Video

Kat’s Bush Poetry – This Land

Welcome to my blog for Poetry Friday – at a time when the world is reeling in confusion – but also finding strength and new blessings in the simple pleasures of pause, family and neighbours. Hold tight – even though you can’t hold close.

My goal in coming days is to bring people joy. I’m writing #PoeTryHope each day on Instagram; little picture poems that might inspire others to write, too. You’re welcome to check them out.

Today on the blog I’m continuing my series posting some of my ‘old’ bush poems. Not all bush poetry is funny. Or to express a stress. ‘This Land’ is one of my serious poems, capturing the stunning landscape around Winton and Lark Quarry – home of the world’s only recorded dinosaur stampede. We visited there shortly after our adventures ‘On the Wallaby’, (see previous post) when our caravan side was twitched in place with plain fencing wire, thanks to my ingenious hubby.

‘This Land’ is modelled on the rhythm of Banjo Patterson’s poem, ‘On Kylie’s Run‘. (Click the link to read it. It’s beautiful!)

I had hoped to insert a ‘movie’ I have made of the poem, with photographs that I had taken during our visit – but alas, WordPress doesn’t like movies, but I think I have managed to link to it as a Powerpoint Presentation – that absorbed far too many hours of my time, way back in 2006. 🙃 It lets you see the ruggedly beautiful landscape that inspired the poem – though the quality is very poor.

Click pic to download PowerPoint version (15MB)

 

This Land

Horizons stretch forever ’cross
This sunburnt land.
The shimmer of a heatwave’s gloss
That melds with parched and tufted grass,
As hot winds blow and dust storms pass,
While brittle, yellow tumbleweed
Is swept along with careless heed
Across the land.

Perceive the natural splendour through
This rough-hewn land.
Terrain with its distinctive view
Of jump-ups rising from the brown,
The craggy sides and level crown
Where running waters pared away
Sheer edges that astound today;
A weathered land.

Through time, the panorama carved
That is this land.
Where wood, now petrified, is strewn
’Midst fossils, long encased in stones
Or dinosaurs preserved as bones;
Where dazzling gems and rocks are found
When fossicking upon the ground
Of this vast land.

In clusters, gidgees cast their veil
Across the land.
Embracing figures lithe and pale;
Denuded ghosts of trees surreal,
Their limbs stretched up in mute appeal.
Majestic; grasping for the rain –
Too late – to bring them life again,
Up from the land.

The contrasts are intense throughout
This untamed land,
Where searing heat of summer drought
Produces colours rich and bold;
Clear azure sky surrounding gold,
While ochre of the deepest hue
Is sharpened by the vivid blue
That shrouds the land.

Dried tussocks, intermittent flecks
on barren land.
In muted greens, the spinifex,
Like stacks of coarse and prickly straw,
Are resonant against the raw
Red earth that sears like raging fire;
Each spindly mound a ready pyre
Upon the land.

Hot sunrays blaze the arid earth
Across a land
That’s thirsting; craving in the dearth.
Now cracked and gaping for the rain
To quench the dust and ease the pain;
A land of harsh reality
That’s burning with vitality;
A stirring land.

Embrace the splendid artistry
That is this land.
No uninspiring travesty;
A background rich in varied tones,
Where wind and water carved the stones –
Gaze out upon the majesty
With open heart and soul to see
This stunning land.

© Kathryn Apel 2003 – All rights reserved.

You’ll find the poetry round-up with Michelle Kogan this week. I am looking forward to checking in with you all and finding joy in you, dear friends. Take care and stay safe. xx

“The LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6: 26


28 comments

  1. This is stunning, Kat! You’ve captured a dramatic landscape with your poem. I happened to ask my husband if he’d ever heard of a preserved “dinosaur stampede” and he said he just read about it this week. So odd! What a fascinating place this must be. I was caught up by your poem but now am off to check out your PowerPoint.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so pleased the words helped to convey the beauty of a place that stirred my heart both times I visited. The fossilised dinosaur stampede at Lark Quarry is fascinating. Amazing that your hubby just read about it this precise week! I love being in places that evoke so much sense of story. (And nestled in a searing landscape.)

      Like

  2. Good Morning, Kat!
    This poem reminds me of the great landscape paintings of the 19th century. Big, sweeping capture of a place. I especially appreciate the repetition of “land” throughout.
    Sunburnt land
    rough-hewn land
    untamed land
    barren land
    This is a poem that slows a reader to taking it all in. It feels hot and craggy and desolate…but wild and beautiful too.
    What are gigees? Birds?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Like Linda M., I too noticed your awesome creative lines with “land”, Kat. I enjoyed On Kylie’s Run, quite nostalgic. Your own poem’s words remind me of our New Mexico’s landscape and some of Colorado’s, too. It is vast, lonesome & beautiful, as you described about your own place. Wishing you all good health during this challenging time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And another lovely Linda. 🙃 I did actually wonder if it might be similar to some of the arid parts of America. I like your, ‘vast, lonesome & beautiful’ – that sounds so true to Winton, too. And the colours seemed stronger, under the blazing sun. (I should clarify – we don’t actually live near Winton. We’re coastal Qld, and Winton is about 1000km inland. But we passed through again 10yrs later and it still made my heart catch.) Take care and spread joy.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You always have such interesting things to share! Some of my favorite parts are: “A land of harsh reality
    That’s burning with vitality;
    A stirring land.”
    and “A background rich in varied tones,
    Where wind and water carved the stones –”

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is so different to where I live, too, Janice. We first visited Winton about 15 years ago – and passed through again 10 years later. It was every bit as stunning and stirring as I had remembered and written.

      Like

    • I think it would be one area I’d recommend on a visit to Australia. It’s very beautiful – but not the normal fly-in-fly-out holiday destination. (And quite a long drive.) But I think tourists miss the best of Australia, by sticking to the capital cities. (If all they visit is Melbourne and Sydney, they have no idea about the real Australia!)

      Like

  5. Loved this journey your poem takes us on, and this stanza you painted for me with your words alone,
    “Hot sunrays blaze the arid earth
    Across a land
    That’s thirsting; craving in the dearth.
    Now cracked and gaping for the rain
    To quench the dust and ease the pain;
    A land of harsh reality
    That’s burning with vitality;
    A stirring land.”
    And then all was enhanced with your powerpoint images–the red in the soil is gorgeous, hope I get there one day!
    Be well, thanks Kat.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gorgeous, gorgeous poem. The land comes alive. You have looked deeply and carefully, and you have both respected and thanked the land for its beauty and commiserated with the land in its drought. I love this… makes me want to visit. Thanks for sharing. Kudos.

    Like

  7. The words and images you paired are stunning, Kat. Yes, to echo previous comments, the landscape reminds me of parts of Arizona where I used to live before moving to Switzerland. Thanks for sharing your brilliance. : )

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Like Linda B. said, this poem reminds me of the part of Colorado where I grew up — arid and flat. And I agree with what you said about tourists who stick to major cities — they never get a real feel for the vastness or variety of a country or continent!

    Great poem. Made me homesick.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve been reading a book of essays about the sea level rise. These lines echo what I am learning:
    Denuded ghosts of trees surreal,
    Their limbs stretched up in mute appeal.
    Majestic; grasping for the rain –
    Too late – to bring them life again,
    Up from the land.

    Beautiful and terrible, Kat.

    Liked by 1 person


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