Poem: Soft Edges

An outback road trip in a not-so-young vehicle, and the reflections that resulted, inspired this week’s Poet’s Corner contribution from James Hickey, aka musician Heymus.

Soft Edges


There are soft edges on the highway
There is barrenness beyond
There’s a haze that lingers when you drive in a way
That leaves the sun behind

There are footprints in the headlights
There are creatures living out here
There’s dust in my hair and it’s been there for days
That keeps me and bush in twine.

There are troubles in this country
There’s rain that runs off their backs
There’s politik thick as a flooded river plain
That sweetens no track of mine.

There is you downstream south a-ways
There’s a stretch of road between
There’s a banged-up wagon that might get me home
That keeps me alert of mind

There are fallen fences and piles of steel
There are eagles soaring past
There’s a drover watching over saltbush plains
That cattle walk single-file

There’s wildlife strewn both left and right
There are ravens having their fill
There’s a sign that begs you to take a nap
That might just keep you alive

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There are tracks that turn like us to dust
There are ashes sprinkled on the verge
There’s a forest that died a long time ago
That stands in slow decline

There are trees that read “Jesus return is near”
There’s a good chance the good Lord forgot
There are souls few and far on the Australian bush track
That to find them would take a divine.

James Hickey was born and raised in country Queensland, but has lived in Adelaide for most of his adult years. Music has been a constant in his life – he played piano from an early age, and picked up the guitar a little later. Writing emerged towards the end of high school, when he tried his hand as a songsmith; poetry has only recently become a separate entity. This poem is from his new book, à la carte my heart, which was reviewed in InDaily in May. More about James can be found at

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to [email protected]. A poetry book will be awarded to each contributor.

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