Big Lizzie

| September/October 1998

I see the sunburnt children climb and play And grip the iron-clad souls of Lizzie's ghosts. Spawned in back-yard dreams of a fertile mind. She laid her self-made track in drifting sand And gouged a dream of nope in her bludgeoning wake Part tank, part home, she lumbered slowly north, Predestined not to reach her journey's end But washed up on the doorstep of a flood.

Among the fallen trees and choir of axes Her strident voice was thunder to the ears. A settler paused to mop his sweating brow, His paradise a burning scrub-wood pyre, As Lizzie toiled and tore a stubborn stump From fleshy darkness of unwilling soil. The settler marvelled at Big Lizzie's might And speed with which she cleared the mallee scrub.

Today she lies snug and covered from the sun, Among the trees in Red cliffs' Barclay Square. Her work with settlers finished long ago, This stagnant monster sells her verbal tale To shuffling tourists who capture her on film, And welcomes children with a secret sign.