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Poetry Pleases: Landscape Change

Miriam McAtee compares the land in which she was born to the land she chose to live in.

I left a lush land of lime-green Spring and russet-gold Autumn
for a vast burnt-seinna country with bushlands of sunburnt-green,
tall stately bleached white-as-a-bone ghost gum trees,
laughing kookaburras, chattering cicadas, killer snakes and spiders.

I came from a village full of rose gardens and fresh fields
where life was slow and easy and shops a short walk away
to large noisy shopping complexes with busy mums and children
and rushing clattering laden trolleys with overspilling parcels.

I was familiar with constant rain and soft seeping mists,
umbrellas and coats and steamy windscreens forever clouding over.
Now I have grown accustomed to brilliant skies, sun-screen creams
hot golden beaches, awesome surf and cool blue pools in backyards.

Christmas was cold but cosy with candlelit dinners,
deep thick curtains shutting out icy splattering rain
and Christmas trees magical and glinting by the fireside.
Here we toast each other on hot sunny beaches and
“throw another prawn on the barbie”.

I have stood on my verandah and watched bush and gum trees burn,
fire-engines screeching helter-skelter keeping fires under control,
all the while remembering snowcovered trees, white-clad gardens,
crystal-like frost sparkling like stars on roads and pavements at night
and huddling in thick garments against blustery gusting wintry winds.

Aussieland can be red-hot and desert-like
but also cool and beautiful
with Aegean and gold mornings
brilliant orange evenings.

Aussies are informal and friendly,
their openess and cheerfulness charming
and their
“This is my shout” or
“Come over and bring a plate”
confusing but disarming and welcoming.

And while sometimes I yearn for one
I thank God for the other.


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