traversing the beechworth gorge

… and then we walked
through untidy scrub
and paths that needed reinvention

across granite monoliths
whole through the ages
with moss
now dry and thirsting
lichens clinging
unchanged by weather

and naked rock showing
a clean face
and still seeming newly broken
at the hands of the engineers,
thirty five years
after the time when I
was as old as the boy
breathing hard beside me
in this exposition of the past
with its smoke-blackened caves
and the peculiar silence
of distant cicada thrumming

trickling creeks
are obtained through thickets of berries
black and red
and slipping rock faces
worn smooth to cover
the rough edges
of a partly shared history.

listening to the marveling
and the disdain of the boy
I feel anew
the powerful passing pain
from the crunch of a loss of footing
in the sparse and tangled undergrowth
as a revelation
of the simplicity of pleasures
and momentary brutalities
still present in these rugged brown places
that I remember

fresh bruises
will pass quickly
but
the tenderness of reminder
will remain
acting as a balm
and a satisfying confirmation
that my yesterday
held moments of magic
still reachable now
even if
in somewhat smaller portions


© Frank Prem, 2001


Featured in the poetry e-zine Caught In The Net 1 April 2001. Don’y think it’s accessible any more.

 

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