Parramatta Park

Along Sorell Street
the birds are waking in the half-light
between moon and sun-shine.
Along the grey highway
the rising sun beams its rays,
warming Cathedral stones to gold.

Along bleak Marsden Street
restless winds blow shreds of torn paper.
The swaggie stirs his old bones under his blanket,
and wagtails gather for their daily ration.

Near Brislington, bold iron lace Tudor Gates,
black scrolls flanked by glowing red-cream towers,
proclaiming colonial glory, cry
“Welcome, welcome, to the Governor’s Domain!
Here convict armies slave, and dairymaids rise early,
and Lords and Ladies dance and dine and pray!”

I enter; here a row of graves is set;
and where the Governor bathed, is emptiness.
The swaggie casts his crusts to the four winds,
and Pemulwuy’s Dreaming flies and lives and sings.

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“Parramatta Park” takes the reader for a short reflective stroll through city streets that resound with echoes of Australia’s colonial history.

Elizabeth Sheppard is an Australian writer, poet, composer, singer, photographer and artist.

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