Friday, April 8, 2016

Surface tension

On the Facebook page

residents lament that the old ‘baths’ they knew are gone.

Dismiss the new ‘aquatic centre’ as bland and uninviting.

Wistfully recall the high dive board and giant serpentine slide

(before health and safety 'went mad').

Entry, hot chips and ice cream in a cone were cheap.

You met your mates and stayed all day.

Towels dried on the sun-baked grass.

Now everything is glassed in, moist, slippery, almost empty,

save for compulsory carnivals.

Low risk of sunburn and drownings.

A girl did drown the day the old baths opened,

but three and a half thousand people didn’t.

I checked out the pool before we moved here;

decided it would suit my regimen.

The signs declare it home to asthmatic swimmers and ninety year old lifesavers!

I didn’t dream they were in fact re-homed,

that the first baths, so long in gestation

were judged passé in their forties.

Their electronic turnstiles and wooden bleachers doubtless showed wear...

A municipal mind decreed a treeless Oasis would supplant them.

In my a-historic, pragmatism

I  failed to pay homage to Wagga’s mourned Atlantis.

Wagga Wagga Baths 1953 - 1990s

1 comment:

Glenda Sladen said...

I love your poem, Jan. Sorry - didn't realise there had been earlier poems. Both your poem and your Year of Living Curiously literally brought tears to my eyes - for the girl drowned (how she would have suffered in terror) at the opening of the Wagga baths in the 1950s, and for Bob's timber cutter ancestor in 1860 (he lived an adventurous life but he paid for it with a horrible death). More please, of poem and prose, love it all.