I posted this snapshot poem on my Facebook page a few weeks’ ago, but I’ve since slightly changed the wording. To tell the truth, I went back to the original wording, as it came out of my brain and onto the page. Sometimes tinkering with the words spoils the poetry.
This photo was taken on the ‘Isle of the Dead’, a short ferry ride from the penal settlement of Port Arthur, Tasmania, during our visit in January this year.
The Isle of the Dead is the burial site of over 1,000 officials, soldiers and their families, and convicts who lived at Port Arthur. Most of the convicts’ graves are unmarked, as they weren’t permitted headstones.
I first visited Port Arthur in the ’70s. My childhood impression of the site was of cruelty and deprivation—floggings, meagre diets, solitary confinement.
When we visited last year, the emphasis seemed to have changed. It’s now a peaceful and respectful memorial to all who have lost their lives there, both in the distant and more recent past.
Here are some more images (click on the image to enlarge).