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Kangaroo Island: At Hanson Bay

Books & Poetry

This week in Poet’s Corner, Sue Cook completes a two-part look at Kangaroo Island.

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Kangaroo Island: At Hanson Bay

Eastwards in the bay this morning
the tide is out, frothy water lapping
at dark seaweed edge of whitest sand,
waves curl their fingers out to sea
ready to crash and smash on shore:
foiled, their energy curbed by the breakwater
guarding the bay like some ancient dinosaur,
thin end of tail disappearing into dunes,
rugged head risen above the sea,
rocky sides with giant skin nodules
the waves are tamed into submission.

Beyond the bulwark of breakwater
in the middle distance to the state’s South-East
the rolling roiling surf pounds
onto vacant biscuit-tinted sands.
Further round a distant cape
dunes and cliffs are sea-spray hazy
as if hidden behind a gauzy screen.

As the autumn sun sails higher
emerging from its grey blanket,
a few hardy souls arrive at the beach
(I spy on them from my high window)
three children fill buckets with sand,
construct a small hillock, a castle perhaps,
add sea treasure, shells, pebbles, kelp
(hard to tell from my eyrie)
they run around their ragged heap
delighted, clapping and laughing
(the soundtrack is silent for me)
then flop and flounder in the shallows.

The tide is turning, turning,
seawater is creeping quietly up the beach…
parents pack up and gesture ‘out’,
children run, follow up the sand dunes.
The sun has pulled on its grey blanket
as the tide rolls in relentlessly,
cleanses the beach with foamy water,
eradicates footprints, swamps sandcastle,
leaves no trace of intruders.

Sue Cook was a senior English teacher, during which time she also edited the South Australian English Teachers Association annual poetry anthology. Her own collections In Focus and Water Music have been published by Ginninderra Press in 2016 and this year, with the latter making her Ginninderra’s Poet of the Month for October, as promoted at East Ave Books. Her poem Frog Cakes was featured in InDaily Poet’s Corner in 2015, and as a consequence was taken up by the maker of that South Australian icon for promotional purposes. Her Kangaroo Island poem To the Island appeared in Poet’s Corner in 2016, while today’s and last week’s come from a further visit to the island this year.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to poetscorner@solsticemedia.com.au. Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.

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