Tourist At Home – Danny Gardiner

That’s what I feel when I return.

With Arabic and Chinese in the Auburn street

And a Market Plaza smelling like a chargrilling souk.

With halal and shisha and sandalwood

And a railway station washed in human colours.

Where is our Auburn in Anglo Saxon speak?

The hedgerows and horse and buggy air?


I’m standing in the park towards midnight

What ghosts can be summoned now, there?


Is that sighing not the lowing of 24/7 traffic

Or the arc of a low flying jet before curfew

But the heavy-breathing dance of the original inhabitant?

In a song-totem that once only the coots and the parrots

roos, wombats , tree bears and snakes

had a mind to accept – as a guardian not a scourge.


Far from the lurks of rogue spirits from Rookwood

or the peacocks in uproar at the art of the gallery

it’s the song of regret for a relic shorn of purpose

lost midst the fervor of data and wi-fi.


On this last vestige of grass

In a park at midnight

My naked feet its tentacles gently exploring

Liberty in its authenticity – finds harbor.