ACT Writers Centre / ACTWC Awards

Action (Bus Route 2), a poem by Sarah Rice

2015 ACT Writers Award winners (1)

Sarah Rice’s poem, Action (Bus Route 2) was Highly Commended for the 2015 Michael Thwaites Poetry Award. This poem was described by judge, Melinda Smith as “A personable, compassionate meditation on having and not-having with some sharply observed moments”. 


Action (Bus Route 2)

There’s someone living in my bus


two bikes three bags and a pair of



He’s been there three days now in the round concrete shelter

with the blue and orange Action logo and the submarine windows

where the wind whips

round and about


There’s a curved plastic seat in matching orange

and on it a guy

although today he was lying under the nearby oak

in amongst the roots of it

his feet in the dust

and his shoulders pressed into the ribbed bark


I’m not quite sure what to do

But each time I’ve gone to the IGA

I’ve bent my steps to pass his little home

and wondered


I do after all have a spare room

but by spare I mean it has all the things I can’t seem to spare

that sit round me like children – stuff and stuff

with flaccid faces and plump bodies – bags

of books from the Life-line book-fair


which gave me just last weekend

the feeling that all was right with the world

so many there – all reading

all scurrying and burrowing between the covers

taking fistfuls of spines

grabbing and thrusting at the tables

all B104 and European History and Card Games

remainders and collectables and tables long and stretched


and the dust floated upward like little spirits

and a musty mould clung to many


But now that all seems somehow cheap

– a bit trashy novel at the airport as you wing your way in from Hawaii

or return from that business thing in Ontario

with little matching wheelie bags


and the transatlantic annoyance lasting longer than the jet-lag

that the earphones on the inflight entertainment iPad

gave only a right sided take on things


And those green Coles bags in my spare room

with all their worlds of paper and philosophy

sheepish counterparts to those down the road

sitting squarely on the orange curve

spilling their helmet jeans and t-shirt secrets


and the crutches lean against the bikes

and the man leans against the tree




One thought on “Action (Bus Route 2), a poem by Sarah Rice

  1. As someone who spends half their travelling life – such as it is – on the #2 bus, this is a very fine poem.Thanks for posting it.



    Stephen Cassidy

    Cultural researcher, writer and commentator

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