(7 September 1935 - / Maldon / Australia)

HOMECOMING

Picking out lights over Darwin,
too dark to see
but the pilot mentions it . . .

People stir, half-waking
as if instinctively
aware of land below

drawing us into its
sweep of colour.
Now an iridescent sunrise

somewhere over Alice,
dawn-changing colours
in a frenzy,

breath arching the win-
dows. Slowly land becomes
dun-squared, grey-green,

an antipodean patchwork:
this was the explorers'
wasteland and their trial —

Sturt's inland sea
still waiting
as the earth drums messages

and the plane drones
through powdery air.
My head tilts into

the storm of arriving —
past distances, faces
that I have assembled

among words, puzzles stretched to
new meanings over lost times
spaces I can't name, never could.

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