The Raven

2015

Summer

The Wall

Oli Heath, Year 12

The wall. It stands tall,

amongst the modest landscape it subliminally

divides. Green in colour yet said to be gold.

Stretching high-rise to groin, bordered by

the dark richness of Swan waters

 

that sheltered the ship of Stirling.

An imperfect structure,

blissfully imprisoned by its own nature,

seeking no need for escape,

save for that of pesky worldly troubles.

 

Never felt, nor seen

but ominous and sure in presence,

tagging the ears of its own dwellers,

for recognition of their paddock,

in which the wool is not shorn.

 

Three sides standing strong,

pressed to expansion, by the insatiable

desire for nothing, humming through

the leaves of the peppermint trees.

 

The wall shifts to season.

Down, down it goes, staying perfectly intact,

Margret meets her residential migrants,

coming and going, a swarm of bees,

bringing with them, sweet, poisonous honey.

 

A fountain of wealth,

Resembling scolding sands of the desert,

Beauty in sight, desolate for the

Thirsty traveller, met only by

Rationed dew found in small reservoirs within.

 

How can one see,

when its glorious radiance,

so magnificently bright,

leaves its people in darkness?

But vision beyond is no longer necessary.

Vietnam

Conor Patton, Year 9

The thunderous roar of the rotors echoed across the otherwise deadly silent rainforest. They all looked grim, all 16 of them. They sat in the bell – H1 “Huey” helicopter and stared at the floor. That was it. Not one of them liked it here. In fact, they all hated it. All had been conscripted, forced to join. Unfair, they said. Of course, it was the only way. Who wanted to fight a war that was destined to fail? John, their captain, only had three weeks left on his third tour of Vietnam. He found the job somewhat easy; no family links, no “purpose”. Back in the U.S., not even a dog to pat whilst sitting on the front porch drinking beer. Nonetheless, he absolutely detested it. Said it wasn’t right. Maybe that was because he had lost his father in Korea, only a few years earlier, and now hated everything about war. Though, there were other possible reasons. Same as the “hippies” for example, the protesters against the war over rights issues. They knew nothing though. It was ridiculous that they thought it reasonable to falsely predict such a horrible experience they would never be victim to. Yet they did. And we were the ones blamed for all this.

The Clapboards

Mark Barwood, Year 12

Our house was just like any old house in any old suburb, lacking the sophisticated grandeur of the stone fortresses that interlocked the homely, weathered clapboards. There was something intangibly unique to it; as if the passing of time shaped it differently from others. The yellowing of the previously white walls and the rusting of the knee-high iron gate gave it a distinct character and experience, as did the equally high red wall that was more of a symbolic boundary than a protective one. In essence, it was home; the rough unkempt garden did not intrude on the house as if by choice, and the grass remained greener than the most vibrant shade of synthetic turf. It was natural, balanced, and endless days could be spent playing cricket in the backyard, while listening out for Mum’s call for meal times.

 

However, our humble abode was nothing compared to the stronghold that was the Andrews’ house. Steel gates protected their territory, with thick stone pillars on which rested their security. Their garden was one of beauty; perfectly tamed and colourful, the rectangular allotments of grass being cut with immeasurable accuracy. Despite this appearance, many a day I saw Mr Andrews furiously pruning the flowers and mowing the lawn, muttering to himself why the, “bloody lawn couldn’t stop bloody growing”. The house seemed ageless to me; the expressionless stone lingering forever in its youth, or perhaps its last days. Their block was of the same size to ours, along with the house, besides the additional second storey. Sometimes, when I saw their expensive sporting equipment strewn across their perfectly rectangular cricket pitch, I felt green with envy.

 

One day, my attitude was to forever change, a feat that the house could not accomplish.

 

It began in the morning at breakfast. I was eating my bowl of cereal while hearing Mum and Dad discuss the family trip away for the next holidays.

“We can’t afford the plane flights up north,” said Mum

“But with my extra savings from the repair work I’ve done for Mrs Brown, and the Christmas bonus work gave me, we can get pretty close,” Dad countered

“Look, why don’t we just stay home this Christmas; let’s face it, we are struggling.”

 

This was news to me – at 13 years of age I now understood the meaning of conversations such as these, no longer oblivious, as I was as a young child, to the effect of money on my life. However this was the first instance in which I had ever considered us to be in trouble financially. My thoughts immediately drifted to the Andrews next door. What lavish and expensive holiday would they be going on for Christmas? This was immediately disrupted by Mum, calling from down the hall, “Time to go to school!”. By this time having finished my food, I stood up from the table, took my bowl to the sink, and collected my school bags. I walked down the hall, hearing the creaking of the weathered floorboards beneath me. It dawned on me from that moment that perhaps the cracks in the walls, the creaky floorboards, and the faded path out the front were not just signs of the experience of the house, but rather indicative of something else.

 

I wasn’t sure how to feel; part sickened, part fulfilled. Everything made sense now. From that moment on, my perception was forever changed.

 

When I left the house, shutting the squeaky old door and walking towards Mum’s ‘vintage’ car, I could not help but notice the Andrews, also getting into their car. ‘Car’ was a bit of an understatement; it was certainly an impressive, new four wheel drive, almost like a tank. As my focus progressed to our neighbours, I began to hear snippets of their conversations;

“Dad, unlock the friggin’ car!” yelled the Andrews’ son.

“Jesus Christ, you don’t have to be bloody demanding all the time” Mr Andrew exclaimed.

“I shotgun the front seat,” their daughter teased

“That’s not fair! Dad, she rode in it last time!”

“Both of you shut up!”

 

This took me aback; never before had I spoken to an adult in that way. As I watched their petty arguments progress to insignificant things such as the clothes each other were wearing, my perception of the Andrews began to change. No longer did I see them as the epitome of style and class, but rather as they truly were. They were just like their garden; unnaturally pruned and influenced by the society in which they lived.

 

During the ride to school I pondered my experience. How could I base my perception of a family purely on their material value and worth? Sure, Mum, Dad and I argued occasionally, but the vast majority of the time we had a laugh and enjoy each other’s company. Another thought struck me; the difference between our games of cricket in the backyard. Whereas Dad and I had a good laugh, not worrying too much, time after time I heard the Andrews’ son being screamed at by his father for playing a “crap shot” and that he was “absolutely rubbish”. Our grass out the back could never compare with their immaculate pitch, perfectly rectangular, but I soon realised that there was more to life than reputation and status. After all, the clapboards were a homely sight that welcomed me everyday, while the fortress next door cast a shadow when I walked past.

Stolen

Henry Edwards, Year 12

I

My Gunyah, a place of serenity,

bordering clear streams and

lending an ear to the exultant sounds

of the children, and the reverberations of the land.

 

Then they came, bearing the marauder’s will.

Under the influence of ink on a page

they silenced us. Our tears shed for the death of the land,

our anguish for the lost and stolen children.

 

The soft winds and hushed murmurs of the trees

mocked our despair. Tears fell through bristly beards,

caressed wrinkled cheeks and spilled over solitary bosoms,

No manner of Arnhem ritual could bring them back.

 

My Gunyah, just memories in the red dust,

Buried with unfulfilled memories

and the deepest of loathing

of those that stole our future generation.

 

II

 

Foreign walls and frowning faces

No soft hands to hold me and no dreamtime

stories to take my mind off the present,

only silent tears.

 

It was like some strange festival, my kin came from all over,

Forced into a white obtrusion that stopped

my body breathing. We tried to run to our families,

Only to hear a snapping sound in the yard.

 

And red droplets falling into the dust that once sifted

between my toes. Strange men, spun-out robes and

stentorian tones crept into my mind, conflicting

with tales whispered by firelight.

 

And at night when the air is mournful and stale

I dream of my Gunyah.

Big Kahuna

Luke Beeson, Year 9

Two things were on my mind. The ball flying at me and the clock quickly creeping, lower and lower. Grand–final 2014, 82 to 79. Gutless efforts were everywhere and the grunts sounded on and on as calls were made for the leather to come their way. Playing in the guts, I was always exposed to the ‘rough and tumble’, that’s what my mum calls it, but today it was different. I had played in this position knowing the general ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ of putting your body on the line. The boundaries and limitations changed each game we played, but today was the Big Kahuna of the season.

 

My knee buckled as I flew for a pack mark and was left lower than the rest of the bunch, copping knees from all angles to the head… All I could remember was the clock’s vibrant glow glittering above the crowd’s gasps of terror.

 

I was awake again and all I could see was… the clock’s vibrant glow glittering up above everything. Medics rushed up to me and brought me to my feet. My knees trembled like my grandparents’ frail legs and I was escorted to the bench. As I took a seat and sculled the Gatorade, a ringing pierced my ears and my eyelids flickered as I dropped out of consciousness again, like a bird trying to fly again and again with no result…

The Wings On Our Backs – Thank You Guardians

Daniel Abimibola, Year 12

On angels’ wings, the bird sings, the owl is on its way,

On angels’ wings, the bat brings the raven its morning prey,

On angels’ wings, I start to think, what a beautiful summer day,

On angels’ wings, I start to soar and soon I’m out the door.

 

You see we have guardians,

They protect us, they care for us,

You see they follow us by day,

They love us, they shield us.

 

The bluebird wakes, it shakes its wings and soon it’s on its way,

With high stakes, the rooster sings and heralds the upcoming day.

 

But there’s something curious about the guardians,

You know, the ones that care for us,

You can’t see them by day,

And by night, they are invisible to us.

 

The sun makes, through the warmth it brings, happiness come and stay;

Chocolate cakes; a delightful roar, everyone’s asking for more.

 

You see these guardians are our wings,

They let us soar,

Son now let’s think,

Would you rather soar or be bored?

 

The day is still young, the words not yet sung, about the guardians’ wonderful deeds,

Use your tongue, leave your jaw hung, appreciate the guardians’ beautiful wings,

Look up in the sky, don’t cry, just come and fly with me,

Yes fly up high, you’re doing it right, flying people are we.

 

These guardian wings, yes it seems, that these guardian wings are for us,

Check your back, fly the track, just don’t fly into that bus.

 

The wings on our backs,

The guardians’ wings,

The ones they gave us, let us soar.

I think we shouldn’t lose track,

I think we should think,

I think we should thank them once more.

 

So thank you guardians,

For the wings,

Yes, thank you guardians,

For the wings on our backs.

Words

Lewis Orr, Year 8

The letter was only the start.

 

Of what, you may ask? Well, the start of a story, of course.

 

A story, a tale, about a world that lives before your very eyes…

 

An H on exactly the fourth row, seventy-eighth page, ninth Chapter, was going for a morning walk. He was trundling around the letters’ sleeping grounds, wondering where in the library he was, when he caught sight of an equation.

 

An equation.

 

Words don’t like numbers. Numbers don’t like words. It’s just natural, I suppose. Their territory is precious to each other and despite the fact that H had just walked into a page of sums, he was under the impression that they were invading a chapter. Invading.

 

The numbers, however, took no notice of H, still puzzling over the tender sum of 9 – 1. They were lost from a book on arithmetic and were trying to get themselves back into ranks.

 

H began puffing and huffing back to the sleeping grounds, bowling over a waking comma (“You’ll meet a sticky end one day”) and quickly informed the rest of the alphabet of the dilemma.

 

He was immediately bowled over by B, booming bashing chants, who was then crashed down by C, roaring about crushing something into crumbs. The letters were off.

 

Howling, screaming, roaring and chanting, they galloped down nine lines before A at the front smashed into a pudgy full stop, which was policing the paragraph.

 

“How dare you cross a whole paragraph without-” he began importantly. The letters immediately squashed him as they pounded forward, howling chants and yowling predator calls.

 

9, 8, and 1, four lines down, heard the chanting and were just thinking of leaving when The Alphabet jumped down a line and surged forward. They didn’t look happy.

 

Unfortunately, they got up to leave in the wrong order (891) and a white rubber plunged towards them, erasing them in a matter of seconds.

 

The disappointed alphabet trudged back to the sleeping grounds, for an extra hour of sleeping. Their page remains today.

 

It’s what you’ve just finished reading.

Impervious

Hamish de la Hunty, Year 12

The clock at the end of the room struck three, and with the dull, monotonous gong that chimed instantaneously was the rustle of files being tucked into their slots in briefcases that were systematically checked, closed, locked and patted. Like bees, the solicitors and barristers in the office filed through the two large, transparent, main doors, which had the title, “Hare and Tye Legal” printed on the outside. The walls of the room grew narrower as men and women bustled past each other, high-heels strutting on the marble with identical clicks, polished, black shoes adding a bass to the regular beat of people’s footsteps. They hurried to their sleek cars to get to their yoga classes, appointments or drinks with colleagues. There was always something on our schedule.

 

As I passed under the silver clock overhead, I saw the time: one minute past three, seventeen seconds. I checked my watch, which was nestled snugly against the hem of my pinstripe Armani Collezioni: one minute past three, five seconds. I quickly adjusted it to match the time of the clock – it wouldn’t do if I were twelve seconds late to a meeting, or interview, or… anything. I found my way into one of the three crowded elevators and moved into the corner, facing away from the others. I could see in the reflection of the mirrored walls the man who worked at the desk next to mine, Timothy Green. His hair looked oily and matted, his grey suit had a tear at the left elbow, and the glasses he wore did little to hide the crows’ feet at the corners of his eyes. I smirked to myself.

 

As soon as the doors split open I was moving – dodging past solicitors, secretaries; however before I could leave the building, a large, bulbous figure with a groomed, trimmed beard that was tied off like a rope stopped me in my tracks.

“Ready for your case tomorrow, Doherty?” the head of the firm, Peter Tye, asked.

“It’s Stanley, actually, Richard Stanley. And yes, I’ve been ready for this for quite some time now.” I paused, wondering if Peter had any interest at all, as he looked as if he was looking through a transparent wall, “Derek should be well in the clear, the way I see the trial going.”

“Good, good… I look forward to hearing about it, Shirley,” Peter said, before adjusting his tie and steering towards the bathroom.

No you don’t, I thought as he waddled away. Most of the time, during working hours, Peter stayed secluded in his office, accompanied only by the warmth of an espresso and morning newspaper, avoiding any involvement with the solicitors passing by.

 

I left the building and, upon feeling the cool gust of the westerly breeze, put my free hand up to my head to keep my hair intact. Not checking the oncoming traffic, I walked across the chipped, gravel road to my Audi R8 Spyder and hopped in. I may have appeared too confident in front of Peter, I thought to myself as I turned the ignition on. There was no denying that the case I had to argue was quite one-sided. Derek was a repeat-offender, and this time was accused of distributing enough arms to suburban gangs of teenagers to create a small army.

 

As I began to pull out, I watched Timothy swerve past in his Mercedes and give me a stupid, toothy grin. He knew that I was ticked off at him for swooping in on a murder trial last month, which I should have had. I was far more qualified than him. Then he had to go and win the case by a technicality, which led to him becoming the so-called “top dog” in the firm. I returned his smile through clenched teeth and felt the coarse sensation of grinding stone. I sped off in the other direction. The trial the next day was going to be difficult, but God help me I wasn’t losing it – I wouldn’t be able to bear seeing that arrogant, cocky smile of Timothy’s.

 

*

Halfway through the trial, I felt a bead of sweat trickling down the smooth contour of my cheekbone. I wiped it away quickly with one hand, and used the same hand to jab a finger accusingly at the prosecution.

“The evidence brought forward by the prosecution today is completely insubstantial in supporting the accusation of, and irrelevant to, the crime of gunrunning and dealing arms to minors. Mr. Carter’s only previous convictions resulted due to a minor assault and petty theft, and this, according to the prosecution, is enough to suggest a major leap into federal crimes.” So far, the jury was hanging on my every word. I paused to take a look at Derek, who sat behind where I stood. He had a coarse, rugged face that looked like it could cut through stone. He wore a mask of false confidence and prudence that I knew all too well. The stylish, grey suit he wore was poorly matched by the crude, silver stud embedded in his left ear. It gave off a totally wrong impression – if he thought he didn’t look like the leader of some type of organized crime ring, he was wrong. And it looked like I would need more of an edge to convince the jury otherwise. I still had one more card to play.

 

Half an hour later, we stood beneath an overhanging roof that guarded us from the tempestuous rain that had begun around the end of the trial. Derek patted me on the back and gave me a wink, and walked off under an umbrella. I felt a tug in my stomach as I smiled at the hardened criminal walking away scot-free. The alibi had worked, fortunately enough. All it took were two witnesses who claimed with all sincerity that Derek had been at a horse racing event on the night of the deal. I could return to the workplace tomorrow, victorious, and see Timothy pale at the realization that I was better than him at his job. Visualizing it, all I could see was Derek’s face and that knowing wink. I then thought about the man I had just stopped from going to jail, and forgot the petty competition at work.

 

There were no umbrellas around, and my car sat two blocks down, out in the rain. I stepped out from the cover of the roof that shielded me from the lashes and stabbing of cold, hard  water, and let it come as I walked. I felt my hair become matted and tangled, and the suit become dark with water, so I held a hand above my head as a mediocre guard. But what I felt most was a rope hauling at my stomach and tugging me down, towards the ground, and I could not shield myself from it, nor could I cut myself loose. I had more important things to do.

Drover Joe

Lewis Orr, Year 8

Up near the billabong,

Lay old Drover Joe,

Consorting with his cuppa,

And just about to go.

 

But near him lay old’ Roo,

Bouncing with delight,

And across the fields far farther,

There were wallabies in sight.

 

So Joe stroked young Bilby,

Laughed and smoked his pipe.

He said, “I ain’t leaving,

If my mind ain’t right!”

 

He stroked his beard and chuckled,

Gave his hat a tilt,

Kicked off his bootlaces,

And emptied out the silt.

 

He said, “I love the outback,

I wallow in the feel,

Of desert sun and long red plains,

And terriers to heel.”

 

He patted old loyal Rover,

The steadfast, faithful friend,

And sighed once more to contemplate,

How Yhi’s spirit would never end.

A Subtle Symphony

Tom Lavery, Year 12

I find myself close eyed; surrounded by quiet.

Auditory accessories standing acute.

It is now, that my ears realize the riot

For my surroundings are whispered. But not mute.

 

The glass window instantly shattered

A surplus of sounds surrounds me.

My preconceptions of silence scattered,

The tremendous rumble of epiphany!

 

Habituation muffled this continuous chorus:

The omnipresent murmur failing to be noted,

Constant yet camouflaged, like Leo and Taurus.

A fortress attainable, though deeply moated.

 

A canvas of Doctor-pushed Plain, calm once-in-a-lifetime

Splashed with the soft bustle of Fejoia, Box, and Gum,

And the single-syllable clang of cutlery chime,

Tangled together in harmonious hum.

 

The metallic whine of the freight brakes on rail

Over the continual backdrop of a cowbell ring.

Exaggerated gestures cueing a bellowing wail,

A contemporary cappella, whom twice daily sing.

 

The rumble of rolling rubber on road,

The engine’s whir, and then the brake’s soft squeak,

Flat black bitumen, then bumping a bulging barcode

A beautiful bouncy ballad, to Attfield Street unique.

 

The spinning washing machine of the neighbours,

The subtle steps of a ginger-cat, along with the jingle of his bell,

And the street’s dogs barking their intimidating belabours.

A turbulent tune, floating unhindered into the place where I dwell.

 

I find myself close eyes; surrounded by a subtle symphony of subverted silence.

Sanctuary

Vaughan Chin, Year 12

I gazed into the haggard eyes

Held by a boy no older than five,

Dulled pebbles, without a tear,

Suppressing burdened fear.

Stature bleak as the immuring walls,

With sealed lips of frosted thralls,

Echoes of aeons I shudder to hear.

 

Stifled gasps, reeking bodies,

Flickers, shadows, fading.

Piercing wails, without cease, wake

Drowning in uncertainty.

 

Bundled skeletons drift over brine,

Floating through swollen graves,

Parched faces mourn without weeping,

Eyes mortified with hunger.

 

Dawn emerges, dark clouds billow,

Raining divine relief

Without cease. Flooding, struggling,

Salvation turns to judgement.

 

Distant motion sparks candid hope,

Nearing pardon from the marine prison.

Hours become seconds, collapse into days,

The coffin stripped, painted with crimson.

Silent despair surmounts in a haze,

Leaving only violated whimpers.

 

Blinding searchlights, foreign tongues,

Another vessel, trembling and despair,

Lacking savagery, hope glimmers,

Taken to a place named ‘Australia’.

 

As I gazed into his haggard eyes

A fluorescent arm grasped his shoulder,

Pulled him away. Taking him back.

His mouth opened at last, released

A desolate scream, a primal lament

To shatter the stifling silence.

 

Whilst I stood unmoving,

The dust weeping in his trail,

His anguished cry for rest

Still echoing in my ears.

Girt By Sea

Connor Henderson, Year 12

To them she was the world,

Their provider of food.

One to care for, to be kept steady,

She helped them survive.

 

To them she was barren,

Wild and fierce, no rules or constitution,

Hostile, unforgiving, barbaric

She rejected them in kind.

 

To them she was a frontier,

A new locus to explore

The next step in their voyage,

She yielded to their onset.

 

To them she was a new start,

One to truly call their own.

For those young and free,

She welcomed them gladly.

 

To me, she is home.

The Fascinations of Millinery

Lewis Orr, Year 8

A keen eye descries some ludicrous hats,

Trilbies, and bowlers – all with ribbons to match,

All bobbing along in contentious bearing,

And representing the humans that had chosen them for wearing.

 

First came old top hat, from a day at the Club,

Swinging his cane and just dying to snub,

All hats who came beneath his wealth,

With no means to equal his portly health.

 

And the newsboy cap sang of new issues galore,

To which the beanie responded with a crude implore,

“Be quiet, ragamuffin, for you have no insight,

Into the biting cold weather and the climatic plight!”

 

Whilst the fedora was chuckling at these two hats wrangling,

He was nudged by the bonnet, who was weaving and tangling,

A gossipy rumour, and a scandalous tale,

About the pillbox’s romance and its doom to fail.

 

The straw hat looked on with the hint of a scowl,

At the bonnet’s forked tongue going rather afoul,

For the farmer was a character of simple folk,

A blunter knife, and a basic bloke.

 

The panama was grumbling to the beret beside,

Bemoaning economy, politics, the tide,

For pessimism did rule, his thoughts and his mind,

He honed it and groaned it, making sure that it shined.

 

Though one may interpret this tomfool society,

As lacking grace and allure, and a presence of piety,

It is they who serve a very true function,

One yielded at a most peopled junction.

 

For when the clouds draw back and harsh sunlight is rayed,

It is the hats who together provide the shade.

And when heads are warm until the day’s end,

It is hats to whom gratitude should be kindly sent.

A

Vaughan Chin, Year 12

I stand on ground where my father once stood,

To learn the shape of my barren standing,

Learning your mind’s roaming does you no good:

They tell me how I’m meant to be thinking.

 

Of streaks and scores on cellulose they stripped

From murdered Eucalyptus globulus.

All I’ve learnt is how one conjures an ‘A’,

One among countless etched throughout the way.

 

Shakespeare, Heaney, Malouf, Wilde. What made these

Names become heralds of doom? Surely not

Their masterful creations, but the rot

Filled gaols that compel hollow scrutinies.

 

O, for emancipation, liberty

Or life with meaning. For escape I plea,

Why should I be bound?

 

That’s it.

I’m done.

A Letter from a Son

Allwin Parker, Year 9

One day. Yes it was one day. It was a day of love.

 

A mother of a son was feeding her child in a home of two rooms. The mother was trying to feed her son but he was too playful. “A-O-I,” said the boy. “No, you can’t watch the TV” she said. The child started crying. “Ok, ok. Only if you take one spoon.”

The child took the scoop of porridge and gobbled it like a penguin, enjoying it with much pleasure. The boy started to watch the TV. “A-O-I-O-I”, said the boy, demanding to play with some toys. The mother said to the boy, “Ok. Only if you take another spoon”.

 

43 years later, the boy was a smart, busy gentlemen with his own family. He came to visit his mother in hospital. Her last words were, “I love you”.