Midwinter: the easternmost point of Australia: Byron Bay, named by Captain James Cook in 1770 not after the poet but after his grandfather, John Byron, a noted Vice-Admiral in the British Royal Navy. His eldest son, John “Mad Jack” Byron, in turn fathered the poet George Gordon Byron, the future 6th Baron Byron. The streets of the town are named after famous writers of the Elizabethan age (Marvell, Fletcher, Middleton) and other writers (Lawson, Kingsley, Ruskin, Browning). I spent two days there in early August 2012 as a guest of the immensely popular local Writers Festival and had a good time.

In this photo, a long-haired man patiently engraves a whorl pattern in the beach sand with a specially-fashioned rake, with the main whorl surrounding a woman and her blond-haired child. Perhaps a dozen onlookers watched peacefully. All you could hear was the murmur of the waves. Looking out to sea: next stop, Peru.

The pattern was erased by the incoming tide — aren’t we all? — but I didn’t stay to watch.

Later… Pam Brown is right (see comment below): a rake like that would have been a great help in Auckland, but so would years of practice and a natural talent for sand-drawing. Here’s Oneroa Beach in New Zealand, complete with poem, horse and rider. And see lots more New Zealand poems and photos here.

horse and poem, Auckland, 2012

2 Replies to “Easternmost”

  1. John,
    that type of rake would have saved hours of work at Onerea Beach in New Zealand earlier this year!

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