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Poetry - Australian Identity : Home

Year 8

The Poem

Every Landing is an Emergency

By Omar Musa


The arrival.

The trudge,
the stones and the mud,
the mute bushland,
the low horizon.

the vernacular, the tire tracks,
the grins, the Stuvy butts, the rumour of mountains,

the runway, the flattened grass,
the towplane, the V8 Holden engine, the rope,
the gradient blue,

the wings,
the parachute, the wind.

the bumps, the anxiety,
the roar, the browns and greys and fawns spooling past


the takeoff, the feeling,
the reorganisation of the senses,
the farms, the grids,
the lakes and dams veined with light,
the sun twinned in the water,
the curvature of the earth,

the release, the rope, the clunk,
the towplane scudding away,
the calm, the light, the light.

the pillars of hot air,
the clouds shredding into breeze,
the rising, the rising,
the conversation of wind,
the taloned birds,
the whistle.

the town, the railway line stitching its way to Melbourne,
the whispers of tribes and bushrangers, ancestors and
combustible summers.

the freedom, the air, the forgetting,
the escape, the air,
The air. The dip. The swoop.

The landing.

Australian Identity

Australian identity encompasses the culture, traditions, language, and politics of the country1. As Australia originates from British descent, it lacks originality in culture and heritage1. Australians have adapted their cultural roots to suit the new environment, climate, and resources of the country2. Modern society asserts a confident and unique identity through its diversity, language(s), architecture, ‘Australianised’ cuisine, bush identity, and sporting prowess2. According to the Australia Talks National Survey, the most widely agreed-upon response to what it means to be Australian is "Respecting our institutions and laws"3. National identity is contested and evokes a sense of belonging individually4.


Summarized from 4 sources and the web using AI

Theme - Australian Identity

The Title: Every Landing is an Emergency. Author: Omar Musa 

On one level, the poet is describing his first experience of sky gliding, the anxious feelings that are felt, the aerial view of the open wide country and finally his feeling of elation on landing.
However, the deeper level expressed by the poet is about the experience of a migrant coming to Australia, discovering its culture, its language and the way of life with which he is not familiar.  The poet is expressing the dire situation that often motivates a refugee to seek asylum in another country and the feeling of freedom living in Australia.

A poet chooses words, adjectives, nouns, verbs very carefully. Usually there are no words used that are not needed to get the Poet's message across to the readers.

This interpretation is based therefore, not only on the meaning of the words used by the poet but also the imagery and feeling provoked by these words. 

  • mute bushland - Australia is a dry country so most vegetation is bush rather than trees. Australia is less densly populated and therefore  the noise of cities compared to some other countries is less acute. 

  • in the vernacular - words and phrases that are unique to a nation's language in this case, Australian language.
  • tire tracks - Australia is a large country and many roads are not bituminized.
  • the rumour of mountains - Australia is an old country where its mountains have eroded into hills.
  • V8 Holden engine - a very popular car in the 60s in Australia.
  • gradient blue - Australia is noted for its blue skies and blue seas.
  • browns, greys and fawns - the colour of the country- side where rainfall is scarce.
  • the reorganisation of the senses - realising culture and society can be different in a new country.
  • the curvature of the earth - Australia is an island with vast vistas.
  • the light - because Australia is mostly devoid of fog, pollution and rain the sun shines brightly.
  • taloned birds - Wedge tail eagle - Australia's largest eagle.
  • Melbourne - a capital city, originally a penal colony and the city that was connected to the train line from the Gold Fields. 
  • bushrangers - part of Australia early settlement folklore. The most famous bushranger being "Ned Kelly".
  • tribes - with reference to First Nation Peoples. 
  • Ancestors - with reference to the multicultural nature of Australia - migrants from Britain, Italy, Greece, China, Vietnam and now the Middle East.
  • combustible summers - most of Australia has very hot summer which contributes to the bushfires... 
  • freedom - Australia is a democratic and egalitarian nation. (That means everybody is deemed equal and the government is chosen by the people).
  • escape - many migrants seek asylum having to leave their home countries that are in turmoil.

Images that reflect the words and feeling of the poetry

Holden Car

Windy outback road


Aboriginal People

Ned Kelly


The horizon




Wedge Tail Eagle


Australian Countryside


Australian Visa

Traveller arriving

Wedge Tailed Eagle

Aerial View of Australia

Country airfield

Refugee camp

Endless horizon

Glider being towed

Glider in sky

Australian Colours

You might want to be aware of Australian colour to enhance the feel of the Australian Identity.


Different fonts can also add to the atmosphere of your poem. For example, if it is a happy poem use a font that reflects this. 

Like Comic Sans
Tullow Centre Library, Brigidine College. 2022