Les Murray is an award-winning Australian poet with more than 30 published collections of work, including Taller When Prone, The Biplane Houses, Waiting for the Past and The Best 100 Poems of Les Murray. His work has been translated into ten foreign languages.
A gapped circle of colonies
each staring at the ocean
through a plaid of cars and imports.
Inland lies the still uncrowded
heartland once of drawl and steamboats
now half desert, half freshwater province.
There the Murray descends its seven thousand
feet off the Pilot, zigzags over the plains,
forest and furrow toward an outfall wash.
Narrow rivers link to this one, or slant north
where the dragon Ceratodus grunts in ivory mail
and streets are shaded in peppercorn and willow.
Having monstered tribesfolk,
dressed POWs in maroon,
it now flickers dials, or pipes experienced water
onto rice, onto cotton, on to Adelaide.
Western scrub rivers merge down the Darling
above flint blade
and reburied bones of the Warrior
as snow wind chills the...