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in a sunburnt country


‘a sunburnt country’ is a phrase from Dorothea Mackellar’s poem ‘My Country’



here where men are busily at work

carving out new

deserts where wild

boronia once grew

rivers running rapidly

dry, wallum frogs croaking by

their thousands as sag-skinned cattle

carcasses graze on empty acres

fenced against an inland sea

one more migrant tide

repelled, kangaroo shot through

at sunset — their sorry hide

blanching over bleaching

bones for

daring to outrun

the culling gun


this new battlefront

where parched and starving natives

are run

aground swarming from

new deserts carved out

by men

busily at work where wild

boronia once grew

rivers running rapidly through

and wallum frogs once croaked

by their thousands



© Anne Casey, longlisted for the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize 2018  and published in signs anthology (University of Canberra 2018)

Picture 10214900, unattributed engraving, circa 1850, image copyright Mary Evans



Originally from the west of Ireland, Anne Casey is an internationally award-winning Sydney-based Irish poet and writer. A journalist, magazine editor, legal author and media communications director for 30 years, her work is widely published internationally, ranking in The Irish Times Most Read. Author of three critically acclaimed books published by Salmon Poetry – the light we cannot see (2021), out of emptied cups (2019) and where the lost things go (2017) – Anne has won poetry awards in Ireland, the UK, the USA, Canada, Hong Kong and Australia, most recently the American Writers Review Competition 2021. She is the recipient of an Australian Government Scholarship for her PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Technology Sydney.   @1annecasey