Published in Overland Issue The 2018 Oodgeroo Noonuccal Poetry Prize Uncategorized Highly Commended: Descendant, MABO and Woman Jilian Boyd Bowie A suite of three poems Descendant My voice echoes the cries of my forefathers My feet trek truths of my ancestors I rise in the essence of my predecessors In pursuit of visions once dreamt MABO 1936-1992 The land, the skies, the seas In all their intricacies We belong There is no ownership; nor commercialism But a spiritual knowing and connectedness That they care for us and us for them How can we own what existed long before we ever did? We merely entered into a belonging to boundaries of space For which we caretake Our landmarks define our lore ‘Tag mauki mauki; teter mauki mauki’ Long before terra nullius, not my tongue, but a legal fiction I fought against ink, paper and exploitation A battle unto death … my death Yet a rebirth of rights regained for a people You cannot give me what was never yours I attested our lore I have fulfilled my call, my cause I am Mabo Woman Aka (Grandmother), undisputed Matriarch Your soul haunts my desires to wear your crown standing tall, Before all. Scattered seeds from your womb wander country, sprouting hope. Rest those weathered hands, rest now and see Kinship connections swell as the sea, satisfied with descendants Because of you, we can. Ama (Mother), never question your ability in the receding tide Your giving heart overflows into thirsty souls not yet knowing when to drink Pillar of strength, fortress to all Selfless resilience saturated in love Your attentiveness acknowledged by unseen guests Rewards returning in welcomed waves, cry no more. Because of you, we can. Yapa (Sister), strive with me In the essence of our mothers, thrive with me Let us breathe the breath of our ancestors and drink from their spring, cascading into our mouths As we journey on Hand in hand, soul to soul Furnishing our purpose with pride Because of us, we can. Waku (Daughter), embrace instruction They are a blessing to your paths, a blanket in the cold. Capture the spirit of your mothers, endow it in sundrenched flair Grasp the baton of fire that came from old frail hands And run. Run like the wind gusting through the seasons of change. Because of you, we will. Footnote: Traditional words taken from both Aboriginal & Torres Strait languages, Kala Lagaw Ya, Meriam Mir and Yolgnu Matha. Image: James St John / flickr Jilian Boyd Bowie Jillian Boyd Bowie is a Torres Strait Islander woman from the Samsep and Zagareb tribes of Erub and Mer. She was born and raised on Thursday Island and now lives in Darwin, Northern Territory where she works as a mentor for an Indigenous employment program. Mother of six, budding author, poet and songwriter, Jillian is passionate about her people, culture and investing into our future leaders, our children and youth. She is committed to inspiring and empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to find their voice and build up their people. More by Jilian Boyd Bowie Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays 2 First published in Overland Issue 228 3 February 20233 February 2023 Fiction Fiction | Romeo and Juliet II: Haunted rentals Georgia Symons The hauntings are actually quite flamboyant here, though. Yeah, come in, come in. Not like my friend Moya’s house—it just has a tool shed that sometimes isn’t there and that’s it. So boring. Yes, you can keep your shoes on. 2 First published in Overland Issue 228 2 February 20233 February 2023 The university Deadly word games: universities and defining antisemitism Nick Riemer In a few weeks, Vice-Chancellors will be discussing a request by a group of federal politicians to endorse the latest weapon in Zionists’ longstanding bid to suppress criticism of Israeli apartheid on campus—the highly controversial definition of antisemitism produced by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Their decision will constitute a watershed moment for universities’ already somewhat threatened credibility as centres of independent analysis and truth-telling.