Plays & Poems
Canberra My Home
“This is a unique, vivid insight from a true child of early
Utopian city, a
raised from nothing on a nowhere plain
by conjurer politicians and architectural magicians,
who vanished after all their wizard games
and left their wands still rousing on the lilting hills
the whirls and swirls of their sleek incantations
to weave forever-after mystifying maze
where men might lose themselves in dense plantations.
Utopian city, myth
of a childrens’ fable,
a vision city on a shining ground
glittering in the mind, if not the sunset,
ideal city from our dreamtime found
as if the drafting board of dream’s town plan,
drawn by many another blueprint hand,
could make our desert of disorder bloom
with jewels of perfect laws to exalt our land.
history as old as time
resides in the grasp of all its winding ways,
lurks in the shadows of its shady avenues
and haunts its drowsy inward turning days
that wayward history of one only certainty
the turbulent untidy heart of man
will overturn and tumble hierarchy
that seeks to regiment with neat town plans.
My sister came out
in a ball at Parliament House
with all the paraphernalia of coming of age -
white kid gloves, the badge of ultimate lady,
white frock with swirling train, white bouquet
and groomed crown of hair waved into place –
obligatory costume to launch into society -
whatever society might be in Canberra parlance,
certainly not Jane Austen’s nor Fanny Burney’s.
Coming of age for
marriage and flirtation
clear watershed from youth to engagement,
articulate hour when dates first became possible
when maturity was declared as if by some time clock;
argument avoided, castigation defined,
licence ultimately given by the King Himself
in high panoply of his Governor-General.
as it seemed that night
there in King’s Hall with the debutante waltz
custom soon blown apart by war guns forever
for the anarchy of my non-debutante generation.