tikiwanderer (tikiwanderer) wrote,

On leaving Melbourne, moving to Perth, and the drive between

I was just cleaning trifftraff off my desktop, and found a file named "tmp2" that I didn't remember the contents of. Turns out it's a poem I started writing around the time of the Big Move, unfinished because, well, I was moving. That makes you a bit busy. So it's mostly hypothetical as well as not complete. But it has a comment stuck on the end from a crucial point of the trip - when we first crossed onto the Yilgarn Block. Rereading it now, I like it enough to go ahead and post it as is.

I'm leaving a land that's softly grey
under the soil and over the sky
where night time comes wrapped in an orange blanket
that hides the stars on high
where playgrounds are surfaced with woodchips
because that's what's soft on clay
where summer skies are long and white
and the sun hides from sight all day

I'm leaving a city with turquoise water
in a bay of golden sands
which sounds so pretty in brochure-speak
but just looks polluted in my hands
where Impressionist painters painted soft scenes
then left for brighter sun
leaving one behind to paint the rain
and bushmen whose day was done

I'm leaving a city of the winter spirit
that comes alive in the cold
a town standing alone in the heart
of the big bush tales of old
a town that has so much inside
that nothing else can be as fine
I'm leaving this city, oh yes I am
for someplace the sun will shine

I'm leaving for a city that glows in the sun
where the beaches are blindingly white
where the ocean knows the colour blue
and flowers are tiny but bright
Where the parks are quiet with clear bird calls
no feral chatterers to clutter the air
where rainwater's precious any month but winter
and sandy playgrounds are standard fare.

The food might not be as good, true
and the social life will be more slow
but that's good for me because
if something's on, then I'll know
The first summer will be the hardest
I've forgotten how to bear the heat
endless days of 30-plus
will knock me off my feet

And I mustn't forget this is the place
of mosquitoes, gnats and flies
where two countries' colonial explorers
were turned back by biting skies

Today I stood on a granite platform, the first as you come from the east onto the Yilgarn Block, after days on the horizon-to-horizon treeless limestone karst that is our continent's belly. I could smell the lichen breaking the layers of granite away, the dampness that is tiny drips of forgotten rain trapped beneath thin fragments of stone. The sky blazed down blue, and the light even in this deep winter was penetratingly bright. I looked out over large flat expanses of woodland and smelt the eucalypts - we have so many species but these ones smelt like Western Australia. I heard a ringneck fly over, and it had the call of this state - yes, their call changes from place to place. It was good to be home.
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