Beyond the Divide
the days become immense,
beyond our war
in the level lands of wheat,
the things that we defended are still here,
the willow-trees pruned neatly cattle-high,
the summer roads where far-back bullock drays
foundered in earth and mouldered into yarns.
From a ringbarked tree, as we go cheering by
a tower and a whirlwind of white birds,
as we speed by
with a whistle for the plains.
On kitbags in the aisle, old terrors doze,
clumsy as rifles in a peacetime train.
Stopped at a siding
under miles of sun,
I watched a friend I mightn't see again
shyly shake hands, becoming a civilian,
and an old Ford truck
receding to the sky.
I walk about. The silo, tall as Time,
casts on bright straws its coldly southward shade.
All things are spaced out here
each in its value.
The pepper-trees beside the crossroads pub
are dim with peace,
pumpkins are stones
in fields so loosely green.
In a little while, I'll be afraid to look
out for my house and the people that I love,
they have been buried in the moon so long.
Beyond all wars
in the noonday lands of wheat,
the whistle summons shouters from the bar,
refills the train with jokes and window noise.
This perfect plain
casts out the things we've done
as we jostle here, relaxed as farmers, smoking,
held at this siding
till the red clicks green.