Published in Overland Issue 213 Summer 2013 · Uncategorized Walmadany Brenda Saunders Footsteps of giant creatures crisscross ancient mud A thousand paws-prints caught in pitted sandstone run along the shore, fill as rock-pools at high tide The Goolarabaloo sing the trail of a Marrala Man A great emu races by shedding feathers from his tail leaves fern-like patterns pressed into rock Their lives are linked to greater cycles, moving stars Seven Sisters Dreaming spans the sky to Uluru moves further east as far as ‘sunrise country’ Today the white men have come to take the inside out of our country. Search in places far deeper than the Snake man shaping the land long ago Miners are moving in, machines look for vents fault-lines inside the earth. They pierce the skin down to the core, find buried fuel under the sea They search our hidden places, wake mysteries in steaming channels. The Serpent’s breath burns with a liquid fire richer than oil Woodside have found natural gas under the ocean Offer leases, promise wealth to the shrinking tribes to young men drifting to towns down south The people make a stand on different grounds one group against the other. Some welcome change new ideas, share the white man’s dreaming Others know the land is not theirs to give. Hold to the natural law. Traditional men fear the talk of pipelines, jetties, a gas hub along the Bay For centuries they walk the Lurrujarri Dreaming sing the song-lines along the coastal plain. Follow the seasons on ‘the land where the sun goes down’ Back from the dunes shell middens lie bleached and massed. Spear heads, grinding tools left where they fall, testify to years of Ceremony They watch for whales calving off the cliffs trap dugong in channels on the turquoise reef feasting on turtle eggs laid in warm sand Their footsteps tread lightly on Country. Swept by wind and tide they leave no signs of possession Their imprint easily lost to the weight of change A swinging ball is no match for memories stored in sand, sacred stories stretching to Walmadany Their hero spirit guards the Point looks down His ochre cliffs hold fire from a falling sun. Belief lies deeper than the promise of riches. Invisible gas captured off-shore, flowing under a darkening sea Walmadany: James Price Point Western Australia The Bay: Browse Basin Goolarabaloo: a tribe holding Native Title Brenda Saunders Brenda Saunders is a poet and visual artist of Aboriginal and British descent. She has published three collections of poetry and her work has appeared in major anthologies and journals, including Australian Poetry Journal, Overland, Southerly, and Best Australian Poems in 2013 and 2015 (Black Inc). She has received numerous prizes including the Mick Dark Varuna Environmental Writers’ Fellowship, the Banjo Patterson Poetry Prize, and was a finalist in the prestigious Aesthetica Prize (UK) and the International Vice-Chancellors Poetry Prize (University of Canberra). She is a member of DiVerse Poets who write and perform their ekphrastic poetry in Sydney art galleries. More by Brenda Saunders › 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 First published in Overland Issue 228 4 December 20234 December 2023 · Climate politics Where is the Australian climate movement’s solidarity with Palestine? Alex Kelly Let this be a line in the sand. Let us learn our history. Let us listen to liberation movements around the world. Conflicts for land and water will shape the decades to come. Showing up for each other and building power to demand justice is our only hope for a humane future. First published in Overland Issue 228 1 December 20231 December 2023 · History ‘We’re doing everything but treaty’: Law reform and sovereign refusal in the colonial debtscape Maria Giannacopoulos I coined the concept of the colonial debtscape while working to understand the relation between debt and sovereignty in the wake of the 2007 Global Financial crisis. Despite the referendum held in Greece in 2015 where the people voted against austerity, austerity as punishment, was imposed anyway. As this was a colonising move, that is, the imposition of an external and foreign law on local populations against their will, it was to Aboriginal scholars here that I turned to begin to put the pieces together.