Douglas Park

There is a place,
Gum wooded in its brown valley,
River bounded, Englished to green and colour at its core,
Sandstoned, bricked and timbered, castellated and barned,
Jumbled to a symmetry of form
that off handedly ignores its parts
Into a triumphant whole.
It is a place where a tilted cemetery dreams of a kingdom
Now and then encountered; a place of silence
Where the sorehearted traveller rests the limbs
Of bruised life
and sleeps.
It has been a place of men,
and holds the soft, hard flavours
Of Australian maleness; casual and forgiving
Gruff, astringent, awkward; strangely gentle
With the broken ones who claim its austere sustenance.
It is a place
Of healing, where the Spirit of its first people
Has long walked; where weariness has met delight,
Where chance transmutes to Providence, and one is cradled
Quietly, with no fuss
It is, above all, a place
Of God; whose voice, clipped to clearness as a muffled bell
Is always heard.
For here the inner ear
Is tuned by the long habit of the place itself
Which has learned, and teaches, listening.

Jane Chapman

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