Vanishing Chalk – Ross Aubrey

I once met this shy, strange old dude
A sorta skinny, weird looking kinda bloke
Forever wandering around the city streets each morning
Wearing a grey felt hat, blue suit and big old overcoat
No, he was never what you might call a conversationalist
Though he once told me his name was Arthur Stace
His duty in life was to roam the streets of Sydney
Scrawling the word ‘Eternity’ in chalk all over the place
‘Arthur… Arthur… Arthur…!’ I recall often repeating
Perhaps Pops you need to start thinking outside the square
I mean to say, chalk went out with the invention of cheese
But I could tell by his tired eyes he didn’t seemed to care
‘Ever thought to put your chalk at the end of a stick mate ?’ I once asked
It’d save yourself from bending over all the time
Could avoid some drama up ‘The Cross’, if you get my drift !
Believe me, things have changed a tad now we’re back in peacetime
The war had knocked him round quite a bit
Like so many from that devastated generation
In WWI fighting in France defending our young homeland
He served bravely in the 19th Battalion
I queried if he’d ever tried other forms of promotion
Like the wireless or slapping up posters on telegraph poles
Letterbox drops, newspapers, bumper stickers even
He just looked at me as if I was some kind of arsehole
Now, if I was gonna spend all my precious free time…
Scribbling just one single declaration on every street
I doubt I’d focus on such a ludicrous word as ‘Eternity’
Just so it’d be trampled by uncaring and odorous feet
Yes, if I felt compelled to write any single word
I wouldn’t waste good chalk on the numinous statement ‘Eternity’
Heaven forbid someone write something for the here and now
On the biblical themes of Peace, Love or Charity
But I guess it’s just like all those useless bumper stickers
Similar to ‘Save the Planet’ or ‘Stop the War’
Just as world changing as ‘I Shoot And I Vote !’
What station I’m listening to or what team I barrack for
‘Eternity’ is austerely a dopey, biblical concept
Arthur was a born again Christian you see
He was arrested 24 times during his troubled time on earth
Always stating he had permission from a higher authority
When the government finally said “That’s enough killing Boys  !”
He returned home to Pearl and lived up Bulwarra Road, Pyrmont
But the war had left him half blind in one eye
And with a lung full of gas he didn’t particularly need or want
Just an unassuming battler from the humblest of backgrounds
Barely literate yet he relentlessly chalked his one word sermon
For over 37 years, an estimated half million times…
Just a sad, old man defacing Sydney’s pavements
Still I don’t believe Arthur was your run-of-the-mill graffitist
As each time it rained his ‘Eternity’ ironically disappeared, washed away
But that never seemed to worry ol’ Arthur I have to confess
As he’d be back again to write it the very next day