Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Alice at Middleton Beach


Summer after summer
Alice lived
in the jarrah house
in the sand dunes
when the equinox blew
beached whales
pushed & prodded
returned with the tide
intent on dying
their bodies lay
along the shoreline
till the dark breath
went out of them
& and they stank for days

the beach was ringed 
with mountains
shaped liked resting emus
low scrub grew up
to the edge of the bay
great ships
garlanded with lights
anchored & paused
on their way to the world

a fishing boat
pushed off
& bobbed like a toy
the light on Breaksea
wavered     went out
& blinked again

Dorothy Hewett, Alice in Wormland, Papaerbark Press, NWS, 1987, p. 30.


  1. I have just discovered this book. 007 brought it back from Tasmania as a gift. It's already a favourite. Novel length narrative poems - fantastic! Another writing lightbulb moment for me.

    Though I do think a dead whale would stink for bit longer than a few days...

  2. Absolutely, Sarah. More than I few days ... the thought leapt into my mind as soon as I read the line. Otherwise, it's a lovely poem.

  3. I almost titled this post to you BT. I think it was the line where I waited for the light to blink on again ...