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Books & Poetry

Poem: Black Diamond Corner

Books & Poetry

An historic Adelaide location and time brings back childhood memories for Ros Schulz in this week’s Poet’s Corner.

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Port Adelaide 1945

What did I know of the Black Diamond Corner
at four years old – let loose along the wharf
with older brothers, not to scavenge hunks of coal
fallen from the shipping – diamonds to the poor –
but bent on adventure. Our mum was terrified –
she had the baby to mind plus work in the cafe
we lived above, where my younger brother rolled billy cans
down the bullnosed balcony onto street walkers below.
She laughed with the Yankee sailors, served them
when they swarmed in for a good meal.
I hid under the tables shyly – they enticed me out
with long sticks of gum. She never got over
the romance of the forces, so handsome
in those uniforms – the local boys couldn’t compete;
she had a brother in the air force too, and I had
the best uniforms all through school
but never a spare shilling for a real dress.
For a treat they took us kids on their boat
the Don J Carlos, gave us chewy gum and sweets.
We hugged the bollards, jumped along the gangplank
dangled our legs over the edge of the wharf
peered into the black oily water below till
mum couldn’t stand it anymore;
we left pretty soon
for the safety of the country.

As well as in Port Adelaide, Ros Schulz spent her childhood in the Barossa Valley and Murray Mallee. She taught English, maths and Latin, and produced dramas for 15 years in high schools in rural South Australia and Adelaide, and a year in London, all followed by a further 15 years as an Adelaide TAFE lecturer in Communication Studies. A member of Friendly Street Poets since 1994, she has featured regularly in their annual anthologies, was co-editor of the 2018 edition, and winner in 2010 and 2011 of Mindshare’s Open Your Mind Poetry Competition, an initiative of the Mental Health Coalition of South Australia. Along with appearances in various other Australian journals and magazines, she has published three collections of her poetry: ‘Weight of Evidence’ in 2010, and the chapbooks ‘It Wasn’t Me’ and ‘Living on Promise’ in 2014 and 2017.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.


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