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Lines Written in Albany

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On white lines on valiant wheels I head north leavin' behind the City of Sails with its humourless streets, its casino steel and glass Sky Tower built of the rubble of a grander age peopled by a grander pride! In my rear-view the harbour's steel arch; a bridge to near and far - monument to post-war industrialisation. And as far as the eye can see... New Age pyramids of urban sprawl; rows of suburban microwave towers; greenhouse chimneys; concrete bunkers... behold the isle of Rangitoto sits a jewel rock in the gulf crown! And straight up State Highway 1 - land of my youth, where the hills are alive with the sound of cowbells, ghosts of gumdiggers, flax millers, outlaws, brigand sailors... the "dead end" of Schnapper Rock to Rosedale, Oteha Valley and beyond, the fertile salad and fruit bowl orchard trees of Clemow and Airborne. A land of milk and honey, fleece and beef, the strawberry fields, where I once worked hard(ly). Gone is the quaint village church hall, last year's scythin' twister went Old Testament in a rage, but not the "Great War" Memorial to twenty three of its sons! Poetic irony that a mighty whirlwind, an act of God, raze a holy edifice and smite the hallowed walls on these Footrot Flats in the house of woolshed fundamentalism. Is it the work of a divine sly-grogger? Raze a church and spare the winepresses of the heathen pub? Indeed I know which I would spare...cheers! Do tell by what grievance or sin or wrath is "thy will" done? Yet the hillside graveyard remains intact; well, you can't be killed twice so those deadbeat bastards are laughin'! So too the boys after a long day in the trenches playin' "matches": romancin' the giddy-up rodeo girls on a Saturday night in their tight thigh slappin' spangled jeans, in their rootin' tootin' shaggin' boots and their "bend me over and hogtie me" eyes lookin' to bushwack some poor droolin' rope jockey at the Wayside Inn waterin' hole and saloon! Small lives in small towns drinkin', shootin' - pool that is! Rednecks and cowboys off their wagons till closin' time's last call. Hell, more than once I hitched my pony there - days when my saddle bags carried lead, not gold; when loathin' and loss filled my glass and there were no paths to glory - sadly, no happy trails! --------- Pictured is the Wayside Inn pub. September 1996

Copyright © | Year Posted 2014




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