Anthony Burge (16/06/1962 / Australia)
Where once a rabble of water coursed tickling her bones.
Now a moaning river breeze licks twixt round river stones.
Her ancient path wends and winds true to rock and tree
From here to where a long way off the serpent set to sea
Men flanked her banks wild dog at heel to quench their dust-parched thirst.
For years asleep a dusty rut, soon swollen fit to burst.
A myriad of colours sourced from palette earth and skies.
Reflections of her travels threaded past and present lives.
Stories passed, passed on again from sons of father’s sons.
Told of the serpents reawakening dreamtime soon will come.
For now she sleeps beneath the sands her cobblestone back exposed.
Soon thunder will rouse her from her sleep as old men had proposed.
When she rises from the sand and winds her way across the land her tracks will move the earth.
Mountains high and valleys low of rocks and soil and turf.
Colours splashed in her wake paint country rainbow bright
Frogs will sing with water bring and birds will dance in flight.
The animals will awaken and follow in her trail
The Rainbow Serpent will set the laws to which they will avail.
Those who choose to break her laws will soon turn into stone.
Some animals will be given human form when if they atone.
And all will know their totem of the animal from whence they came.
And so no tribe will eat their own but others are fair game.
The bounty rich from tribal lands is shared and shared alike.
And this is why the Rainbow Serpent is referred to as ‘Mother of Life’.
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