Wye River

By Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Edited by Sophie Cunningham

From just up here on the olive lip of mountain mileage that pooling mouth below, half salt but also hill-fresh, could seem a lagoon.

On its low point surmounting asphalt and the roll of waves sits the verandaed pub, plain focus of holiday shorescape.

During the great forest fires  decades of my sap ago, bluegum branches crackled and roared: houses flared wide, too.

Behind the bay of my Then, buried under musk and rot, there lie quaint remains of an old woodcutters’ railway,

hardly more productive now than a tangled indentation. This aromatic forest can just about swallow anything

but holidays and December will flaunt over all that.

Kids will arrive at our sea-green seaside, garrulous as galahs.

No dark fin offshore today by the grace of Santa, hot though in his white whiskers and familiar laugh.

Yes, these are our youngsters” holy days, each treetop noisy as galahs and small clouds taking it just easy. Boards or even sandcastles

provide their own diversions all sweet summer long or is it all of life? The river weaves under that wooden bridge as it were for ever.

Professor Christopher Wallace-Crabbe is one of Australia’s leading poets. He was a founding director of the Australian Centre at the University of Melbourne. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2011 and in 2015 won the Melbourne Prize for Literature.