365 • Exile and Extinction

365 • Exile and Extinction

‘There was never much call for a builder,’
Wrote the last living soul on St Kilda.
Still, that was the trade
Of my aunt, an old maid
Who was known – to the seagulls – as ‘Hilda’.

As she drowsed in her orchard one day
An avalanche swept her away:
A torrent of trash
Plastic, glitter and ash –
From a culture in final decay.

I never met my Aunt Claudie, who was adopted before birth (both hers and mine) and never left St Kilda (an archipelago I intend never to visit). Quite how she eked a living, after 1930’s evacuation of the island (during which numerous dogs were deliberately drowned), the rhyme does not attempt to explain; as for the ‘orchard’, credulity boggles. Nevertheless it’s impossible not to feel a great sympathy for this imaginary geriatric, unable – even in the remotest isolation from the rest of humanity – to evade obliteration by the filthy forces that shape a ‘civilisation’ she never tasted.

One thought on “365 • Exile and Extinction

  1. St Kilda is where I grew up – not the island but that part of Melbourne renowned for it’s cosmopolitan ambience, it landmarks – Luna Park, the Palais Theatre, “the canal”, and the resting place of my dear Papa underneath a tree in the St Kilda Botanical Gardens and only one hundred metres from the Village Belle Hotel.
    Happy New Year from Bayswater, several thousand metres from the said Hotel.

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