Splintered words rising with the heat rising,
off the silver-tongued creek water, flowing

down massive ancient rocks, worn out
with tears from the dreamtime

and winds from the breath of the land,
whispering the secrets, the secrets,

and pooling in the deep waterhole,
while distracted teenagers laugh and freefall

from stone diving platforms, plunging
into the unknown, sinking to depth

then remerging to gulp air, and to clamber
up the rocks to do it all over again.

The sun watches as shadows disappear.


You may like to listen to the theme music from the movie Picnic at Hanging Rock while reading my poem.

27 thoughts on “Waterhole

  1. Thank’s for this wonderful word-picture. It reminds me of some poems we used to have to memorise when I was at primary school, and which spoke to me personally (as yours does) when I wandered down to our local creek during the summer holidays.

    But more importantly, where I live now, is named Clay Waterholes, aptly, after the name of the creek.


  2. Picnic At Hanging Rock was one of the first Australian movies I ever saw and the memory of it has always stayed with me. Your imagery fits the mood of that film so well. I particularly like – ‘the silver-tongued creek water’, and the ‘rocks worn down with tears from the dreamtime.’ Hooley dooley. They are absolute corkers.

    You’ve got the mystical vibe of the Australian landscape right there. So mysterious, so evocative. Brilliant!

    1. Thanks Selma – it is one of my favourite movies and I just love the music – the best thing about the movie is how you are left up in the end about what happens (though I have since found out that the author wrote a final explanatory chapter, which involves of all things – holes in time – it was a good decision not to include the final chapter in the movie – talk about destroying the suspense). I always feel a spiritual vibe from waterholes and the like – a powerful force in the rocks and the hills.

  3. i really like the effect of reading the poem while listening to the music! a really cool thing, the linkage. i left the youtube playing on a page in the background, placed the poem over it and so it seemed to be coming from the heart of the poem. very interesting effect. geniusity!

  4. This poem gives me goosebumps, Gabrielle – I love the sense of the ancient that it evokes, the snake-tongue and Dreamtime imagery, the mystery in “whispering the secrets, the secrets”, and the sense of unease created by “distracted teenagers” and the image of the sun watching.

    (I’ve always loved Australian movies even before I came to live here and ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ is up there with the best of them.)

    1. I am so happy to hear people love ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ – it is way up there on my list of favourite movies too 🙂 – the music makes the movie I think. Sibilance is a wonderful word in it’s own right – haha! Thanks acadianeire.

  5. A fantastic poem Gabrielle … I like the mix of ancient vs youth.
    Picnic At Hanging Rock is a film that has stayed with me over the years … the music and the story continues to fascinate. 🙂

  6. Oh wow Gabrielle, love the rocks and the time represented here. You drag me back to dreamtime then forward to hanging out at Qld and NSW creeks as a teenager. Love Hanging Rock too. Haunting pan pipe.

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