The Shape of Australia

Australia is a vast continent
rather flat and therefore dry
like a big brown and green biscuit.
When the Europeans came
they were white dots on this vast canvas
which they regarded as blank.
But black dots were here before them
few in number
but with a vast nomadic web.
When the white dots grew their tiny towns
their small squares and triangles
their boxes
along by the river
and laid their farms and crops
like blankets
with woolly dots and brown dots
over the hunter gather grounds
of the black dots
the black dots grew hungry
and threw sharp lines
at the woolly dots and brown dots
and ate them.
Punished by the white dots
who with their brown lines fired red dots
the black dots retreated
to the edges of the blankets.
The white dots went on to prosper
when they discovered gold dots
in the outback
and they built bigger
grander boxes.


Copyright Sandra Roe

Flaminia’s Villa

We’re back in Chiusi, you and me, Chiusi Scalo
leaving the railway station
passing under the umbrella pines
and up the winding road scarped through the rise
lined with green trees and creepers
towards Querce Al Pino (Forest of Pines)
that confluence of roads leading to more towns in Siena.
There’s the Etrusco Chiusi Supermercato
where no one speaks English
but we came away laden with wine and food
prosecco and moscato and brunello
fresh basil pesto, crostini and bistecca alla fiorentina
and double zero flour to make focaccia.

There’s the Hotel del Sole
and La Taverna del Patriarca
where we had our first dinner
and there’s the bus stop.
That quiet turn off to the right
leads past the barnyard geese, turkeys and cats
some villas and vineyards
and another large villa
by the long and dusty road.
David’s villa is up ahead
and there’s the castle to the east
but we turn left and
pass down the hill through the gates
to Flaminia’s villa.

Flaminia’s villa looks west
through trees and down a steep slope.
It’s a golden and light green vista
of fallow fields and chestnut trees
and large villas over there and there.
The porch has a long table and chairs
for drinks tea coffee and dinners
and good arguments
late morning and long into the night
until autumn ends
the nights are cooler
and we have to leave.

We strike out for the day to discover
Etruscan tombs in old Chiusi
ceramics in Orvieto
antiques in Arezzo
sweets in Perugia
meringues in Castiglione del Lago
cakes in Siena
ramparts in Lucca and
art and gelato everywhere.
Pienza has funghi soup and Romeo and Juliet
and The English Patient with frescoes in the monastery.
In Montalcino we buy brunello
and drink sparkling rose
eat honey and cheese while
looking on the old fort.
Montepulciano has music and
that little yellow bus
that goes from the station
right up the old narrow street.
And it’s there, there in Montepulciano
in a little shop on the old street
I find my blue woolen hat and
bring it home to Flaminia’s villa.

Copyright Sandra Roe

On Facebook

Steven’s in Rio
he’s cut his finger
there’s blood everywhere
and the Oh Nos and Ouches
come from
Belfast Brisbane
Illinois Ipswich
and me in Sydney

Lesley’s in Perth
she’s got gastro
and Oh Nos and Get Wells
come from Oregon
and Canberra
and from me in Sydney

It’s Andrea’s birthday
she’s out for dinner
in Rockingham
with Debbie and Didi
and the Happy Birthdays
and best wishes
come from Melbourne
and Mildura
and me in Sydney

Marlish in Perth
wants to chuck writing
for a life of crime
better hours
and a gang of friends
and the I’m Ins and Me Toos
come from
New Zealand Melbourne
and Perth
with ideas of cattle rustling
stealing Belgian chocolate
and crystal meth
but the best one
let’s steal a good red
and drink it
comes from
me in Sydney.

Copyright     Sandra Roe

Kalgoorlie’s Super Pit

I love to visit Outback Australia. It is vast, beautiful and has wide open spaces which are terrifyingly seductive. It is rich in nature and mineral resources.This is the Super Pit in Kalgoorlie, in Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields. It is Australia’s largest open cut gold mine. Oblong in shape, it is approximately 3.5 kilometres long, 1.5 kilometres wide and 579 metres deep. It is large enough to be seen from space. Owned by Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Pty Ltd, it produces 850,000 ounces (28 tonnes) of gold per year, and employs about 550 employees directly on site. To recover the gold, the ore is crushed, passed through a gravity circuit, subjected to flotation to produce a concentrate, and then roasted in a small smelter. I took these photos in 2007, and it was very windy in the lookout.

Bottlebrush Trees

Turn off the street lights
we don’t need them.
It’s October, it’s spring
and the callistemon shines.
The rows of knobby buds
on the stems of dull green trees
have burst, each inflorescence
large and cylindrical
with stamens and anthers
the red thin spikes
the filaments of
bright shining crimson globes.
Hundreds of shrubs and trees
stand by the roadsides and fences
railways and walls
along footpaths
and in parks.
These bright red jewels
hang in clusers
lighting our way
heralding the summer sun and
turning our quiet suburbs
into a red light city.


Copyright Sandra Roe