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Poems by Meg Mack by Margaret Mack - HTML preview

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COMING HOME FROM QUILPIE

Beneath the hot dry desert sun Bare bones lie parched and white. Red dust swirls. Magpies dance Beneath its glaring light.

The wind whips up the tumbleweed To roll across cracked ground, And cockatoos scream in the sky. An eagle-hawk soars round.

Emus feed beside the track On the flat red dusty plain. As the engine hurtles past They chase the Quilpie train.

Blackboys with their grass skirts stand On flat and treeless earth.
Tall anthills dotted here and there Are of enormous girth.

Railwaymen shout as we pass. “Paper! The fettlers cry,
We throw papers from the windows As the steam train rattles by.

On through the night we tunnel; Stop at Roma in the morning For breakfast, rush on board At the guardsman’s warning.

It’s getting greener now.
There’s no more swirling sand. Tufts of blue-green stunted scrub Replace the dry red land.

Kangaroos are grazing
Where the green is growing most. Sometimes there’s a creek or pond. We’re getting closer to the coast. Now the track winds round the hillsides, And through the forests growing. The train’s whistle rends the air
As through villages we’re going.

Now it’s farmland we’re traversing, And I’m getting excited.
It’s when we reach this area
I know soon we’ll be united
With Grandma and our cousins By the sea. My brother’s sighted The houses of the city
That spread so far and wide,
And crowd against each other On every steep hillside.

The train’s whistle pierces shrilly. For a moment I forget,
And my heart starts beating wildly. Then its quickened beats
Slow down as I remember
Why we’ve come back here.
We’ve come home for the last time. This time Grandma isn’t there.