© Brenda Joy, 2012

Winner 2013 Open Section and Overall Winner, Coo-ee March Festival, Gilgandra, NSW                    

Where the sun releases endless conflagration

on expanse devoid of moisture desert craves,

and the seared and blistered earth in protestation

bares its blood-red sands in corrugated waves,

as the daring men set forth with trepidation

on the challenge pioneering spirit braves,

they experience, through haunting isolation,

lasting grooves of love that timelessness engraves.

From Savannah grass Purnululu* resplendent

in striated beauty, slumbering  alone,

like a streak of crouching tigers, independent

of the rest of their environmental zone,

let the Kija* tribesmen live with them, attendant

on their needs through rites and rituals once known.

Now the canopies vibrate with sound descendent

from the didge's enigmatic, mystic tone.

As a fleeting cloud diffuses brief remission

on to plains now specked with raw sienna golds,

in a festival of lavender rendition

a brief Mulla Mulla* covering unfolds.

With the lesser species forced to make contrition,

through the sustenance their swollen belly holds,

knobby Boab trees sustain their staunch position

and enthrone the ant-hills, constant labour moulds.

Silhouetted, sharp façades of red-rock faces

cast their shadows over undulating plains

and within their shaded boundaries are places

where cathedral walls provide enriched domains.

Precious plants regenerate through swift embraces

of the birds that spread the seeds throughout the chains

and from trickling flow, a sheltered gorge encases

a collected pool from summer season’s rains...

...when the gushing water torrents were created

and the land-based creatures struggled under threat;

when the rivers' force could not be emulated

and their power scourged the countryside, and yet,

when the inundating deluge had abated,

and as Nature turned another pirouette,

once again the cool oases reinstated

with the pristine, rain-fed waters from the ‘Wet’.

In the region Nature thrives on interjection

of dramatic weather patterns, so it seems.

She’s determined she’ll display her deep affection

for the changes wrought through tropical extremes.

And eroded sandstone caves display connection

of the Wandjina* to spiritual dreams,

demonstrating clan’s inherent predilection

for the inner realms of animistic themes.

Where receding Timor Sea and west coast ocean

left escarpments overlooking barren sands,

many eons of catastrophe and motion

sculptured effigies through Earth’s enforced commands.

And we understand the native man's devotion

to evocative formations in their lands:

Mighty giants, like a hypnotizing potion,

bring the reverence their majesty demands.

Preservation and progression act asunder

and commercial ventures will extract their toll

from this last true wilderness through which we blunder

for its metals, pearls and diamonds — wealth our goal.

But no mortals can possess this realm 'down-under'.

Nature never will relinquish her control.

So the Kimberley retains its pristine wonder

and its ancient call resounds in every soul.