And on Earth Peace

Luke  2 v. 14
(Oodlawirra 25.12.39)

Dawn – long whipstick shadows scratched on sand.
Windmills still – a prophesying sky
foretelling centuries – flies stirring early and
the first black tracks of ants. Coolgardies swung
and sweated underneath the peppers. Then
mid-morning – whirlwinds circled, windows slammed
cone-shaped spirals scoured out fowl yards. Hens
limped slowly home and sulked in dust holes. Dunes
changed patterns as the northerly began.

Shade shrank and shifted, roofing creaked, phone poles
periscoped mirages. Cards with snow
and coaches bordered doors. Balloons grown old
since yesterday shared steam with streamers.
A winter dinner simmered on a stove
that added to the day. Guns bucked and thundered
somewhere on the nightside of the world. At home
the year died quietly, drowned out by dust-clouds,
summer coloured, blown down from Lake Frome.

Evening-grit still lingered in the wind. The range
and western mallee blackened. Wireless time –
voices thinned by distance – static crackling – dials
alight. A fanfare, then his head against the news.
The weather men were fools. He knew a change
was coming – wind had shifted. Now the line
was holding well in France – all over soon.
It wouldn’t touch his family, not again.
And he was wrong about the weather too.

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