I’d forgotten silence,

assaulted as I always am by ocean

relentless in its rolling.


I sit here now

Above desert red and olive green.

Quartz glints and sparkles.


Immensity invades my heart


and silence.



I sit in silence writing.


A crow accosts me,

Piercing me with white-rimmed stare,

black feathers ruffled by the intermittent wind.


Perched on sharp rocks

she quarks her crow cry,

lazy, inconsequential.


Glides off above my head

wings panting

pale vee contained by darker gleam.


Rides the sky as eagles do,

her crow-cry mocking now,

deriding all that’s tied to earth.



Humbled by the judgement of the crow

I shrivel.


Until desert colours glow again,

quartz glints


and silence reinflates me.

For six years in the 1990s I lived in Broken Hill, which became my second heart-place. Then I moved to the coast, and it was twelve years before I returned to the centre. This poem was written in the flora and fauna sanctuary about 10km out of town during that return visit. Since I was living in the cottage set aside for visiting writers, I thought I’d better write.

The poem went through one revision a few years ago, in discussion with a poetry-writing friend. On Tuesday, I submitted it to further scrutiny and revisions at a poetry writing group in Cobargo, where thoughtful suggestions and generous approval encouraged me to post it here.