AT COX'S RIVER, BLUE MOUNTAINS
© John Low
Under a sky the colour of weathered bone
we clambered, grasped at things to hold, and slid;
our dry mouths teased by the river below,
the sound of it cutting deeper
into the rutted land.
The river, first glimpsed, was a river of stones,
huge granite boulders moving at glacier speed,
the water hidden in crevices,
churning in khaki pools, pouring
into the shallow well of our hearing.
We found the cave and squatted there,
his old camp where time, measured by stone & water,
blinked its flint eye without warning,
the sound ricocheting out over the river stones
rolling off the valley’s tongue like a curse.
Above our stiffening recollection, above the river
and the rocks hammered clean of his memory,
the sky, splintered with rain, shuddered,
and light, almost tangible,
hung in the wet air like a shroud.
[A Shooting Party in the Megalong Valley, Blue Mountains, NSW, ca.1900.]