Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Australia - Marcus Clarke (1893)

landscape - NGA / Canberra (Sun 10 Jan 2016)

Marcus Clarke on Australia:

In Australia alone is to be found the Grotesque, the Weird,
the strange scribblings of Nature learning how to write. Some
see no beauty in our trees without shade, our flowers without
perfume, our birds who cannot fly, and our beasts who have
not yet learned to walk on all fours. But the dweller in the
wilderness acknowledges the subtle charm of this fantastic land
of monstrosities. He becomes familiar with the beauty of
loneliness. Whispered to by the myriad tongues of the wilderness,
he learns the language of the barren and the uncouth, and can
read the hieroglyphics of haggard gum-trees, blown into odd
shapes, distorted with fierce hot winds, or cramped with cold
nights, when the Southern Cross freezes in a cloudless sky of icy
blue. The phantasmagoria of that wild dreamland termed the
Bush interprets itself, and the Poet of our desolation begins to
comprehend why free Esau loved his heritage of desert sand
better than all the bountiful richness of Egypt.
via Poems, by Adam Lindsay Gordon - Preface (1893 Edition) by Marcus Clarke (Displayed at the Entrance to the Great Hall at Parliament House, Canberra).

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