A Dreamtime Breakaway

© Peter O’Shaughnessy

Winner, 2019 ABPA Queensland State Championship – Serious Section, Logan, Queensland.

Great rocky battlements disturb the sky
deserted now, but well we wonder why.
Did once these gloomy caves and crumbling walls,
bear witness to the dreamtime’s haunted calls
and ancient songs with mournful, strange refrains?
Do spirits linger? Mystery remains
hid in dark cliffs, above grey mulga plains.

And down beneath the looming breakaway
where dark, red cliffs fade into sandy grey,
there, nestled in between great, jumbled blocks,
huge tumbled stones and massive, fallen rocks,
that’s where the legends of the past once grew
from crumbling walls, where once, great eagles flew,
strange beings of the dreamtime lived here too.

Then, sunset on another desert day
highlights the ramparts of this breakaway.
The last light flicking through the mulga trees
paints moving shadows, in a ghostly frieze.
The music of the past, in mystic riffs
runs secret song-lines down these rugged cliffs,
their dark caves hiding ancient hieroglyphs.

But even in the dark of desert night
these brooding, towered battlements alight
with flickers from a campfire down below
and these dark, cliffs reflect the eerie glow
that ancient peoples gazed upon in awe.
Had he been here, mad Hamlet surely saw
the vision, dark, of brooding Elsinore.

Nor could the castled hills of Europe see,
the dreaming that produced such mystery.
The spectres, the dark peaks, the crumbling walls,
dark caves, like halls, where daylight never falls,
for these dark, dungeon walls, hide desert lore,
the arcane marks of those who came before,
the dreamtime shades, of those who wrote the law.

But then, as golden daylight dares to chase
away the dark that hides this sacred place,
the gloomy cliffs and castle walls turn gold,
vast, crenulated walls and peaks unfold
the secrets of this place, in bold array
and dawn’s new light, in glorious display,
unveils, in gold, this dreamtime breakaway.


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