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Poetry of Place No2

I recently worked for a week in Darwin, a city situated in Australia’s Northern Territory. Located in the nation’s tropical north, the city was under the influence of the annual dry season. ‘You reach a point when you’ve had enough of the dust and everything turning to brown,’ someone told me as we drove out of the city, one morning.

Interestingly, a major focus of my work during that week with teachers and students, focused on poetry.

So, while staying in Darwin, the following poem emerged in my notebook. As poets, we are strongly influenced by place or setting. This is poetry of place. The words are influenced by my experiences and the comments of those I met during my stay.

Big Dry

I stand under the eaves
Seeking salvation from the unrelenting sun.
Disturbed by the hot wind
with hues of dry straw, swirl at my feet
Sounding faintly scratchy,
Dust scatters in puffs
On every available surface.

An eagle hovers,
Between the baked-earth land
And the blazing sun
Supreme against the cloudless sky.

Far off,
The horizon dances the shimmer
While an old brown dog
Lazes inside the shadow line beside the house.

Moisture is a stranger
In this bone dry world.
No dewdrops reside here.
The dry season
Parches everything,
This pitiless season
Sheds no tears.


  1. That final stanza is very powerful! You really made me feel how parched it is.

  2. I lived in Sydney for about seven years, but we never traveled as far as Darwin. I especially like you third stanza... the lazy dog says it all with no words at all.

  3. How beautiful. We experienced a terrible drought in my city last summer, and I remember that weariness, ground down by the constant sun and heat and dust. Beautifully captured.

  4. Powerful imagery, I can see the dog panting.


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