© Graham Barker 1991
For months I'd tried in vain to write
without result, so one quiet night,
my dinner past and all alone,
I dialled her number on the phone.
With yearning ears I listened, keen
to hear the voice of Josephine,
a girl I'd met some years ago
on Kosciusko's summer snow,
where bonds of friendship oh-so-nice
had bloomed in alpine paradise.
The voice transmitted down the wire
was not the sound of my desire -
instead of charming female tones
I heard an old man's tired groans:
"She don't live 'ere no more, you know,
she's gone an' nicked off to the snow
to teach cross-country skiing and
enjoy the winter wonderland.
The hut where she's gone off to stay
is somewhere up 'round Thredbo way".
At once my mind, without restraint,
explored the view these words did paint
and lusted for the mountain scene
enjoyed by lucky Josephine.
I pictured clearly in mind's eye
a tranquil valley nestled high
amidst the Snowy Mountains, where
a jaded soul, in purest air,
can cleanse the mind, unwind and be
enrapt in snowclad majesty.
With pangs of envy, turning green,
I dreamed of lithe young Josephine
on racing skis with bended knees,
descending icebound heights with ease.
No better skier had I known
nor fearlessness had I been shown -
the toughest, sheerest drops did hold
no trace of dread for one so bold,
who took a challenge in her stride
when most would bail up, petrified.
And now, in winter's icy clutch
with snow piled deep, compacted much,
the grandeur of the mountains, dressed
in wintry garb, is at its best.
Upthrusted rocky knolls, well-worn
by gales and savage cold, adorn
a snow-white pristine wilderness
unspoiled by man's destructiveness,
where lofty ridges offer views
of lesser ranges' blue-green hues.
When harsh but cleansing storms give way
to many a still idyllic day,
soft sunlight, sparkling on the snow,
enchants the eyes with frigid glow
and in night's cold air, rarified,
prolific stars blaze magnified.
Such magic visions can be seen
from in the hut where Josephine
had gone to stay - a grand retreat
for plucky girls with itchy feet.
Cocooned within my stuffy room
I grin and bear the torrid gloom
of stifling climate, stark bare sky,
and barren landscape, flat and dry.
Oh how I long, with wistful sigh,
to flee my lot right now and fly
across this sunburnt land to be
with Josephine - just her and me -
where snowclad peaks we could explore
while budding friendship bloomed once more.