My father walked these hills and steeps:
Woke early ever, walked rugged rockstrewn track
To the lookout, and back. Now he sleeps
Forever; and I rise with the sun
On this second day of the last new moon,
Of the dying year;
And sound the shofar, the ram’s horn warning*,
Then go for a run on a crystal morning.
My Father walked till his dying year; I follow his track
Across the bridge,
Then up the hill and over a ridge –
Then back; pausing to view a sapphire sea.
High here, on air, at Wamoom**, this southern
End of a continent,
Comes remembrance, a fifth element:
Midst earth and water I stand, content,
Basking in the gentle fire of an early sun
To start the slog and gasp and sweat – up hills
And tracks on the ridge of the returning run.
Stop! – cries the voice of my companion
And look out to sea, and see – there’s a whale!
I stop and turn and look – and sight the sail-
Shaped fin, the hump of back, the mammalian
Brown-black, a bruise
On the blue face of the sea. Now it sinks again
And as I smile, give thanks, and muse
It surfaces and plays, and sprays its spume
At the end of the dying year.
Another whale was here, beached, dead; while with my father
A decade ago, I saw it. We paid homage at its sandy tomb.
* Through the month of Ellul, Jews sound the ram’s horn, as a call to repent before the solemn days of the High Holydays.
**”Wamoom” is the Aboriginal name of Wilson’s Promontory.
Excerpt from My Fathers Compass by Howard Goldenberg. Hybrid 2007, 2008.
1. Poetry! Yes!
2. Welcome, Andrew Frederick (on behalf of this reader and “strong critic”).
I am not an academic but your suggestion of Friedrich Nietsche endorsing the attitudes of the Third Reich appears incorrect. My source (that is on a shelf somewhere) suggests that Nietsche’s sister was the Jew hater (as was her husband) and she gave dear Adolf selected writings. I also recall reading the chiding by Neitsche of his sister’s hatred of Jews (‘Silly sausage”).
I only got your email address when I attempted to find information on English writer Howard Goldberg. You are known to treat Australian Aborigines professionally and I would like your opinion of how effective is the public money that is allocated to their welfare.