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Shelley Hansen - Lady of Lines

Highway to Nowhere

Winner - 2015 Feast of the Senses Written Bush Poetry Competition - Innisfail, North Queensland - sponsored by Bendigo Bank

My husband and I love to travel and to savour the unexpected delights of this wonderful country - even if others tell us that the route we have chosen has little to offer! This was our experience on one trip through outback Queensland ...

Highway to Nowhere

When we travelled from Clermont to Charters,
people said: "There is nothing to see!
You’ll be driving the Highway to Nowhere …
just as boring as boring can be!”

But we loaded our sense of adventure,
and we unlocked the doors of our mind,
and we opened our eyes in an effort
not to miss anything we might find.

As the Great Inland Way stretched before us
with its vista of vast black soil plains,
we traversed a terrain lush and fruitful
after seasons of life-giving rains.

The dark ribbon of road was embroidered
with an edging of flowering grass –
and we knew from the start that the story
of the "boring road” was just a farce!

Shining tresses of golden profusion
fell cascading from black wattle trees,
while the gidgee and brigalow bushes
waved their freshly-washed leaves in the breeze.

Sudden mountains arose, unexpected –
just as quickly, they vanished from view.
Endless skies painted distant horizons
with a brush-wash of delicate blue.

As the raptors encircled the thermals,
and the cockatoos screeched from the trees,
the apostle birds’ gossiping chatter
was dispelled on the afternoon breeze.

There was no punctuation of townships,
nothing human before us unfurled –
just a highway that went on forever
as if we were alone in the world.

Little things we had thought were important
soon reverted to where they belong,
as we drove on, absorbing in silence
each new note of this landscape’s bright song.

And I thought … there are those who will always
place a negative focus on things,
missing out on the chance to discover
all the wonders that each new day brings.

Life presents us with "Highways to Nowhere”,
but if we will just open our eyes,
we may savour each step of the journey …
never losing our sense of surprise.

(c) Shelley Hansen 2014

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