© Brenda Joy

Winner 2012 ‘Dusty Swag Award’, Murrindindi, Victoria.

It’s summer in the Kakadu, intense the noon-day sun,
the time for Nature to renew; her festival’s begun.
Rejuvenated since ‘The Dry’ now cloaked in vibrant green,
this wilderness resounds with cry of creature rarely seen.

We’d reached the sheer magnificence of Nangaloar’s face
pervaded with the inner sense of sacredness of place.
In rocky cavern overhung by burnt sienna roof
from twenty thousand years had sprung this art that offered proof…

…of how the tribes of ages old endured this tropic zone,
sustained by ancient legends told and secrets of their own.
Through sense of danger and of threat, with scope to overwhelm,
they weathered cycles dry and wet attuned to Nature’s realm.

With simple stencils, roughly filled, recording life’s events
—  impressions rendered, each instilled with message and intents  —
nomadic, close community attempted to convey
by signs of clan and unity, conditions of the day.

They passed to fellow travellers the insights from their hearth —
pictorial unravellers of stories from their path.
Through spirit figures they’d conceive and ‘legends’ they’d inscribe,
these artisans would interweave the folklore of their tribe.

For Aborigines, the land was worshipped and revered.
They gave respect to its command; its mysteries were feared,
and though for centuries they passed it still remains unscathed,
its glory destined to outlast the footprints they engraved.

From shelter used in eons old we oversaw the land
upheavals sharp and colours bold  —  felt consciousness expand.
This resting place of vistas vast where Nature rules supreme,
aligned us to the distant past and linked us to the Dream.

The wonders of our earthly world may be admired and awed
but devastation once unfurled can never be ignored.
In hallowed place preserved through time, like Man of old we knew —
creation of the force sublime still reigns in Kakadu.

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