Australia Calling Home
I remember burning beaches and the rush of salty waves,
I remember long cool drinks in the shade of old tin shacks.
There were dusty tracks through bushland to hidden mountain pools,
And brainless boys who lived to tell of leaps from walls of rock.
We grew to slicked down teens on the hunt for bimbo blondes,
And our rusty hurtling cars were the terror of the streets.
We were careless of the hard bright sun, of booze and friendly smiles,
Then fell for love, the fix was in, Australia was our home.
(Port Macquarie beach, NSW; image courtesy of www.sydney-australia.biz)
.. for other examples of Thor’s poetry, see Time Passing
Centre country scene:
A thousand miles of desert,
Ten thousand miles of shimmering heat.
In and out the Dead Heart,
Only one great vastness;
Up and down the Diamantina,
Sand torrents stopped and stilled.
Hills dance like rainbow serpents,
Mirages race like shadowed giants,
Trying to vie with the sun in their reach.
A wild eye is needed
To view this wilderness decked with blue
In all its unforgiving beauty.
Thor (cheerfully ripping off Mao Zedong, “Snow”)
This longish poem, Seventeen in 1962, is a pretty accurate description of my first job in Nundah, Brisbane, in 1962. I was a stranger in the city. My family came from around Sydney, and had just retreated, nearly bankrupt, from a failed migration to north Queensland where southerners were unwelcome. The bitterness of tone persisted for much of my first ten years in unskilled jobs after leaving high school, partly perhaps from disappointment after having topped the school academically, then colliding with the incomprehension of working class parents and the indifference of general Australian culture. The people I knew or met seemed to resent intellectual curiosity. They wanted to be respected vegetables in a very small garden plot. As a complete outsider without money or any social skills at all, it was a friendless time.
Seventeen in 1962
The wait was over, the growing done,
Just the filling out to come;
Time of promise, time to fear,
First job, be-clerked, minnowed and shoaled
With the eight o’clock tide, be-tied.
And the manager, Minikin, said marry yourself
To the company, boy-man to be made;
Tuck in your shirt and swear
Here will be done as your elders have done,
Let all debtors be blessed, amen
And wipe the smirk off your face.