Summer storm, Central Highlands

After Peter Watts, ‘Hepburn’

by Rose Lucas

 Sudden rain hurtles     hitting hot dust    and
 sending it fizzing into 
 ionised air    the pungent smell of earth        rising and
 mingling            with a falling of cloud    
 which roils and clashes
 breaking the bleached day into the sharp edges
 of coolness   its slate-grey blade and
 fractals of white    dry
 grasses whip and flatten in the onslaught and
 a parched canopy of clustering gums     turn
 grateful faces up     catching
 runnels of water and    splinters
 of amber light        that
 flood paddocks          and towering
 reaches of sky 
Peter Watts, ‘Hepburn,’ with permission Peter Watts 

Peter Watts’ canvases are large landscapes in which the sky and the elements play a central role. Engaging with them is a visceral act that draws the viewer out of the narrow horizons of the self, connecting inside to outside, the moods and nuances of the world in which we find ourselves with our own interior ‘weather.’

I first saw ‘Hepburn’, on which this poem is based, at Salt Gallery in Queenscliff, Victoria. .

Rose Lucas is a Melbourne poet and academic at Victoria University. Her first collection, Even in the Dark (UWAP 2013) won the Mary Gilmore Award; her second collection is Unexpected Clearing (UWAP 2016). She is currently completing her third collection, This Shuttered Eye. Her poems have been widely published in literary journals.

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