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Personal Choice 17

The Ruined Homestead

White birds, frightened from silver grass,

whose blood-rose breasts and wings are thrown

like petals settling down the pass,

flower the ruined homestead’s stone.

Rise from the fallen walls and scream,

crested, from the stark dead gum;

shatter the crystal of the morning’s dream

where I, across your landscape, come.

Roofless, the broken stonework frames

red arid hills, a valley where

the ghost-gums writhe like whitened flames

and desert-oaks droop their dark hair.

And when, in the crucible of the hills

the molten day has died, there stands

under the blaze of stars that fills

its night, a house not made with hands.

Roland Robinson

Roland Edward Robinson OAM (1912 – 1992) was an Australian poet, writer and collector of Australian Aboriginal myths. Robinson was born in Ireland in 1912. At the age of 9, in 1921 he was brought to Australia. After only a brief education he worked in various jobs, mainly in the bush as a roustabout, boundary-rider, railway fettler, fencer, dam-builder, gardener and as a lifelong love - a ballet dancer. He served in the Australian Army. His love of the Australian landscape and everyday scenes were inspiration for his poetry. He was one of the most dedicated poets to the Jindyworobak Movement.

This for me is one of the really outstanding Australian poems. Robinson’s use of metaphor and imagery is masterful and the hyperbole of the last line just so redemptive


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