Five-Nil Poetry - Sydney ~ 5th Test
a city and land defined by sea, a far greater bridge:
Flinders’ circumnavigation barely left its moorings
from Donnington dominion. Seventy-five years
is nothing more than a life-time bearings.
Over and under, each passage changes yours
a fraction of a second or degrees more abruptly.
Switch clocks to a different time on the far shore;
the click of rail tracks, ferry boards and
circular quay calendar make each journey
a new year for someone far or near;
Greek, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Mediterranean, Slav, Thai
the city a pell-melled canteen of tongues,
not just UK nor colonial Australia,
an anglo-celtic nuptial ring,
a two century skin to countless millennia
of aboriginal lands: hard to come to terms with
what Cook first saw when missing harbour
or original cooks sixty thousand years earlier,
each passage bearing changed their being.
Every one of us history.
after commissioned fireworks and similar paraphernalia
are dustcarted and dumped without the trace of sulphur,
the world becomes again what it was before,
edged on a little further from its origins.
Rail meets gunnel, steel the sea,
Kirribilli, Neutral Bay, Karra Point,
Mosman, Manly, Watson’s,
Pyrmont, Balmain, Parramatta,
all points compass Circular Quay.
in the dark seasons’ wind, rain, flood
tides and fogs, steamer horns stygian
clatter trains anchor chains stretch rust
knuckling the bridge under. Till there’s no memory
of loss to see. No arch, no towers, only the initial trade
from rock to rock to haul the heady scent of cargo;
oils, ghosts of spices, wheat, sheep, cattle, carts,
hides and fleeces, unwashed, chaffed, settlers too,
awash within the pattern book of antiquity’s development
the bridge paid its tolls to. Behind these knolls
spectral churches ring in celestial didgeridoo.
From the mist
watch the ferries dance their first footings
to dawn’s indigenous tune.
Not that you’d notice him for seeing,
the sort of bloke in the office
who always comes to work on time
to a tidy desk all parts done efficiently
Pays the drinks kitty and sweepstake
and tells the sharpest stories about the bosses
(not that you notice him for seeing.)
The sort of bloke troubled mothers of errant daughters
pray they’d bring home and yet leave them well alone.
That bank managers take to, perhaps trusting too much too.
Eyes that remember distant birthdays and colours of others eyes.
The sort of waiter you can ask what’s best on the menu,
tip well, and instinctively say thank you to,
and instantaneously forget in our ever-rushed lives
too busy to notice him for seeing.
Nothing too complicated nor too much
to do for others. As his arm comes over
batsmen fear any minor deviations
- not that you’d notice them for seeing.
An Old Scorebox Operator Laments
The game isn’t what it used to be,
nor the creaking knees for climbing creaking stairs
to ring the changes, today they score too damn quickly
for me. Joints need regular lubrication and maintenance,
mine, not just the machinery.
O how I yearn my Slasher MacKay
and Bill Lawry. You could open, pour, lubricate a long cool one
before they dreamt of hitting off the square. Put your feet up.
O my MacKay and my Lawry of not so long ago!
Maybe fifty between lunch and tea, maybe.
Well-oiled by then, time enough
to find the papers, makings,
roll a gasper to inhale each ball
safe in the surety it’d die on my lips
before they turned the old scoreboard over.
Last week they pinned a sign above my head.
‘Living legends don’t smoke’ without mention
to Boof or Warnie - two of the worst.
Gilchrist, Symonds. Hayden and Langer
started it all under the gimlet eye of Waugh.
They score too damn quickly. Rickety
old me ricketing up those rickety stairs,
reels, numbers and boards. And sometimes
I forget to move on the score;
lost, staring at the beauty of it all.
Thnx Justin, Glen and Shane
No tears in their eyes
As they say their goodbyes.
Emotional men. Their passions controlled
Their destinies to excel themselves
For mates and their country.
Weeping publicly is for Oscar ceremonies,
Not the proud bearers of the Baggy Green.
Tears came alright
At times of uncertainty, injury,
Loss of form and controversy.
They wussed from our eyes
Alone, facing torment
To achieve after failure.
Each sob made us stronger,
Bolder, harder, far older
And yet more kind,
Appreciative of hard yakka.
Thank you, Australia
No tear in our eyes
As we say our good byes.
Dad, spend more time with us.
Pick up from school, act the fool,
be the long one instead of mum
when we don’t do what we should’ve done.
You’ve missed us, we’ve missed you.
Watch us grow up,
achieve the new.
Run, skip and dance
from dreams and memory
to your final match, here.
Born after you first tugged down
the baggie green:
stare beneath its brow
at the games we play on the pitch,
your last catch
our farewell to you.
Shane, Glen, Justin
your turn to watch,
spectate, not make the spectacle.
Our turn to show
what we can do,
a little girl
her blue dress cartwheel
Cartwheel Cartwheel Cartwheel.