Rohan Buettel: ‘Red Hill’

Red Hill

she matured not through growth or learning
but through erosion, her bulk defined
by negative space, a weathering of sediment
to form valleys, while protected
by a hard head, her hornfels—
metamorphs heated without melting
cooked by granite intrusion, becoming
the resistant ridge of her being

these days the scalp weathers too
breaking down into the terra rossa soils
that give her name, her decrepitude
a home for yellow box and red gum
the open woodland of grasses, herbs and shrubs
parrots, tree creepers and honey-eaters
echidnas, snakes and eastern greys
rosellas and crested cockatoos

she is indifferent to human steps
long ago first peoples crossed her crown
more people walk there now among
red flowering plants that burnish her name
she bears the weight of reservoirs
lookouts, restaurant, roads
they have only just arrived
and will be gone before they know

Rohan Buettel

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