May day Poland

Photo Gdansk architecture

1 May 1983
Sap rises in Spring showers
veining leaves iridescent
fresh as war paint in grey Gdansk.

Teargas blossoms to clouds
cannons stream rivers of water
men are blown like fallen leaves.

by Gail Hennessy (Kearns) (BA ’60)


Image of Australian landscape

this country’s too big, too brown, too sunburned
flowing with neither milk nor honey but dust
clouds, its rivers choked

I picture its sweeping plains, its vast encroaching
deserts, I cling to the fringe of its circling oceans
that fat middle girth

too many sporting heroes, too much sport,
copious celebrities whose names I don’t know
and don’t want to, corrupt politicians

who lie and no-one cares or votes out of office,
like Pied Pipers they have led us into wars
not of our business

still the index finger of Cape York beckons me
back to its nibbled-out gulfs, grinning
oversized Bight

I come home to a harbour more beautiful than
any other that lassoes my heart
and ties me to this land

and in the supermarket the man in blue overalls
behind me in the queue holds my place
when I forget the milk and says, no worries darl
we’ll all get to the same place in the end

From Witnessing by Gail Hennessy (Kearns) (BA ’60). Published by Gailan, Rankin Park, NSW. Available from the State Library Bookshop, Gleebooks and from