A CROSS BESIDE A LONELY ROAD
© Ellis Campbell
Winner, 2010 Cervantes Arts Festival, WA.
The shimmered sunrays quaintly dance—create a vision to entrance –
and ripple molten tar beneath my gaze.
Mirages gleam like phantom lakes—a stretching asphalt ribbon snakes
to disappear into horizon’s haze.
Beside the road’s a tiny cross—portraying someone’s tragic loss –
it rests beneath a shady cabbage gum.
Its flowers withered by the sun, and burning winds that everyone
finds wearisome and hard to overcome.
The cross is sadly tilted now—perhaps been bumped by ‘roo or cow –
its isolation causing its neglect?
I’m saddened by the heartbreak here—for loss of someone no doubt dear –
I mourn the moment with an awed respect.
Does smallness of the cross proclaim that here—perhaps—a child became
a sad statistic of the toll we bear?
A precious, innocent young child—possessed with manner meek and mild –
denied the chance to cherish all we share?
Perhaps the driver fell asleep—I know it’s very hard to keep
alert on roads monotonous and straight.
And did they hit another car, or does a tree still bear the scar?
A lifetime of regret is someone’s fate.
No one could claim a lack of view—or did they swerve to miss a ‘roo
and misapplied—in panic—faulty brakes?
What heartache someone surely shares, their guilt a burden swamped in cares –
some pay a hellish price for their mistakes.
This tiny cross will represent so much distress that some lament,
and sadness linger on through troubled tears.
This brooding mass of silent scrub guards secrets in each stoic shrub –
its mysteries defy the passing years.
The cross is long accepted here—no trace of unfamiliar fear
or anything promoting sense of loss.
I slowly walk toward my car—aware of fate’s incessant scar –
I cast a farewell glance upon the cross.
Above rosellas calmly cling to flimsy limbs while twittering,
and gaudy lorikeets are flitting free.
Their graceful darting swiftly weaves among the sunlit, mottled leaves –
there’s beauty in their lilting song of glee.
There is no sense of sorrow here, but blitheness in the atmosphere –
the forest creatures happy as they fly.
So much, of course, I’ll never know—it happened many years ago –
but someone surely asks the question—why?