Aught, no. 11/12 (2003)

Stephen Oliver

Industrial Tableau

What lies at the end of this petrel-hued rainbow, is an oil-slick way out to sea, overarching proboscis sucking up light and colour into bands, into a glorious stain of creation. The refinery port of Botany bay could be Piraeus, Jaffa or Tel Aviv. Flat-land horizon, reminiscent of an earlier, grandfatherly generation.

Gasworks and pylons, steam trains chugging between the first and second world wars under sooty railway bridges, beneath a cloth cap sky. The pit-head wheel stilled, the first and last grotto of the Industrial Revolution. In these narrow regions, asphalt fades grey in back streets, rail yards blur into rust and weed. Lime oxidises in abandoned brick yards. The solitary coal stacks stand sentinel at dusk. The final, romantic tableau.

Summer is sustained, momentary, and present. Car-sized concrete blocks pack the breakwater. White storage tanks glisten tidily, compose to view the fuel depot. Small waves dissolve into miniature cornices and cartouches upon the sand. Whittled light silvers the waters at Little Bay / Le Perouse.


Copyright 2003, by the author. All rights reserved.
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