Heave Away – Haul Away

It’s the little things you miss –
frog-cakes gaping, green in Balfour’s – seas
that gulfs subdue – Bay trams – flat sand – the hiss
and suck that passes for a surf – almonds, white
in August, sentenced by developers –
soursobs rioting by roadsides – light
turned purple in October; there its called
salvation, not a curse. Iris breeding
secretly in creeks – sparaxis with no
respect in graveyards – pasties – cousins down
from Moonta, carol practised – evenings and the slow
grey Murray passing skeletons of trees.
Football where its kicked – fullbacks with names
like Sean Kassulke – kitcheners – the thick,
soft, crumbling crust of kuchen – bienstuck – reds
that Benno put away in sixty-six.
Sundays, loud with families – viewpoints atrophied
the way you thought before you let things go,
before uncertainty set in. “lt’s changed”, they say,
“You’ve noticed, I suppose”.
You nod and smile again but deep inside
your head shakes and you wonder if it shows.

2 thoughts on “Heave Away – Haul Away

  1. John McInerney

    I never met Frank McMahon, but I feel a link with him because of a shared back-ground. I was newly married in 1977,and living in Melbourne. If the truth be known, I was probably pining a bit for my home territory, too, having been raised on a farm in South Australia and coming from a very close family. We used to buy The Age newspaper every week, and in those days they ran an Arts page, one section of which was a poem. I always used to read them, but only out of interest….I never aspired to be a poet! One morning I opened up the paper, and a title caught my eye ..”.Riverton, Change for Clare.and Spalding Lines”, “with the sub-title “Summer 1938”. This is my old home town he is writing about!
    I read and re-read that poem many times, I may have even shed a tear. I wrote to Frank via the Age arts editor, and in due course, I had a reply. I was so chuffed that Frank would take the trouble to write back, and he expressed how excited he was to receive what amounted to fan mail. He finished his letter by inviting me to visit him in Canberra if I was ever there. He wanted to “sink a jar” to use his terminology, and talk about the old days in Riverton. Sadly, I never got to Canberra; life became very busy at work and raising a family but I have always cherished that poem and the brief communication with Frank. And somewhere around my house or in a trunk in the garage, lies a yellowing clipping of the poem “Riverton: Change for Clare and Spalding lines.
    P.S. I am still married to the same lovely lady, nearly 44 years later, and living under Covid-19 lockdown in Melbourne. We have 3 grown-up children and 5 grand-children. And the farm where I grew up is now opertated by my brother and his sons.
    With best wishes,
    John McInerney.

    1. dianasima Post author

      Dear John – thank you for your lovely comments. I am delighted that you enjoy Dad’s poetry – I have had grand intentions to add photographs and more of his radio interviews and so on but like yours, my life is busting at the seams. Just never seem to get to it.
      But my husband and I (and our 3 children) still live in Canberra and the offer to “sink a jar” stands.
      Warmest regards
      Diana Sima


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