Steel blue skies polish gibber purple,
incandescent orange radiates day’s end,
over dry waterways.
Red – yellow – blue
fan earth, paddock and sky,
mauve and green complete hills and trees,
and sunrise is ushered in by tangerine and coral.
On shimmering summer roads
cars speed for a beer, kill kangaroos
silently seeking water
while the kids fight in the back.
No need to hide way out there
where dust heralds every visitor, just
pull up beside the road with your urge
for a quick root. That, too, is the bush.
Bus travel is a whole other thing;
pit stop for a pee in a long drop
where privacy is preserved by pop music,
a jarring thrum among whispering gums.
Away from stony deserts
arid scapes transform,
fresh waters spring eternal and fauna flourish
in oases of palms, rushes and ferns.
Wet or dry, the bitumen sings for our safety –
long white ribbons instruct in silence,
two lines don’t pass, one line and dots,
have a go – you are driving through paradise.
A commotion of pink-grey galahs swoops,
koalas amble to eucalypt habitats
as though there is no road. Splat.
Who checks the car, who, the beast?
Back in Canberra; our blessed
bush capital, a conspiracy
of circular roads
converges on a circus.
From circus to the Red Centre,
from glistering seaboard suburbs
to tiny roadside towns and salty plains,
we love you Uluru.
Tales of death and murder etch
this land where blood is cleansed
by footprints of love, family,
and songs of sacred ways.
Where ancient winds erode, grey rocks
emerge from misty pasts, unremembered
times before trees grew and died,
die and renew; forever.
At the going down of the sun –
burning plains of many colours,
rocks, trees, stones and storylines