Stories on a Map

Quettreville: the Gastaud House

Quettreville Gastaud House largeMocco Wollert


The gentle rain runs in vaporous tears
down the somber roof and powerful walls
of the old granite house blending into grey.
Full-blown flowers, pearled with moisture
welcome cool mossy weeds, their summer colour
mirrored in lopsided cobble stoned ground.
Trails of well used toys lead to the door,
cavernous, dark inviting; towels,
washed out, frayed with hard living,
hide the fire kept alight even in summer.
Children tumble through noise filled days,
elves and angels, dirt smeared faces
filling the house and the “Field of Fairies”,
rising gently behind the house;
gold winged Cherubs in clever disguise.
Mealtimes are feasts, well known rites
celebrating togetherness, the taste of cheese.
At night the house glows in amber,
each window a golden, beckoning beacon
guiding ancient Saxon spirits,
sentinels beneath a summer moon.

© 2014 Mocco Wollert

Wollert 150Mocco Wollert was born in Cologne and, as a child in Germany during the Second World War, survived the bombings of Cologne and Dresden and capture by Soviet forces. She eventually succeeded in fleeing to the west, making her way to Australia in the 1950s. Mocco taught herself English along the way by reading books in the language, and now writes happily in either German or English. Her often passionate and sensual writing about human emotions and intimacies, which she views as reflecting a European literary heritage, stirs feelings that are universal. Her economy of style draws on the influence of Japanese haiku, which she much admires. Mocco has had eight books published in Australia and focuses especially on poetry. Her most recent book is Australia – Images and Inspiration, written in collaboration with the artist Glenise Clelland and published in November 2014. She is currently working on a memoir of life in 1960s Darwin. Mocco’s poems have won numerous prizes and have been widely published by the literary press. She lives in Brisbane with her husband and they have two daughters.