Born to Eke




I like eking! I like to eke.


I’d rather run the water on gravity alone

and switch the lights all OFF

whenever I leave home.

If there’s a choice of high or low

on any thing or gadget,

I’ll always choose the one that’s

better on the budget.


I was born in war-time England

when rationing was rife

and learned to live, and like it,

an eking frugal life.

With one boiled egg for breakfast

but only once a week,

it was my early introduction

to knowing how to eke.


When parcels came from way Down Under

I’d sometimes take a peek

at the biscuits and the Vegemite;

too anxious yet to speak.

I learned to wait and hold my breath

while Mum sorted through the stack.

But then she’d leave just one thing out

and put the rest all back.


In my teens I rode a scooter

on a pint of oil each week.

I was really in my prime

at knowing how to eke.

The garage man would get quite cross

and say with face on fire:

“And now I s’pose you’ll ask me

to blow into each tyre!”


I was always quite aghast

when fancy cars went past;

at the thought of how much petrol they must use.

So I bought a baby Austin –

two seats and a gear-stick in between.

It was easy on the pocket

and kept me out of trouble

when dating girls and –

you know what I mean.

Now I save the water in the creek,

by piling rocks on high,

to stop the water rushing through;

‘cos then the creek goes dry.

I’ve learned to share my tea bags more.

I think I’m up to almost four.

And when I’ve squeezed them flat and thin

I put them in the compost bin.


When up the pub on Friday night

I only drink one Stout.

I sip on it and meditate

until they kick me out.

For there is no point, like others do,

in drinking more and more.

Because I’d simply go to sleep

and wake up cross and sore.


When I wash my rags on Satdy

I don’t let the water waste.

I run outside and channel it

to my vegies in great haste.

For the drought has stopped the carrots

and the frost has burnt the beet.

And they need as much as they can get

to grow big enough to eat.


So now that climate change draws near

and water shortages are here,

with prices rising week by week

I’m very glad I learned to eke.

And when at last I fall and cark,

down in my meadow green;

they’ll say he was the ekest man

that Maccy’s ever seen!


But meanwhile join with me and see

that eking is the way to be.

And don’t be shy to write or speak

about how well that you can eke.

There’s still some space left just below

for you to add your piece;

and encourage others of our ilk

to stop and think and eke.


Breean McLewis

Macclesfield, Winter 2009.

This poem is about: 
My community
My country
Our world


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