Beth Spencer reads her own work, ‘Long weekend at the Gertrude Abbot’

Beth Spencer’s books include Vagabondage (UWAPublishing) – a verse memoir about living in a campervan, The Party of Life (Flying Islands), How to Conceive of a Girl (Random House, runner up for the Steele Rudd Award) and the ebook The Age of Fibs (Spineless Wonders) which was winner of the 2018 Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award. Her writing has been produced for ABC Radio and she is an occasional contributor to Climactic and ArtBreaker podcasts. You can find her @bethspen on twitter, facebook and Instagram or at


 Long weekend at the Gertrude Abbot

Jack and I are going out to dinner

Bye bye ladies!

Oh Jack, you do look so smart  Wait a bit

While I adjust these lilacs, so thoughtful

And give me a little hand up these steps

The hall so long so white so white

Well, here we are but

Who are all these old people?

Old men! Old white-topped lacy ladies!

Where’ve you brung me Jack?

What’s this clang-clang of spoons on metal

Rattle of chests — old chests burst like

Old bean pods

Rattle bang, there’s a bed pan, cold steel

And mops and baked beans

But Jack and I used to go to only the best Cafes

Ah now, he’s bending over me, Jackie’s all in white

So gentle he lifts me, so gentle the needle

When I was a girl I could run like a deer

My hair reached my knees

Bye bye ladies

Bye bye Matron 

Jack and I float down the hall to dinner

(So white, so white) hold my hand Jack

Hold my hand, just now,

While I adjust these lilacs. 

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