By Hayley Elliott-Ryan | 25 Apr 14
washing hands with soap

By Hayley Elliott-Ryan

This poem was shortlisted for the Right Now Poetry Competition, judged by Maxine Beneba-Clarke, Amanda Anastasi and Benjamin Solah. Read the shortlist here

I voyage from yellow

brick commission housing

in search for the centre

of Australia.


I am a modern day Sturt

I am simple geometry

I arrive on a fixie with fixed ideas

about fixing up the damage done

and look down on the land (and I quote) as a field

which no man has greater claim than myself.




There is no official geographical centre.

No red heartland

only negative equations:                                                 Borderlands

categorised with algebraic equations.

‘Truths’ told in shades

made to look like dot paintings

by Euclid.


I am Sturt,

calculating the land

I mark a tree and plant a British flag

and gazing upon the earth

the heartland colonised by a picket and a knife


from borderlands I cry

Scratching at dust

To find the inland blue blue sea




In the words of Euclid

Colour assists the mind in researches after truth.


that by Euclid’s day

we seafarers had nothing more

to learn.


that genocides are waged

the right way.

Hayley Elliott-Ryan is a Melbourne based writer, musician and artist.  She is the co-creator and editor of WORDLY magazine. Her works have been nominated for the Judith Rodriguez prize and published in the online journal Writing Evolutions. Hayley is currently completing her honours in professional and creative writing at Deakin University.