Out from the kiosk, the boat ramp
fat families in tinnies down to the gunwales
sputting props chew oyster trash.
Here I stand, Crusoe of the sand-bar
lord of pelicans, gulls and terns
weed in the channel breathes the inflow.
Flick cast across
the ticking reel, the line divines
passages, shoals, banks of sand.
Tidal through the narrows
Oh come all you fishies
black fish, flat head, bull shark.
Day’s done (so soon) dark turns on
streetlights bend and flex, columns
converge in one bright line.
I can hear them (so close) —
dog walkers, family strollers
first lovers chasing that deeper dark.
A step on the tide and I’d walk right out
empty the lake I’ll be whistling down
mud flats, shopping carts, car parts.
but hapless I stand
drowning by feet, by knees, waist, chest
— tremble that certain embrace.
A phone in my hand
a low glow in the infra-red
across the water comes the rollicking crew.
Image: Lake Illawarra looking south. A revision of an earlier poem, based on a true story of a stranded fisherman rescued from Lake Illawarra in 2018. It still tickles my poetic weirdness and most of the locals still remember this as a story worth telling.
Tonight I’m hosting Dverse, the poets’ pub and we’re going local with poets writing on local news or events in their local area. Drop on over for a read of some great poets from around the world.
And for your listening pleasure here’s Bob Fox with an old fishing song (c. 1826) When The Boat Comes In” (or “Dance Ti Thy Daddy”) – (no not the BBC period drama of the late 70s).