New Shores, Old Fears

A Convict's Arrival


Peter Pickering

3/6/20242 min read

Aboard the "Southern Fate," they sailed,

To shores unknown, where many had failed.

Her bow cut the waves, to Port Jackson bound,

Where destinies would shift, new lives found.

First, pretty young Maggie, with hair dark as night,

Stealing bread for her kin, in the pale moonlight.

Eyes wide with wonder, yet shadowed with fear,

What fate awaits her, in this land so sheer?

Then young Ned, with his hands once skilled,

Caught for a shilling, his dreams unfulfilled.

He stands at the rail, heart pounding with dread,

Imagining a future, where hope is not dead.

Captain Hawkins, a man of the sea,

His gaze stern, as he steers them to their decree.

The land looms close, rugged and raw,

A world away from anything they saw.

The ship creaks and moans, as it nears the dock,

The convicts peer out, a disheveled flock.

Their thoughts a whirl, of chains and toil,

Their lives now tied to this foreign soil.

The air is thick, with a scent so strange,

Of eucalyptus and acacia, a vast range.

Birds call shrilly, in a symphony bizarre,

Under the southern cross, a different star.

Maggie clutches her locket, a token of the past,

Wondering if this day, would be her last.

Ned scans the horizon, for a sign of grace,

In this rugged land, he must find his place.

Bosun Fletcher, with a sneer so cruel,

Herds them off, a relentless rule.

Their feet touch ground, in this world anew,

Where the sky seems vaster, an endless blue.

Port Jackson swarms, with faces and sound,

The convicts are marched, to the compound.

Shackles clank, as they trudge the dirt road,

Each step taking them, to an unknown abode.

But in Maggie's heart, a flicker of fire,

A desire to rise, from the dismal mire.

And Ned, with his dreams, not yet shattered,

In this new world, where nothing mattered.

So begins their tale, in this land so vast,

A story of survival, of shadows cast.

In the heart of Australia, under a sun so bright,

Their journey unfolds, in the harsh daylight.

© Peter Pickering 2024