That Area North of Adelaide, 1984

 Lake Eyre is wet this year.

It’s on the horizon. A light charcoal smudge
edges the creamy wetness. It’s probably only salt,
after all. It would be brown if it was wet.

Orange tan lines define roads.

Green-grey river, snakes to creamy apricot lakes
of sleepy deeps.
Blue-purple to buff at the horizon.

Then smudged buff-cream reaching through

the middle of the air to make your mouth water.

Underneath, a faint blue haze as the land disappears

around the curve of the earth. The warmth of the earth

foreshadows the heat of the heartlands.

The red-grey haze of the foliage brings its textured velvet,

with the red of the road and the orange and cream foreground,
to fall at your feet.

We Are Crossing the Coast at Derby.

There are sand and tan paisley patterns
and islands in the salt, down to red and grey-green

meltings of the dry inland lakes.

Beside this giant winged cloud
the edge of the land is like burnt mud.
The water has no blue in it.

Just a grey-red muddy glow.

Most colour is in the sky, still a clear blue.

Blue-purple to white, blue-grey white and rose,
then mauve cloud islands, to blue, to green
spicy cinnamon. A horizon of paprika and chocolate,

caramelising the grey foreground.

The sky becomes more interesting than the land now.

Cloud covers the middle distance to the horizon.

Then mauve blue-grey streaks and cumulonimbus

becomes apricot and distant.

The cloud is stretched out like a giant flying-bird
or giant stingray flapping through the cobalt sky.

The horizon has powdered away

to pink hazed edges, turning blue-grey.

The Lumps of Pumice are called the Olgas;

blue-purple to cream-buff, blue-grey horizon.

Little salt lakes are indenting the distance.

Red-grey shows middle ground, then tan
to meet the Olgas where they’re

embedded in the surface of the earth.

There are five little salt lakes on the horizon.

You could get the effect with indentations

on cream paper, rubbing your finger flat

across the paper with charcoal.

There are salt lumps and snaked lines

close to the bottom of the frame.

The salt lumps are mouth-wateringly appealing.

Maybe they are really sugary cinnamon.

The snakes are liquorice with a coating of mid blue.

The horizon, 400 kilometres away is still crisply in view.

There is a white milky haze trying to obscure it.

There are wind lines in the desert, just like scribbles

and pen blots on a brown blotter. Who has heard

of a blotter thick with brown dust and smudged ink?

Above the horizon, blue-purple rules the day.

It sometimes softens close to the horizon, blue-grey,

to cinnamon, and salt lakes cream and curl beneath

the horizon like oysters. Blue red and grey patchwork

quilt the desert, then scribbles and red dots

pepper and scrabble down to warm your feet.

And Uluru is there, 47 kilometres away

on the other side of the Dreamtime, lurking

in its waiting fashion, the sun cloaking it

with haze, as its age demands. Blue to buff,

blue-grey to dusty cinnamon then blue-grey

charcoal smudges across the pages of the desert.

Wind lines string out the textures of the foreground.

Leave a Reply