Saturday, 16 March 2013
CYCLONE SEASON - FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND
He stares, eyes red and bloodshot – at the devastation there.
Gold sand once on the beaches now lays thickly everywhere.
Surf pounding - somewhat chastened, on the shoreline starts to foam
as he in disbelief views tangled wreckage of his home.
One final crack, sharp as a stockwhip, echoes in the air
a sheet of iron roofing sags and falls in grey despair.
No birds are singing, no kids laughing, no one’s on the beach.
Just miles of ruination. Harsh lessons does Mother teach.
He ventures forth – a shattered man, cautiously picks his way,
yet raises tear filled eyes to heaven, thanks God for the day.
His life spared his hearts still beating, tears like rivers flow.
He lived through Yasi’s terror, he’ll replant where nothing grows.
This is his land, his country, he will stay, and his home is here.
What doesn’t weaken just makes stronger, he’s survived his fear;
though possessions he had cherished and collected over years
are reduced to salt soaked rubble , there is no time now for tears.
Shell shocked, bereft and grieving through the storms debris he picks,
finds a photo of his Mother, a child’s Teddy. Broken sticks
of what was a massive gum tree on the footpath of the street
though it now lies nonchalant in his bathtub with clawed feet.
His toilet stands in solitude to the whole world exposed
with water views of rolling surf , an asset once supposed.
And fluttering on the wind, seemingly not damaged at all
a roll of toilet paper, mounted on the shattered wall.
People slowly emerge, shell shocked survivors. Disbelief
plainly written on their faces, many tears but great relief.
Someone cracks open a carton, not ice cold but it’ll do.
There’s no power to boil the billy and the fresh waters gone to.
Rueful laughter, hugs and kisses, solidarity is there.
These are tough Queenslanders; gutsy, they won’t give in to despair.
Up above the sky is blue; a flock of lorikeets is spied.
It gives them hope . They’re down not out – though God knows Yasi tried.
Maureen Clifford © 02/11