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