An excerpt from ’The Long Journey to the deep north’
(with a nod to Basho’s ‘The narrow road to the deep north’, circa 1690 For Louise
North to Broome
Everything begins in darkness,
thornbills whistle as our quadrant
turns into the fierce stare of our star.
Termite mounds signal with red light,
an ancient technique, Galahs swoop in silver.
A long low ridge maintains the east, tussock grass
waves over bumps of spinifex, pale green sea-urchins,
throwing long shadows with other earth hugging plants.
Time inhabits a different dimension
in this vast silence
with so much air to breathe.
The horizon disappears in these arid shrublands,
then appears, a furrow of desert ghost gums
track a slight depression, a dry creek bed.
Another hundred kilometres, tiny trees accompany
our journey a little way, dangling a few thin leaves.
Mulla Mulla with feathery, mauve spear-heads
march alongside the gritty road.
For the first time, I can imagine what homesickness might be like.