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Cicadas’ white noise
winding tunnel vision of gums
reeds, burnt out stumps, ferns;
it's that noise that lets my ego apart

Dishevel myself amongst the river pebbles
stained glass mountains' might in every distance.

Swimming to let the weight of my pack wash off
alone, singing madly to the sky
threnodies of alibis to my distant family

Cupping the cold water and splashing myself;
a lizard lazes opposite with an arm over a broken branch
calm body submerged in the river's flow.

Wander back to the campsite
where two kookaburras hark my footsteps
chime at me as they flock into the crowns.

Gum shadows falling to the earth
the mountains feast 'pon the sun.

A fire sparks in the distance
where two travellers melt marshmallows.
I join them to boil up the river,
gulp it down.

A bilby skittles through torchlight
towards a mate's shrill call;
the man, a seafaring British
scans the trees for 'koala bears'
while the woman beside, sitting on a fallen log
panics about ants – she says with conviction
'everything bites in Australia.'

Returning to my campsite
four German boys got lost finding their way here
had started drinking from the wine bladder,
now alight with fired belly chortling
setting up tents and hammocks in the comfort of their torchlight
drunken mumbles I do not bother trying to decipher...

Alone in my tent, it is hard to tell
am I awake or asleep?
But as the tone of the shell of my tent changes
thank god
I know I've slept before the dawn
so let my sleeping bag off

In the morn's chilled river
feeling my consciousness come to,
where mind meets body.

The 9am sun through the cathedral of gums
mating cicadas against the blue sky
my tent is packed, my bag is loaded, my boots are tied
and I leave the campsite.

Style / type: 
Free verse
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Review Request (Direction): 
What did you think of my title?
How was my language use?
How does this theme appeal to you?
Is the internal logic consistent?
Last few words: 
A narrative style poem about my first time camping alone. Relatively edited.
Editing stage: 


hey Doom! I really like the way you've contrasted your solitude with the groups and couples of other campers.

Something tells me when out camping in Australia, people don't just "see" koalas, particularly at night. Just like any other wild animal, I don't think they're going to be snuggled up for the night near a campsite hoping to pose for tourists. But I can totally envision people assuming that's how it is: koalas, kangas and roos, giant spiders, and folks who emulate Steve Irwin where ever you look (oh man now I'm going to sob my eyeballs out just thinking about him).

Anyway, I had one tiny qualm with the poem: "lets my ego apart". It sounds odd to my ears, but maybe it is a more normal in Australia. I would be inclined to use something like "lets my ego fall apart", but I think using that would start making the line sound wordy. Maybe a few adjustments to line could be made?

What do you think of "a sound that lets my ego fade/drop/etc"?

PS: I really love "Dishevel myself amongst the river pebbles" and "cathedral of gums".

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Yeah it's rather rare to see a koala anywhere to be honest - it takes a great deal of luck and perseverance to find one; I've only seen one once and have probably seen around a thousand kangaroos in that time. Foreigners have a pretty contrasting concept of the bush to an 'Aussie'. Oh and yeah, it's terrible what happened to Erwin, but 'tis the dangerous yet beautiful life we live.

The 'let's my ego apart' line is interesting - I'm caught up on that line too, and you're right it feels as though it needs some rewording. I'm thinking maybe 'let's my ego cave-in'. Thoughts?

author comment

That sounds great to me.

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