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Poetry

Deep: Indian Ocean view from the Blue Duck Café, Cottesloe

The sea rolls flat, pleasant and blue under a warm sun. In the distance, ships glide easy toward the horizon. An occasional white-crested ripple breaks the bland surface. Seabirds and swimmers enjoy meeting the friendly edges of the ocean.

But further, deeper, who knows what may be broiling and toiling?

Above, all is clear: below, all occluded. Hidden currents flow while tides pull and surge in collusion with an invisible moon. In dark waters misted with fine sands, creatures linger amid curling fronds of weed, waiting for the surprise of darting fish. Rocks lurk for unwary mariners.

The experienced are prepared for more than they can see.

White sands burn and glare along the shore. Cool waters invite pleasure-seekers to splash and laugh. None venture far, preferring to anchor themselves in the firm footing of packed sand beneath soft wavelets, fearing loss of contact with the safety of everyday earth. Slippery patches of weed waving just under the surface are best avoided.

The depth remains aloof, untested, barely known even to itself. Its mood can change in a moment from light to dark and dark to light, sometimes mixing both in fragile playfulness.

Stirring the deep, something moves, slowly, deliberately, clouding the holding waters.

 

The Blue Duck is an iconic Cottesloe café overlooking the Indian Ocean. In October 1997, Ken Crew, a regular morning swimmer, was killed by a shark only a few metres from the café and very close to the shore.


From Griffith Review Edition 47: Looking West © Copyright Griffith University & the author.

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