This poem was inspired by my recent trip from Yaraka to Isisford in Western Queensland but it could be any country road out west …
Driving slalom around the road kill, dodging crows and kangaroos
With hump-necked cattle grazing by the side
Over cattle grids and floodways, along dusty gravel tracks
As I travel country roads, Australia wide.
Watching kites and wedge-tailed eagles soaring high above their prey
And bustards plodding slowly through the gidyea
While emus stalk the fence line across swathes of purple haze,
Yes, country roads share all of this with me.
A bright green flash of budgies rises swiftly from the grass
As a shingleback creeps lazily along
And tiny little wrens flash colours blue and red and brown
And magpies fill the air with happy song.
I weave through a herd of cattle as they slowly cross the road –
You never know just how they will behave –
While drivers towing caravans and farmers driving utes
Lift up their ‘hello’ finger in a wave.
I tightly shut the window as a road train clatters by
The stock is coming back onto the land!
After years of little rainfall and a long and dreadful drought
These properties can still do with a hand.
Green grasses line the country roads where once was dry, red dust.
The dams are holding water, though not much.
Until you travel around our country and get out beyond the towns
Your understanding’s really out of touch.
I love the country roads I drive, the freedom far from towns
The experiences money cannot buy,
The trees that fill the landscape, the waterholes and pebbled creeks
And land that reaches out to touch the sky.
Rosemary Robinson July 2019