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Poem: Cement blessings on those here below

Books & Poetry

In this week’s Poet’s Corner, Belinda Cole of Adelaide reflects on Geelong’s once historic and dominating cement works, now gone except for its transformed silos.

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Cement blessings on those here below

In my childhood,
the giant white silos
of the cement works,
watched over us
from the top of the hill.

Like lighthouses,
they guided and protected us.

They blessed us
with a subtle grittiness
at the back of our throats.

Like fairy dust it
blessed our houses
and our fences,
blessed our heads and hands,
our lungs and feet.

It blessed our mothers hanging washing on the hills hoist
it blessed us children playing cricket in the street
it blessed our war-damaged fathers
in a time of full employment.

Now the blessings no longer flow.

An artist has been commissioned to
paint a mural
on the empty silos;
and children ride their bicycles
where the gallant cement trains once trekked.

While men in cheap sneakers
shuffle their way to their
job network appointments.

Belinda Cole of Adelaide is a grandmother, has a whippet named Kitty, and an overgrown vegetable garden and beehive in her suburban backyard. She works part-time as an English language teacher to adult students from mostly refugee backgrounds. She grew up in Geelong in Victoria in the shadow of the cement works that are the subject of her poem.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments.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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