Judith Arundell Wright (1915 – 2000) was an Australian poet and activist who stood for the rights of Aboriginals of Australia. The exploitation of natural resources was one of the indispensable subjects of her poems.
Train Journey is a poem in which the poet raises her apprehensions about the land she was born. The poet makes a train journey at night, and even at night she sees the exploitations of man over nature. Even though there could be many reasons like overpopulation, deforestation, and intensive agriculture. she could not remain silent as she felt the intensive changes in nature.
She attributes motherly features to the earth. She writes about the “delicate dry breasts” which pampered her childhood dreams. The poet expresses the intense bond between herself and nature.
She concludes with the hope that even the burnt trees will produce flowers that are more beautiful than the white moon.
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Read the poem below
Glassed with cold sleep and dazzled by the moon,
out of the confused hammering dark of the train
I looked and saw under the moon’s cold sheet
your delicate dry breasts, country that built my heart;
and the small trees on their uncoloured slope
like poetry moved, articulate and sharp
and purposeful under the great dry flight of air,
under the crosswise currents of wind and star.
Clench down your strength, box-tree and ironbark.
Break with your violent root the virgin rock.
Draw from the flying dark its breath of dew
till the unliving come to life in you.
Be over the blind rock a skin of sense,
under the barren height a slender dance…
I woke and saw the dark small trees that burn
suddenly into flowers more lovely that the white moon.
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