Jack Mitchell: ‘The Lazaret’ and ‘north, south, east and west’

The Lazaret

our memories of childhood
wind like lines in the current,
drift along the side of a bank
to maybe find the squire,
these moments
straddle time

the many isles of Moreton Bay
had those of refuge, convicts
and lepers a second life,
Peel in the middle open to
both weathers,
a flanking wreck

if memory was a question
—line let out and line wound in—
would we know the whys,
when knowing what remains
between, the good
and the rest

triangulating a beacon with
a scar on Straddie and the wreck
we park above a depression,
with cribbage at night and light
to bring the squid to surface,
from dawn
to hours kept

then the skipper to his mate
says up anchor, a sou-easterly
building … signs on horizons
and wireless point us round,
we shelter at
the Lazaret

Jack Mitchell

north, south, east and west

from the mary to the shannon vale
from chinkhogn to the nor-nor eastern hills
from the ivory to the bruns by sail
from the west where the trough refills,
in worn muddy boots, on cycles
in magnas and an old e-haitch

with notebooks and an sp’s pencils
with wireless, mobile and brace
to the wik, the murri, the gimpanzee
to the public and the touring side
to the twenty-two wheeler handle
to the once that we only confide

from the clarrie to the bremer and downs
from glengarry to the minyon falls
from the stations and through the sounds
from morning the currawong calls
wait for arvo and the lorikeet throng
walking the esplanade platter

the swapping of desk-top clatter
in theatre, and the forts’ blues’ song
for the ones and the fews, in schools
away to their homes to bed
the warning, a storm is brewing
unoccupied, as yet

Jack Mitchell



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