Eric. You actually started the party by requesting this, rand it is still going. It sounds like we have a few things in common in our life, even age. Oh, the ”Off the Shelf” series is still around. ”Everville” recently was one of that series. I may also bring The Lamb Street Chronicals back from time to time. Thanks.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 18, 2020:

Perhaps I am late to a party. Usually I get there early. As I did here some many hours ago.

Only the longevity of a job is what I see here as different. And two wives both over 15 years. Yet 4 wonderful little buddies others call my kids.

Oh did I love working in the library.

Big expanse of property for a while. I was bummed leaving it but onward and upward I say.

I don't have a right to be nostalgic but I liked your books off the shelf deal as much as your chicken farmer pieces.

I have absolutely nothing to go do, so I better get to it. I will be back.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 17, 2020:

Hi Farah, thank you for your kind words. This was very much summarised and I missed a lot of detail that I thought about later, But it is a little insight into my life. God bless you also.

Farah N Huq from Dhaka, Bangladesh on August 17, 2020:

Wow! That was a wonderful challange taken up and you gave us a beautiful tour through the differe phases of your life. Good to know about your family, Sir. Loved it thoroughly. May God bless you all.

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on August 17, 2020:

Very well Sir John.

I admire you for doing so. Enjoy the rest of the day !

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 17, 2020:

Hey Chrish, it is good to see a new face in the comments On one of my posts. I agree, it is not easy or share everything about your life online, other than the basics. I am glad did though. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on August 17, 2020:

Wow , what I can say is You have been live . A legit silent Warrior .

I'm a talkative person but it's hard when it's about my life . You can read the first page. it's up to you ,if you want to find the rest . Still an open book .

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 17, 2020:

Thank you for such an insightful comment, Chitrangada. I am glad you enjoyed reading this summarised version of my life. Blessings to you also.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on August 17, 2020:

A wonderful way to describe your life’s journey, in brief.

And what I understand, that you have seen many ups and downs in life, but you are a blessed family person. During the rough times, it’s the family support, which makes us through.

This is a blessing indeed—to have a loving and caring family. Appreciate your wife’s commitments, which is so important in relationships.

Life is not always smooth. We learn tough lessons through hardships, but that leads to our mental and spiritual growth.

Thanks for sharing your personal life and experiences with us. Wish you and your family all the best in life.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 16, 2020:

You are welcome, Flourish. It isn’t an easy thing to open your life to people online and I am sure many are reluctant at first, but then again...look at Facebook. It is good to get to know people more deeply.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 16, 2020:

Thank you Drew. I am happy that my words expressed true feeling to the readers. I appreciate you reading my poem.

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 16, 2020:

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I wish everyone on HP could do the same so we had a fuller picture of who they are.

Drew Agravante from Philippines, Currently in Qatar on August 16, 2020:

Thanks for sharing this wonderful poem. I was struck by the feels.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 16, 2020:

Hello Lee. I am glad you enjoyed the poem and photos. Cheers.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 16, 2020:

I am glad you remember the Cackleberry Farm series, Ann. Our present house is a comfortable home..but still a work in process and improvements are happening. Thank you for reading.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 16, 2020:

Thanks for your kind words Peg, and condolences in regard to my parents. Yes, all our experiences (good and bad) make us who we eventually become. My kids are proof that we did something right.

Lee A Barton from New Mexico on August 16, 2020:

Great poem! I also loved the photos.

Ann Carr from SW England on August 16, 2020:

Yes I remember your Cackleberry Farm hubs - they were great.

I love your present house; it looks very pretty.

Thanks for the peep through the window into your life - quite eventful, as are most of ours I suppose.

You have many strings to your bow, it appears, John! Lots of hidden skills and a great family too! Well done!

Ann

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 16, 2020:

Thanks for sharing your life with us in this way. Condolences on the loss of your parents, but you will always be happy about the way you cared for them in their time of need. You have had many experiences along the way that makes you the fascinating person you have become. You and your wife are survivors! Your children should be proud of you.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 16, 2020:

Hi Linda. I don’t think I have done or overcome any more than most people, but I guess every person’s situation is unique. I am glad you found my account interesting, and I always appreciate your comments. Thank Eric, yes, that’s for sure.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on August 16, 2020:

John, I'm grateful to Eric that he coaxed, pushed, and prodded you into writing this poem. You've led a full life with more than a few challenges and setbacks, but you've carried on. You are full of love and compassion and still have a sense of humor as well. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of what makes you you.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 16, 2020:

It was quite a big deal sharing about my life here, Umesh. Thank you for reading.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 16, 2020:

Thank you for reading my story, Diana. I appreciate your kind comment.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on August 16, 2020:

Amazing details. Much experienced person. Thanks for sharing.

Diana Carol Abrahamson from Somerset West on August 16, 2020:

What an amazing detailed poem about your interesting and varied life. Thanks for sharing it with us.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 16, 2020:

Yes, we do have a few parallels there Shauna. I am enjoying the new chapter in my life..not so much driving to town for essentials is especially good, but we learnt a lot of helpful lessons from our time in the bush like how to be more frugal with water and electricity etc.

Oh, and I haven’t seen a snake since we moved here..that’s a plus. Yes, you can thank Eric for this poem. Glad you enjoyed it.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on August 16, 2020:

John, you've led a very interesting life. I saw a few parallels between your life and mine. I was also born in '57. We moved a lot too, as my father was an Air Force fighter pilot. Until I went to high school, the longest I spent at any one school was three years, as well. After that, our respective lives are very different, with the exception of loving to read and write.

I enjoyed learning about you. And, yes, I remember The Cackleberry Farmer series. I always enjoyed and looked forward to each installment.

Your new chapter in life incorporates what you love, albeit on a smaller scale, which is probably easier to handle (and enjoy) at this stage in life.

I see you've finished your wife's she shed. How does she like it? I think it's pretty awesome. Same with your fern house. Your new domain looks so comfortable and has a lot of character. Do you have snakes venturing into your homestead at this location? I know it was a common occurrence at your last place. That would totally freak me out but you took it in stride. So brave!

Thanks for sharing your story. I think we're all grateful Eric presented this challenge to you.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 16, 2020:

I really appreciate you reading this Bill, and also for the generous comment. Yes, you can thank Eric, for bringing it all out haha.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 16, 2020:

Hello Pamela. Yes, I have certainly had my ups and downs in life,Ike us all. After I finished this I thought of quite a few things I could have a added but I thought it long enough. I am glad you enjoyed reading about my experiences. Blessings.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on August 16, 2020:

John, what a wonderful poem and look back at your life. Writing this was a great suggestion so kudos to Eric. You’ve lived an interesting and adventurous life, John. Loved it.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 16, 2020:

I really love this poem, John. What an interesting life you have experienced. It sounds like you have a wonderful wife too. You have had your ups and downs like all of us and like me you always met the challenges you met in life. This poem certainly tells a long story.

Randy Horizon from Philadelphia on August 16, 2020:

Wow John, That poem is great. I loved it and life can be very strange indeed and unpredictable. Happy to see you are still writing and doing good.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 16, 2020:

Lorna, your comment humbles me. Thank you for reading my story. One tends to consider their life rather uneventful And don’t expect others to find it interesting. But when you write it down, I admit, it does seem to have a bit of substance after all. I am glad you find my poetry heart-felt and authentic.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 16, 2020:

Rosina, thank you for your friendship and support of my writing. Yes, you now know a bit more about me than you did before. Wishing you a great week ahead.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 16, 2020:

Good old Eric..haha. He has a way of getting things he asks for. Thank you for reading Bill, and your generous words. Much appreciated.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 16, 2020:

Thank you, Liz. I always feel a little weird writing about my life but it's nice to know it is appreciated and that you found it interesting. I appreciate your kind comment.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 16, 2020:

Thank you for reading my story, Kyler, and for your kind words. I'm glad it made you feel like you were there growing up with me. Yes, I am certainly a sports enthusiast...and farmer type too lol. Take care.

Lorna Lamon on August 16, 2020:

This was a wonderful and nostalgic look into your life John, and it has certainly been eventful. There is a real sense of just getting the job done and tackling each hurdle head on. It's very much reminiscent of the farming community I come from, real salt of the earth people. Thank you for allowing us to be part of this journey. As usual I love your poetry, always authentic, always heartfelt.

Rosina S Khan on August 16, 2020:

I love this autobiographical poem concerning you, John. You have been through so much yet have achieved so much. After reading this poem, I have come to know so many facts about you which I didn't know before. Obviously my admiration for you has increased ten-fold now. Thank you so much for sharing.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 16, 2020:

Well thank you, Eric, for making the request, and thank you, John, for opening up and allowing us a glimpse of your life. A wonderful journey through the life of a fine man.

Liz Westwood from UK on August 16, 2020:

I understand your reluctance to write an autobiographical poem. But you have cracked it with this excellent poem. You strike a great balance in giving an honest run through your interesting life. I admire your openness and the way in which you have navigated life's ups and downs. You have achieved much and no doubt, you will achieve more in the years that lie before you.

Kyler J Falk from Corona, CA on August 16, 2020:

I felt like I was right there growing up with you the whole time, John! May your mother and father rest in peace as well, it is good you went and took care of them. It is always bittersweet to hear someone passing from a broken heart, it brought a tear to my eye but warmth to my heart to know they were so madly in love.

I had no idea you were a sports enthusiast, though! I always pictured you as the, "Farmer John," type, but I guess I was half correct, LOL!

That was a nice little tale and a welcomed break from the usual format. Good getting to know you better!