↑ Return to Mary Cresswell

Learning how to do it in Wellington

Mary Cresswell

 

Citizenship is a privilege granted by the state

reverently and advisedly

(God Save the Queen and all who sail in her)

but the ceremony is not what you think.

The practical is a bugger:

they locked us girls up, they did, behind closed doors

one Russian, two Americans, three Vietnamese

and one lady from Hong Kong.

 

They gave us a cooking test to be sure

we would be good wives and mothers

the backbone of the country

(along with farmers and greywacke).

Prepare a family meal, they said,

using all and only

one loaf of bread, two pounds of butter, three packets of hundreds and thousands

and one bottle of orange cordial.

 

When they unlocked the doors

we emerged, clothed in glory

bearing plates, chanting Aw yeah!!

Yeah-nah!! the public servants chanted back

and everyone partied in groups

one lot at the railway station, two at Mt Vic, three down Lambton Quay

and one on the steps of the Beehive.

 

But this was too much for

such superior ladies as we:

We left them to it

stuck our noses in the air

clutched our handbags to our bosoms

and marched straight to Kirk’s office

one Russian, two Americans, three Vietnamese

and one lady from Hong Kong.

 

Read previous | Read next
Back to the top

Permanent link to this article: http://4thfloorjournal.co.nz/contents-2018/mary-cresswell/learning-how-to-do-it-in-wellington/