Cutting the Rushes
To replay those southern evenings
when the sun slumped at Yarranabbe
and the bay felt like ours for the taking,
it pays to have a steady hand at the drive deck
and an eye that swims with spool and gear --
knowing when to pause,
where to mark for the cut.
Is this memoryswamp through which we wind
the same that once bore reed and rush,
and where to gather stems for thatch
(by boat with our burden and pox)
as roofers of a new build world --
pinching and pleating the foreshore hem
as the frontier skittered inland?
We kissed beneath the eaves at Darling Point
in the fading light of a summer
we'd stretched to its limits;
the lullaby sway of yachts on the bay
corralled our thoughts,
kept them safely moored in the evening swell.
Yet as far from our dreaming as we are now
from that harboured moment
were those rushcutter fleets that
rode the same tide,
the bloody lash of halyard on mast --
terror tremors of nullius earth.
History courses through nitrate stock
like sparks in the stubble of memory;
a hair in the gate and a broken spell --
we float between worlds
in the sump and sedge of a land
grown as tall as a poppy.
© Les Roberts 2016. All Rights Reserved.