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The eye of a needle
Leni Shilton (Southern Cross University, Australia)



The camels stride –
a fine string
through the trees*.

Cliffs rise red
over the gap
and the line of camels,
thread themselves through
one, two, three
until they are gone.

But voices echo
from inside
the gap:
Aranda men calling
camel commands
in Arabic
and the rocks speak
as clouds lick at the cliff tops.

The camels tread
on the country,
and I am reminded,
of rich men and the eye of a needle.

* From: ‘Through Central Australia’ in Walkabout (1940, p. 10) by Bertha Strehlow



Leni Shilton grew up in Papua New Guinea and Melbourne and has lived in Central Australia for many years where she has worked as a lecturer at Batchelor Institute coordinating the Creative Writing program, a prison educator, a bush nurse and a remote health educator. Leni’s poetry has been published widely in journals and anthologies. She is currently undertaking a PhD in Creative Writing through Southern Cross University writing a verse novel on Central Australian historical figure Bertha Strehlow.

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