Burra Colours

I’d say, if I were asked, my days
have worn two separate colours, one
a mottled brown much like the shade
of kelpies when their coats are squared
by lattice-shadows slanting where
they hatch the side-verandah sun.

The hills that funnel summer round
my January town will change
their Christmas colour, kelpie brown,
in early June.  By then they’ll seem
like Celtic fells in Kerry-green.
But when they wear Salvation Jane

they’re feasting Caesars robed in bright
October-togas, faintly stained
where clouds cast shade in Heysen-light
that slowly sears their slopes until
November finds them, stretched and still,
like sleeping sheep-dogs once again.

Green, my other colour, falls
where sunlight, wind and peppers meet
near engine-houses, bluestone walls
and tree-screened screes on shaft-scarred ground
or where the boughs and bells swing down
a pepper-shaded, Sunday street.

And school-yard, scarred, recess-time trees
stand far behind in time, but still
I find my mind where lines of free
and swinging leaves lead creeks away
through pepper-swept and tawny days;
down stubble-coloured, wind-stripped hills.

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