It’s dawn time down the floodplain
On the lower Cooper Creek
The mist stirs on the waterhole
As the Coolibahs sway and creak.
Like a green and ragged thread
That holds the fragile land
The markers of the sometimes flood
That seeps into the sand.
Where the budgies weave their magic
Among the boughs and leaves
A chattering cloud of colour
That plays among the trees.
They tell us tales of travellers
Who camped beneath their leaves
All the characters of the myths
That feed our modern dreams
The poets told the stories
Of how the dying stockman lay
And how the swagman boiled his billy
In the cool of the Coolibah shade.
How the men of far horizons
And the dying and the lost
All blazed their mark upon the trees
As a message on a post.
So now on your evening walk
Along the Coolibah shore
Think of the countless wanderers
Who have rested there before.
The Dierri and the Wongaroo (Wangkanguru)
The parched and desperate drover
All those who sought the shelter
Of the Coolibah standing over.
For now all is soft and pretty
The waterhole is fair
But imagine the searing heat of summer
When it burns to breathe the air.
"Words are clumsy pretenders of the images of my mind."
As a practicing artist I have travelled far and wide across Australia, walked on country, camped on country and rolled out my swag. I thank the custodians and I acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. I pay my respect to Elders past and present.