Of This ‘n’ That

12 Aug

You may recall I wrote about the Hub’s trip to Madagascar a while back, and the awful poverty he witnessed, particularly amongst the street children.  I just read a cheering article in earthtimes which reports on things being done to give them the tools to improve their lot.


I get quite a few hits from people looking for information on how life was lived during the Second World War, so I’m going to direct you to Vivinfrance, who has started posting her memories of life as a child during the Blitz.  Highly recommended!


The Big Tent prompt this week was ‘possessions’.  I did write something which isn’t very good, but I thought this one I wrote a couple of years ago about the run-up to the first free & fair elections  in South Africa was better.  

Pre-Election Jitters 

Civil war is on the tip of the country’s tongue.
You might have to flee for your life:
what do you pack in your truck?

Dried goods
Canned food
Can opener
Two 25 gallon drums of petrol
Ammunition for the firearm
you keep at your hip
A map to Zimbabwe

The things you need to survive.

You fear the day is coming soon.
You might be one of the lucky few
to be airlifted out of the country
by your former government.
What do you put in your tiny suitcase?

Family photographs
Video tapes of your baby
His first curl
The battered jewellery box
that was a gift
from your parents
on your 11th birthday
The jewellery in it
(inexpensive; sentimental)

The things you need to survive
to make surviving matter.

29 Responses to “Of This ‘n’ That”

  1. vivinfrance August 12, 2010 at 13:03 #

    Beautifully done. I know I’d seen it before, but it was rewarding to re-read it.


    • tillybud August 13, 2010 at 08:49 #

      Thanks Viv.


  2. Mary August 12, 2010 at 13:49 #

    This really makes me think about what possessions one would take if they had to be put in only one suitcase. It makes me zero in on what is, in the whole scheme of life, important!

    Here’s mine:



    • tillybud August 13, 2010 at 08:50 #

      It’s amazing how possessions suddenly become unimportant when it comes down to it.


  3. brenda w August 12, 2010 at 15:15 #

    This is a wonderful read, Tilly. I appreciate your link to Viv’s work, too. She definitely has something worthwhile to say. (Go read, people!)

    Reading your piece, I’m reminded of the rich blessings of my life, pampered American that I am. It is difficult to imagine the circumstances of others, but giving it voice is important. It can give rise to compassion, and even action. Beautiful piece, thanks for sharing!


    • tillybud August 13, 2010 at 08:51 #

      Thanks Brenda. Viv’s story is fascinating and well worth a read.


  4. slpmartin August 12, 2010 at 17:09 #

    So interesting to read this…having never been in the situation it helps to gain perspective of what people felt at that time.


    • tillybud August 13, 2010 at 08:52 #

      I got so that I left the tv on all day in case civil war broke out. Not everyone felt like me, I must add; but plenty did.


  5. gautami tripathy August 13, 2010 at 10:54 #

    You could turn this into a political slogan!

    half-way through


  6. Stan Ski August 13, 2010 at 11:04 #

    You’ve got your priorities right, and the last 2 lines say it all.


  7. diladi August 13, 2010 at 14:34 #

    It is hard to leave sentimental things behind. But I’ve seen so many cases where the children didn’t want them. Sad. I hope my children are different.


  8. twitches August 13, 2010 at 15:26 #

    A great read – and I LOVE the title of the blog post; I actually thought it was the title of the poem!


  9. systematicweasel August 13, 2010 at 16:03 #

    Wonderful read! The last two lines wrap up the poem nicely. Excellent post!



  10. Paul Oakley August 13, 2010 at 16:23 #

    I like the way you’ve divided this into stuff that is necessary and stuff that matters. Most of us don’t have a clue about either category, living the comparatively privileged lives we do.

    My father tells of the house fire in which his family lost almost everything, how his father rushed back from the fields and into the blazing structure to save a family picture, grandma having already made it out with the box of memories of their baby who had died some years before.

    Thanks for contextualizing our stuff for us, Tilly!


  11. eskenosen August 13, 2010 at 16:55 #

    I love the unadorned lists–each object has its own resonance that you just allow to come out without forcing it. Lovely.


  12. pamela August 13, 2010 at 17:03 #

    Tillybud it is hard to imagine having to live like that.
    I feel for the children in those situations. Well written piece.


  13. Linda Frances August 13, 2010 at 17:31 #

    Your list is a reminder of how many of us are never in circumstances that require drawing up a list for survival. This is a powerful poem made even stronger by the sparseness of the list.


  14. 1sojournal August 13, 2010 at 21:26 #

    Your poem had my mind skittering off in five different directions at once. What would I do with that kind of threat looming over me in each and every moment? But, then I went back to your poem and realized that none of us would go too wrong if we kept your wise words, tacked up in clearly visible place, worked a little each day to memorize one or two lines, until we could recite it verbatim. Thank you for this one,



  15. wayne August 13, 2010 at 22:20 #

    well written….it is all good…especially like last 2 lines…thanks for sharing your words


  16. Marian Veverka August 13, 2010 at 22:36 #

    Your words make me stop and think. what is necessary? what can we do without?


  17. tillybud August 14, 2010 at 11:40 #

    I’m glad if the poem made you stop and think; stuff just isn’t important in the grand scheme of things. But it was a hard lesson to learn.

    Thanks for all the feedback.


  18. Elizabeth Kate Switaj August 14, 2010 at 13:46 #

    The conclusion of the poem is perfect. Those are the things that are too often forgotten about when people only think about escaping with a few items in a very abstract sense.


    • tillybud August 23, 2010 at 12:33 #

      Thank you Elizabeth.


  19. Cynthia Short August 14, 2010 at 21:26 #

    What a perfect example of the prompt idea! Such powerful stuff here…


    • tillybud August 15, 2010 at 07:57 #

      Thank you, Cynthia.


  20. Tumblewords August 16, 2010 at 03:07 #

    Spellbinding, provocative – a stellar look at possessions.


  21. Francis Scudelari August 16, 2010 at 03:09 #

    Survival can mean different things to different people. I much prefer your list.


  22. nan August 17, 2010 at 03:54 #

    Wow! Great take on the prompt. This is wonderful.


    • tillybud August 17, 2010 at 11:26 #

      Like your comment! Thanks, Nan.


I welcome your comments but be warned: I'm menopausal and as likely to snarl as smile. Wine or Maltesers are an acceptable bribe; or a compliment about my youthful looks and cheery disposition will do in a pinch.

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