Roger Higgins

Friendly Street Poets, South Australia




Stories told of building walls
rock by heavy rock,
of hauling timbers from the sawmill town,
of slates split off
in the sharp-edged quarry.

Stories of sunlight
streaming through dormer windows
onto a young wife on a crumpled bed,
a husband out with the flock after a winter storm
bringing home orphaned lambs to succour.

Stories of children laughing in caves,
racing each other through tussocks and bogs,
fighting fevers by the fire in their mother’s arms.

The stories of mothers
waiting at the doorway for sons to return
from courting
or from war.

Now and then there are caskets in the front room,
when distant neighbours file through
with hats in their hands,

gathering to retell
the stories between the bookends.