Prickly Pear

Year: (1953)

by James Picot   

The smashed and tumbling trunks litter the plains;
Their wooden antlers pierce the fleshy leaves
Of prickly pear clumps, and a ruby fire
Eats at the cores of logs, and flakes them off
In incandescent jewels, breaking down,
To die and blacken, in the mountain ash
Among the cacti; and blood-coloured fruit
Bestrew the sandy fringes of the fires,
And fall where is no fire. Leaves glitter back
The sunlight; here and there a wilga-tree
A lovely shadow for thin cattle spreads.
But from the nadir half way to the sun
Mounts a red haze, and the sun, falling down,
Loses his rays, and reddens with the haze,
And falls behind the earth. A jackass laughs,
And it is night…….
Stay! through the wilderness there comes a train
Taking the iron road, and its bright panes
Are memories of cities. Does its smoke
Astonish walleroos and curious birds?

                                                  James Picot