View from the Warren

Bruce McIntyre

Between the cleaved and crumbled sandstone cliffs
The old green greasy river bellyslides to the sea
Through a barnacle fringe of mangroves poking
Bones above the ooze

The coldness of here where winters are long
Steamings of mist backlit by the low sun
And long deep nights with warm women and dogs
On sandy islands

But only in winter when the insects sleep
And night surrenders to the silent stars
Days have long sunbeams and dwindle in laughter
And eating oysters

When daylight starts to swell into the night
Is when we move upstream to emu plains
The common place of long tree-studded grass
Where the great earthing

Of the world and the turning from the sea
Takes flight upon our knowing for we know
Where we are from is where the sun goes down
And our beginning

And here its end on the bluff surveying
With scalloped head the river to the dusk
And to the dawn the bay heaving with them
Monsters among us

The Warren is a part of the Marrickville suburb of Marrickville in Sydney, Australia.

It is named after the unusual mansion built there in 1857 by businessman Thomas Holt.

The river in the poem is the Cooks River.


Main Location:

Cooks RIver, Sydney

Other locations:

Cooks River in Marrickville, Sydney

The Warren mansion in Marrickville, Sydney