- A poem based on fact about Lewis Harold Bell LASSETER and the lost
lode known as "Lasseter's Lost Reef".
The heat haze sets a shimmering image,
where horizon meets the land,
All the waving objects floating mirrored,
as distorted visions come to hand.
And a searing sun beats down relentless,
scurrying winds a furnace blast.
Swirling up red sands of the silent desert,
the shroud for legends of the past.
While those silent plains stand guardian,
to bold legends that have grown.
Shifting sands hide the path of wanderers,
toward fate and grave unknown.
Night skies aloft, keep their silent council,
witness to tales they never speak.
Of vain persistence, a folly of mere mortals,
to die for fortunes they may seek.
The outback alone knows if fact or fiction,
that long lost reef so many crave.
The elusive Eldorado, hidden , lost for ever,
led Harold Lasseter to his grave .
A youth in 'ninety seven when he found it.
not much past fifty when he died.
So short his life span, so great his suffering ,
his logic and very sanity decried.
Maybe it's fantasy, the product of delirium,
but then perhaps it may be truth.
For he clutched a bag rich with ore samples,
said an Afghan who saved the youth.
So while he rested mind and body to recoup,
restless torment seized him as he lay.
For minds fallen to delirium lose direction,
remember no means to show the way.
Thus misfortune now turns swiftly to obsession,
but for Lasseter lucklessness remains.
A new cohort, the surveyor Harding, with him,
searches westward 'cross the plains.
And should we attribute any truth to legend,
seems the lode they found once more.
At Carnarvon realised their bearing errors,
the reef still un-chartered as before.
So then more failed ventures always searching,
then State and Company bore the cost.
A final cavalcade of errors , for Harry Lasseter,
in the Petermann Ranges, lone and lost.
None ventured to assist, for none had followed,
because heated actions none condone.
Seen within his diary , records left remaining,
grief of one futile man who died alone.
From Middleton Ponds, part of Tempe Downs,
Bob Buck sought the miner's trail.
For Lasseter, close to Shaw's Creek, laid to rest,
a quest far to late , and of no avail.
The bushman with Lasseter's legacy returned,
diary, maps and despairing note.
The legend soon to grow, as the tale unfolded,
words of history , Ion Idriess wrote.
Now there's written word there's spoken legend,
but the truth of it who can know.
Heat haze still shimmers above the red heart,
and the desert waits as long ago.
Perhaps none save the ghost of Harry Lasseter,
knows if his reef lies there today.
Or maybe in truth it was merely his obsession,
the bushland may know, but it won't say.
[C.] Copyright Bernard de Silva