A Message to my Grandson – Michael Thwaites – Comments

A Message to my Grandson
You chose a marvellous morning to be born,
The orange edge of dawn, the stars paling,
The glassy lake, the diamond Autumn air,
The sun breaking in surf on the Brindabellas –
You chose a marvellous morning to be born.
Welcome: And I extend an invitation
To tour your native city; for a start
The view from Ainslie (quite superlative)
Delineates Burley Griffin’s genius, working
After his death, enlisting trees, hills, water
As friends (he hoped) not subjects to his plan.
Then we could visit some outstanding features,
St John’s, the War Memorial, Civic Centre,
The National Library, Parliament House of course,
Regatta Point, the Gardens, Capital Hill…
But those who met you first at your arrival
Have judged my invitation premature.
You were, I hear, quite tired after your journey,
Found our light trying, though intriguing too,
Through flickering lids seemed eager to discover
Just what was going on, but had some trouble
In focusing the things you had in mind,
And close observers felt that you were opting
For further time to orientate yourself.
In point of fact, it seems you waved your hands
In general greeting to your father, mother,
Then, having twice refused some light refreshment,
You went to sleep.
No explanations needed, my dear fellow!
We’ll simply do our tour some other time
Convenient to yourself. The sun is climbing,
The city goes to work, and you are here.
You chose a marvellous morning to be born.
Michael Thwaites (1915 – 2005)

S1 … Autumn is approaching in Canberra, and it is a marvellous time after the heat of summer. The air is so clear and fresh as night temperatures start to drop. The low Brindabella Mountains form an enclosing forever scenic backdrop and surfing is a nice poetic way of expressing any rolling of early mist as it evaporates as the sun takes strength. Birth of a grandson and birth of a day happen to be married to give that special day double remembrance.

S2 … Here is the start of a list of iconic aspects known to Canberrans and those that have visited the city. A tribute to Walter Burley Griffin who was instrumental in the design of Canberra from its very inception, not forgetting his wife who played a dominant part. The beauty of the city is emphasised on this day of beginnings. Canberra does have three distinct Mountains that give splendid views of the city, one of which is Mt Ainslie. Canberra is a Capital city if you excuse the pun.

S3 … First light in the birth with a witty touch of thought by clever use in the personification of the mind of baby. An arrogant wave of hand from baby as he decides enough for now, a little sleep is needed. The suggestion of royalty is so apt.

S4 … Acceptance that much time is needed for baby to understand the city. The sun is climbing / the city goes to work, and you are here. And this is what makes a marvelous autumn morning so more meaningful.

Regarding the invitation for a future understanding, I do not know whether his grandson came to value the city in such a way.

Website – A Message to my Grandson | ThwaitesLink

Wikipedia – Michael Thwaites AO was an Australian academic, poet, and intelligence officer.

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