Travel the Red Road – dare to dream
From the eastern shores to the opal seam–
That weaves down through the red earth deep
Out in the heart in a timeless sleep.
Below the ground or above the trees
Where the western wind at its restless ease-
Whispers the stories far and wide
From the Barcoo’s banks to the big Broome tide.
Travel the Red Road, stop with me
Beneath the spread of the Wilga tree-
As night comes down from your head to heal,
Through all your body and mind you feel
the force, that comes and never lies
As naked under the naked skies-
You sit till the stars burn in your soul
And lay you out in your blanket roll.
From “The Roper” down to the sweeping shores
Where the mighty Southern Ocean roars-
Where Aurora’s colours change the sky
As flashing and flaming on they fly.
Then hurtled back from the dazzling sights
To the stony ground and the “Min-Min” lights-
Where we’ll not know if we can’t see-
Where we belong in the mystery.
Skimming the tops of “The Great Divide”
From north to south down the eastern side-
The Gibralter Range and Hanging Rock
To the plateau heights of Nowendoc.
Drifting above the Tumut trees
We rise with the sharp Talbingo breeze-
Through the chill of the Kosciusko night
And follow the Snowy’s Southbound flight.
The sounds of the ancient ocean roar
From the caves beneath the Nullabor-
To Augusta’s crystal stalactites
Then up to the dazzling floral sights.
The world’s most precious flower display
Would cheer a heart on the saddest day-
Colours and styles that breed at will
It humbles me, in silence, still !
The Brolgas dance on the western land
By lakes and swamps on the coarse red sand-
The black swan’s glide on the Lachlan Reach
Then preen themselves on the inland beach.
The setting sun in a backdrop bright
Five hundred pelicans trail in flight-
Across the blazing western skies
It’s painted forever on my eyes.
In the channel country the poppies grew
A humbling sight in that startling view-
With a man who had waited fifty years
From the saddle we saw his joy and tears.
For the rain had come and the heat was right
Creating Paradise overnight-
In silence grown men gazed in awe
To the four who dreamed it was heaven’s door.
The dust blows up and in my eyes
From “The Mulga Scrub” I have seen it rise-
High in the air and it blocked the sun
And none knew why and none could run.
It lifted o’er the land so free
And drifted across the Tasman sea –
Rich red dust on a crisp white bed
It turned the snow on the mountains red.
Oh, heart of a brooding weathered land
Beating for those who understand-
But, bleeding because of those who don’t
And dying because of those who won’t.
Fragile, special and sacred place
If we care about her we must face
the task at hand and the cancer halt,
Or watch her drown in a sea of salt.
In firelight glow at the Bulloo’s bend
Where the sickest soul can heal and mend–
Like a steady flow of Muscat–wine
Where the spirits meet and their hearts entwine.
And dance with the tree-tops in the light
Like diamond tips on a moonlight night-
Bitterness gone and the anger too
With an ancient robe, it will cover you.
The “Red Road” runs through every heart
And it beckons you to make a start-
Wondering whether you will decide
To take that long enduring ride
Come; lay your swag by the Sandalwood
When the air is fresh and the feeling good-
You are welcome with your heavy load
Stop and dream by the long Red Road.
©Roderick Williams 2000.