Reading the landscape

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by James Quinton

To read a landscape by another landscape;
valley cloud reveals altitude.

To read the landscape visits the ego
that prevents a full reading

of this landscape; a circular fireplace
and a straight trunk – xanthorrhoeas present.

To read this landscape to the tune of other words,
as moisture moves us, is us, drowns us.

To read the landscape like a book
is to think like a border –  

like the roos who still jump
where the fences have been removed.

Author statement

The poem ‘Reading the Landscape’ was written at Mt Helena hut on the Bibbulmun track in June 2014. The poem hints at the notion that developing a lexicon for understanding a place takes time, and that without that time I use precedent landscapes for interpretation. Understanding a place is as much about undoing preconceptions as building a relationship with a certain location.