The Raven

2014

Spring

Passion and Respect Faces Fear and Intimidation

Alex Brown, Year 11

I have been teaching young Indian children to sing for many years now.  Music is my passion in life and empowering these children with the ability to voice sweet notes warms my heart.  My life’s dream has been to create a small young choir filled my most talented students and have them sing my own melodies, which I spend all my free time perfecting.  My dream is so close to being achieved, however, my all-powerful employer has other, much less innocent, uses for my talented youthful vocalists.

 

His name is Sethji, hence how I was given the title MasterJi, however I am in no way the master of anything other than my music.  He wears rich gold chains that sparkle in the dim lighting; he has a confident and sinister attitude and will always get what he wants whether it be by horrific intimidation or terrible violence.  Luckily for me I have only ever experienced the first, as for those who I know have experienced the other… I have not known for long.  My few experiences with Sanji have been brief encounters, however I believe this man is involved in the mafia, and not a man an older, or as I like to say ‘experienced’, music enthusiast like myself should be involved with.  As for his establishment, or profitable business as he calls it, I am kept mostly in the dark and banned from ever exploring further than my room and immediately adjacent areas.  Two bodyguards, Mustafa and Punnose, will routinely arrive to collect the children and provide me with my puny salary, just enough to get me through daily life.  Seeing any of the children I had once tutored seemed an impossibility, that was until a few days ago.

 

His name was Raju.  He had very little vocal talent, certainly not a candidate for my dream choir.  Sethji had sent his bodyguards, paid me my meager salary, and with that I had never thought of seeing the boy again.  I had been strolling through a different part of town one morning when I found myself in a small market full of vibrant stalls and busy customers.  The area had an Adagio vibe, reminding me of a movement from Beethoven’s 5th symphony.  I heard a faint voice singing just off key, less than an octave flat.  It was not the singing that drew my attention but after some time the realisation that the song was one of my own.
I found Raju leaning against a wall singing faintly in the general direction of the crowd.  A feeling of sickness grew in my body as I scanned him up and down, seeing deep scars, bruised limbs and eyes scarred and burnt.  He had a misshapen container at his feet with just a few rupee scattered inside.  I attempted to speak with him, however he was all consumed singing the tune, and the hum of the busy market made my voice insignificant.  I grasped his shoulder to which he screamed and aggressively pushed my hand away.  I began to receive strange disapproving looks from bystanders so I left questions unasked and the dark thoughts remained unenlightened.  My encounter with Raju was frightening and gave me a disturbing insight into Sethji’s need for the children.

In the last few weeks I have been tutoring two boys, one shows a complete lack of talent, however the other is a boy like no other.  His name is Salim and his talent above all else is astounding.  From the beginning his natural talent was overwhelming and this combined with his drive to learn and succeed has lead to him being the best student I have had the honour of teaching.  I have developed admiration and respect for Salim and I feel as though he reciprocates these emotions making each lesson a blessing and my job a dream.  Each week my student improved on a scale that I had seen never before.  I met with Sethji to boast of Salim’s great talent and requested that he should stay with me and become my apprentice, to which Sethji laughed and simply requested I teach Salim a particular song with an evil smirk on his face and proceeded to confirm the date of collection, responding as though I had never said a word.  That date is today.

I am finishing my final lesson with Salim and his friend Ram.  I have been teaching Salim one of the most difficult singing items that I know will truly test his limits.  This is the song Sethji recommended and is called “The Bahajans of Sudras”.  Each note Salim hits with timing and passion never ceasing to astound me.  As the song comes to an end with a heart-wrenching diminuendo executed to perfection, I am once again brought back to reality, realising that Ram and most sadly Salim will be taken from me in just a few mere hours.  I explain a lyric of the piece to the boys, “My eyes are hungry for your presence, Lord Krishna”.

Ram suddenly queries, “Why are his eyes hungry?”

I reply, “Didn’t I tell you?!  Sudras was completely blind.”

The moment I spoke these words the truth hit me like a train.  My thought process became Allegro, Sethji’s smirk as he recommended this song… my sickening encounter with Raju… Sethji is planning to cripple my pride and joy and use him for street money.  I must do anything I can to stop this from happening.

Both boys had left my room and had been up the hallway towards where Marman and Punnose sit and smoke heavily.  The Ram and then Salim quickly came running stealthily past my door towards the toilets.  I felt a rush of adrenaline as I realised they were attempting to escape even without my warning.  I heard the two bodyguards thudding towards my door and at first fear that they are in immediate chase of the boys when suddenly they turn into my door.  “Here MasterJi, we have your payment for the boys with generous extra for the talented one,” Mustafa states as he walks into my room, “But where are they?”

Before I have time to respond the Punnose exclaims, “They must be trying to escape!  Come Mustafa, we must find them!”

I quickly realise that for the boys to escape I must delay these men.

 

The guards begin to hurry for the door.  Before they can exit, I launch myself at Mustafa’s back and in his shock I am able to pull him to the ground.  He yelps in pain as bones hit hard concrete floor but I yell louder as the pain is amplified by the huge frame of Mustafa landing heavily on top of me, crushing me as flat as a uncooked poppadum.  Punnose grabs a glass bottle that once held vintage Aryaa wine and proceeds to smash it full force over my head.  I am left in a daze as the glass shatters all around me.  Time becomes Adagio.  Mustafa stands up in rage cradling his right arm and begins to kick me hard in the guts.  With each crippling blow my sense of reality lessens.  I see vaguely the Punnose hurriedly pulling Mustafa away and down the hallway.  I feel myself descending from bravado to lento.  The all-consuming pain lessens and a river of warm blood trickles down the side of my face, making a vast lake on the floor.  I weakly think to myself that I have finally done what is right and have brought meaning to an otherwise meaningless existence.  I do not know if I will wake up or if I bought Salim enough time, but as I close my eyes I know inside they have escaped.  I feel the rare warmth of a smile spread across my bloodied face as the corrupt world fades to deathly black.

The Birds

Julian Sanders, Year 12

I went to the beach to fall out of love with indifference.

To chase after the birds of sun-coloured hue,

fine in feature and in temperament, with

dazzling songs of shallow sonance,

muted only by the waves of life in its

false, unhappy circumstance,

doomed as they were to soar in endless vanity,

chained by the shackles of the clouded skyway

as it sank to meet the swirling sea,

with no respite bar love,

and no escape, bar death.

 

I feel now in hotness what I dreamt of then in cold to glimpse.

In the fickle shadow of towering pines these birds lie

languidly, reclining in a soft ocean of tiered green

where they inescapably alight at least daily,

atop manifold slivers of beer and embroidered rainbow

which silently speak one’s name,

sirens of judgement as outsiders pass

along intersecting concrete runways,

barbed by the blazing thorns of scrutiny

under watchful eyes,

scorching those who greet them while

sparing the disdainful,

who find it in their bliss to be

themselves, ignorantly ignored.

 

I hear broken birds on palisade horizons, singing.

Cleansing wreckage from the bodies of

strangers in stationary cavalcades,

approaching torrents of cloudless rain

alone, as fire clings to soaking limbs,

ivory streams purging filthiness and

soothing burns, a measure of short-lived clarity existing

fleetingly, before the overwhelming pressure of

sneering audience and Cheshire Cats

bears down, the flames returning bright,

stoked hesitantly by burly fathers and

small sons, travailing tirelessly on blazes beyond

rekindling, smothered and starved by corduroy shoes

and ignored, small grains of blazing light,

extinguished.

 

I taste the sounds of barefoot passengers worshipping shade.

Seeking deliverance with a clumsy gait and indifferent

facade, past tobacconists and ice-cream parlours and

homespun hotel bars, through deserted streets in

search of an oasis, wandering,

thirsting for salvation from the most caustic of

barren springs and tantalised, by mirages of truth

manufactured, deliberately teasing the palates of

unhinged critics and feeble epicures, satisfaction, found

in a faint hint of subtle sweetness, the lilting smile of

an earnest photographer and a blotted feather,

fallen from circling wings, irresistible.

 

I find mirrors reflecting old clothes and fireworks in low fidelity.

Within the halls of one’s despair geniality begets forbearance,

entrances sealed with an unfaithful portcullis like the

ticking over of new years and vacant antechambers,

forcibly relinquished with reckless abandon and lost,

leaving behind only two faded relics ostensibly by design,

each a model of fashion and roles for the forsaken,

and to the northern reaches of helping hands and heartbreaks

they lie in a flaxen sun, plucking violently the quills of innocence

as they lose their own to keep, and then leaving.

 

I see the setting sun rise at midnight in a surfer’s dream.

With chestnut blonde hair flowing like numbers scrawled

on generic billboards, rapt in the warm embrace of

platonic hands and open arms,

gambling away nights spent foolishly on

idiosyncratic indulgences and vanity,

redemption sold only to temptation in

tantalising brown eyes, clutched by the insecure talons of

well-intentioned predatory songbirds, and trapped,

drowning in moonlight and breathing the sun,

making frigid waters hot and cobalt waves crimson,

faring one well with tragic and intimate ease,

until next time.

A Predator Beneath the Calm

Lewis Walker, Year 9

Where earth fades to ocean, and human meets shark,

Beneath murky waters, churning and dark!

Perfected survival and arrogance meet,

Lurking beneath the water ever so deep.

 

Surfer for dinner, in a shark’s dark domain

The king of the ocean, he rules the food chain,

Stalking their prey, all night and all day

If they want you for eating you had better pray.

 

We splash, surf and frolic – like sweet, juicy snacks,

Then scream murder – when they naturally attack!

And when they strike they strike with vigour,

Like someone pulling a lethal trigger.

 

How dare they kill humans – they must be destroyed!

Cull all aggressors – boats now being deployed!

Simply doing what sharks do, yet go forth, decimate,

Mankind doesn’t learn they just obliterate.

 

They’re a nightmare beneath waves!

Creation of Australia

Tom Hodge, Year 7

In the beginning, there was only light, a bright, white, pure light.  This light could think, know, and understand and it often questioned why it was there, why it existed, why anything existed.  These questions contented the light for a while but inevitably, the light got bored, it wanted to play, and so out of the light stepped two beings, a man and a woman.  These beings were content for a while, simply by existing and did no more than amuse the light.

 

Eventually, the light felt that these beings, although content with what they already had, did not have enough.  The light believed that the beings needed to know each other better and so showed each a fleeting glimpse into the heart of the other.  When the man saw into the woman’s heart he saw great beauty, and although it was just a glimpse, it was enough to throw him into a great rage of jealousy.  He demanded a sword from the light and as it is impartial to conflict, it gave him one.  When the woman next slept, the man attempted to strike her down with a great big blow.  But the woman wasn’t asleep; she never slept, not after seeing what she had seen within the man’s heart.  For she had also seen great beauty, such beauty that made her fall to the ground and weep at even the subconscious thought of it.  So when the man tried to strike her, she looked up and shied back from his blade, eyes darting, taking in the situation.  Only one major oversight on the part of the man saved her that time, the fact that they could not touch, they were made of light and everything was light, he was part of the light just as the woman.  Their manifestations of refined light were simply puppets, puppets of the consciousnesses behind them.  An attack on the puppet yielded no success, it would simply reappear somewhere else.  This enraged him even further; how could he destroy that consciousness if it was part of him?

 

Eventually, the man found a way to separate himself from the woman and he did the unthinkable.  He ripped the light.  A long, long rip that extended for infinity, separating man and woman by a void of darkness.  Seeing what he did, the lack of light that he had created was so shocking to the man that he forgot about his rage, he quenched that burning fire of jealousy inside of him and looked across to the woman who lay in shock.  The man strove to return and comfort her but found he could not, the darkness kept them apart.

 

As the woman came to terms with what had happened, she noticed that the darkness was beginning to grow stronger, pushing the two of them apart.  The woman knew that they wouldn’t be able to ever touch again but strove to find a way that they should share one last embrace, so she created stars.  Small pinpoints of light dotted across the darkness, each requiring atrocious amounts of energy to remain burning.

 

When the man saw what the woman was doing, he aided her, creating stars of his own.  As the man and women made more and more stars, they grew very tired and allowed some of the older stars to stop burning.  Filling their places were lifeless lumps of stone, the first solid material to come to existence.  Finally, the two created a bridge, albeit thin, across the darkness.  In one fluid motion, the man went through the bridge to reach the woman but as he reached the halfway point, it dispersed, stars flying everywhere, pinpoints of light scattered across the void.  The reason for the collapse is still unknown, perhaps the man lost concentration, perhaps the darkness destroyed the bridge, but it can be said that the man was trapped, halfway across a massive chasm of darkness, darkness that was trying to snuff his light out.

 

The man had no choice, he had to escape the darkness, without any hope of reaching the sides of the chasm and his whole consciousness in danger, and he did the only thing he could think of. He imbued himself within the core of one of the lumps of rock.

 

After seeing the bridge disperse, the woman had lost all hope and she collapsed to the ground and wept at the loss of her love, for how could he ever escape the impending doom that faced him?  So she did not see the man’s essence go into the rock.  The rock flashed with a massive light, a boom resounding through the whole of existence.  A boom that created everything – it created air, water, earth and fire.  After the boom came silence, the great arms of the man extended out of the rock to reach for the woman willing for one last embrace before the man was dragged away from her forever by the massive power of the abyss.

 

The woman realised that this would be the last she would see of the man and so, hurled herself across the abyss to land in his arms.

 

And still the Earth waits for the ball of fire in the sky to reach it, as it is a long way across the abyss for any being, big or small.  We humans wait, wait for the coming of the sun that brings us such heat and life.  The humans in Australia are particularly devout, at the time of their first creation, the boom, they set fire to their whole landmass to honour the coming Sun.  That is why Australia is a desert.

Deadly Life – Fire

Lewis Weeda, Year 9

Beauty in a prison of wax,

Yet sleeps in waiting upon its axe.

For when it’s armed all run away,

’cause when awake, it brings Death’s Day.

 

For when its roots grow deep and strong

And when its branches reach so long,

It hankers for the driest lands,

Its vicious axe longs to expand.

 

And when its claws grasp helpless prey,

It wrings them out to disarray,

But phoenixes come out of ashes,

And dancing grace comes forth in flashes.

 

But when atop a thick wax staff

Or inside a room of brass,

It offers light so all can see,

Human’s fundamental company.

 

Beauty strong, it almost appalls,

In excess it smothers all.

Stops at many stations, both great and dire,

God ministers this consuming fire.

The Farm

Lachlan Morrell, Year 9

As I ride my bike through the paddocks,

The hot summer’s air blasts my face,

Drips of sweat roll down,

From my chin to my chest,

As I tear through the gaps in the crops.

 

Golden barley dances in the summer’s wind,

This crop of gold covers the property,

And as I reach the top of the rocky hill,

I see everything

That we have planted, cared for and grown over the past six months.

 

The ride down is better,

Dashing through the bush,

Blood pumping through my veins,

I grip the handlebars tight,

Full attention at all times.

 

The adrenaline pumps,

Like a rushing river.

The trees pass as a blur,

And the whiplash of the knee-high shrubs

Smacks against my bare ankles.

 

The bike transforms the green grass to a thin dirt track,

A well-worn path for later.

Empty dams become jumps.

The landscape shifts again and again,

This old man’s changing face

 

This land we own is precious to me,

A hundred miles away from sea.

This is my home, a landmark to me.

Halfway Home

James Simpson, Year 12

Dedicated to the memory of Chris Boyd (1978-2013), who was tragically taken from Western Australian waters on the 23rd of November 2013.

 

Life couldn’t have been better when Tommy and I swapped the frigid, wintery Victorian ocean swells for the warm and clean summer swells of Cottesloe.  We left a lot behind; our families, friends and a way of life.  There were a number of factors that led us to make the decision to move.  The sense of adventure and escape is something we both craved, and we felt moving to the West was a way of fulfilling this dream.  Also, to find work.  Jobs were in low supply in the region of coastal Victoria we lived, and although we aren’t exactly the sharpest tools in the shed, we are smart enough to realize that in the booming West, jobs were in high demand, and we’d have more chance of getting decent pay to keep us surfing for a long time.

 

Which brings me onto the major reason why we made the move.  The surf.  The weather.  I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful it is here.  Every morning when I wake up at 6am I am constantly reminded of why Tommy and I made the move in the first place.  The natural beauty of Victoria; the strong, cold and strong wintery offshore winds blowing on the face of the waves, the whirling sounds created by the wind alone, although magical, cannot compete with the warm waters and light offshore winds which bless Western Australia for a large part of every year.  Although this coastline is one of the most beautiful places on earth, it can also be one of the most dangerous; what it offers you, in terms of raw beauty and power, it can also take from you, in much more serious and devastating forms.

 

We had been in Cott for a week or two, and Tommy and I were lounging around in our rented out apartment on Marine Parade.  “We need to get jobs mate!” I told Tommy one day, conforming to my role of being the more level headed bloke out of the two.  “We can’t keep living on family-sent packages from over East, or it’ll be our families as well as us living on the dole!” Tommy was quick to respond.  “Ease off mate, we’re dong just fine! But really? Life isn’t too bad now, I’m happy to keep going like this for another week or two!”  It didn’t take long for me to convince my happy-go-lucky mate that if we wanted to keep living the dream, we’d need to secure a constant stream of income.  To our delight, we managed to find a job, after a drive up the coast, at a brewery in Fremantle.  “Two mates, one dream, one brewery!” Tommy shouted joyously on the way back.  Although I wasn’t sure what he was trying to get at, I was glad his mindset had turned, and that he was happy.  “You reckon they’ll pay us in booze?”

 

It was a morning like any other.  Up at 6, I woke up Tommy, and we headed up the coast for a surf after a quick bite to eat.  It was particularly gloomy and overcast on this day, but we were undeterred.  No wind, and a solid 3-metre swell had combined for some almighty conditions.  We were pumped.  It’s going off!” Tommy exclaimed, almost frothing at the mouth.  We quickly moved back to the car, grabbed our boards and wetsuits, and walked down to where we could hear, and almost see the waves breaking on the sandy beach.  As we arrived, we could just make out what looked like and sounded like large waves breaking in the lineup.  “I’ll see you out there mate!” Tommy was out there straight away, whilst I pulled my wetsuit on at a much slower rate than Tommy did and took a bit of time to take in the beautiful landscape, as it was being gradually unfurled by the rising sun.  As I was about to paddle out, I noticed something.  There was something peculiar about this morning.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.  Everything seemed caliginous and gloomy.  “Ha, just the weather” I said aloud, apprehensively.

 

And that was when it happened.  It happened.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw it.  The single worst moment of my life.  Tommy, whilst pulling out off the back of a wave had ridden into reasonably shallow water, was hit.  A huge grey figure leaped out of the water, snatching him, and within half a second, he was gone.  It all happened so quickly.  “No!” I screamed, “No, no, no, no, no!”  My refusal to believe what just happened led me to sprint into the water, and just as suddenly turn around, facing away from the ocean, Tommy, and the 5 metre Great White, and just cry.  And I cried and cried and cried.  I knew it was useless trying to save him.  I had heard that once the whites got a hold of you, there was no letting go.  I ran as fast as I could, distraught and hopeless, back to the car park, and called an ambulance.  I frantically described them the situation over the phone, “He’s dead, my mate is dead!”  The ambos sent in the choppers, who pinpointed the shark and herded it offshore.  An austere looking policeman interviewed me, whilst his female counterpart tried to comfort me. I was inconsolable.

 

They asked me what action I wanted to be taken, with regards to the beast that took Tommy’s life.  For most, this would be an easy decision.  However, Tommy’s words on our last night in Victoria at our farewell party rang like bells in my ears, “Just let them be, hey?  It’s their environment, their home.  As surfers, we take the risk; it’s our choice to surf in their homes, dressed as seals!  If they chomp us, it’s our fault, and it’s the price we’ll pay for doing what we love in the place we love.  I’m willing to pay that price, aren’t you boys?”

 

I didn’t share the same view as Tommy did on sharks and the tolerance of their incessant presence in Australian waters, but I know he wouldn’t want me to go ahead and kill the animal.  “Let it go mate,” I told the Department of Fisheries officer, “Let him be”.

The Road

Matthew Markwell, Year 9

The new road

Cuts through the valley like a wound.

Freshly poured bitumen like a blanket of death,

Street lights stand erect, fixing their harsh gaze on the earth.

A continuous stream of fluorescent blaze

penetrating the night.

Unwelcome.

 

The new road

Attempting to categorise.  Regulate.  Regiment.

Structure the shape of the landscape,

Force it into grids

So it is orderly and planned.

The wilderness now caged,

Unnatural.

 

The new road

On which cars like wasps lazily buzz,

Eagerly crawl over highways and bridges.

Fumes emitted into the atmosphere above,

Suffocating smog seeping out of engines.

The remnants of the forests gasp for air,

Unclean.

 

The old road

Was a bush track, covered in plants growing haphazardly,

Colours bursting from their natural environment.

Vibrant life and growth

Gives you a shock of adrenaline.

Uncontaminated air purifies your soul,

Majestic.

Beauty

Stefan Safar, Year 9

It is a big mountain

No it’s a big blue mountain

No, no it’s a big blue beautiful mountain

And it stands behind a beautiful valley

A big and beautiful valley

In fact, it is a very colorful big and beautiful valley

Which has beautiful grass

This is beautiful green grass

And there’s lots of the beautiful green grass

 

And that’s when you realize

How small you are in size

And then you rise

To come to realise

Nature’s infinite beauty.

Vision

Nicholas Clarnette, Year 9

I raced down the field with my heart pumping and my eyes fixed on the ball.  It shot out in front of me like a bullet.  Once again I could sense a feeling rising, I was going to miss my train, it was going to shoot past my station and there was nothing I could do about it.

No.  Not this time.  Not again.

I pumped my legs harder.  This was going to be an interesting day.  I had felt it from the moment I slid out of bed and still felt it now.

I looked to my right and noticed Jake making a lead.  The ball met my feet and I passed it off just as an opposition came into view on my tail.  With the ball out of my hands, I sprinted to make a lead right in the centre of the attacking square.  I opened my mouth to call for the pass, but Jake had already sent the ball my way.

This was it.

This was going to make it an interesting day.

I raised my leg and spun my body into a deflection-shot like my coach had shown me earlier.  The ball hit the sweet spot and I sent it hurtling towards the goal.  Then it drifted off to the left.  It fell wide.

My chest tightened and I fell to the ground, suddenly my head throbbed with another headache.  I felt tears fall down my face and my breathing became shallow.  My throat tightened.  I couldn’t speak.  My head was filled with grief and stress.

   Anxiety strikes…

I sprinted off the field.  The world fell past me in blurry vision.  I don’t know how far I went, that wasn’t on my mind.  I looked up from the ground some minutes later and found myself in the more urbanised area of town.  I couldn’t see anyone I knew.  I didn’t care.  Walls were tattered with street art, shops filled with people minding their own business, enjoying a beer in the late afternoon.

I stopped outside an old tailor’s store and leaned against the wall.  I tried to get my breath back, to allow myself to recover somewhat physically, but the tears continued to blur my vision, refracting the light out of focus.

Through the mix of colours I saw a man.  I could see him clearly amongst dozens of blurry others.  It was as though my brain knew what he looked like even though I couldn’t focus; like he had just been pasted into the picture.

I felt my heart pound in my chest once more as he straightened up and started strolling towards me, like there was no hurry, like he was in complete control.

Interesting…

My eyes drifted to the floor, but I knew I would have to meet his gaze sooner or later.  His feet came within a few metres of me, and I looked up.

His eyes were like mine: dark blue.  He wore a classic style suit and tie, and stood with complete confidence, with his shoulders back and his posture perfect.

I heard him speak.  My thoughts were too messy to comprehend his words, but I heard the tone, and the colour of his voice.  It wasn’t raspy, or haggard, but soft, even comforting.  He spoke again,

“You look distressed, Luke.”  My eyes fell to the ground again.  How did he know my name?

“I’ve seen you like this before.  There’s a bigger picture, isn’t there?”  My thoughts spun at this revelation.  What did he mean?  Who was he?

“Understand that it can go.  You can kick it away if you want to, like you do in sport.  The goals are much bigger than you think.”

My head cleared with his words.  It was as though a wave had rolled onto the shore and cleared the seaweed away, leaving a blank and white beach.

“All you need to figure out is which ball to kick.”

My mind swam in a sea of questions, I didn’t understand.  I knew it was my turn to speak.

“Who are you?” I looked up as I asked, but there was no one in front of me.  I quickly looked from side to side, even round the back of the building, but it was like he had never been here.  I stopped and leant against the front wall once more.  I looked down at my right hand, only now did I notice I was holding something.  Resting in my palm I found a small, sphere-like stone.  I turned it over.  Etched with a careful hand was a perfect eye, in scale with my own, staring up at me.

I continued to eyeball the peculiar object.  My nerves settled and I shoved it into my pocket.  I stood tall.  Something had changed inside me, but I knew this was just the beginning.

 

For now, he would always be watching.

Surfing

Lincoln Bishop, Year 9

I jog down to the water’s edge

Gazing at the surging swells

As figures plummet over a ledge

And the curling force excels.

 

Adrenaline racing around inside

Striving to where the line-up waits

Waves crashing and splashing beside

The perfect phenomenon Mother Nature creates.

 

Anxiously waiting, for an indelible ride

A lump on the horizon begins to loom

Surfers wait side-by-side

I sweep through the water, and start to zoom.

 

Mother nature picks me up

I spring up to my feet

Slicing through the liquid glass

The ocean gives an awesome treat.

 

As the glistening wall peels over me

I proudly stand up high

Gliding with miraculous speed

Nature’s work does satisfy.

 

Shooting out of the ocean’s cannon

Filled with excitement and glee

Beaming out upon the sky

What a wonderful place to be!

Rooftop

Tom Krantz, Year 9

Concrete Jungle;

I stand on a rooftop, high;

Across the sky

I see nothing but a view that makes me cry;

My mind tumbles.

 

The air so thick;

Suffocating pollution,

An execution,

Like our own man-made prosecution.

The clock ticks.

 

The view appalling;

I step out under the sun,

So much left undone;

But it’s better to join the ghosts than be haunted by one;

I’m… falling.

 

But back I tread;

Out of nothing else but pity

For the city;

And for the people who have been too “busy”

To stop the dread.

 

It seems only me

Can see this insanity;

This vanity,

Held by the rest of humanity;

Thinking we are the key.

 

Where are the birds?

The trees, insects and animals

That we’ve manacled?

Unable to see that we are compatible,

Their chirping goes unheard.

 

And we’re all falling…

Escaping

Thomas Barwood, Year 10

I pushed aside the dense cluster of wattle flowers that was adjacent to the tower of jarrah, which stood vigil over the smaller trees that created the canopy roof above.  I entered an abandoned fortress.  Our, my clearing, was empty, and it was an emptiness of three parts; I listened and heard nothing, the usually cheerful chatter of the birds was absent, the whine of insects was gone and even the wind had fallen silent.  Nothing moved.  The sway of the trees, which would swirl and distort the view of the glade from outside, hiding them from all who would impose on their peace, was gone.  The whole place was striped bare.  But the deepest emptiness was the hole he left.  The garrison had left the castle.  My protector had abandoned his post.  All life had left, the walls were down, the glade was unguarded…

 

I walked over to the pale eucalyptus that lorded over the small dam that he had built.  It seemed that he was everywhere in the glade.  I felt him as I entered the small room he had carved into the tree.  I felt his touch as I brushed against the brown grey skin of the tree as I entered the hollow.  I took in the room, its shelves, tables and chairs wrought into living wood.  And the alcove, which we had spent so many nights in, had been covered in a blanket of dried dead leaves.  And as I left I felt him watching me and studied the bush around me.  But I only found his eyes in the green foliage and I turned.  I feel heavily and limply onto the ground and put my head in my knees.  I waited for him.  I thought and I thought and I thought and I could not stop I needed out I needed him where was he?  Where was he?  I sprang to my feet and franticly paced around the base of the tree.  Where was he?  Where was he?  He was meant to be here, he wouldn’t leave, he promised, he promised didn’t he?  Then where was he!?  I wanted to shout, I wanted to scream, I pulled at my hair in frustration and went back to the hollow and took out one of the pages of crisp white paper and a pen and sat down again.  I rocked holding the paper and pen to my belly where this infernal seed had been planted.  I cried as I had every night my father came to my bed.  I hunched over and wrote the words, the words I wanted to shout.  I wrote the words that I had wanted to say ever since it started, but I had kept silent, the words I had finally said to the blank eyes of my mother, and the words that were silenced whenever he looked at me lovingly with his wild green eyes.  But then I wrote to him, I told him what my father had done, I told him what he had done.  I finished the letter in a flourish and stood up leaving the words behind knowing that someone, someone would read it and know why…

 

I stood up hands folded over my stomach where the trouble was concealing it and I moved towards the towering eucalyptus.  My hands caressed its side.  I then grasped at odd branches and indents into the otherwise smooth flesh of the tree and pulled myself skywards.  I climbed up away from the glade escaping its emptiness.  I steadily climbed up the tree pausing occasionally, but I felt lighter with every meter I climbed.  As if they weight of my sadness, guilt and broken pride that had been pulling me down was slowly falling away.  I felt the bliss of serenity.  Of escaping…

 

I reached the branch and sat down gazing over the dense bush and into the windless night, Corregan behind me with all my troubles.  I sat there for a long time staring over and above the bush below.  I looked out at what in day time would have been breathtaking, soaring trees going on for miles and miles, the vast array of individual trees contributing an artist’s pallet of greens and browns.  But all colour was gone and the trees did not appear in any way graceful but gnarled twisted things intertwining like thorns.

I came to the realization that he was not out there, only darkness lay below.

The Prison Boab Tree

Tremayne Green, Year 9

The prison boab tree,

Dark inside as you can see,

Keeper of dark memories.

 

Bad spirits in the hollow tree,

As bad as things could be.

Hidden away from the white-man.

 

White-man flee,

When spirits come to be,

Haunting this historic place.

 

At night what you will see,

Are ghosts of the haunted boab tree,

Joining us here against our will

 

Inside this darkened tree.

All of us black men, we

sit terrified for nightfall.