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Poem: To the Island

Books & Poetry

Poet’s Corner contributor Sue Cook revisits Kangaroo Island and the memories it evokes in this poem from her new book ‘In Focus’.

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To the Island

He put the Ford ute on the ferry to KI
for his 70th birthday (I went along for the ride).
He’s always been up for adventure,
on a bike, in a Holden, or the ute
pulling the caravan and me along but
no van this time, a holiday house haven.

He flashed his camera through wind and rain
at Remarkable Rocks,
climbing slopes with youthful tourists
(the Rocks no more remarkable than he, I thought)
and communed with seals clustering
under Admiral’s Arch.

At first at Seal Bay we thought we had missed
the natives, saw only improbable trails
in the sand dunes beside the board walk.
Suddenly, sea lions appeared on their sandy stage,
flippering around, flapping and flip-flopping,
heads up, “look at moi, look at moi”
to rousing cheers from onlookers
rugged up in coats and hats.
Too cold for swimming today,
even for sea lions.

Food and warmth beckoned from afar,
the local kiosk shut.
He grabbed the chance to put the ute
into 4WD over the slippery unsealed road
to Marron Café, a gastro-heaven
in the middle of the island
(marron thermidor for me).

When we clinked our glasses I forgot his 70 years,
seeing only the tall boy on his bike,
riding beside me to school.

Sue Cook lives in the Adelaide Hills. “To the Island” appears in her new book of poems In Focus, from Ginninderra Press, which was launched at the Mitcham Library last month. As a senior English teacher, for a number of years she edited the South Australian English Teachers Association’s annual poetry anthology “Spring Poetry Festival”. She launched the 2010 edition as guest poet, and her poetry has also appeared in Friendly Street anthologies, literary journals and magazines.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to poetscorner@solsticemedia.com.au. A poetry book will be awarded to each contributor.

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