Tragedy at Surfers’ Paradise – Ian Gibbins

Strangeness brewing, an indeterminate to and fro,
afloat between brazen towers of lofty ambition
and seductive inaccessibility, between the west,
(high tide mark) and east (low tide), slipping away.

Slipping away, with nothing but trouble ahead:
listen to the boatmen, the surfers, the islanders ashore,
nothing but coincidence of swell and berm and bar,
listen to nothing but wave action, the rip calling.

Rip calling, this flotsam chorus, this unrehearsed
driftwood aria: silver gull (legless), dragonfly
(death-dull), leatherjacket (fin-stiff), the cloud
(Coral Sea, southbound), sub-cyclonic, building.

Sub-cyclonic, building: should we continue?
Is the time right to bare our skin, to dive and
pitch and roll? Should we close our eyes, lose
touch with sand, shifting, no matter how quick?

How quick? A chance you’ll hear our voices above
the wave-lash, the air-surge once ours to savour.
As we count darkness in twos and threes and fours,
our blue days, so fascinating, draw forever apart.