seascape of Sydney
The Lotus by the Bridge
by Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad

southern winter
and the fog moves in
settling like eiderdown
wet and heavy
with dusk and mystery

from the lookout on the bridge
I see the sails rise
steel and concrete jigsaws
melding into the form
of many petaled magnificence —
a lotus wearing peach-gold pearls
blooming on the banks
of the world’s most beautiful harbor

past the bobbing yachts
the orbs of light on the Manly Ferry
glimmer in the dark
an aquatic caterpillar
gliding upon the wrinkles
of prussian and teal

it’s ten to five
the last remnants of daylight
wane and disperse
the rain becomes a volley
of slanted pinpricks
lightning torching
the Circular Quay skies

Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover.

PHOTO: “Sydney Opera House at sunset” by Diego Matteo Muzzini, used by permission.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  The Australian band Men at Work released their peppy hit single “Land Down Under” in 1981. At age three, it was my favorite song. As a child, the Sydney Opera House was the first thing that came to mind whenever I thought of Australia (that, and the Men at Work song!). I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would one day move to Australia. I live on Sydney’s North Shore and to get to the city I take the train over the bridge. The Opera House greets me on my commute — a landmark that makes me immensely happy.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: I shot this photo of the Sydney Opera House in 2019 during one of my bridge walks.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Sydney Opera House, designed by Jørn Utzon — a Danish architect selected in 1957 as the winner of an international design competition — opened on October 20, 1973. One of the 20th century’s most famous and distinctive buildings, the site features multiple performance venues, hosting over 1,500 performances annually, attended by more than 1.2 million people. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad is an Indian-Australian poet, artist, and pianist. She is a member of Sydney’s North Shore Poetry Project, and Authora Australis. She has been widely published in both print and online literary journals and anthologies. Her recent works have been featured in River and South Review, Nine Muses Poetry, and Poetica Review, and are forthcoming in Parentheses Journal, Otoliths, Bracken Magazine, and elsewhere. Visit her blog and find her on Instagram.