Australia, 1970

Die, wild country, like the eaglehawk

dangerous till the last breath’s gone,

clawing and striking. Die

cursing your captor through a raging eye.


Die like the tigersnake

that hisses such pure hatred from its pain

as fills the killer’s dreams

with fear like suicide’s invading stain.


Die like the soldier-ant

mindless and faithful to your million years.

Though we corrupt you with our torturing mind,

stay obstinate; stay blind.


For we are conquerors and self-poisoners

more than scorpion or snake

and dying of the venom that we make

even while you die of us.


I praise the scoring drought, the flying dust,

the drying creek, the furious animal,

that the oppose us still;

that we are ruined by the thing we kill.

(c) Judith Wright