© Brenda Joy

Winner, 2015 Eaglehawk Dahlia and Arts Festival, Alan Llewellyn Award, Eaglehawk, Victoria.

His footsteps trod the earth, he carried just a spear.
His kingdom was the desert sand terrain.
His talent was his worth, the cycles were his year
and monoliths were thrones of his domain.

Where simple rock art told of secrets to survive,
the world around him was his spirit’s home.
The hunting Man of old kept Dreamtime lore alive
and ancient song-lines* drew his tribal tome.

Explorers, pioneers, were next to tread the land
through links to north and south and east and west.
They overcame their fears. Horizons would expand
as white man stretched beyond the coastline’s crest.

The cattle king would reign in isolated state –
a fragile, tin-shed castle was his home:
His empire will remain while campfire yarns relate
to realms where lost biographies are blown.

The drover came to own the stock route tracks he’d ride
his legend tells of realms where dreams belong.
The saddle was his throne and heaven was his guide.
His era still survives in rhyme and song.

Enclaves along the track where each would ply his trade,
suppliers, stockmen, station hands or cooks,
all played a part out back as history was made,
yet knowledge came direct, not out of books.

But now the world’s gone wide with ‘Progress’ at the helm
and modern Man has lost the crown he wore.
He’s destined to abide in someone else’s realm
where social mores and Mammon* set the law.

Yet though the past has gone it plays a vital part
it links us to our true identity.
The song-lines linger on down deep inside the heart,
where dreams of kings and kingdoms wander free.

*song-lines – pictorial guidance ‘maps/codes’ drawn in sand or on rocks, secret wisdom passed down through Aboriginal tribal initiation ceremonies.
* Mammon – wealth worshipped as an idol.

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