RAINBOW SERPENT’S LEGACY
© Tom McIlveen

Winner, 2018 Griffith Riverina Fellowship of Australian Writers Literary Competition, Griffith NSW.

It was twenty thousand years ago, when dreamtime first began,
in the midst of primal metamorphic change.
In a time when Rainbow Serpent carved a figurine of man
from the glaciated Snowy Mountains range.

From the top of Kosciuszko to the gorges down below,
he had moulded every crevasse and ravine,
and then sprinkled them with icicles and flakes of sparkling snow,
and adorned the ridges silver, gold and green.

When the Goddess Of The Sun appeared to thaw the frozen streams,
she had lingered o’er the mountains for a while
to awaken Rainbow Serpent from his prehistoric dreams
and bedazzle Kosciuszko with her smile.

As the melting waters trickled down along the eastern fall,
they’d meandered and then slowly intertwined
with the stirring Rainbow Serpent, who had heard their luring call,
as he slithered down the mountain close behind.

Then the Goddess of the Sun arose from somewhere in the east,
where she’d stained the sky a hazy shade of blue...
and Ngarigo and Wolgal tribes had gathered for a feast
of the roasted Bogong Moth and Kangaroo.

When the White Man came from northern zones to meddle and maraud,
he had dammed the Snowy River at its source;
while the ice and snow was plundered, as it vaporised and thawed,
and then deviated from its chosen course.

Where the Eucumbene, Gungarlin and the Thredbo rivers meet
with the Snowy, as it nears its southern line;
they combine and intermingle as they tumble and compete
for the right of way to cross the Jindabyne.

Now the Rainbow Serpent’s legacy and legend lingers on,
while the Snowy River still survives today...
but its surging icy waters have all very nearly gone ̶
as the Murrumbidgee pilfers them away.


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