Canberra road trip day 1 by Colleen Keating


The Ngunnawal Peoples  on whose lands we stand
welcome you to this special place,
and ask that you acknowledge, respect and appreciate
its story and sacred beauty.

Saturday 27th March 2021

Our road trip to Canberra

As the mist lifts
we see such blue sky
and the air so clean after the wash of rain.

Autumn gnaws at the edges
summer wilts
giving way like one accepts
the turn of age
when one can no longer fight it.

Expansive open country –
gentled nodding brûlée tones of grass
trees, cattle, green hills round and soft
birds, billabongs all brimming full now.

Lake George its waters a shimmering mirage
in the distance the wind-farms green and clean
once called an eyesore.

Our picnic break –
a postcard country scene
the magpies still with us
and chirping of tiny birds
dozens of them
flitting from tree to tree
my research calls them Eastern Yellow Robins
and their flitting about
is on the wing for insects.


Standing before the portrait of Julia Gillard
I know I have arrived in Canberra
and excitedly
walking freely around
Parliament House
for me the centre of of my greatest ideals.

The fun frame is gone
set up with the sign . . .
‘Future first female Prime Minister’
now times have moved on. . . the ceiling broken
but in such a harsh and tormented way.

Hospitality at The House
freiendly and helpful at every turn.
made our walk relaxed
over the glass bridge to the senate chambers
over the glass bridge to the the lower house
looking out over into the court yards
checked the red maple –
the ‘budget tree’
which has a while to go to turn a flaming red.
and stopped at the Terrace cafe
for coffee and lunch.

A ritual visit to the Aboriginal Embassy
its sacred fire that always burns
stirs our  hearts
with the cleansing aroma of its smoke
are the cries
on signs and banners.

And into Old Parliament House
for an exhibition –
best political cartoons of 2020
hawaiian shirts and hoses
blackened trees, orphaned koalas
give way to spiky balls and masks
masks of many types!
cartoons of fires,Trump, pandemic, closing the gap
black lives matter
I can’t breath
iso, sano, toilet paper frenzies.
masks and not masks
sport rorts, pork barreling, dirty coal or not
Cathy Wilcox the Cartoonist of the year
with the year of a dog’s breakfast –
dog eats dog,  top dogs, sly dogs, people thrown to the dogs
panic buying, curves on graphs and on ourselves
finishing with sending 2020 firmly back
to the dog house where it belongs.


Then to our booked motel
in the treey suburb of Forrest
where the summer is gripping to hold on
as the fierce maiden of autumn
determidly shows her face.

We relax after an awesome
reassuring day in our nation’s capital.


Love Gough Whitlams’s  hands open.                                                                                                 Lego
He is the only one with a free and open stance.