To homes calling


We wore the beach like sand shoes.

We lived where the pipes made crazy sounds,

squealing like crying whales.

We wore clothes indifferently

and the washing flew from the crooked line,

breathing like billowed sails.

Sometimes bored, we flicked on the telly;

Pictures rolled over and over, wave after wave.

On a clear night we could make out faces,

we could make out voices,

calling out across the strait.



We drank tea and Milo in the kitchen on the hill,

listening to the players wandering,

looking for their football in the fog.

The kettle boiled, the whistle blew,

the steam from the cups caressed our faces.

Below, in the white still darkness

the players kept calling: nicknames, coach’s orders.

A fog horn marked the quarters.


‘To homes calling’ was written a long time ago, 25 years at least. Probably one of the last poems I wrote, before choosing the river of prose over the billabongs of verse. The poem has been on my notice board in the study forever, seemingly, surrounded but not totally obscured by family photos, postcards, birthday cards, train tickets, concert tickets, the paper of life.


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