(1912 - 1992 / Australia)

The Ruined Homestead

White birds, frightened from silver grass,
whose blood-rose breasts and wings are thrown
like petals settling down the pass,
flower the ruined homestead’s stone.

Rise from the fallen walls and scream,
crested, from the stark dead gum;
shatter the crystal of the morning’s dream
where I, across your landscape, come.

Roofless, the broken stonework frames
red arid hills, a valley where
the ghost-gums writhe like whitened flames
and desert-oaks droop their dark hair.

And when, in the crucible of the hills
the molten day has died, there stands
under the blaze of stars that fills
its night, a house not made with hands.

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