All the blues in the world
are here. This is the continent
where blue is quarried.
Along the tracks
where blue was traded
where cobalt and perse were casked and packed
blue has been spilled;
the hills are steeped in it
it has been ambushed in the night
it has settled on the leaves like smalt
it has been carried away by rivers
it has been washed into the livid sea
it has drifted into the sky.
Beryl, turquoise, opal, indigo,
the blue in the bone cages of eucalypts
on the bluffs near Eden;
the moths in the saxe-blue dusk at Tidbinbilla;
Nowa Nowa, Cann River,
where the measure of distance is always blue.
And where does the blue go when it dies?
Into the desert, where there is nothing
but spirits, penumbral, of the colour blue.
'Australia' from Wall (McIndoe, 1980), © Michael Jackson 1980, used by permission of the author.
Recording from the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive 2004.