Saturday, May 29, 2010

Zorro of the North West

You know, I get it, I really do. Having been a Melbournian for twenty years, I understand the need to make haste for the pool whenever the sun peers out from behind a cloud. After all, that cheeky golden grin may only last five minutes. And there are three more seasons yet to expect in that day. Maybe four times over. And maybe including snow.

But when you live in the desert, somewhere like the north west of Western Oz in my home of seven years, oh how quickly you come to expect the heat. In summer our temperatures remain at about forty degrees celcius or so. I don't get in the pool now until it hits at least 37 degrees. Thus, when winter comes and the days (although still lurid blue and ceaselessly sunshiney) crawl below thirty degrees, the idea of swimming is simply ludicrous. Unless, that is, you're on holiday here. Unless, perchance, you're just visiting. Unless, oh yes, you're from Melbourne.

This poem is for my beloved Melbourne, for friends who visit and provide us a winter laugh by diving in deep. And for anyone else on our planet who would eagerly jump into the pool, in the Pilbara, in winter. I'll be in to join you soon! Try...November. 

Of course, by then we have cyclones. And they're another story entirely.

North West Superhero

The plane was right on time,
the heels were quite refined,
the general Savour Faire was ripper mate.
No one had drunk too much rum
with ties ad infinitum
arrived from chilly Melbourne to our state.

And out they stepped this pair
with faces worn by fear
of dodging trams and tumbling black umbrellas
in freezy winter breezes,
frapp├ęd with chunky sneezes
and pale, these two were salty white, I tell yas.

She was, from head to toe,
dressed inn black, uh huh, you know
just how it is when you forget the sun.
Forget you ever could
go out without your hood,
without your bits snapped frozen - that’s the one!

He though, let’s call him Paul,
escaped the eastern squall
deciding that he’d try to match the trend.
A walking suit in I.T.,
today he’d donned a flannie,
a metrosexual sin, let’s not pretend.

So Paul and his dear wife
(so as not to cause strife,
let’s call her Flower, a floral pseudonym)
were here for seven days
the heady heat to praise
and had on their agenda just one thing.

And with their little boy,
the cutest cuddly toy,
Paul wanted but to live the tropic dream.
He stripped off instantly
for all the world to see
which caused a royal shock and some to scream.

(Now, just a small aside,
a turning of the tide
to put this keen display into perspective -
Flower: pragmatic, British
refined and never skittish
and Paul: stuck long indoors a corporate captive.)

But there he stood, defiant
and rather uncompliant,
gazing through the gates and not quite nude.
Not nood as one might say, but
Nyuuuude, called Flower, ‘Hooray!’
‘We’re here to swim!’ cheered Paul, ‘So let’s go dude!’

For them, the height of heat,
a temperature to beat
of thirty three, or two, or one, at dawn.
For them, insanely hot,
for Pilbara folks, quite…not
with me there in a jacket on this morn.

Too brrrrrrr for me by far
but Flower’s pool wear, it starred,
‘twas elegant with brimmed hat, sunnies, cream
and I shivered inside out
as I watched them swim about
living what we call the ‘Pilbara Dream.’

It’s the dream of bright hot days
of gold, that Yabu* haze,
of singing, dancing sunlight under trees
of floating through the water
and dressing as you oughter
in nearly next to nothing in the breeze.

And when they were all done,
their time out in the sun,
Paul joined his lovely Flower sipping tea,
‘My darling Paul, you’re burnt;
I thought you might have learnt
your skin can’t take this; you’re more pale than me!’

‘I know, but I’m the man!’
Paul took his darling’s hand
and then she burst out laughing through the air.
‘Oh Paul, you missed a tad
of sunscreen, my dear lad!’
‘So what?’ replied young Paul scratching his hair.

The feat, remarkable,
now irreversible,
a lightning bolt burnt right across his face.
‘My love, you look like Zorro
and probably will tomorrow,
a streak scorched Pilbara superhero. Ace!'

Well, Paul, now marked, was chuffed,
burnt beautifully, enough,
their lightning trip now took on greater meaning.
And my bones chilled as they'd swum
but God, did they have fun
and ZORRO! of the north west flew home gleaming.


© Elise Batchelor 2010
* 'Yabu' means 'gold' in aboriginal Wongatha language

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