I like to create a strong sense of place when I write. I find it grounds my stories and poems. Pre-pandemic, Bronte Beach was one of my favourite homes-away-from-home. I used to hang out in a cafe there writing in my notebook. My poem Bronte Beach is entirely grounded in place. It was first published in Wild anthology (Ginninderra Press, 2018). Have a read. Hope you enjoy it.
The surf’s been hammered by rain,
and along the pavement open-faced cafes wedge side by side:
compact, glass-fronted, in flattened
Art Deco buildings, with competing blackboard menus.
Rain drips from the edge of the canvas awning,
and a smell of fried fish in rancid oil
through the mouth of the sliding door
as an oversized bus pulls in and blocks the view.
Marooned on the swell are wet-suited board riders,
unwavering as the cliff face above the rocks that define the beach.
Beyond the rock pool the waves
remain stubbornly low spreading a shallow calm.
The rain settles, rusting roof racks in the salt air,
and those expired meters will upset the fattened
people-who-lunch in the darkening afternoon.
All day the treacherous ocean scours
the man-made sea pool, where
all-weather swimmers scan the water
for migrating dolphins or whales.
A white-hulled speedboat appears
in the grey-blue, travelling north,
and the black-clad board riders wait,
grounded, legless pigeons who can,
in a heartbeat, fan their iridescent wings.
Squabbling seagulls swoop and dive
and chase each other between the palms,
each white slow and steady flap of wings
picked up by the whiteness of the backwash
of the speed boat out there on the pastel-pink ocean,
disappearing behind the haze.
Copyright 2018 Libby Sommer