These paper boats of mine are meant to dance on the ripples of hours, and not reach any destination... Rabindranath Tagore

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past...F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby

We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.
On the way to the river are the old dormitories, used for something else now, with their fairy-tale turrets, painted white and gold and blue. When we think of the past it's the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.
--from Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul.
- Joyce Carol Oates

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Raw Music of The Secret River

Thornhill's Point was so far from
Will's own Thames
As far as the convict ship Alexander
Could weather the distance
Without breaking

Untamed Thornhill's Point on
The untamed Hawkesbury was 
His adopted dream
(Once he had his ticket of freedom)
And Sal's interim 5 year dream
Till the real dream of Home
Could return

He changed
They changed
London became
Shapeless Story

And to the children
That Home was
Just a word

Confronting those who roamed this land before him
He felt naked
He felt small
Words were just a wall
But she felt...
She simply felt
Connected to 
The beauty of a black woman's

A scorching world in January
Flies and 
Speckled lizards
But in the cool of the mangroves and
The river oaks
And armed with a hearty pannikin of tea
A bit of kangaroo for
A bag of flour)
It could be easy 
To pretend
Here was heaven

But the Secret River funnelled into
A dark season
A fear of spears and 
Ruined corn and
Frozen eyes and
Ragged breathing

Seasons pass
Thornhill's Point faded and
And Cobham Hall 
Brandished a fine stone house with
A fine red velvet armchair

Had sailed

But heaven seemed

Give a little Take a little
A precious

Kate Grenville is an Australian writer from Sydney - The Secret River (2005)


The Secret RiverThe Secret River by Kate Grenville
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For some, the Hawkesbury River north of Sydney, in the 19th century, was a wild place where only madmen venture. Some find its secret beauty, but only realise that priceless magic when the glittering wealths of life entice them away.

View all my reviews

Goodreads Discussion: I especially love the image of William Thornhill finally locked into his Cobham Hall and viewing his Hawkesbury escapades through a spyglass with a sad yearning! He knew that he came close to real beauty but let it slip through his "social status" fingers. Meanwhile, he saw that the Aboriginal, close to the Earth, really lived with true beauty. A very symbolic, challenging moment!

Linking to:
Real Toads ~ Open Link Monday


Daydreamertoo said...

Sounds like a good book too!

Kerry O'Connor said...

I think this is a most original way to review a book.

Margaret said...

I so love this idea. Impressions/emotions often linger after reading a good book and this is a great way to share it! Brava ... I'll have to look into this one.

kez said...

cool certainly leaves me wanting more ...thanks for sharing x

K McGee said...

It is incredibly creative the way you turned your review into a poem and how beautifully the poem could also stand alone.

Susan said...

I enjoyed the poem and the review. In fact, I am coming to look forward to Australian poetry.

Mary said...

Love this unique book review, Gemma!

Mary said...

Truly an enjoyable book review in poetry form.

Mary Mansfield said...

What a unique format for a book review! Definitely going to have to check that book out. Very nicely written.

kaykuala said...

This is great Gemma! A clever twist to the staid and dry comment otherwise! I often wonder how a book review can do full justice to the book. You've adopted a stunner. Great verse!


Ella said...

Great idea to review a book in a poem! It is intriguing like a mysterious puzzle..when can solve when we read it ;D

Mary Ann Potter said...

Your poem inspires me to read this book! So well done with unique imagery.

Herotomost said...

Makes me want to sad the book. Your writing was an adventure all on its own, and would beautifully through the beauty of a harsh landscape. Loved it.

Kay L. Davies said...

Beautifully done, Gemma. I would never have thought of a book review poem, but this is lovely. I agree, the aboriginal peoples of whatever continent are the ones who see its beauty most clearly.

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