Almanac Poetry: Bert Watts’s Pies


Bert Watts, third from left, standing outside his café in Millicent, South Australia, c. 1930. (Many thanks to the Millicent National Trust Museum for permission to use this photograph.)



Bert Watts’s Pies


As young men in Millicent, South Australia,
my grandfather and his mates
went on the occasional bender.
After such occasions, when he woke up crook
and had to face his mother,
a formidable woman of German stock,
he always blamed Bert Watts,
the local pastrycook.
“It must have been Bert Watts’s pies,”
he said to his mum, who did not believe him
but didn’t let on. She figured
he was a good boy, and young men
did this sort of thing.
Many years later, my father
used a similar excuse with my mother.
Often, on summer nights,
when afternoon shift
at the refinery had ended,
a group of the blokes would cross the road
and cook a barbecue on the beach.
Cold amber ales were plentiful.
Though not a big drinker,
sometimes my father would have his share.
When he’s get home to my mother,
worse for wear, he’d say,
“It must have been the sausages.”
She was awake up to him, too,
but, like my great-grandmother,
let it go through to the ’keeper.



(Acknowledgement: first published in Sacredly Profane, Ginninderra Press, 2020.)



Read more from Kevin Densley HERE



Kevin Densley’s latest poetry collection, Sacredly Profane, is available HERE



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Kevin Densley is a poet and writer-in-general. His fourth book-length poetry collection, Sacredly Profane, was published in late 2020 by Ginninderra Press. He is also the co-author of ten play collections for young people, as well as a multi Green Room Award nominated play, Last Chance Gas, which was published by Currency Press. Other writing includes screenplays for educational films.


  1. Kevin Tompkins says

    Well done, had a picture in my mind of Uncle Rex “explaining” the reasons for being in this “state!!”

  2. Kevin Densley says

    Yes, Kevin, I can imagine my grandfather at his storytelling “best” in this instance!

  3. Katrina Densley says

    Love this and so grandpa

  4. Philip Golding says

    Thanks Kevin D for this gem adding colour to our family and local history. Douglas Bader inspired ‘Reach For The Skies’; Rex Golding preceded him with ‘Reach For The Pies!’

  5. Kevin Densley says

    Yes, Trine, it’s one of his classics, alright!

  6. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, Phil for your comments! (And also your help in terms of sourcing the wonderful photo.) As you know, family and local history are two of my favourite things!

  7. Colin Crase says

    Thanks Kevin, We are all well. Your poem Bert Watts’s Pies brought back fond memories of Uncle Rex and Grandma. Perhaps Kevin Tompkins and myself can attribute some of our traits to our ancestry.

  8. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks for your comments, Colin.

    I’m certain some traits ARE passed down through the generations!

    Pretty sure I’ve inherited a “storytelling gene” through the same family line!

  9. Marlene Dean says

    Great Story. Uncle Rex,s cheeky smile often gave him away.

  10. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, Marlene!

    I agree with you regarding my grandfather!

  11. DBalassone says

    Cracking poem KD. You get the feeling that any poem with the name ‘Bert’ in the title is going to be funny. This is no exception.

  12. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, DB!

    And (Her)bert was the bloke’s actual name, too!

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