carnarvon bay lies sullen

more corpse than body of water

before a stone hall blue and blackened

another century clear to heaven

retrospective in compassion

whereas convicts showing spirit

had but a ghost of a chance

as tourists through port arthur

across the brine point puer rises

its cliffs an empire’s gaol for boys

where many a maiden kiss

came courtesy of the cat –

after sentences without stoppage

off to buggery youngsters went

to swirl with turnkeys and felons

down this bunghole of the world

his crime not filching snot-rags

from the nostrils of his betters

nor a gut-level misdemeanour

to wit larceny of a loaf

one lad with blood too common

was cast a hemisphere southward

from his ma’s broth thin as tears

for a stunt boyish in any epoch

this youth had made a winter’s trespass

on his lordship’s sovereign estate

daring to skate figures free in spirit

on a lake frozen as his future –

thence barefoot without blade

he was transported to van diemens

the impact of his sport so extreme

as to shame new-age skaterboys


heron alights

with a wide slow loop


wind-chime tones

from the gazebo

rhythm of rain

prawn fleet late …

over the limestone bluff

an osprey hovers


magpies warbling

between currawongs

whistling –

wake-up calls

in counterpoint


slaughterhouse –


under the weight

of rust and blood


the spinebill siphons

nectar …

a toast for the bride

her tan salon-bronze



puerile – adj. boyish, childish, immature (L puer boy)