Mulga Bill Writing Award 2019 Poetry Winner

We are one

By Eliza Allan



I headed out one evening on the Frankland’s mellow depths,

Attempting to shrug off a weary week and intercept

My longing to go bush for once and all without a trace,

But next week’s work was beckoning and so myself I braced:

I set my chin and freed my mind of thoughts that overwhelm

And launched my kayak, held the oar and found another realm

The shadows stretching long as karris bid goodnight the sun

The fading sky and bush beyond are one, they are one.


Vermillion flash as cockatoos alight in lofty roosts,

Sea breeze of the afternoon to balmy wafts reduced.

A mullet breaks the silent hum and to the air aspires,

‘Midst flowering tea trees on the banks that beg to be admired.

My gaudy craft cuts through the thick of waters black and gold

As dolphins on the tidal flow surge past and I behold

A momentary vision of a separateness undone

The river and its denizens are one, they are one.


I course along the surface like some sea thing newly freed

Am I the master of the oar, or is it paddling me?

The hidden depths concealed below the water’s glossed veneer

Are like my own strange riddles held in nature’s secret sphere.

My paddle pulses rhythmically to match the river’s beat

As ducks and spoonbills, thirsty roos and waters gently meet.

The web that weaves us all together cannot be undone

This paddler and the world beyond are one, we are one.

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