Mallee in October
When clear October suns unfold
mallee tips of red and gold
children on their way to school
discover tadpoles in a pool,
iceplants sheathed in beaded glass
spider orchids and shivery grass,
webs with globes of dew alight
budgerigars on their first flight,
tottery lambs and a stilty foal
a papers slough that a snake shed whole,
and a bronzewing's nest of twigs so few
that both the sky and the eggs show through.
Midsummer noon: and the timbered walls
start in the heat;
and the children sag listlessly over the desks,
with bloodless faces oozing sweat
sipped by the stinging flies.
Outside, the tall sun fades the shabby mallee
and drives the ants deep underground;
the stony driftsand shrivels
the drab, sparse plants;
there's not a cloud in all the sky to cast
a shadow on the tremulous plain.
Stirless the windmills; thirsty cattle, standing despondently about the empty tanks;
stamping and tossing their heads,
in torment of the flies from dawn to dark.
For ten parched days it has been like this
and, although I love the desert I
have found myself
[...] Read more