Wind all the way from South Australia rouses and gathers in blackwoods and old redgums, sighing for the parched land. Here struggle wears patience. Gnarled trunks tougher than seasons attest strengths needed to wrest sap from the earth; endurance and that faith espoused by the pioneer who built this classic homestead on the hillside, named it for the angels, planted fruit trees by the driveway circle, the tennis court and lawn now languidly guarded by tangles of agapanthus. A wide verandah commands views of the creek course. From it a settler might plan to subdue nature, envision timber as fence posts if not as paper. Could any first owner have foreseen, three generations later, such felicitous teaming of tractor and typewriter? Outside the curtilage like besieging armies ragged cockatoo hordes flock and shriek, hatch treetop conspiracies. Inside, cool high-ceilinged spaces resonate with the strains of violins giving back Haydn and Mozart. Host and hostess have changed out of field clothes. Country greets City with a grace declaratory of cheerful chronicles, yet annals of lean times are scripted in the surfaces of sheep-shorn paddocks where ground cracks harder than a farmer’s handshake. We who sign the guest book have it easy. Sundown glints on cut-glass decanters, and talk flows like wine, and as we sit for dinner a harvest moon joins us from behind the tree-line bestowing a tranquil benediction.
© Ian Baillieu, 2012
Image: Australian Outback Trees, “Hauling Timber, ” painting by Hans Heysen, 1911
On a technical note, I found your line breaks to be perfectly as I would have made them (had I written this poem). This, of course, led to an ease of reading and a comprehension beyond the casual reader’s experience. I found myself wanting to read aloud – and I did. Ultimately my imagination took over and I added a couple of things in my mind’s eye. But, don’t we all do that when we find a poem we fall in love with? I envisioned an aboriginal medicine man, made up to blend into an outcropping of rock near the creek and trees. Finally, I attached the scent of the blooms on the trees and flowers, and, voila! I was there.
I hope to see many more of these poems from you. They are familiar, comforting and homey to me; though, I’ve never lived anywhere like Australia. What excellent imagery writing skills you possess to impart such feelings to a person thousands of miles away in a completely different geographical circumstance! Well done, well done! Encore, please!