Gordon Nightingale


We had parked in Yarrawonga with the caravan behind in tow.

The time said Eleven Fifty Five; only five minutes left to go,

Until the border opens up and we’d be free to join the crowd.

Going northward into New South Wales… “Four minutes!” she calls out loud.


A couple passing by the open window comment on the situation.

“I’ll be first to walk the bridge!” the woman says in expectation.

Three minutes left to midnight. Maggie sets the time on the clock.

Turns GPS on to show the map, making sure the display is locked.


Two minutes left to midnight! Anticipation mounts and camera primed.

Camera set to photograph the screen at Eleven Fifty Nine.

One minute left to midnight! Maggie records the shot.

One minute left to open up then we can go across.


I fired up the diesel, put the air conditioner on,

At the stroke of midnight we will be up and gone.

Zero hour midnight, with the ‘Border Closed’ sign still lit,

Over the bridge to the check point, but there’s no trace of it.


It was dark and raining lightly. No traffic of the road,

No wild life in the headlights, not even a frog or a toad.

It was half past one in the morning, Oaklands destination reached,

Parked the van, had a cup of tea and it was time to sleep.


Gordon Nightingale is a local author and poet and the convenor of the Daylesford U3A Writers’ Group.