Paul Warren

Gold Star - 67,806 Points (ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA)

Science Fiction - The Maralinga Wave - Poem by Paul Warren

They had been on the road as backpackers travel
And had seen all that Australia offers and to marvel
They were riding their bicycles around to see the land
And we're going from Kalgoorlie to Ceduna in their plan

So they had gone off the Eyre Highway
And we're exploring the desert byways
But traveling by pedal power meant
That they had to camp at sundown in their bent

The sky at sunset in the Outback was a glee
In pastel colours of indigo, blue, brown and red to see
But this time the sky did not look right
And it seemed to swell and dance so bright

As the darkness won its celestial fight
In the near distance there appeared a light
So they decided to ride to the cattle station place
To ask to spend the night with the owner's grace

They rode down the dusty dry track
And saw the buildings in the style of the Outback
But the machinery had a mid century look
And the vehicles were Holden cars in a 1950s hook

A cattle station is always busy and bustling around
The end of the day occurred in the darkness surround
The evening meal and the usual end of day sound
That made the backpackers feel a warmth profound

They went to the kitchen door and knocked on it
And a tall aboriginal girl answered in her usual fit
To stay the night was what they asked
And the girl asked the owner and permission was passed

They joined the owner and joined in his dinner
When the meal was over the kitchen air grew thinner
So they went out on the veranda and on the horizon
There was a glowing glimmer that shone on

The owner spoke of times they had
And on the droughts that in the country were bad
The backpackers felt that the owner's ideas were not modern
But thought this was the isolation of the Outback all along

The owner said that that the radio had gone off that morning
And that the government had given out a warning
Of secret tests with the British at Maralinga
So they were told in that direction they should not linger

They thanked the owner and said they would go on
At an early hour and they would cycle along
So they retired to the spare room and slept
And at an early hour they to their timetable kept

In the east as they cycled on
There was a bright flash on the horizon
Just as the sun showed its face
Although strange they did not think it out of place

They cycled on throughout the day
And eventually into Ceduna on the west coast bay
Settling in a caravan park they went to the office
And were speaking to the owner of their travels to suffice

They mentioned to her of their night's stay
And how the station owner had a kindly say
But the story to the caravan owner did not have a ring
To her and the story did not to her the truth to bring

The truth to the story was strange indeed
And in the 1950's the British A- tests to succeed
Were exploded as the sun dawned in the sky
And a rip in time occurred as a ripple went by

A cattle station in the desert disappeared
And when the electricity in the sky is aired
Travellers talk of the cattle station again
And the station people who relive the day as it began.

© Paul Warren Poetry

Topic(s) of this poem: science fiction

Form: Prose Poem

Poet's Notes about The Poem

The British tested nuclear weapons at Maralinga in Outback South Australia in the 1950's. This poisoned the land and displaced local aborigines. Britain has never paid reparations to people affected by the tests. A story about lingering affects.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, November 19, 2015

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