Road to Chinchilla


The road splits the country wide open,
ugly as an axe scar, straight as a spear.
On either side, guards of honour,
telegraph poles with stiff limbed salutes.
The old trails sat peaceably on the surface.
The new trails rattle and thunder and hum.

They’ve hemmed in the country out here
tried to tame it,
with barbed wire fences  and iron gates,
usings words like ‘mine’ and ‘private’  and ‘keep out’,
words which had no currency here.
Country spills out from under the fences,
pokes outs through barbed wire, refuses to be held.
It’s trying to tell you it won’t be beaten.
One day, it’ll break out, reclaim its own.

Janaka Malwatta

Author: Janaka Malwatta

Janaka Malwatta was born in Kandy, the hill capital of Sri Lanka, grew up in London, and moved to Brisbane in 2010. He has been writing poetry and fiction for the last fifteen years. The driver for his writing is to delve into Sri Lankan culture, which is multi-layered and complex. He regularly performs poetry in Brisbane, including at the Queensland Poetry Festival and the Riverbend Poetry Series. He writes about Sri Lankan cricket for He has been published in a collection of Hint Fiction stories entitled “Short and Sweet”, in the QPF anthology “spoken in one strange word”, and in Peril Magazine. He is one half of the poetry and tabla collective Dubla. More details about his writing can be found at