You’ve always been a railroad man at heart.
We’re riding on the Northbound as it winds
up two tunnels, while its counterpart
is moving downhill on the other line.
your baseball cap
We caught the train from Junee at the start,
to catch this lap. I see your spirits climb
as the Southbound rumbles to the past.
Your smiles become a spiral, intertwined
end to end.
we watch the mural
The sun is out at last
to warm the future after your decline
slip-sliding downhill till new capsules sparked
a turnaround. The cancer’s now confined
to monthly checkups. Having lost its grip,
today you’re celebrating with this trip.
how long blues—
a hospital trolley
1. “How Long, How Long Blues” was recorded in 1928 by the American blues duo Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell.
2. Historically and scientifically rare, the Bethungra Rail Spiral between Junee and Cootamundra was built in the 1940s in New South Wales. It is the only 360-degree spiral in Australia and one of Australia’s most significant rail engineering feats of its time. The spiral is only experienced when travelling North.
YouTube video by Rod Williams (21 February 2014):
Bethungra Loop: Around the spiral: Australian Railways
is a poet and musicologist who is well published in Australia and internationally. Her collections include Step By Step: Tai Chi Meditations (Picaro Poets, 2018), Moonlight over the Siding (Interactive Press, 2019), Severed Web (Picaro Poets, 2020), and a verse drama, Please Add Your Signature and Date It Here (Litoria Press, 2021). Her sonnet collection A Hint of Rosemary is forthcoming.