Late Afternoon

Leni Shilton


The late sun shines silver in the grass fields,

in the stretch of spinifex sprouting after rain.

It looks like fertile country

but it’s not.

As the wind dips, the quiet rumbles in my ears,

all the world centres here,

under the falling sun,

the country a gift of light and softening air.

I hear the night being called in,

kettles bang, voices lift in the stillness –

the fire coming to life,

and smoke rests along the creekbed.

Before the cold settles for the night

we hobble the camels, pile firewood.

And as the heat falls from the sun

I breath warmth into my skin,

that most days I cover up

for fear of burning,

this late afternoon light is a gentle change.


Late afternoon

Leni Shilton lives in Central Australia where she has worked as a creative writing lecturer, a prison educator and a bush nurse. Her poetry is published in journals and anthologies in Australia and internationally. Leni met Martin Harrison at Varuna -­ The Writers House where they read manuscripts and talked philosophy.

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