This poem is the first in a series of poems about the great flood in Queensland in 2010/11 (you may have already read some of the other flood poems in previous blog posts).
In all innocence
We had river views and cafe latte,
renovated wool sheds and city cats.
We had Wivenhoe and victory
over nature and the flood plain,
a brave knight to fight our battles,
in valleys and hills, back there.
We had drought-desiccated memories
of the flood of ’74, and flood map
property searches (post Wivenhoe)
to make us buoyant.
Our Li-Lo was about to burst!
I am an Australian poet, writer, blogger, psychologist, wife, mother of two children, autism and environmental advocate, and mad animal lover
Australian poetry, flood poem, Gabrielle Bryden, great flood, poem, poetry, Queensland flood 2011
October 5, 2011 at 11:35 am
ps. Wivenhoe is a dam that they built behind Brisbane after a huge flood in 1974 (it was supposed to ensure we would never have another flood like that one) – they had flood maps which estimated what the flood levels would be like (post Wivenhoe). It obviously wasn’t as effective as they thought it would be, because the flood of 2011 had levels just below 1974, but much more damage because of development and huge increases in the population of the city.
A Li-Lo is a blow up air mattress 😉
October 5, 2011 at 4:44 pm
Living in Brisbane near the river and living in Eastern Japan have one thing in common. You will be flooded again some time.
But you captured the laid back li-loed feeling of brisbane, a beautiful city in the flood free years.
October 6, 2011 at 12:35 pm
Thanks Stafford – I thought Brisbane would get flooded again, even with Wivenhoe – we used to live in a street in Auchenflower and it got flooded regularly (being almost on the same height as the river level) – this flood our old house got covered up to the roof.
October 5, 2011 at 7:43 pm
It’s hard to remember a place of devastation when everything is all beautiful and sunny. It’s like the same thing with moods: It’s impossible to remember exactly how it felt to be depressed when you are feeling fantastic, and so hard to prepare for it. No way THAT’S going to happen again!
October 6, 2011 at 12:36 pm
That’s so true squirrel – humans have notoriously short memories for the hard times 😉 – maybe that is why we rarely learn from our mistakes.
October 6, 2011 at 1:16 am
Thanks for the explanation of terms…it helped me to interpret the poem better.
I have to keep in mind my friends from the North of this planet slpmartin 🙂
October 6, 2011 at 10:21 am
“drought-desiccated memories” – brilliant! Probably just as well otherwise we wouldn’t get on with life with renewed hope. Enjoyed all the wry word play in this poem
October 6, 2011 at 12:40 pm
Thanks bluebee (thanks for picking up on the ‘wry’ aspect – I am having a little dig at the cafe latte set who live it up by the river – haha – I always wanted to live in a renovated wool shed – they were the working wool sheds along the river, which are now very upmarket – but couldn’t afford too – now I’m glad I didn’t.) I am one of the people who worry all the time about disasters like the flood – and people are always telling me I am nuts to worry – hmmm!
October 6, 2011 at 4:02 pm
It was an incredible time… a time where the best and worst of humanity were on display…
a time when the sound of the river swallowed us all.
October 7, 2011 at 9:02 am
as it should – haha – thanks Graham 🙂
October 6, 2011 at 8:06 pm
I still can’t get enough of poems about that time. I like the ‘false sense of security’ you set up here Gabrielle.
October 7, 2011 at 9:04 am
Thanks piedhillprawns. I think it is good that so much has been written about the floods – that’s what they did in olden days – document major events via poetry and drama 🙂 we must continue the tradition.
October 7, 2011 at 10:11 am
I suppose that is the beauty and the terror of the river. It could turn on us at any time. I wonder if people’s memories are as short after the floods this year. The Li-Lo bursting is such a great and ominous image.
October 7, 2011 at 11:06 am
Thanks Selma – I think it is the Developers who have the shortest memories 😉 or is that selective memories!
October 7, 2011 at 10:22 am
I will read the series with interest — what a amazing topic — so monstrous huge. Already you set the stage with the guileless tranquility before …
October 7, 2011 at 11:07 am
Thanks Aletha – as I have already put up some of the series, it won’t have the effect of the sequence – but one day I might put it together in a print 🙂
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