This Old Land

Helen McLaughlin

This land is old
Old ivory parchment
Crinkled, stained brown
Curled, touched green at the edges
So old, enfolded in a dreaming
Of legends of spiritual truths
The faith of an ancient people
Hid in the mists of these mountains
And lost in the dusts of these plains

This land is old
Unused to the soft caress
Of waters restrained and arranged
Soils forced to flourish
A manicured land so changed
There is more to this land
Than the wealth of its fields
Precious secrets deep under the earth
Where gold and gems lie concealed

Stained glass deserts shimmer and glow
In hot ochre tones
Flowing like golden silk
Around folded rocks, old bones
Of a world once young
Patterns of time locked in the stones

The old broken bones
Of this old, old land
Lie exposed by decaying sands
And the worn out stones
The endless patterns of broken rock

Lie crumbled and tumbled
Uplifted and folded
Ironstone ranges and gorges so deep
And vast are the seas of its plains
The endless patterns in swirling sands
Are visions of silver seas a dreamtime away
And the whispers of ghostly waves
Upon ancient shores of long lost oceans
Now lakes of salt
Swept by hot breath of dry sighing winds

This land sprawls through aeons of time
It is savage and peaceful and old
Soft luminous silver in moonlight
In the heat of the sun
It shimmers hard gold

This land is old
Ageless and silent and bold
Born of the souls of the stars
When the earth was young
It watches and waits
For a time beyond man…
It watches and waits in the sun