Poem of the Day


1960s Campbelltown

by Dianne Bates

On the highway to Appin
skies bled on summer nights.
The road hummed to town,
trucks sped coal to the coast,
and south of main street
silent on a bridge,
Fisher’s Ghost.

Weekdays we rose at five
blowing balls of warmth into winter air,
and milking the cows
I sang at the bails,
‘Rose Marie, I love you.’

Summer was blowies in the cream,
butter that melted,
eggs from gasping hens.
Mrs Tietzel brought the mail,
Campbell the bread,
the days moved sideways.

Saturday was cricket
or Menangle trots,
swimming at the Woolwash
and the Queen Street shops.

Bill was cockatoo for SP bookies in pubs
and kids lined up at the picture house,
game girls rubbing cheeks with bristling boys.
Paspalum brushed the sky
and we forgot ourselves.

In the showground cemetery
beneath the shadow of Ruse
who sowed the first grain
we made rubbings on tombs;

In Mawson Park
the band played Matilda,
someone scribbled his mind on toilet walls,
and, beyond trains that steamed to Sydney,
I dreamed a freedom of cities and age.

© Dianne Bates

5 thoughts on “Poem of the Day

  1. This really creates the place – and the times. Love the simple sentence structure and the unadorned verbs – especially the one that isn’t there in the first section.
    So powerful, all that this poem doesn’t say. The road humming and Fisher silent. What WOULD they be saying if they weren’t not saying it?
    (And no, I didn’t have wine with dinner, but I do have Irish forbears.)

  2. And isn’t the poetic year ending with a bang!Such varied snail thoughts,a memo from a scribbly gum and now a memorable piece of nostalgia from Di.Vintage week.Thank you all..Merry Christmas and Happy New Year..and may you all live happily ever after.

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