Hometown, Springsure

Nature-torn rocks
Rear from the flat country
Round Springsure.

Battered outcrops break,
Vulnerable to wind and
Rain and sun –
Make me feel a
Child again…

Springsure, town of separation,
Childhood sorrow
Tears at my heart.

This is where I was born,
Only to be torn
From mother’s arms:

Brisbane operation,
Ripped me away
From nature’s warmth.

Forty years later…
This is the same ground
Where once childish feet
Stumbled –
One deformed and braced with steel
Long gone, but still to feel.

Iron tracks train
Towards the outside world of
Pain and loss as I stare
At the antique railway station
Cream paint freshly glossed
The hurt abates,
Returned, I’m in the mother’s arms
Near these rocks,
Though spear grass tears the flesh.

See! The god rocks
Cradle me like that
Little town which would
Be lonely as a star in that
Wilderness otherwise.

The child in me plays
Up and down these slopes,
Amongst the bright plains grass,
The tiny palms, the shards of rock
And sky-seeking ghost gum.

And it seems my father
Laid near 12 months
Underground by the salty,
Far off sea has risen
To my vision in these
Crimson hills –
One hand to face in quizzical caress,
The other relaxed in resignation;

Or are they cupped, and does
He call his love for me
At last unashamed across
The lightning strikes of gum,
The stands of spear grass,
Where wise old zamias
Extract what love they can
Through stunted forms?

The locals tell me these
Desiccated hills
Sparkle with springs
In the always unexpected wet.

How they well in my eyes
As I rest, content as a child,
In the arms of these mothering hills.

And now, returned, I
Want to lie here forever,
Warm and fulfilled as a rock:
Alive and restored
In their embrace.

Copyright © Paul Dobbyn Poetry