Meandering on the Monaro as autumn holds fast
Is a romance that evokes images of a rich, distant past

As merinos they tended; those stockmen of old
Bush horses they rode, Banjo spoke of their bold

Adventures and stories, those skilled, laconic men
Who commanded the high plains, from his famous pen

However time’s wandered on; ‘tis the Snowy’s lament
No longer to Marlo it rushes in broiling foment

It drifts slowly and darkly passing gorges cleft deep
Through the mists and the quiet; ancient forests asleep

But aloft on the plain, with its basket weave sky
Billowing clouds set a scene of great beauty on high

The trees and the grasses ripple as far as your sight
Wafted by mistrals; approaches; season of lengthening night

Time and place but conjurors; creating tricks of the mind
On the high plains it is quite possible both eras to find

To know that you exist in this time and this space
But to think of yourself carried to some special place

Then to Ngarigo dreamtime; to watch all seasons turn
A spiritual hinterland; keeping of country to learn

To see the deep snow, the rain, and the fire
That envelop a timeless land; a cycle never to tire

But we who inherit our ancient, loftiest jewel
What condition will we leave it in; is there hope for renewal?

And it just mustn’t be that future poet and bard
Fulminates and fumes, with an elegy harsh and hard

“You had every chance; you squandered with both hands
The legacy given you; veritable golden lands”

Not just in fines that lay in both river and creek
But in soil, trees and water; beauty that ‘ere we all seek

Our high country’s so precious; beauty; its everlasting role
The seasons must pass on; with ne’er a flaw in its soul

So that’s then our challenge, and it will never relent
No more vacuous promises that never were meant

We must tread gently on this land to always remember
Autumn’s March passes to June; then to December

Poem by Clinton Starr March 2011

Clinton lives in Batemans Bay and has travelled the high country many times over the years, and also spent a lot of time in the French, Swiss, Austrian, Scottish and Patagonian hills/mountains.  “I have come to love high country and mountains, as much as I love the beach and coast”.

The Monaro Plains. Image: Andrew Stanger