Andrew Burke

(1944 - / Melbourne / Australia)

None So Raw As This Our Land - Poem by Andrew Burke

for Mary Maclean

Many have been more exotic places, but this
you offer us, a taste of our land. The air
so crisp with chill we wear entire wardrobes
like hunters' furs - jeans over track pants,
footy socks, beanies, scarves. Mary's roo dog
does our hunting: an emu caught by the throat,
plucked and thrown whole on a cooking fire,
smoke full of singed feathers and flesh
stings our noses. We wrestle with tin-canned
standards in words the wind blows away. Huddled
'round campfires morning and night, we go where
the sun breaks through as day unrolls. Breakaways,
mulga bush, a never-used dam a hundred years old;
this place of bleached bones and broken glass
queries our presence, unwashed, awkward on
its unpaved ways. Marrakesch, Kathmandu - tales
of former hikes, but none so raw as this our land.
Whose land? Our week is up; we take away
film rolls, rusted horse shoes, and ochre rocks.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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