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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


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


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



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

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


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


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 –



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


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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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

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 …


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


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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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

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
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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

Coral not Coal

by Kristin Hannaford




Coral polyps, like ashen fingers raised

in passing of a season gone too soon,

whiten as our politicians betray


both the Wangan and Jagalingou’s ways –

a gesture of ecological doom.

Coral polyps, their ashen fingers raised


trace the fine print of legislative phrase

revealing truths that we mustn’t impugn,

whiten as the politicians betray


our children’s future and reef as it weighs

heavy on the tide of rhetoric strewn.

Coral polyps with ashen fingers raised


conduct the coda of coal’s song of praise,

notes drift like silt over cities immune

that blacken as our politics betray.


In the North, as the island palm trees sway,

divers map bleached reef like marble hewn –

coral polyps, like ashen fingers raised,

whiten as our politicians betray.

Published: August 2022
Kristin Hannaford

Kristin Hannaford’s poems surface in a range of Australian and International literary journals, and as Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service signage. Kristin’s latest collection, Curio (Walleah Press 2014), invites readers into the world of taxidermists Jane Tost and Ada Rohu — a world of artefacts, curiosities and natural history specimens.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

Adani Coal Mine Approved  and Great Barrier

by Linda Stevenson


Adani Coal Mine Approved

It pares down
to the palest of skies
to a native fledgling
thirsty, untended
to whether a black stinking
mess of outmoded greed
is claimed as our chosen soil
when we might have lifted
up into the quiet transparency
taking the winds
carrying the young bird
with us
as our token.


Great Barrier

Ah Goldman Sachs, the iron grip of incessant
barter, money, shiny pieces. Ah the confluence
of degradation and entitlement.
See this ecstatic ocean, its birds, swells,
sea air that was essence, sweet with perfect salt,
washing living coral, breathing.
See these misguided leaders, floundering,
ethics washed away in a mounting tsunami
of dollars and disgust, pallid, unseasoned.

‘Adani Coal Mine Approved’ was previously published in The Tipping Point (Blank Rune Press, 2015)

Published: August 2022
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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

armour against Adani  

by Susan Hawthorne


she dreams of making armour for the earth

a helmet to prevent the drillers from beginning

a breastplate so they cannot cut open her heart

greaves to stop the underground lines

breaking through to the watertable


it confounds her that anyone would want

to mine the Basin of Galilee

to make the earth a corpse to strip

back the muscle layer by layer

to let light in under all that rich deep earth

to groom her for profit burn coal embers

in the asthmatic air the heat increasing

to burn away everything for the emptiness

of waterdrained lungdrained flatlands


Let them eat coal not food.

Published: August 2022
Susan Hawthorne

is the author of nine collections of poems, the latest of which are Lupa and Lamb (2014), Limen (2013), Cow (2011) and Earth’s Breath (2009).

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

Waterlily Pond 

by Judith Beveridge

for Diana Bridge


At the slow-gaited end of summer’s day,

dragonflies dart as precisely as needles

tatting the ornate patterns of lace-charts.

A kingfisher snatches a dragonfly midair—

holds it in its bill like an ampoule

of iridescent magenta ink. Slowly

an egret lifts—smoke from a clutch

of joss sticks. Koi sip at the surface, their lips

like the rubber rings of party balloons.

Another egret rises, legs trailing under

it long and thin as toasting forks.

A damselfly in rapid flight, a scholiast’s pen

annotating in margins, stops, touches

down on a lotus. Then a heron

with the calm posture of a Shinto priest

about to cleanse a shrine with prayer

steps suddenly towards an ibis

swallowing what its caught

from leaf pulp and bottom slime. I hear

the polyphonic tinkling of water, a tizwas

of insects soft-pedalling above white stones.

A version of ‘Waterlily Pond’ was previously published in Meanjin 76, 2 (Winter 2017): 197.

Published: August 2022
Judith Beveridge

is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently Devadatta’s Poems and Hook and Eye: a selection of poems. She first became friends with Martin Harrison in 1979 when he was caretaker at the Quaker meeting house in Sydney and they maintained a strong friendship until his death in 2014.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

2030, Adani, a Retrospective

by Michelle Cahill


Remember Gujarat? Tidal mangroves were blocked

by bunds & embankments, Chinese MoU,

revenues from aluminium, polysilicon, animal feeds.


The Paris Climate, OECD delegates sipped their lattes,

declaiming coal dust, steam choking the fish,

bleached nuggets, burgeoning coral cemeteries.


We, with our winning smiles, tweeting environmental

charities, retweeting memes, protests, petitions, trending,

bracketed clauses in the draft agreement, spineless


politicians, Tourism Australia. Never mind Sir David

or Obama— we needed Murrawah, Amelia, Xiuhtezcatl

to sing the rewilding of grasslands, reefs, native title—


Who knew that Subrata Maity and Claude Alvares

defended the Mundra, or Mormugão Port in Goa from

pollution violations?  The permits were not revoked.


When 10 per cent of robots lived in cities compliant

with WHO air quality guidelines, when the black

rhinoceros outnumbered the black-throated finch?


Nevertheless we sweltered, with news analysis full

blast, we dialled up air cons, we talked prophylactic

gene editing, from monkey to pig to Homo Saps.


We wrote dirges for the third world, prohibiting diesel

& motorcycle distributors, reversing neo-colonialism

with a corporate warrant to exhume the Galilee basin.


Everyone was abused; the state’s litigations, economic

futures, First nations, mind & memory’s quaint algorithms,

poems festering, composed in acid rain; volatile

in smog.


Published: August 2022
Michelle Cahill

is an Australian novelist and  poet who lives in Sydney.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

from A Concise History of the Moon

by Alex Skovron

III  New


Every dome we built is overgrown with tendrils,

They say the time to civilize our satellite

Is coming soon;

Architects and doctors, planners with their pencils

Design and theorize and calibrate

For living-room.

Thinking stops the blood, a mounting terror festers,

The leaving of a land is no small sacrifice

Even for us;

Seldom in the drunkest dreams of our ancestors

Could such an odyssey have been devised

We dare at last.

Trapped between the smell of history and stasis,

We plot a future where forgetfulness will cross

The crescent Earth;

Children we encounter (ours or something else’s)

Will seek in vain within their glossaries

The word for birth.

‘A Concise History of the Moon’ was previously published in Towards the Equator: New & Selected Poems (Puncher & Wattmann, 2014)

Published: August 2022
Alex Skovron

is the author of six poetry collections, a prose novella and a book of short stories, The Man who Took to his Bed (2017). His latest volume of poetry, Towards the Equator: New & Selected Poems (2014), was shortlisted in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. His next book of poetry, Letters from the Periphery, is in preparation.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

Coal Mines

by Caroline Williamson

from Cap Coch




What a miner knows is in the air around him.

Its movement. Its fresh or stale. And in the rock

which creaks and settles overhead, which cracks


and falls from the coal face at the miner’s feet.

Where water runs, or not. Sounds, smells.

The flare of a lantern. Methane, invisible,


leaking from who knows where. Water that’s flooded

another working, dammed for decades, pressing

behind the coal face. You need to be able to read


the interruptions underground. An ancient

river bed where the accumulated

peat once washed out to sea. A fault in the rock


from a prehistoric earthquake. Always beyond

the barren rock the coal keeps going. One

old man will tell a grandchild about the darkness,


when he was twelve years old: your lamp goes out

and you can’t see your own hand. And how when you cut

under the coal face it comes away clean, sometimes,


smooth as a mirror, and on that shiny surface

a fern, each frond clear as the day it fell,

gleams in the light of your lamp, almost like new.




Where’s everybody gone? On the stony track

with unpredictable breezes swirling around

the minibus, we perch in our badly fitting


bright yellow safety helmets high

above the black chasm of the mine.

Impossible depth, impossible distances,


not a human being in sight. On the far side,

kilometres away, clanking and clumsy

as some ancient monster struggling onto land,


one big machine prods at the side of the pit.

Coal dust hovers around it. If that gets close,

the guide tells us, we’re out of here. You wouldn’t


want that in your face. Fields run to the edge

of the open cut: a miniature tree clings on

to its final months of life. There’s just one bloke


sitting in the cab down there in air-conditioned

comfort. Pretty much soundproof. That thing cuts

more coal in a day than a thousand men. The breeze


picks up. The cloud of coal dust eddies, rises,

begins to move towards us. Helmets off,

we scramble for seats. The bus grinds into gear.

Published: August 2022
Caroline Williamson

grew up in the UK, has worked in London, Beijing and Melbourne as English teacher and editor, and now lives in Brunswick.

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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

DIG & Nightwork

by Bonny Cassidy





In the pan your gravels crashing hatched their prize—

a brindle rush to hump my veins and fever up the leaf

that twisted in our fields. The guilt was white, my soul a sieve.

It boomed with bull to see the dust an avenue of spin—

and my brickhouse hazy as a reef, its aura built to scale.

I seemed to tap its skin.

Birth was the pits but this is mine. Rabbits swimming to shake my mitts.






A conveyor belt reaping into action, cries


rubbish rocks rubbish rocks


breaks up floodlight, its flesh

a stingray covered, uncovered.


Pandanus leans

magic, enters the bulldozer


its tyres dissolve


as from the rocks and rubbish

the camera conveys


one kid

naked and furiously sweeping

a path through reeds, pandanus




by the trucks and manganese

at her feet.


The old men spin like tyres covered, uncovered.


It’s the sixties, then it isn’t.

From Chatelaine (Giramondo, 2017). ‘DIG’ was first published in Blackbox Manifold Issue 14. ‘Nightwork’ was first published in Cordite Poetry Review Issue 44.

Published: August 2022
Bonny Cassidy

is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Chatelaine (Giramondo, 2017). She coedited the anthology, Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry (Hunter Publishers, 2016) and is Feature Reviews Editor for Cordite Poetry Review. Bonny leads the BA Creative Writing at RMIT University, Melbourne.

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.