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From: Vol.03 N.01 – How Humans Engage with Earth

View from a distant porthole

by Lou Steer

Here I am

In my state of the art, cutting edge, fully computerised, titanium alloy, hermetically sealed ship,

surfing the solar winds.

Above me, the hard hot points of a million stars,

below me, a mottled blue opal.


I remember the sting of salt in my face as I surfed the ocean waves at

Manly Beach, Bells Beach, Byron Bay,

as I sailed the reef from Whitsundays to Cape Tribulation,

from Cairns, to Fiji, to Samoa, to Niue, to Tonga,

hopping from island to island,

the deep dark blue lapping my fragile wooden craft,

made with my own hands.


Alone in a blue desert.  Never lonely. There is always life in the desert.


Seagulls screeched near land,

flying fish flipped,

dolphins purled in my wake,

their bucking and leaping an echo of my own boat’s cresting the waves.


I remember storms –

the sky, a vast bruise pressing down,

the sea  like lead,  like pewter,  like mercury, like quicksilver,

riding those monstrous waves like a bucking bronco,

my little boat bending and flexing but never breaking.


I remember the sun after the storm, the rosy welcome dawn!

The sky tear-stained like the face of my lover after a quarrel,

the sea was a mirror,

my boat was a skate over ice.


If I step outside of my new, state of the art, cutting edge, fully computerised, titanium alloy, hermetically sealed ship,

I will be the only thing alive in the hell of infinite night.

No little green men; no dripping fangs; no space teddy bears.

This is no desert, it’s a void.


I remember diving off  Broome,

a whale shark, awesome, stupendous, colossal,

Leviathan itself.

Swimming beside its bulk, I stretched out my hand,

found the true meaning of sharkskin.

It opened its maw, ready to swallow the universe.

I know how Jonah felt, when invited to enter the belly of the beast.


The monsters of the deep are the only true aliens.

Blue, the only colour visible from space.

Published: January 2016
Lou Steer

A diva at heart, Lou Steer performs her unique cabaret-style poetry at spoken word events and festivals around New South Wales. She has published a chapbook, Wild Red Heart, and ebook, The Forests of the Night and is widely anthologised. Lou convenes Caravan Slam, a monthly slam poetry event in Sydney.

An Australian and international
journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics.

Plumwood Mountain Journal is created on the unceded lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to elders past, present and future. We also acknowledge all traditional custodians of the lands this journal reaches.