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Content From Issue: Special 2 - Poets Speak up to Adani

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

COAL

by Garth Madsen

Published: August 2022
Garth Madsen

has published four hard-copy books of poetry: Portraits of Rust (Five Islands Press, 2003), Thirteen Jesuses (Picaro Press, 2007), The Nude Mirror Exercise (Picaro, 2010) and Frankston for Beginners (Picaro, 2012). He is currently developing a series of e-poetry books.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

Untitled

by Pete Spence

who could be eager

with filling the air with disdain

i’m not keen on falling into unfilled holes

when they’ve taken the money and run

i ask can we finally be of our age?

Published: August 2022
Pete Spence

is a visual poet, artist and film maker.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

Study for an untitled landscape

by Richard James Allen

 

 

What do we do?

We hold back the darkness.

In other words, we fail.

 

Fail into night

Like perfect angels

Of diminishing light.

 

At least our battlegrounds,

What you know as sunsets,

Are spectacular.

Published: August 2022
Richard James Allen

is a contemporary Australian poet, dancer, actor and filmmaker.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

Fairy Floss

by Jennifer Harrison

spun to its finest skeins

with all the strands of the past

 

cohering

around a flimsy balsa stick

 

this soft numb form

is like life’s airy drift

 

the flimsiest tangle

of  DNA

 

you, me

the taste of becoming

 

the idea that sex

is about melting

 

each other

under no one’s tongue

Published: August 2022
Jennifer Harrison

is a contemporary Australian poet. She is a recipient of the Christopher Brennan Award. Born in Liverpool, Sydney, Harrison studied medicine and then specialised in psychiatry.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

Black-Throated Finch

by B R Dionysius

 

By the pool, their fingernail-sized gullets undulate briskly

As if they are guilty celebrities scoffing a midnight treat,

Their black cravats panting with excitement. They can’t

Stay in this kitchen heat for long; fluent in the language

Of dehydration, a fast tipple or else they’re dumbstruck.

Their image burned into extinction’s cyclopean retina,

As if this fragile flock gazed into the sun directly, or they

Were a picnic of ants fried by a bully’s magnifying glass.

The dam water is a current running through their bodies;

It sets off the electricity of their flight, as one they scatter

To the air, like a handful of wedding rice. Their fall might

Weigh as much; in the billionaire’s thoughts he’s ripped

Out the earth’s coal-black throat; the box trees cut open

Like rich sediment. Their habitat halved like a seed cake.

Published: August 2022
B R Dionysius

was founding Director of the Queensland Poetry Festival. He has published over 500 poems in literary journals, anthologies, newspapers and online. His eighth poetry collection, Weranga was released in 2013. He teaches English at Ipswich Grammar School and lives in Riverhills, Brisbane.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

Lake Mungo Series

by Rose Lucas

 

Published: August 2022
Rose Lucas

is a Melbourne poet and academic at Victoria University. Her first collection, Even in the Dark (UWAP 2013) won the Mary Gilmore Award.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

Hymn to the Commodity-fetish  

by Jonathan Dunk

 

yeah ok yeah why not

why not yeah for sure

what’s the harm the difference

the problem what seems for sure

you reckon why not for sure yeah

what harm what you reckon what

the megatons the weight the mass the cost

the form the coal the dust the dust

the subsidy the aid the help the indulgence

the tonnes the wait the sedent the watch

the gaze the quiet the place the climate

the story the dust the difference the dust

the shore for sure

 

the end the cease the stop the passage

the part the past the perish the launch

the waft the fail the drop the fade

the wend the melt the flit the lapse

the sputter the spill the split the quell

the butcher the britten the rid the firk

the send the speed the feeze the sluice

the royn the under the skittle the ice

the quench the shend the time the leese

the lees the swelt the shelf

the wreck the ruin the wretch

for sure the end for sure

the end

Published: August 2022
Jonathan Dunk

is the co-editor of Overland literary journal, and the recipient of the AD Hope prize and the Dal Stivens award.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

Earth Interview in the Anthropocene

by Anne Elvey

 

An alphabetic language is not mine. It was always mine

Before you spoke, before you wrote it. A language in which you ask me to speak about

Climate, one of my truer tongues. You did not invent it any more than you did

Dinosaurs. You might be thinking that I only react to outside

Events—asteroids, meteorites, humankind, your

Few fallen into prosperity. I act with the

Grace of my law. It is not

Human. I do not resist, nor do I conspire. Multiple

I, I am always the more that you cannot escape. This is

Joy and jeopardy for you, that the things you require, you

Kill. What is it like, you ask me, to be under the Anthropocene

Like you? You have read the Enuma Elish, how even the

Mighty ancient gods had unruly children. I do

Not call you my children. The relationship,

Our relationship, is more complex. Parenthood is a cliché

Proffered to simplify. It is a cliché to say you arrived late after many emergents, lateness a

Quality you took for first place, as if you were last, would last, outlast a

Ration of being. If you ask me, it is like the shiver riding at

Speed. I throw up cyclone and storm, hurricane,

Typhoon, languages for them, drought, fire, each in its place, not

Undoing cycles—they were always infused with chaos—but the

Vigour has changed, is ever-changing, I am changed.

Weather is my stirring cloak (your

X-rated news), my habitat, my atmosphere and

Yes. Yes, you are right to notice the difference, to consider

Zoology, to recall your zooid entanglements, your species of geology.

‘Earth Interview in the Anthropocene’ was previously published in Rabbit 12: Late (Autumn 2014): 65–66.

Published: August 2022
Anne Elvey

Anne is an interdependent researcher, poet and editor who is outgoing managing editor of Plumwood Mountain journal.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

Adani

by Jennifer Maiden

 

 

requested by Anne Elvey

 

I’ve written about the Appalachian Fall, when mines

beheaded mountains like limp fowlyard kings, but this

is too neat a betrayal, the wetlands and the coral

becoming a coal pier, the discard dumps, the holes

left behind like Novocaine extractions, the tunnel

that winds inter-related as a rat’s, and drains

the water table, the smooth decapitations, the funnel

giving money to the heartlost and the hopelost: what

could I say that isn’t said, I think? At last,

someone will holiday on carbon credits, perhaps

the company secretary when the coal runs thin,

proud that anthracite funds a hospital. Qld

governments are by definition plump and little,

campaign for those who will campaign for them.

No owner can prove quite traditional: the earth still

owned only when transactional: sold to hunting people

who wear it out, not suffer it like skin.

Published: August 2022
Jennifer Maiden

is an Australian poet. She was born in Penrith, New South Wales, and has had 35 books published: 27 poetry collections, 6 novels and 2 nonfiction works

 

.

 

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

Hamlet In The Mind Of A Country Schoolteacher

by Michael Farrell

‘Adani killed my father’

 

These words were in Adam’s head when he woke up, but

he was unable to remember any dream they were part of

 

It was still daylight: he’d been having a nap

between class and the performance, starting at eight

 

He walked to the theatre, thinking about the play, went

inside: it was filthy; and a smell of gas from the

leaky radiator

 

He’d arrived early so he sat up the back, thinking to move

closer when others began to arrive

 

Hamlet’s problem, he thought, was that the only truths he

had to express were ones that no one, least of all himself

wanted to hear

 

Last time he’d been here was for a school production of A

Midsummer Night’s Dream; he populated the empty stage

with kids crawling over the set, and each other, in green

 

It emphasised an ecological theme, according to the

program, written by Nadia, the drama teacher: each of the

children’s different roles complemented the others’

 

Yet to Adam (I am an English teacher after all, he said to

himself in an aside), the children seemed more like an

alphabet than an ecosystem: forming different

letters and words as they moved across the stage, and up

and down different levels of the forest, by vine

 

He’d lost concentration and forgot about the plot; he was

still vague about it – unlike tonight’s play, which he knew

pretty well, and which would be performed by a touring

professional company of recognisable actors

 

The blue shadow reminded him of his father (a ghost

rehearsing in the town theatre this bright summer evening?)

 

No: there was no sign of the cast; could it be gas, and in

any case his father was still alive, and not a miner

but an accountant?

 

What could he or Hamlet do, to stop the earth spinning to

perdition?

 

Pear trees grew, tree ferns too, rainforests with child-sized

snakes in them forming S’s and I’s and L’s: be careful in

the quiet

 

Nadia sat next to him, but was already looking at her

phone, so he didn’t zone in, only relatively, taking in his

surroundings

 

Yes, he had chosen the worst seat for comfort and view

so he could take that on as a martyr – he’d meant to move

but now he’d have to explain to Nadia; he was sure there

were mice droppings on the floor

 

He remembered being at the pub the day before, listening

to the pear farmers arguing about the Fortinbras mine, and

the likely effect on them, and their remedy for anger: a

night’s spotlighting

 

They sounded straight out of Aristotle, or rather like the

version of catharsis argued against by Aristotle’s critics

 

He spotted one or two of them now, looking and smelling

better than they did at the pub, except the pub was a

posher venue by far

 

The poster had suggested they were in for a sexy night of

TV stars half-clad and mournful, sponsored by a bank that

must be trying to look good, too

 

The sponsorship gave Adam a bad feeling, but he thought

that on the whole, he had to side with thinking, and a play

about thinking – however compromising the night

or how it ended (unseasonable weather predicted)

 

You are the English teacher, after all, as Nadia had said

in the staffroom that afternoon

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

Recommendations for a Western Australian Coastal Pastoral

by Caitlin Maling

1. I am thinking about limits.

A. The gaps between limits. Liminal, littoral spaces.

B.The most fundamental part of ‘human’ consciousness is defined by lack of limits.

C. Unless it is limited by life and death which are themselves littoral rather than literal

2. The beach, we say, is a littoral zone. Do I repeat myself? I repeat myself.

3. In WA the beach is our playground, where our children grow.

A. A playground is a fenced space.

B. Putting a fence around the yard strikes us as being the easiest way of achieving order out of chaos, says Wallace Stevens.1

C. When we grow into our consciousness we find our own limits and no longer need the playground.

D. But Stevens is, of course, talking about America.

4. In the language of early settler Australians, there was no way to describe the landscape. Even the colours were limited.

A. To paraphrase early accounts, yellow, yellow, yellow, desert, death, where is the green?

B. Unsurprisingly, the fields in the WA wheat belt are many shades of yellow, none of them green.

C. The most obviously green thing of WA is the ocean.

D. So it rolls like fields and is most fertile.

E. But there are no sharks in the wheat fields.

5. Flaubert says that thing about being ordered in our dailiness to be violent in our art.

A. He is also not Australian.

6. The US shore lyric is defined by Bloom as one of confronting limits of existence through the impassable borders of the ocean (death)2.

A. WA literature is defined by being in the ocean, out past where your feet can touch the bottom.

7. After the second fatal shark attack at Gracetown, people stopped putting their head under.

8. If oceans are fields, then when you dive under the surface you are in essence burying yourself.

9. At the panel on sharks, the audience was asked who among them had ever had a profound experience in the ocean.

A. Everyone put their hands up.

10. The beach must be protected, said the Premier of WA, it is our way of life. It will be our children’s children’s way of life.

11. On a clear day with your head under water everything looks green.

A. On a less clear day, it’s the more familiar yellow.

12. From space, two things about Australia are visible: the clearing line–a yellow chevron through the wheat belt, and the Barrier Reef–dark green in lighter green.

A. The Reef is slowly lightening.

13. In the 1870s whipping was outlawed in WA, the wheatbelt was cleared and Australia entered the age of enlightenment.

A. A man’s soul might be disciplined separately from his body: rational man can be relied upon to protect his own.

B. Aborigines continued to be whipped, often for not recognising fences.

C. After failure to assimilate they became subject to the Flora and Fauna Act.

D. A man can beat an animal any which way he likes.

14. A country built on genocide is not going to preserve its intact ecosystems says the poet from the wheatbelt.3

15. The colonial Australians we are led to believe suffered from an exile consciousness.

A. The ocean bought us. It is how we try to get back.

16. To catch a shark you bait a drumline and wait.

A. If the shark is three metres: shotto to the head.

B. Drag it past the limits of where the shore.

C. Sink it.

17. Pregnant sharks do not feed for months. A green moss grows in each of their seven rows of teeth.

18. Around our bays we will place shark nets.

19. Fences.

Notes

  1. W. Stevens, ctd in J. Kinsella, Contrary Rhetoric: Lectures on Landscape and Literature, Fremantle, Fremantle Press, 2008, p. 257.
  2. H. Bloom, The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2011, pp. 235-247.
  3. J. Kinsella, Contrary Rhetoric: Lectures on Landscape and Literature, Fremantle, Fremantle Press, 2008, p. 292.

Recommendations for a Western Australian Coastal Pastoral‘ was previously published in Cordite 54: No Theme V (May 2016)

Published: August 2022
Caitlin Maling

is an award-winning Western Australian poet with two books out through Fremantle Press.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

How to Dive in Kelp Forest

by Susan Fealy

 

 

 

kelp (ME cülp(e), of unkn. orig)

The Concise Oxford Dictionary 

 

The stipes braid together, grow air-filled bulbs, float

each frond towards the surface.

Do not jump into a mess of greenish-gold. Wait for the swing of the boat

to move away. In thick kelp, the surface is not your friend;

sometimes, even the bottom is not your friend.

Make a mental map:

sketch it on your dive slate—plan your depth and time.

Canopies are so thick, it is like cave-diving

—floating through an upper understorey of golden branches. Break stipes

as if you are breaking a pencil—carry shears, but not a big Rambo knife. Don’t start

drowning

and then discover your second stage is unfindable.

Did I mention the sculpins? The senoritas and Spanish shawls? The starfish,

urchins and gorgonians?

Don’t penetrate so deep

you don’t know where out is. When surfacing, select a sand-patch

where blue sky may be seen.

 

‘How to Dive in Kelp Forest’ was previously published in Flute of Milk (Crawley, WA: UWAP, 2017)

Published: August 2022
Susan Fealy

is a Melbourne poet who is widely published in literary journals, including the May 2016 Poetry (Chicago) issue focusing on Australian poets and poetry.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

LINES OF GALILEE  

by Judith Rodriguez

There’s a line of creation

from the land

to the Wagan-Jagalingou

from unpolluted seas

to the living Reef we knew.

 

There’s a line of production

from government bribes the people paid

to coal

to railways and jobs, that’s what they ‘re saying,

and votes.

 

There’s a line of destruction

from the mountainous rift

and promises politicians

and profit-takers cannot keep,

to the sludge of ports

smearing the ancient waters

shutting down the lives of the Reef.

 

The next line of finance

will not come from tourists

fronting a reef of bones

and inland the black hole

torn in land the people own.

 

Yes, dollars and votes cheer

coal’s three-century

industrial fantasy –

polluted air

and scarred earth’s misery.

 

But see: sun, water, wind,

and thermal flows,

earth’s ancient energies

rouse in the new century

to our aid, to redeem our heritage –

 

only

devotees of votes and money

we will not hear

what the imperilled earth has said.

Published: August 2022
Judith Rodriguez

is a contemporary Australian poet.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

Constancy

by Claire Gaskin

my compliance cannot be bought

I can rest out of sight but not in focus

visible from space

the glass bottom boat has a stable relationship with the moving view

maybe my depression means my mother bored me even when dying

like my dog yawning when she cannot incorporate what is enacted before her

the largest living thing

I dream my mother smaller than when alive as I hold her

my lack of commitment resistance to presence

I am not in pain I am in disguise

I had to check the baby was still alive

he uses language like you bought it on yourself

then says it is not mass bleaching

somewhere under the stone of anxiety to please is the

the beauty of the closed door

the silver teapot covered in algae

he asks me to make him tea

the more I clean the more it needs cleaning

I use a small bristled brush to clean the spout

it is full of cockroaches

they scatter as I flick them away as more take their place

Published: August 2022
Claire Gaskin

is a Melbourne-based Poet & Creative Writing Teacher.

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Building a Happy Nation

by Michele Seminara

A found poem sourced from Adani Australia’s website

 

Adani strives to exceed the expectations of our stakeholders

We utilise global agribusiness capabilities to cultivate ties

Our vision is to be the largest player in the logistics and energy business

Our strategy is to work the resources of traditional land

We plan to partner with the Juru, Jangga, Birriah, Wangan and Jagalingou people

We’re proud to be opening the Galilee Basin for coal

Our Carmichael mine will discharge up to 60Mtpa at full production

Our open-access infrastructure growth engine will generate rail

We understand our environmental performance is critical to the future of Australia

We hope our potential to unlock India’s trade doors helps

It makes sense —

Adani is perfectly placed to leverage public funding from your government

And via innovative value creation

To execute harm

Published: August 2022
Michele Seminara

is a poet, yoga teacher and editor from Sydney. Her writing has appeared in publications such as BluepepperTincture JournalRegimeSeizurePlumwood Mountain and Social Alternatives. She is co-author of forthcoming poetry anthology Bend River Mountain (Regime, 2015) and her first single authored collection, Engraft, will be published by Island Press in late 2015. Michele is also the managing editor of online creative arts journal Verity La.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

ADANI Be Gone. ADANI Move on!  

by E A Gleeson

 

Sure its old, years old- about 20 million,

but it’s not as cold as we would wish

or as its creatures need, but still it’s home

to 1500 species of fish

its where dugongs and whales and dolphins roam

and yes, it’s huge, this pulsating place

clearly visible from outer space.

 

Don’t touch the reef where these creatures live,

It’s not yours to have, not ours to give.

So get back, right back, right now, we won’t allow

you to wreck what is here. No way, no how.

 

You reckon you won’t crack but you hate the flak.

You want us to refrain from stopping your gain

which is not going to happen ‘cause reaction

is gaining traction. As you ramp up the benefits

listen to the clapping and the rapping of the population

determined to stop this devastation.

 

As you use your weapon to promise and threaten,

see the Aussies moving in on the politicians.

By your own admissions their likelihood of re-election

is lessening by the insurrection of Mums and Dads

and a squillion people who have had enough.

Fearing for grandchildren whose lives will be rougher

as banks and governments make it tougher

to get a house or pay for basic stuff.

 

So what’s your beef?

You want to rip out the coal so you get richer.

You’re not worried about climate change

or losing the reef.

You don’t care about dumping all your waste,

you’re happy to let the ground water drain

and leave a chain of voids and a land defaced.

 

You mightn’t care what happens at Galilee.

Well I’ve got a beef that matters to me.

We want this place to always be. Get away

from our land, our reef, get away from greed.

 

This living, giving plot is not yours or mine

to have or debase. Find another spot to squat

The world is already too hot, so stop the rot

and get off our kids’ plot. Find another place

where parents don’t care

about the quality of soil and water and air.

 

And if you can’t, then maybe rethink

your plan, and start to see

the value in protecting eco-diversity.

As a nation then, we can hasten

to protect the uniqueness of the Galilee Basin.

 

Apart from anything else, we’re not as stupid

as you might need to feed your greed.

We won’t be lending money from the public purse.

We won’t be creating our own country’s curse.

 

Don’t expect us to fund our destruction.

You might be depending on political corruption,

but the people are not as foolish as you might think.

We’re taking this campaign to the brink.

 

Adani take a giant leap cause we’re going to keep

these sacred places for our kids to reap

joy in connection with this land they inherit.

Investors might measure wealth in credit and debit

but our country’s value is held in health and harmony.

 

We work against adversity by treasuring our diversity

and recognising finite resources for what they are.

So Adani take a hint from the Fulani and just move on.

Move on Adani. Be gone Adani. The people have spoken

They won’t be broken. Adani move on. Adani be gone.

Published: August 2022
E A Gleeson

is a Poet and Funeral Director who lives and works in the South-West of Victoria. She has published three collections of poetry, In between the DancingMaisie and The Black Cat Band and Small Acts of Purpose.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

tarred cracks

by Anne Buchanan-Stuart

small seeded shapes of weeping windmill grasses

peel back their curling bodies along black tar streams

— kicking up the passage of summer white —

Wild grasses dig in.                   On the verge

— ululating the roaded way,

on the tar black margins.

One seed escapes; airborne / stillborn /

another slips between flash-wheels

still another, blown by cacophony

settles.          Cracked …

wordless

this wind-waved-word — this

mar                                  this                                   split/unspelt

clodded soil —

wildwind’s gentle seeds    —  stray —

fused between

tarred cracks

Published: August 2022
Anne Buchanan-Stuart

is a doctoral candidate at Queensland’s Griffith University. Her doctoral project reads philosophy and poetry together.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

Royalty

by Phillip Hall

for millad Miller & Raggett mob

 

I drove out bush with family

again to Jayipa

a catfish hole lined

with paperbark and river gum

and those gleaming quartzite outcrops

like a silver and zinc plinth encompassing

dark sheet water:

 

we hopped, stinging, across the baked

earth, a tessellated black

soil with small sand drifts gathering

to the decaying stone-boiled edges:

 

and while nana fired

a billy, weaving

pandunus frond sieves

we all crashed, energised

in the brown water’s warm wash:

 

in the late afternoon

cool relief as pop arrived to dig

a bush-turkey ground-oven

we all set to work:

 

the boys

took a castnet and handlines

for barra

while the girls hunted

in water, feeling

in the mud

for waterlily bulbs, onions and yams:

 

later they tap-danced the mud

sweetening our outlook –

a seismic detection service reading

for hibernating turtles –

a shelled familial finery:

 

at nightfall

our guts tight

with their fill we fired

the billy and traced

stars as pop smoked us

in quandong, picking us up:

 

and nana sang country, rousing

the scrub

and a rainbow’s payback on this mine’s seepage,

and another’s foreshadowed hole in our burial grounds,

mucking us up

making us sick.

Millad: is Kriol in the Gulf region of northern Australia for the first person plural pronoun: we, us, our.

‘Royalty’ was previously published in Plumwood Mountain 2, 2 (Sep 2015)

Published: August 2022
Phillip Hall

lives in Melbourne’s Sunshine where he is a passionate member of the Western Bulldogs Football Club.

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focal geology (2)  

by Patricia Sykes

instructions for engaging with a site:

 

which makes what sense on a pizza night’s

dark prowl of cars slewed and stopped

by an escaped deer’s graceful trot, tangle

 

of headlights, tango of engines, deer, hot

fuel, fuelled blood, strange antlers

 

how they are calm: picture disdain

high-held against the hungry monies

moaning in the pockets

 

sweep of the wild eye (panic could be building)

the abated klaxons, something being paid for

 

how will you tell of this later? the cold night

trapped in a swirl vapour, breath,

exhausts, animal, drivers, cars, each

 

an introduced and the low mountain

years before cut through to make this crash

 

perhaps you will speak of tariffs

as the boundaries we pay

for having crossed          does only

 

the tilted mind write rush poetry?

as if whatever lives must utter itself swiftly

from where it stands on thixotropic clay

 

everywhere feet dying in mud

everywhere hands

 

in help or pushing them under,

the accident eyes, the shine of smashed glass

which inform us we are here, in heightened

 

air, our nebulae faces blue and orbital

in a condition of being planetary

 

the particular makers of an atmosphere

‘focal geology (2)’ was previously published in Modewarre: Home Ground (Spinifex, 2004)

Published: August 2022

An Australian and international
journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics.

Plumwood Mountain Journal is created on the unceded lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to elders past, present and future. We also acknowledge all traditional custodians of the lands this journal reaches.

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