Shelley Hansen - Lady of Lines

Poem of the Month

April 2020

A visit to the Queensland Museum some time ago included a featured display of the story of the Queensland boulder opal. This experience led me to write the following poem, which encourages all of us to discover and appreciate the good qualities of those around us.

Captive Rainbow

© Shelley Hansen 2020

I know a hidden treasure
imprisoned in a rock.
It holds a captive rainbow
that men of skill unlock.
It's found in Western Queensland
and nowhere else on earth,
so rare and so exquisite -
a gem of priceless worth!
They call it "Boulder Opal" -
a symbol of our land
where colours flood the senses
with oratory grand!
From Winton down to Quilpie
the ironstone is mined,
and boulders are dissected
in hopes that they will find
just one rock in a thousand
which shows a tell-tale gleam
of what is known as "colour"
across its inner seam.
And then with diamond cutters
they carefully expose
the fragile heart of opal
which, naked, may disclose
bright rays of sunshine yellow,
dark depths of greens and blues,
red veins that spill their lifeblood
in myriads of hues.
It's worn as an adornment,
it's fashioned into art,
and people praise the beauty
that sets this stone apart.
I've often contemplated
how mining mirrors life,
as we dislodge the boulders
that strew our hearts with strife.
While sifting through the rubble
it's easy to forget
to look for inner beauty
in people we have met.
How sad it we passed over
a heart we thought was "plain"
and missed the seam of colour
its centre may contain.
Ah, how we'd be rewarded
if we just took the time
to search below the surface
of life's grey dust and grime!
So, like the opal miners,
may we pursue this goal -
to free each captive rainbow
that sparkles in the soul!

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