© Terry Piggott

Winner, 2015 ABPA WA State Championship – Serious Category, Toodyay WA.

I camp beside a shady tree, the billy on, a mug of tea
and look around here thinking just how lucky I must be.
To live out in this wilderness and know what freedom means,
far from the noisy city and the chatter of machines.

Yet most prefer the urban life, a steady job – a home – a wife;
while my heart lies out here, away from towns, their noise and strife.
I love the arid inland with its hint of mystery,
an ancient land as old as time and steeped in history.

The first Australians breathed this air; a sacred place they trod with care,
their footprints may be now long gone, but other signs are there.
Their Gnamma Holes are still here now to catch the rain once more
and tribal art adorning caves, tell of their life before.

Those people had known freedom too, throughout this land that they once knew,
until their lifestyle was destroyed, as winds of change swept through.
Yet as the light is fading and I gaze out from this hill,
I sense their spirits still dwell here; I guess they always will.

I think then of the pioneer, a hardy bloke who knew no fear
and roamed into this then unknown, with just a star to steer.
But there’s a tinge of sadness knowing now what happened here;
the coming of the white man saw a culture disappear.

These days its nomads just like me who wander here far from the sea
and though it’s harsh and rugged, it’s a special place to be.
I look out from my vantage point across the quartz strewn ground
and I can see such beauty as I slowly look around.

Nearby are hills then distant peaks with ghostly gums and bone dry creeks;
out here you’ll find the solitude, the bushman always seeks.
And there’s a hint of timelessness that seems to touch this place,
where years of tribal history have barely left a trace.

For years I’ve camped beneath the stars, away from towns and crowded bars,
escaping from that madness and the endless noise of cars.
Yet still I keep on moving out to try and stay ahead,
of miners and the drillers as their new endeavours spread.

I know that progress has to stay and nothing can stand in its way;
the dollar has the loudest voice, no matter what they say.
I sense these days I’m seeing here Australia’s last frontier
and wonder if in time to come, will this all disappear.

I look around this magic land of Spinifex and deep red sand,
with weathered hills surrounding me wherever I may stand.
And if by chance you venture here, this place is sure to please;
a harsh yet fragile land, of ghostly gums and mulga trees.

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