Terra Nullius – an open window on Bondi Beach

‘One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washèd it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide and made my pains his prey.
“Vain man,” said she, “that dost in vain assay
A mortal thing so to immortalise;
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eek my name be wipèd out likewise.’

 

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Despite the horizontal rain,
and wind a thousand door-hinges,
The gulls all squawk for chips
along the Besser brick lined bay;
the boys and girls like balls on sticks
bounce up and down the boulevard,
taunting winged scavengers with their
gelato-sticky lips.

How high is it that the rock stands,
how thick the hands poured concrete layers
upon this spoiling land, vain man,
I shall alike to this decay.

Across the path: traffic lights flash,
and cops direct cars in between
street waves of gutter water splashed
back ebbing t’ward the bay.
The balls on sticks in lines on wheels
wrap their laps in union-jack towels,
their faces redder than a flag;
they ought know better than
to frustrate at weather patterns,
to regulate with masoned stone
the oceans’ vengeful way.

How high is it that the rock stands,
how thick the hands poured concrete layers
upon this spoiling land, vain man,
I shall alike to this decay.

The brickies and their bosses should all read the Romantics;
See, Spenser’s love not for the land
but for the heart of a woman
did wither under waves washing
up and onto The Strand.
He tried it twice, pushing a pen,
to stave the sea away;
yet still I gaze, on this foul day,
at man-made strands built ‘long the coast
failing, again, to keep
thousand year waves at bay.

How high is it that the rock stands,
how thick the hands poured concrete layers
upon this spoiling land, vain man,
I shall alike to this decay.

And cannot help but direct shame
and open-palmed hostility
men prancing up and down the strand
who can’t see the flock for the V;
O my enemy —
Look toward the sea, then back at me,
behold the roads, the bikinis,
the perfectly white teeth;
the chiseled sugar sticky smiles
of man and woman, commofidied,
magazine sized tile-faced bar flies;
bodies contemporary.

How high is it that the rock stands,
how thick the hands poured concrete layers
upon this spoiling land, vain man,
I shall alike to this decay.

 

 

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