STRADBROKE ISLAND SONG

 

STRADBROKE ISLAND SONG

 

Be Muse to me now, murmuring Minjerribah,

lying in the lap-lap of the Ocean.

I am gulled and lulled to sleep

by windsong and wave

in the ebb-web of your tides.

I am drugged to Dreaming by your breath,

clean-scented with the she-oak and the salt-spray.

Sweet as Ambrosia to the Gods

the perfume of your breezes/ the

morning tang of wood smoke

hanging in the crystal air.

Your waters like wine the colour of

living jewels/ the colour of

green fire.

Gradience of Aquamarine shades into

Amethyst into Indigo charming the eye

with its surreptitious spell,

whilst I breathe a breeze like opium dreams,

heavy with hashish and honey.

Whimsical Minjerribah,

most of your birds are Invisible here it seems,

and speak in a cartoon gibberish.

Your insects are miniature science-fiction masterpieces.

Muscular dragons amble out of the Jurassic

to raid picnic hampers & eskies.

Your colours like a child’s drawing,

all creamy cartoon crayons,

Piling on the primary shades thickly.

Sunsets fade through delicate pastel greys

and greens. The sea slides

through several darker shades of the spectrum,

the Shadows deepen, emerging from the scrub and ocean,

and night erupts like a Van Gogh Vision.

At night the beach is a different world,

mysterious, ancient, brooding.

 

Like the whales returning to their haunts

year after year

the same families return to pitch their holiday tents

in the same sites.

Each summer vacation

brings this seasonal migration,

the schools of humans playing in the shallows,

the aging surfers seeking to recapture,

some long ago lost summer love,

tanned in an orange bikini.

Sometimes the dolphins remember the ancient compact

they once held with those who lived here first,

and return to frolic and play with the swimmers,

shadowing the surfers riding the waves in sport.

 

O traveller!

Show respect to mighty Minjerribahs power

or fall a fool

to its snares for the unwary.

Death lurks amongst the shallows and the currents

and the rocks.

Masquerading as adders sunning themselves

peaceably upon the paths.

Tread carefully friend

or feel its sting.

 

We stopped the bridge from being built,

and the horrors it would have brought,

umbilicaled to the mainland’s apron strings.

Still, sad signs of “Progress” have been wraught.

Once a noble breed of bush brumbies

roamed your beaches, wandered your streets

and raided peoples rubbish bins

if given half a chance.

Now the bureaucrats have had these horses

rounded up and shot,

in the name of civic ordinances

and hygiene. Soulless bureaucratic scum.

Yes your ramshackle island charm

has been somewhat tidied up of late.

Your tumble-down tin & fibro weekend shacks

are being steadily replaced

by the slick “holiday homes” of the rich.

The corner fish & chip shop has turned

into a trendy bistro.

Arrogant suburban cowboys in 4-wheel drives,

cruise the beaches, scattering lovers,

crushing turtle eggs

and Eugarie shells buried in the sands.

Shark nets kill your turtles,

greedy fishermen trawl your reefs.

Drunken slack-jawed teenagers

smash bottles on your rocks,

leave litter lying, drying in the sun.

Still, so much remains,

five minutes walk in almost any direction

will lead you to some

beautiful forgotten corner yet. 

Poor scarred Minjerribah.

Yes your Beauty still lingers,

though the Sand-miners have razed

and raped you.

Despoiled your dunes,

flattened the middens,

ripped out your guts for rutile.

And in return the Company

bitchumened your roads

as a public service.(It was only a coincidence

that it made it easier for their trucks to haul

their precious loot away.)

 Glad they were, the Miners,

the Planners & the Profiteers,

when that old witch died,

you know, the black one.

Walking around like she owned the place,

putting a pox on all their houses.

I tell you we need a new witch today

to chase the tractors

and developers away.

 Minjerribah,

Every fucking grain of sand here is Sacred.

Every drop of water.

Every rock.

Every leaf. Every shell washed up by the tide.

Every insect beeping to itself in the grass.

sacred! Sacred! SACRED!!!

Will those despoiling bastards never see?

Oh Minjerribah!

I weep bitter tears for your destruction,

tears more salt than your sunbaked flats,

Yeah Iweep for what is lost.

Minjerribah! I treasure these my memories

and that which still remains,

knowing that you bide your time.

Minjerribah, you will repair your dunes,

in a hundred years, or a thousand.

The sea levels will rise and fall,

and your cliffs shall out-face them all.

Teach me to endure as you do.

 

I promise you this, oh Island mine,

I will renew this pilgrimage

all the days of my Life.

I will return to sing more songs of you

and lie on your radiant sands again and again,

and breast the waves of your surging surfs.

I will dive deep once more

into your still, brown Tea-tree lakes

and blue water lagoons/ their mysterious surface,

rippled by the winds.

Now the reeds are whispering to themselves,

can you hear them/ can you hear

their secret, too?

 

********

SQUAREY IS ON HOLIDAY

********

The Reverend Hellfire is a practising Performance Poet & an ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanists.

Such is Life.

************

**********

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~ by reverendhellfire on January 23, 2011.

One Response to “STRADBROKE ISLAND SONG”

  1. Oh the imagery! I’m ‘…drugged to dreaming,’, I dare say! I don’t usually do this but…it’s long. It’s not the length per se but it’s so dense…so thick with smell and vision…that you’re drenched very, very quickly! Which, hey, if thats your intention, is no mean feat!

    Look at it and see if you can break it into three. There are several brackets within the totality of the piece that would make it possible.

    I think you’ll find that by allowing it to breath, the reader to will return to relish!

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