© Brenda Joy, 2010

Winner, 2011 ‘ABPA West Australian Championship’, Boyup Brook Western Australia.

How can I comprehend this sight, incinerated mound,
the charred remains of all I knew just rubble on the ground?
This scene’s not recognisable, there’s no familiar sign
to link up to normality of life I knew as mine.

I can’t believe it’s not a dream, a nightmare masquerade,
a horror movie cavalcade some frenzied mind has made.
What cruel fate’s transported me to bear this warlike zone?
Around consoling figures weep – I stand here all alone.

In haunted trance I’m plunged again to images still real.
Explosions and eruptions spew, it’s terror that I feel.
The heat, the smoke, the plumes submerge; infernos leap and flame
engulfing and destroying all, upheaval naught can tame.

I’m hurtling through the darkest pitch of blackened, choking air,
and praying, screaming, shrieking out in chaos past despair.
Which way to turn; what can I do? A panic-driven dash
to flee the flame’s ferocity and all around the crash…

…and thund’rous sounds as roaring surge uplifts the trees and rooves.
About me devastator’s rage – till not a creature moves.
Remembrance shakes me, heart’s a-race, what got me through alive?
Not intellect or sanity just instinct to survive.

They try to help with basic needs – they’ve all been very kind –
but they can’t help me lose the depth of hell that’s in my mind.
And I have no conception now of how I’ll carry on –
not since the confirmation came that you, my love, have gone.

I lived the wails of tortured souls and knew so many died,
but I kept searching endlessly, a tinge of hope inside.
I clung to total strangers bonded by traumatic fear
and through this darkest night of pain, I prayed that you were near.

In that bewildered Netherland whilst struggling for my breath,
I thought I’d borne the worst I could – but now I face your death.
The cinders of possessions lost, the ashes of the past,
the remnants of my home and town – in shock I’m still aghast.

But visions of this holocaust in time they may abate
and ages help me realise to die was not my fate.
Though tragic reminiscences I might just suffer through,
eternal anguish sears my soul because of losing you.

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