Liminal Poems from the Liminal Zone

Rob Harle

- Robert Maddox-Harle


Driftwood Obelisk

The liminal zone surrenders her secrets,
hidden beneath rocks
below the pond-sand’s shelf
tippling on the tidal ebb,
this masterpiece of nature’s art
demanded to be saved.
Air – Fire – Water
the tools of creation
palpable in the sculpture’s essence.
The Obelisk lay ensnared in a salty crevice,
Iluka Bay where mermaids sing
and dolphins frolic,
a home of transfigured treasures.
Where fishing boats lay tethered
waiting for the next poem
to write itself upon the silvery sea.


Belongil Morning

The silvery sea reflects unknowable shapes
the pre-dawn-dark eerie and confusing,
she strolls undaunted over wet sand
foaming ripples cooling her mind.

The first orange rays glisten across the sea
kissing the crumbling sand dunes
dissolving those strange sea ghosts,
a warm peace and calm descends.

She drops to her knees on the white sand
marvelling at the singular solitude
unthinkable in her native Europe,
a pilgrim on the global route to Byron.

A morning meditation in the arms of nature,
the waves’ gentle crashing soothes a busy mind,
the lack of city noise calms a modern mind,
she drifts into the deceptive spirit of The Bay.

Blood curdling screams resonate inside her head,
cries of anguish pulsate against her temples,
her heart is racing, thumping hard
as she falls helplessly into an unchartered time-warp.

Whale’s blood drips over her eyelids,
shrieks of splintering trees pierce her ears,
howling anguish of slaughtered indigenous spirits chill her bones
muffling the screeching death-cries of cattle and pigs.

The invisible time-warp portal closes,
sparkling blood-red reflects in the calm sea,
peaceful solitude returns
her bewildered mind returns to Bay Central.

Her morning meditation agitates her deeply
as she pushes frantically down the crowded concrete,
clear to Bundjalung Elders - The Bay holds deep secrets
hidden beneath the ‘New Age’ crass commercial gloss.

A transubstantiation transforms whale meat into Vegan bread,
preservation, conservation replaces ‘Big Scrub’ destruction,
the Lighthouse may be coming full-circle
as the energy of the new Cosmic Dance heals The Bay?

NB: Belongil is a beach at Byron Bay, the most easterly point of Australia. Now a haven for back-packers & home for New Age healers, writers, artists & musicians it recently was a place of slaughter – trees, animals, whales and Indigenous Australians!


Going Home

The voices start softly
singing sweetly,
build to a crescendo
then fade momentarily
mimicking the relentless surf.
Come Home! Come Home!

The mermaids beckon seductively
my return inevitable,
only the foolish deny their hearts
pretending logic rules
pretending reason reigns supreme.

Rising and falling of the tide,
the salt sea air
seductive nectar of Poseidon,
shimmers above the shoreline zone
where sandstone reality
becomes spiritual metaphor,
where one’s soul resonates in universal harmony.

Mermaids beckon irresistibly,
secrets of Neptune and Poseidon
are revealed in spiralling spray,
dolphins cruise with happy smiles,
Manta rays glide past
models for intergalactic spacecraft.
More mermaids beckon irresistibly,
building to a cascading crescendo,
Allegro.
Come Home! Come Home!



No Thoroughfare!

How much we’ve lost in progress,
the sign saddens me
remembering earlier times
free in spirit
free to roam,
wandering shorelines
casting fishing lines.

The liminal transition zone
a place of mystery and magic,
free to prise oysters from the rocks
as clean water flowed over bare feet
marvelling at the creatures of the tidal zone.

No Thoroughfare!

Gaol-like fences keep out the peasants
keep out trespassers
or are they to keep the greedy inmates, in?

The public waters lap at the fence
eroding the cheap steel
just like the erosion of our rights,
the rights of The Everyman.


Pumpkin Creek

guarded by dense mangroves
a million miles from the fast lane
the humble house awaits

rocky outcrops and eucalypts
the Hawkesbury signature
symbols of an ancient land
dominate my vision

boat access only!
psychic adjustments required here
a reconnection with time and tide;
this is wild country
a place for creating,
a place to reassess values,
a place to laugh at our self-deceptions

the sturdy jetty
a safe landing point
beckons,
my little boat approaches
whoosh, whoosh
and the sun caresses this Nirvana.



The Pram

he pushes a pram slowly,
deliberately, thoughtfully
along the river’s edge path.

salt air, divine nectar kisses his face.

deftly he plucks up rubbish
plastic bottles
plastic bags
plastic “stuff”,
stuffing them in the pram,
a desperate effort to turn the tide
to clean the filth of human thoughtlessness.


Time and Tide

I watch the glassy waters recede,
pulled towards the sea
relentless, silent.

Lady Luna smiles
her invisible force, irresistible
the daily, hourly movement
sketches time.
Like a skilled strip-tease artist
she exposes the delicate liminal zone
a naked body lying between wet and dry.

The ebb and flow
harbinger of civilization
ruler of romance
creator of cultures.

This incessant flow defines time,
understand this well homo-electronicus.

Bits of techno-gadgetry,
like a conjuror’s illusion
fool us every day,
keeping us comatose,
pacifiers of harsh reality
and the cold hard shards of existence,
Time and Tide wait for NO ONE!


The Mermaid

Keeping her lone vigil
the enigmatic Iluka mermaid waits,
arm raised shielding her moist eyes,
the setting sun glistens
dancing across the mirror-glass water.

Her ancient ancestor Atargatis,
great Syrian goddess
not to blame really
though the legend remains.

The trawlers head seaward,
wave to their protectress
crucial for a safe return
no guarantees in this work,
the sea is a cruel mistress
but the spiritual connection remains.

Ploughing through the plankton-green sea
engine humming a tinnitus tune
a perfect beat,
a heartbeat for the fishermen,
slowly
the dark of night nudges in.

The Iluka mermaid breathes easily again,
the trawlers return
the sun pushing them in,
a gentle bow wave slides across the bay.

Her eyes are dry,
now she settles in for the day.

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