I remember the rough-spoken landscape frayed
by years of upheaval, the towns
unimaginably old, and the thoughtful passion
of the Christ in a church where we prayed.
I remember locked figures in the streets:
duel or embrace, I did not know;
the impetuous gestures of our guide
as we came to those gates where the river meets
rock, the savage boldness of the flood.
A voice saying ‘Freedom’ in a tongue
I have forgotten, the wet red sandstone,
my life-long terror of blood.
I remember the ocean licking at lonely piers,
and the scavenged food. I cannot remember the faces
of father, mother, my sister; only the places
that were not home, and the tears.
N.B. ‘Francis Geyer’ was a pseudonym of the Australian poet Gwen Harwood. Click here to learn more about Harwood’s hoaxes.