A Father’s Day Dedication


My father was Richard Packer. A poet and playwright.  He published at least four poetry books both in Australia and New Zealand and was passionate about his work.  He died at the age of fifty -three in a tiny little flat in Toorak Melbourne.  I had not seen my father since I was thirteen.  My memories of him are quite faded now but I do remember that he used to sing sea shanties to me and my two brothers.  He took me to the zoo once where I got bitten by a pelican and he turned up for a parents day at my primary school looking like a beatnik  ( Hippy Dude ) in a daggy old jumper and jeans.  All the other dads wore suits and I was mortified. He was given to rages due to alcohol and drugs and loved Indian sitar music.  He also worked in advertising so you could say he was one of the original ‘Mad Men’ just like in the series. My dad travelled extensively and never cease to question the world and the role of man and womankind in it.   Here then is one of his poems from ‘Prince Of The Plague Country’ written published in 1964.

‘Song Before Nightfall’ 

( By Richard Packer )

date night?

Elders that one faces

leaning over bars

scheme for moneyed places,

want the suavest cars.

A lonely tippler traces

wakes of fallen stars

O coming dark, be gentle with us all.

Break up

Such men sporting flowers

fresh in buttonholes

trust that kneeling hours

exonerate their souls,

then focus old desires

upon their usual goals.

O coming dark,be gentle with us all.

The ideal home

Their hands will make tomorrow

the stench of yesterday.

No amount of sorrow

strikes pity from their clay.

Even boozed they’re narrow:

Off the rainbow way.

O coming dark, be gentle with us all.

george having a kronenbourg in egg chair

These once in their beauty

passed proud mountains by,

chose a padded duty

and the pampered eye.

Spirit dead completely,

their flesh grows slack and sly.

O coming dark, be gentle with us all.

50s furniture

Cheers Dad!

© Renee Dallow  ( Hybiscus Bloom ) 7/9/2014


3 thoughts on “A Father’s Day Dedication

  1. Mike Dunne

    I worked with Richard Packer in the 1970s at Coudrey, Coucher Dailey. We were both Copywriters and spent a lot of social time together…There a lot of great memories, particularly those that involved Dick terrorising the agency’s Account Directors! His favourite prey was an exec called Gavin de Malmarche (I think the name antagonised Dick as much as Gavin’s suave manner of speech and dress did!)

    He showed me a beautiful poem he had written call ‘Rocks’ which opened with the words…’Because they are the colour of porridge and do not highlight a woman’s neck is no reason for us to despise, for they are of old time……’

    Was the poem ever published? Does anyone else know of it?


    1. Yes it was published in ‘Serpentine Futures’ I would have replied much sooner but haven’t been able to get hold of messages for a while. I also think ‘Rocks’ is quite beautiful. Any more stories you’d like to share on working with my dad would be greatly appreciated.


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