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- 2nd Traditional Verse

Poetry Competition



Second Prize


Wheels Upon The Bitumen   by James Kent

Wheels upon the bitumen, a steady sullen sound,
hissing hum of angry protest, tyres on the ground,
diesel engine's throaty throb, its constant steady beat,
through the breathless, thirsty day and unrelenting heat.

Tortured road of bitumen beneath the summer skies,
mirages dance enticing, teasing sore and weary eyes
rare respite from glaring sun, the rising wrath of day,
ever there decay and dust along the Northern Way.

Drover routes along the roadside, hungry cattle pass,
drifting slowly onward in the constant search for grass
scattered gumtrees sagging languid, gullies dusty, dry,
purple haze of spreading weeds with hope a passing sigh.

Distant mountains guard horizons far across the plain,
drab and brown and drying, land that cries for quenching rain
Willy Willies teasing as they twist and tum about,
Rolly Pollies marching, crowding sentinels of drought.

Nights beneath the glitter of a multitude of stars,
constant curse of kangaroos and lights from coming cars
eerie shadows dancing from wraithful shifting mist,
spectral veil of hidden fears by ghostly moonlight kiss't.

Punctuating bitun1en the centre lines of white
hypnotic dashings in the darkness sliding from the night,
headlights beaming forward, probing fmgers in the dark
silhouetted roadside shadows threatening and stark.

Stop to rest at midnight at a lonely roadside stop,
High the sleeping cabin, sultry breezes over top -
wailing frantic crickets, shattered shriekings in the dark,
haunting screams of hunting owl, a fox's distant bark .

Dawn again, a fiery sky, the threat of rising heat,
lonely clouds of fluffy white so quickly in retreat,
searching rays of rising sun to claim another day
heat and dust and drought and pain along the Northern Way.

Wheels upon the bitumen, a sultry, surly sound,
bitter hum of angry protest , tyres on the ground­
diesel engine 's throaty throb, its constant steady beat
through the breathless, torrid day—the unrelenting heat.

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