The Choko Vine

I had not long left the service and had so much time on hand

I tried to set up a vegie patch, on my little piece of land

It was not an easy venture, with heatwaves , frost and rain

So much sweat and trouble, for such little gain


The wife likes making pickles, jams, preserves and relish

Spare fruit, she bottles up and chutneys, hot and hellish

But there is one thing that I can grow and it suits me fine

Cause it rarely ends in failure, when you plant a choko vine


They fed the nation through depression and in time of war

They served them up as canned pears, I’ll give you the score

For they sustained the country, through good times and the bad

To the many hungry, it was the only sustenance they had


Just dig a hole and pop them in. but there’s one you should know

Don’t plant too many at one time, or you’ll reap just what you sow

They’ll spread just like a virus, covering everything in sight

If you leave them unattended, you’re bound to get a fright


We decided to take a holiday, but our relaxing break was marred

When we returned the flaming things, had taken over the backyard

The minister for war confronted me, with an attitude of doom

Saying “That bloody plant of yours, has invaded the spare room!”


You go outside to cut it back and for some unknown reason

You always seem to trip over, the rake you lost last season

Just a simple footstep, made with undue care

Next thing that you know, you’re flying  through the air


They had sprung up everywhere and to tell the truth it begs

It was like a horror movie, the feckin things had legs

The wife tried to console me, saying. “There’s one thing you should know

If you want to save our marriage, the chokos have to go.”


It took all my strength to pull it out, but my attempts were all in vain

For as soon as I thought it had gone, it grew right back again

I tried every type of poison, it was such a hard slog

I even brewed up a potion, that would kill a brown dog


Then Jock gave me a bottle, saying. “Only use a wee dram

I think it is the same shite, they sprayed in Vietnam”

The missus wasn’t talking and really had a spat

Saying. “The only thing that you have killed, is next doors Persian cat”


The army came to my rescue, saying “There’s a role that you can fill

We are looking for a small jungle patch, your backyard fits the bill”

We’ll pay you well for your help, in letting your chokos grow

And think of all the time you’ll have, now you don’t have to mow


Now everyone is happy, the way it all turned out

Multiple solutions, from a single sprout

And there is one thing I know and boast without fear

If one single vine remains, it will all grow back next year


By Tomas ‘Paddy’ Hamilton
30 May 2021



CAPTION: Australian Army Private Sam Randall and Corporal James Milne from the 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment on Exercise Wolf Crawl (February 2021), at the Canungra Field Training Area, Queensland. Base photo by Private Jacob Hilton – digitally added to by CONTACT.





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