Gramadoulas: Australian Outback

Infinite vastness of elastic horizons defined by distant hazy ranges,

Shrinking to merest pimples as the distance fades.

Vast, red, Mars-like plains, old as eternity, wrinkled like elephant hide,

Stretched like skin on a bongo drum.


Red monotony, broken by dotted clumps of saltbush, mulga scrub,

Eucalypts, ghost-like, salmon-fleshed, majestic in their isolation in the gullied land.

Small waterless creeks, buried mounds of sand from last year’s rain,

The echo of a banker, a powerful flood of soil and scrub,

Roaring its short life on its rush to oblivion on a vast, flat salty lake.


Remnants of an isolated muddied pool,

An oasis for the myriad of ocean life that fills the empty land,

Sensible life that lies in shade on century scorching days,

Under the blue Bohemian crystal skies,

Patiently awaiting the crimson-orange glow that marks the setting sun,

Second only to the dusty African veld in its reflected glory.

The cooler domain of the nocturnal beast, improvising in the desolate moonlit terrain.


The wonder of the granite tors, massive, jointed,

Or alive with coiled and twisted banding,

Recording the early agony of Earth.

Polished by aborigines, grinding seeds,

Decorated by living recreations of moons, hunters, lizards, snakes,

The ingredients of nomadic life.


This is our land, not the ant-like mound of sprawling cities,

The hustle, loneliness, despair.

The artificial oasis, the diminishing share of a polluted waterhole,

The sound of sirens, stress and lack of care,

Is this progress for humanity or is environmental crisis here.

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