Almanac Poetry: Semaphore, Adelaide

Beachfront, Semaphore, South Australia, in recent times. (Source: Wikipedia.)


Semaphore, Adelaide


Something was haunting those humid, summery,
Semaphore streets
in 1980, when I was there,
aged eighteen,
visiting Iris, my paternal grandmother,
with the rest of the family.
I walked the rain-spattered footpaths sensing
I now realize it was someone
you, Henry Reynolds,
who died in Semaphore’s Blackler Street,
in March 1918,
though I didn’t know it at the time.
Now, in 2020,
a question has finally formed in my head:
what were you trying to tell me,
forty years ago?
Probably nothing, except
that you were there,
watching me walk in your footsteps.

. . .

Henry, I can picture you
tottering into your front garden,
jaundiced, asthenic,
touching a rose
a week before
the Spanish dancer swept you away
– the last time you left the house –
your beautiful wife, Janey,
watching from the verandah,
tears in her eyes,
which she didn’t let you see.



Read more from Kevin Densley HERE


Kevin Densley’s latest poetry collection, Sacredly Profane, is available HERE


Read more Almanac Poetry HERE


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Kevin Densley is a poet and writer-in-general. His fourth book-length poetry collection, Sacredly Profane, was published in late 2020 by Ginninderra Press. He is also the co-author of ten play collections for young people, as well as a multi Green Room Award nominated play, Last Chance Gas, which was published by Currency Press. Other writing includes screenplays for educational films.


  1. Very touching Kevin. I love how you weave personal biography & family history into your poems. I also love the clarity of your voice.

  2. Kevin Densley says

    Many thanks for your comments, DB. I appreciate them.

    I think if I had to name the most important quality I’m aiming for in my poems, it is clarity – which is not the same thing as simplicity, of course. Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass is a fine example in this context, I feel.

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