Troubridge Shoals, late March
Black waders on the ﬂats. And all around,
The vegetation so accurately mapped –
Shaded grey outlines; the rest – white sand –
Is rather a chaos of bushes. Seeds dropped
From mainland feedings onto these shoals, swept
Up by the sea to form unlikely ground,
Become – those chance survivors – nest sites kept
By offspring of those visitors from the land.
Anchored seventeen feet through sand to limestone,
The lighthouse, red and white, brought by sea
From motherland in pieces, preposterously
Seems, of all things on the shoal, to have grown.
Birds, boxthorns, sandbars’ ﬂow, swirling, blending,
About the tap-rooted, tall red blossom, bending.
Gulnare, Mid North, 1948
Four rooms and a lean-to, the school cottage,
Pepper-treed from the mid-north sun,
Square on the school block cut from Teakle’s paddock.
Tall stone one-room school, two dozen children.
Galv. shelter shed, long-drops, Aleppo pines, chookhouse.
By the chookhouse, the galv. shed built by my father.
Inside, Lizzie, the weary De Soto,
Horsehair sprouting from parched seats.
Beyond the cottage hedge, the town oval.
The summer oval, my father, district cricketer at fifteen, graceful.
The winter oval, my father, footy spectator,
Driving Lizzie through the school gate,
Stopping ten yards later by the cottage hedge,
And paying his proper shilling to the gatekeeper.
Tony Andrews spent his childhood years in the South Australian Mid-North town of Gulnare. He is a retired maths lecturer, an alumnus of Adelaide, Flinders and Cambridge Universities. He contributed short stories to the Adelaide Review in its early days under Christopher Pearson, and held one-man art exhibitions in the 1970s in Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne.
Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to firstname.lastname@example.org. A poetry book will be awarded to each contributor.