Driving westward past the tumble of rocks
and sheep of the Yass Valley, fence lines
all but disappear, rough paddocks fan out

into undulating fields of bright rape seed
rivalling the sunflowers of Provence
in primary brilliance against the bluest sky.

The landscape shifts into moiré patterns
of grapevines, their low-strung tendrils
wrapping themselves lavishly across wires,

hectare upon hectare of flowering almonds,
blossom soft and bridal, havens for bees,
segue into orange groves, all dark leaves,

citrus trees glowing with fruit,
windfall orbiting trunks like gifts,
row upon row of plants flicking by.

Geometric art, it’s intensely satisfying
in an industrial kind of way, but I can’t
help but think about displacement,

crop spraying, cotton seeds coated
with pesticide, the vast irrigation
schemes needed to turn the dry green.

I can feel the road pulling me onward
towards a dirt track somewhere wilder,
uncharted, to a place that defines itself.

Vanessa Proctor


Vanessa Proctor is President of the Australian Haiku Society. Her poetry, as well as appearing in journals such as Australian Poetry Journal, Meanjin and Southerly, has been carved in stone, printed on teabag labels and set to music.

© 2019