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The Waiting Woman

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 1:43 pm
by Terry

To those who don’t know, there is a wonderful Memorial at Geraldton to the men who were lost on The ‘Sydney’
The main building has a giant dome that is made up of cut out individual seagulls - one for each Sailor lost.
In the foreground there is a statue that is known as the Waiting Woman and shows a woman looking out to sea, which many find quite moving.
There is much more as well and though I haven’t personally visited it myself, it’s definitely on my bucket list to do so, hopefully later this year.
By coincidence I had written a poem that you would swear was based on the statue, and in a roundabout way it’s just possible that it is – the poems called ‘Farewell My Love’ and is about the loss of the Sydney, although the ships name does not appear in the poem.

But let’s start at the beginning; some years ago a few of us were sitting around a campfire in a remote part of WA telling each other lies, the way you do. Then one bloke told a story he’d heard, about a woman who visited a certain beach every year, up in the area the Sydney was thought to have been lost (this was long before the Sydney was found).
Anyway the story goes that she was an old lady who had been doing this for years and always appeared at about the same time each year. She’d wander off by herself along the beach and sit for hours looking out to sea. Rumour had it that she’s been a young bride married to a sailor shortly before the Sydney was lost. She would only stay a day or two, then return to wherever she’d come from.
It sounded a bit farfetched to me but I remember thinking that is was great story anyway.
The story would pop up in my mind from time to time until a couple of years ago I decided to write a poem about it, not then knowing about the statue at the memorial.

The poem was recently put into our club Magazine (The Bully Tin) and by pure chance an old lady who turns 90 today read it. She was also a navel wife and was greatly taken by the poem and thought the statue must have given me the inspiration to write it, as so well does the poem fit the story. (she not a member of the WA poets)
A member of The Lions club Bob Brackenbury, then contacted me to see if I would mind if they presented her with a framed copy of the poem. Naturally I was delighted and printed off a copy on parchment that will be framed and presented to her today.

To fully appreciate the poem which is quite a touching one, you probably need to know the story behind it.


Re: The Waiting Woman

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 3:27 pm
by Heather
That's a really lovely story Terry. I remember when you wrote the poem. It's the best feeling to be able to touch someone or to give as you obviously have with your writing.

Heather :)

Re: The Waiting Woman

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:29 pm
by Terry
Thanks Heather,
You're right about it being a great feeling to have someone touched by a poem you've written, a bit like the thrill you get when you hear someone recite a poem of yours.
As mentioned, it's the lady's birthday to-day and the presentation will be made about now I suppose.
I only learned about it a couple of days ago when Bob Contacted me to see if it was alright.
It's little things like this that make it all seem worthwhile I reckon.