NIGHTFALL IN MEDLOW BATH
(1)My first Blue Mountains journeys were on Sydney's country trains,
With scenery improving, once I'd gone past Emu Plains.
I did not know the passengers around me, but perhaps one
Might care to play a card game, since we'd only come to Lapstone
(2)I closed my vintage fiction novel fast. So I could then look,
To see surrounding bushland, as the train pulled out of Glenbrook.
The concrete steps and walkway, over roads and rails and tracks stand
Beside the station fences, built more recently in Blaxland.
(3)Excited tourists took in views, and were not sorry too,
That urban redevelopment had not occurred in Warrimoo.
The summer sun that made them hot, and burnt their skin shall be
Forgotten now in Springwood, not too far from Winmalee.
(4)The clear far western air was like that from an open fridge:
And all the fruit was tasty at the shops in Falconbridge.
I underlined one station on timetables, with a thin pen.
You need to tell the guard if you intend to stop at Linden.
(5)My carriage weaving past the hills would often strike a good chord,
As I looked up at overpasses linking roads to Woodford.
My adult self did not forget the early childhood days he took
Excursions with school second class beyond the streets of Hazelbrook.
(6)The bushwalks were worth doing, and these verses should endorse one.
My ears repressurized, to suit the greater heights of Lawson.
The fields were green, and gumtree trunks a somewhat duller colour,
And horses drank fresh water from a pond in Bullaburra.
(7)A roundhouse in a paddock, with tall arches in its walls,
Preceded several pine trees that I passed in Wentworth Falls.
The suburbs further on provided still more atmosphere:
The highest peaks and widest views that came with that lost year.
(8)The weekend trips grew cooler, as the months became a memory:
February, March and April. Each of them was only temporary.
The further up I went each time, before I'd be alighting,
The more the sights I saw up there were ever more exciting.
(9)The red leaves looked as they did, in a 1900s autumn.
I needed winter gloves, and found a clothing shop, and bought some.
The flowers in the gardens of a holiday retreat
In bloom would make the image in my photograph complete
(10)In Medlow Bath, a friend and I went searching for an airstrip
Out somewhere in the bush. I asked a lady with a hairclip,
If she might know the route we'd need to find our destination.
The travel map I'd used had aged too much since publication.
(11)That 1997 afternoon in mid-July
We waited for our fellow mountain walker's best reply:
"I haven't come across that place in any of my walks,"
She said, as night began to fall on dandelion stalks.
(12)My friend and I discussed new ways to make the night go well,
And watched the lights go on outside that suburb's grand hotel,
Enjoyed its lounge room fire, and then went home by heavy rail,
Imagining those three explorers charting out a trail.
(13)Thankfully, since they produced their maps on ancient parchments,
No-one found a way to bulldoze through those high escarpments.
Now, years later, still convinced that mountain life was best,
I relocated to this land beyond the city's west.