Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In the Kanangra Boyd State Forest

you still haunt me after I’d forgotten you and the dream
I thought you were buried and at peace
but find you still live on, both of you, and me with you, in that last adventure

I do not have your courage would not have tried the feat you attempted
perhaps you were not brave either until you found you had no choice
and then the matter was resolved and contracted in a black hole fist
was it thirst that you last thought of or hunger
or did the blessed cold reduce your sensations so only the animal plodded on
until that part had to stop?

I know you felt elated at survival
winning the lottery of air crashes
I was with you, I was there
how excited we felt
unconquerable, on top of the world

I’d hurt my leg, the going was very rough
and the burns left us a bit shaky

perhaps it was shock rather than elation that leant us our wings to descend to the water
the cold crept on, and simple disorganised life became implacable
the cold   the wet, we began to panic
we can’t be that far away
the mist in the trees like porridge
false warmth, false nourishment
we are mates, we’re blooded now

when we’re in our forties, telling our teenage sons how we survived
walked out of the crash and they confess they’ve got their girlfriend pregnant
or have been expelled from school
we will laugh and ring each other up and say
“you haven’t forgotten have you, how great it is to be alive?”
our wives will shake their heads
we’re special you and me

you still haunt me boys, mates
I thought I’d buried you
but the journalist in his money-for-old-rope article brought you back

I can still feel you on the track in the stumbling root infested rock barrages city shoes
I didn’t want to read the colour supplement autopsy of your last days

our dream was enough

your lives came to me in news bulletins on the radio
your deaths were a shared experience
that flapped through the murky ether to my witness
perhaps I must challenge the morality of colour supplements and proclaim our truth
what really happened to us

what really happened
could I say we were happy?  thrilled, excited?
whichever one of you I was?
could I tell our parents the cold death was worth that feeling of winning?
or maybe it wasn’t
maybe their loss, or what they would’ve gained if only we’d done
if only they’d done
how could they give up so soon?

I knew we were alive

note from:

TYPE: Callout NOTIFIED BY: Insp. Dennis Rayner - Bathurst
DATE: October 27th, 1993 MAP USED: KANANGRA
PARK: Blue Mountains National Park
Search for missing airmen who crashed in Wheengee Whungee Creek, Kanangra.
After the first media reports of a missing Socata Trinidad plane being found, S&R rang Oberon Police
to offer assistance in the land search for the missing occupants.
Oberon police contacted S&R on Monday night at 7.10pm and asked for our assistance. The base
was to be Whalans Paddock just south of the Boyd Crossing Kanangra.
S&R were able to field approximately 35 members including base personnel and were able to field 8
search parties.
The search area was based around the crash site on grid 288290 down into Spinebender Creek,
Wheengee Whungee Creek, Christys Creek and ending at the Kowmung.
The first body, badly decomposed, was found at 10.35 am in Wheengee Whungee Creek at grid
309288. The second body was found in the creek approximately 40 minutes later 150 metres
downstream. Crisis incident debriefing was offered to all members who were with the bodies and
assisted the police.



Dave King said...

I think this poem has the power to do its own haunting. I shall definitely be back for another read, but I need a bit of space first. I do not think I have ever read anything like it.

versebender said...

Beautiful area, but a rough place for survival...especially after a crash. Haunting, haunting, exquisite piece. Vb

jen revved said...

This is a searingly beautiful poem, Isabel. Very powerful and tender. Thanks for stopping by-- yes, I knew women aren't allowed in minarets, but the speaker in my poem has gone mad. xxxj

lucychili said...

a powerful poem

Willow said...

I was mesmerized by your imaginary accounting of this crash, with your end "I knew we were alive." Stunning.

Stafford Ray said...

All the above. How amazing, your immersion into the minds and the last hours of those who almost survived. And I do know Oberon when it is cold and bleak.