The Longest Walk – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

Walk – RDP Saturday


Photo: The Hull River, NT, usually a dry river, but a raging torrent if heavy rains come, behind me is Lasseter’s Cave.


The Longest Walk

Days of dehydrated confusion
heat boiling my blood
the camels had bolted
their pegs loosed and broken
and only the Pitjantjatjara people
knew what to do,
they led me along the Hull River
to the Tjunti soak
and put me in a cave
shaded, watered, and fed,
Old Wart watched over me
while the old women brought me food.
But that reef is calling
and I’m so fevered for gold,
barely able to stand
I set off yet again
driven, determined,
but little did I know, though,
in my bones I sensed it,
this next short walk
would be my longest.

©Paul Vincent Cannon


Note: Lasseter, who alleged that at 17 yrs he’d found a 16 km gold reef in the outback, came to grief on his expedition in 1931 to reestablish its whereabouts. His companions were away and he was alone when his camels spooked and bolted, taking the water and food with them. The local indigenous found him nearly dead, and cared for him, laying him up in a small cave on the Hull river. Weakened, he set off on foot again, walking 55 kms eastwards and collapsed and died. He was 51 yrs old.


Filed under bush walking, Country, Free Verse, history, life, poem

40 responses to “The Longest Walk – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

  1. Ennle Madresan

    WOW! Fabulous poem, and I enjoyed reading the backstory.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for another lovely poem.Great work.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Gold fever brought death and poverty for many! Enjoyed the poem, interesting story.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I enjoyed the poem immensely. Though primarily descriptive it gives vein to various metaphorical allusions. The desperation, the walk, the taking care vivid and enticing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Very interesting poem. I could relate it to a super ambitious person who wastes his life by looking for mirage.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Interesting story, sad outcome.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. killed by greed … you have been to that cave wow, a real part of history!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Interesting story, and another illustration of greed’s demise.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Interesting story…well told, Paul.

    Liked by 1 person

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