This is a fragment from a larger piece I have been playing with for some time. McKellar’s wonderful poem, ‘My Country’, is part of my cultural baggage: here was a poem that celebrated what others shook their heads at.
I love this many-island country drifting slowly in the planet,
This Great South Land is part of me and I of it – my Home I call it:
Its red-soiled scrubs like heartbeats, constant, quiet, relentless;
Its ancient forests from Gondwana crown the eastern mountain spine;
The inland sea now dust and salt beneath the vast blue skies
That ache my eyes and stretch my mind, shrinking self-importance.
This place for me is like my breath, my heart’s beat, the stillness in my centre.