Issue sevenIssue Seven Poetry

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Port Arthur, Van Diemen’s Land, 1842

By Bill Cotter,


I slunk from black to grey and black again.

Smelt the gum leaves. Felt the wet ground

Friendly beneath me feet and heard the breezes,

Even the mopoke cryin’ in the hills.

Yes. Like a ghost I was.

But they found me,

Them and their dogs.

Now, in this stone walled darkness,

I see nothing. I hear me breath and chains

That clank when I move. I smell me sweat

And feel it slitherin’ cold down me back.


Soon, now, these high up bars will run with red.

But, no redder than my skin, when the lash

Comes to bite and show the worthy King George

That all is settled once more with his world.