When art has left a second sight,
silver birches lining the lake
seem stilled to white scratches
on metal sky. Cows stippled
on a yellow hill are blacker,
road rails flare like neon
in evanescent flashes.
Bending to meet us eye-to-eye,
the sun paints peroxide tips
on cross-hatched winter grasses,
refracting light through the purpling day.
It finds pale gums glowing
in patient bushland patches,
sidelined by the highway
yet present as bones in an X-ray.
Shimmering through scenic film,
they conjure another landscape –
hills with names, grasses in song
(Wiradjuri, Ngarigo, Yuin).
As dusk falls and suburbs fill
sleeping Country watches,
her dreams gleaming where the scrim frays.
The fabric offers two threads,
a chambray of black warp,
white weft – both loosening,
as all ancient paths are cut
by the asphalt treadmill,
all sacred names left cold.
Behind glass we drive on,
missing calls of Currawongs,
though pliant Blackbird catches the tune
and sings too in the evening chill,
we barely ken the land’s archaic lai.