Title: Songs of My Life

Author: Bill Manhire

In: Sport 11: Spring 1993

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, November 1993, Wellington

Part of: Sport

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Sport 11: Spring 1993


‘Brothers and sisters?’ I said to him once. But he didn’t answer. His thoughts were invisible as polio.

I can still remember how those germs roamed the land, not in his songs ever, approaching at stomach height so that only adults and domestic pets were safe. They shut the town baths. My sister in the hospital, not moving much, while I was sent to the health camp at Roxburgh. Long ambulance ride through the contagious world, groceries left at the gate, and well-intentioned people waving in the distance across fences and hedges. The nervous system can only take so much noise.

Is there someone?’ I said.

‘I tell you Colin,’ he said, ‘this isn’t my first trip around the block.’ He strummed a chord on the guitar, e7. ‘And it isn’t my first block.’