Margaret Bradstock, ‘Barnacle Rock’ (sample)

Barnacle Rock

You will go back through the quiet bush
past Aboriginal middens
rainbow lorikeets nesting
                                in tree knolls
to the uninhabited beach
water dragons in pairs
scrambling up tufted rock
                     the vanishing beak of land.
Your voices tear
at the substance of wind
        a boy gathers shells
fragments of smashed glass
glittering like gemstones
the baby staggers in wet sand
demolishing fortified cities
                  with her plastic spade.
Now the kookaburra swoops, scissoring
                   ham from a sandwich
where a phalanx of crows
               falls on the picnic remains.
The mirage of a sail
crests on the swell
         like a captain looking for land

finding shellfish and bones of sea creatures
snapped branches jabbing like country
dividing winter
         from the frenzy of birds.
A man and his shadow
stride across skyline
         in the footprints of worn sandstone.

from  Barnacle Rock   by Margaret Bradstock

Launches & articles