The Olgas – Leni Shilton

The Olgas

I

From first light we see them;

pink on the horizon,

their heads tilted down 

leaning in 

talking to themselves.

All day we travel,

and they grow 

as we hope against hope

each red dune is the last.

But from the east a cold wind 

splinters our clothes,

and the domes look like vanishing

into the plain of spinifex

before we reach them.

II

This dark night

desert air reaches  

beyond the humanness 

of place.

It is an aching silence 

pulsing

with destruction.

All our walking

in ‘undiscovered country’ 

is the discovery of 

emptiness, 

of silence, of nothing.

Midnight thinking is black 

and as the tent walls

flex and stretch,

I want to be 

far from here.