Contemporary Australian Poetry.

To shame - a broken villanelle by Gemma Mahadeo

Bring it Out by Rosalind McFarlane

Welcome to High Country

by Michael Sharkey


This’ll kill you! Guess how many massacres we had

up here—that’s not including any in the century just gone—

way more than twenty! What a record!


Any way you look at it, Big Country this—

there’s history, everything the tourist wants:

trout fishing, trees that drop their leaves


as if they’re pleased to see you, churches,

monuments to all the Glorious Dead and Pioneers

and big sheep properties, the biggest shearing shed


in the Southern Hemisphere, and wine estates, a lovely spot

for barbies and of course the scenic sunsets—Hughie’s done

himself a favour here in colour you don’t have to Photoshop.


We’ve got a famous stick-up man who lurked behind a rock,

the one with signs beside the highway coming in,

a lovely town, and perfect plots for weekend farming,


ride a trailbike clear to gorges and the Falls! Of course

there’s something here for Mum, a neat motel room

with an en-suite, full hot brekkie all included, eighty bucks


you can’t say fairer, schools for every kiddie’s need,

the university, the Show, and just an hour’s drive to

where the Country Music Capital plays solid hits


for twenty-four exciting non-stop hours every day,

so plan your stay: View, Apex, Rotary, the Lions and, if I had one,

my Lady Wife, the Mayoress, I am sure, would welcome you.

Michael Sharkey lives in north-central Victoria and edits the Australian Poetry Journal.