Gleniston, Mudgee NSW

Bruce McIntyre

Here a river gouged out boulders
Not just once but over coursing swathes of time.
Now once again we hobbled up the bed
Dryer than ever before,
Soft feet overwhelmed and speared
By rock where not just once
But over and through the rock
And through the coursing swathes of time
Water once had coursed,
Where water now still gargles rocks
And turns to sound,
Where water now still lies in shallow pools
Or seeps through sand, that’s it –
The seeping of water
Through time.
So there is the water,
So little now, where once
It must have coursed in boiling fountains
Like Asian water brown with swallowed earth,
There the rock in a vast cascade of dilapidation
And the bush that crackles at the touch.
Then above then all around the monstrous tearing scream
Of F-111s in barbaric lines and strokes,
Like sleek and steely Celtic ornaments
That fly.


Vast, but not so vast I cannot see your end
Dissolving into farmland, high
But not so high, the image of it shows
An even canopy, even as a chain of wrinkles,
A land like fabric cast upon the floor.
We pale ant-people are clumsy stumblers,
Vermin. The black ants that preceded us
Picked their high-stepping way between
The thorns, among branches, underneath
The gritty insect-ridden sky. We crash below
In our streamlined carapace,
Our leather stink-box shoes, sweat-soaked wool,
Glass-covered eyes,
Sauntering in and clambering out
And gasping cursing at the booming bombers
Shot like a stinging ejaculation
Low across the wrinkles to the farmhouse
And from there up the winding river
In vectors of barely controllable speed.


There were days when the cool stone cottage vibrated with the humming of flies,
Others when it sat and cracked and farted, swelling and contracting in the sun.
Other days beneath a leaden sky silence.
But never a morning or an evening passed without the calling of the lyrebird
Unseen across the river. Describe it? I defy you.
At Aranjuez a eunuch once serenaded a sad and inbred king
With the same five songs, perfectly sung and heard
Every evening for years in countless roulades of melancholy.
One Farinelli, one lyrebird!

Gleniston is a property on the Golbourn River, north of Mudgee in New South Wales.

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Main Location:

Gleniston, Mudgee, New South Wales, NSW, Australia

Other locations:

The Golbourn River in New South Wales, Australia