Theatre of the Bay by Roger Patulny

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Theatre of the Bay
by Roger Patulny

The amphitheatre of the Derwent
befits the frothy wedge-led streaks
tacking through at dawn
bilges taut with Antarctic water

we fold out seats in Lindisfarne
beneath gum trees regenerating high and hairy on the Natone Trail
our bubbly propped on convict walls, we
cheer and lift cold boots as
off-lead puppies thunder underfoot

bushwalkers sight phones along the cables
linking solar-paneled weatherboards and dishes
aimed at Wellington’s disdainful horns
clear across the bay, poking proudly from his upturned face
chin barred, lined and shaved of cloud

the follicles instead decline
on Pinnacle Road carpark
condensing in the hiker’s beards
and beading the ropes of canyoners

before blowing through the New Town like a movie set
a slick westerly buffeting the uplifted helmets
of the e-bikes powering around the bay
chasing the microcosmic drama as

white scalpels shear the pod-feet of the Tasman Bridge
the great grey centipede humpbacked across the Derwent
nervous of triangles
gingerly favoring remaining legs.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I hope this photo of the Tasman Bridge offers the centipede feel I was trying to convey in my poem. You can also see Mt. Wellington in the background, though unfortunately covered in cloud at the top (as per usual). Thanks to my brother for taking this shot. 

PHOTO: Tasman Bridge by Alex Patulny. 


NOTE: The Tasman Bridge carries the Tasman Highway over the Derwent River in  HobartTasmania, Australia. The bridge officially opened on March 18, 1965, and has a total length of 4,580 feet. 

PHOTO: Tasman Bridge over Derwent River, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Photo by Enoch Lau, used by permission. 


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is based on recollections of Hobart around the time of the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. The final line refers to the 1975 Tasman Bridge Disaster, where a pylon was destroyed when struck by a bulk ore carrier–the gap it is still plainly visible today.

PHOTO: On January 5, 1975, a bulk ore carrier traveling up the Derwent River collided with several pylons of the Tasman Bridge, causing a large section of the bridge deck to collapse onto the ship and into the river below. Twelve people were killed, including seven crew onboard the ship, and the five occupants of four cars that fell 150 feet after driving off the bridge. Photo courtesy of Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roger Patulny is based in Sydney, Australia. He is an academic, writer, and poet, with fiction published in the The Suburban Review and poems in CorditePoets Corner InDaily, the UK arts magazine Dwell TimeThe Rye Whisky ReviewIndolent Books, and the Mark Literary Review. Excerpts and links to Roger’s recent published creative works can be found here.    

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