© Brenda Joy, 2019

Winner, 2021 Laura Literary Awards, The CJ Dennis Poetry Awards – Open Poetry, Laura, South Australia.

The endless desert stretches out before us
a sun-seared surface baked with blistered sands,
where whirling winds bewail in eerie chorus
as hardy life-forms bow to harsh demands.

A realm that captivates with vivid glories,
with colour spectrum spanning vast extremes,
a realm that infiltrates with whispered stories
that haunt you like the images from dreams.

Where desert people cling to ancient magic
through legends passed on down from days of old,
where interwoven in the weft, the tragic,
more modern tale of Lasseter* is told…

…there White Man Dreaming had origination
in claims he’d found a massive golden reef,
inspiring lust and wild anticipation –
for avarice can lure to bring belief.

A reef “…as splendid as the sun emerging…” **
yet hidden in the vast expanse around,
has fed the hopes of fortune seekers urging
it must exist − but still it’s not been found.

The Aborigines felt earth around them
was sacred.  Knowledge helped the race survive.
The bounty of its riches could astound them;
its fruits and waters kept their tribes alive.

Yet men will seek to claim and take possession
of Nature and the gifts that she bestows.
Their quest to conquer festers to obsession
but Nature can’t be ruled – as Black Man knows.

So does the ghost of Lasseter still wander
among the spirit ancestors, alone,
with eons of eternity to ponder
the dream for gold that he could never own?

Here where the shifting sand protects its treasures,
where elements of time can’t be imposed,
the desert winds employ their constant measures
and buried secrets will not be disclosed.

The blood-red landscape paints its own illusions –
mirages that can drive a man insane.
This realm of mystery denies intrusions
and only those who love it may remain.

* Lewis Hubert Lasseter (1880-1931), gold-seeker.
** From Journalistic reports – quoted as Lasseter’s wording

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