Saturday, January 9, 2010

9. White man's midden

Sydney Exhibition Centre and Centrepoint Tower, from the William Henry Street Bridge
What would Arthur and his sailors make of this? Where are the bony fingers of ridge easing on down to join the water in ragged bays, ridges layered with eucalypts and rocky outcrops, housing mythical animals, with dark rounded eyes peering from web-encrusted caves. Where is the stream, their precious water source?

All of it hidden deep within the layers of lives lived. Layers of sandstone picked and blasted, layers of trees felled and burned, layers of mud squelched, faeces deposited and waters fouled. Layers deposited as the lean-to gave way to the daub and wattle, gave way to the terrace, gave way to the high-rise.

Lives lived and lives ended and deposited beneath Arthur’s landing. The marrow leaching from the bones in the Devonshire Street graveyard fertilise the bony finger of ridge, and feed other Arthurs as they march over the precious stream encased within this white man’s midden.

8 comments:

myletterstoemily said...

your blog is taking ME into a whole new world.

your wisdom and witty riffs are educating and
enlightening.

thank you!

Vicki said...

This is so deep, Julie. Dark and deep. It really resonated with me. Beautifully written and, as always, such tangible description. Best one for me yet.

Vicki said...

P.S. I read all your riffs to Alan last night. They worked for him, too. :)

Joan Elizabeth said...

Reminds me of the last stanza of Judith Wright's Bullocky

"O vine, grow close upon that bone
and hold it with your rooted hand.
The prophet Moses feeds the grape,
and fruitful is the Promised Land."

diane said...

I enjoyed this riff. I guess its called progress.What will it be like in another 200 years? I believe the Tank Stream still runs in pipes beneath the city as you say in your nicely written piece. I wish I could write like you but I'm too shallow and practical.

Vera said...

I had to read this a couple of times, and then come back to it again to get the gist, but you said so much in such a few words, which punched through a message about the march of 'progress'.

Julie said...

This is why I have set such a stringent word count - to say "something" if a few words. This is also why I start oft-times in the middle of a story and often don't tell the kernel.

I want to move from mere description to the barest hint of action. Not a TV script where doors slam and men run. But psychological action that addresses motivation.

Or something ...

Julie said...

Good ole, Alan. Taa ...