We are pleased to share with you this incredible poem by Dr. Anne Poelina, part of the Green Institute Report ‘Rebalancing Rights: Communities, Corporatations and Nature’.
I came home to our river country, our place… our space… today.
I stood at your grave site and recall the first night when I came back to my mother’s
land, and now I ask you… Do you know what is coming our way?
I heard your many lived stories… those who had stood before, through the
collective wisdom as elders, now see some of their children’s children start to sway.
Is country for sale, is country for keeps, who will work with country to watch over
the people who sleep.
Some dream, dreams of money and some talk of gold, lead, mineral sands, intensive
agriculture, pastoralism, harvesting water into licences and allocation flows.
The nightmare for people like me, is to be buried alive from the constant demands
on a sacred river and kinship system, not found anywhere else on the planet, but
to us known, inter-generationally as the River of Life.
Can we learn from the Murray Darling … hey, what about the oldest river in the
world… the Finke… let these rivers share with us what the humans have done! We
need to know this to let the Mardoowarra, Martuwarra… Fitzroy River run.
Do we cover it with intensive cotton, coal mine, scar up the country… drawing
from acquifers, seismic lines … fracking hydro-geology… or do we take a breathe
and keep the living waters living free?
Can we listen to the ancient song lines, singing the creation stories of geo-heritage,
astronomy… astrology and ancient boab trees?
Our bloodlines singing our songline roamed this country wise and free.
Five times ten years plus five since I first walked with this big spirit country, who
still knows and will forever hold me.
Country knows you, country watches you and country is alive… waiting for you to see.
What is coming will change our world forever, if we don’t stand with one mind and
one voice, in solidarity.
Our fellow Australians are learning of this river country, they too recognise the
Mardoowarra, Martuwarra, Fitzroy River is National Heritage Listed and to be shared
by you and me.
Do we call them our friends, do we call them our foe, do we work together to
understand what must be done to give all of us fair go?
2019 can it really be, that Indigenous Australians, the original First Peoples still stand…
Do we call on earth justice, earth centred governance, First law of this land! We
must all work together…lead and govern for our commons good for this wide
brown land, country.
We have seen how the Crown Law has taken and we ask what will be left? We cannot
forget that this land we come from and still hold on to… was taken by theft.
We have a new dream, a dream for oneness, values, ethics… need not confess, but
unless we stand together, with collective wisdom, it will be nothing we dreamed
the dreams from, it will quickly turn to nightmares, poison and sweat.
We all want the same things, for our children and their children’s children before
we are laid to rest.
In good faith, free informed consent, science, industry with traditional owners its
time to build collaboration and welcome all projects to the table in good spirit to
understand the cumulative impact test.
Can the government keep its pre-election promises and demonstrate good
governance for citizens of this state, whilst in power… now they are gst blessed?
Climate Change, Climate Chaos, quickly spiralling out of control, but despite 90
IPCC Scientist “Warning…Warning quickly approaching 2.5 degrees”, some number
from Paris in which the world agreed, No More Coal, our Federal Minster for the
Environment does not believe what she has been told.
If this truly was about shifting from the old economies—fossil fools sorry, fuels
transitioning to an abundance or renewable, wind, wave, solar in abundance,
which we can globally lead.
Tell the companies, renewables are gold. They can make forever profits if they
transform from the old.
Come on country men, fellow Australians, global citizens, one mind, one voice, one
river country. Let’s make a River peace park before there’s nothing left. Let’s hold to
humanity, one planet, Mother Earth she’s the best!
I know we can do this, and we must if we are to stay blessed. I know our ancestors are
watching and waiting to make sure we past this test. Past, Present, Future held in this
moment of time, lets hold to the dreaming and hold our blood and songlines.
Sleep well my family along this river time, and I am sure we will keep talking as
you watch over us in this modern Dreamtime. Circular storytelling, we know time
moves in circles and not in a straight line.
Run free forever, Mardoowarra, Martuwarra, Fitzroy River… ask the humans to be
kind, they think they are the top of the tree but if they are not careful, we will all be
River, bird, animals, fed by living waters shallow, and deep, cradled in the coolness
of country once surrounded by sheep. Years of pastoralism, agriculture and now
plans for grid lines, licenses, permits, ask the humans to consider more than
themselves, think of the bio-diversity, water quality, and creative ways to maintain
I close my eyes, but not my head and heart as my liyan, my moral compass keeps
my watch… tick… tick… ticking… my brain shrieks… no more alarm clocks… just
the sharing of this river country, for the Friends of the Mardoowarra, Martuwarra,
Fitzroy River Country…
Hello hello do you hear me, don’t desert or leave me, can we stand together for
all time as the River of Life with the Right to Life, is someone listening, is someone
standing for all of us, what about the Crown, What about the Queen, before she
passes on, should we go to her and ask her only one time, now time, let the people
and the river country be finally set free.
An ancient river with the right to life, this is the First Law which we know, Law of
the Land, not Law of Man, values, ethics, civil society, social cohesion, words of
consensus, not conflict, multiple world views, trans-discipline knowledges and
practice post development, post colonisation, post oppression, not just for the
blackfellows but all who have made this land their home.
Come to know us, know country and redefine who we are, it’s a new time can we
seize it can we hold this wide brown land, we can advance Australia fair, fair go, for
its citizens not corporate welfare in the millions.
Rather a fair go for the Aussie black, white, brown and green and some other
multi-colours and multiple world views, lets be a lot more open, others can teach us
some of their unspoken… with this Coalition of Hope… we can Advance Australia
Lucky Country and give the Mardoowarra River Country and People a Fair Go!
This poem was first published in Westerly Magazine, 64(1), including an audio recording.
Feature Image: Magali McDuffie