by Margaret Campbell
We're leaving the shop
and the lolly jars on the counter,
the HOT WATER sign
and the boiler full of crabs.
We're leaving the petrol bowsers
and Dad's icecream churn.
We're leaving the boats,
the fish nets, full and gleaming,
the oysters on the Stony Wall
and the yabbies in the backwater.
We're leaving the sun-bright days
and the waves rolling and crashing.
We're leaving the beach
the cowrie shells and sandcastles,
just Dad and me together,
our ports are packed and strapped.
We're leaving Brampton Heads now,
for Army Camp and boarding school.
Margaret says: This poem is from a verse novel called Cecelia's War. The poems are about me as a child during World War II, and later as a teenager. They reflect the life at that time - we owned a shop at the Heads - and how my father went off to join the Army, while I went to boarding school.
Margaret Campbell's first collection of poems, On the Outside, Looking In, was about reconciliation. Her YA novel, Shadow Across the Sun, was published by Lothian and she is working on a second. Cecelia's War is available to buy - email me for details.
Poetry exercise: Have you left a place you loved? Or lost something special? Write a poem about the place or thing, recalling all of your favourite memories about it. OR You could interview your parents or grandparents and write a poem about one of their favourite memories. You would have to listen closely and ask lots of questions! In Margaret's poem there are things you might not know about - bowsers, icecream churn, ports - ask someone older who can tell you. It will add to your reading of the poem.