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Poem: In the Flinders

Books & Poetry

A hike through the colourful gorges of the Flinders Ranges inspired this week’s Poet’s Corner contribution from Ross Jackson.

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In the Flinders

Cloud shadows come up, a heavy gang
from Spencer Gulf and The Ranges
closing in upon our travelling bus
just as we disembark

a walking group, we enter a gorge, the neck
cluttered with stone eggs, our walking poles
tap on tilted clinkers, palms and shoulders
graze boulders flaked with lichen

a natural graffiti of white, sienna, olive, sulphur and lime
as we make a line through watercourses
on bone-dry floors, feel shut in by
red and black walls of laterite

south of where Heyson had camped
the knotted haunches of his red gums strain
from shelves of gravel, wallaroo and euro
sighted on the dusky skyline

a sunset scintillation in the brows of Rawnsley Bluff
bare, white torsos of old fella mulgas
so eerie in our campfire light

an older scrambler’s blurry view
a Port Lincoln Parrot on a stamp
Lieutenant Flinders
on the ten-shilling note

days later far away from the Pound
I imagine things I’d anticipated
but not seen towns – with flinty names –
Parachilna… Blinman…Orroroo…

I channel the dreams of those who
might have bet quids on wine and copper
drank the last Tintara ports
a shade of sunset red this side of
my closing eyes.

Ross Jackson is a retired teacher who lives with his wife and their companion dog in the Perth suburbs. He is a member of OOTA Poets, that has had a close association with the Fremantle Arts Centre since 1996. He is also a regular reader at the Fremantle monthly poetry event ‘Voicebox’, and has had his poetry published in literary journals in Australia, the UK, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to poetscorner@solsticemedia.com.au. Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.

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