Driving home from the Gallery – a palimpsest
When art has left a second sight,
silver birches lining the lake
seem stilled in a slow dance
to white scratches on metal sky.
Cows stippled on a yellow hill
seem blacker, guard rails
flare like neon installations,
the sun daubs peroxide tips
on cross-hatched winter grasses,
bending to meet us eye to eye,
refracting gold through the purpling day.
It finds pale gums glowing
in patient bushland patches,
sidelined by the highway,
present as bones in an X-ray,
shimmering through scenic film,
they conjure another landscape –
hills with names, grasses in song,
Wiradjuri, Ngarigo, Yuin.
Sleeping country watches still,
as dusk falls and suburbs fill,
her dreams gleaming where the scrim frays.
The canvas offers two threads,
its chambray of black warp,
white weft, both loosening
as all ancient paths are cut
by the asphalt treadmill,
all sacred names left cold.
Yet behind glass we drive on,
missing calls of currawongs,
though pliant blackbird sings
as evening chills, we barely ken
the fading land’s archaic lai.