© 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.

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