March 2024

Back to Issue 15

Blue Trees

By Lili Pâquet

After ‘Country Town’ by Judith Wright


This is a landscape sick of its relation to Thunderbolt,

this is a landscape with dry paddocks and empty dams,

with pockets of paper daisies and wilting novoanglica,

with waterfalls that swell after a few days of rain.


This is a landscape never ceded by the Anaiwan,

the snow people, in a place where it used to snow.

This landscape of bitumen and banks is full of potholes,

with kangaroos let loose from the top paddock.


This is a landscape netted by fences and hills,

where drought means euthanising your stock,

where rainwater tanks lined with dusty fingermarks

reveal a chronology of desperation.


This landscape is measured by the dry husks

of trees painted ultramarine blue, their bark

buried with the histories of working the land;

the only place a farmer’s hardship is printed.