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From: Vol.02 N.01 – Otherkind

Kakadu billabong in Yegge, cool weather time

by Lyn Hatherly

It begins in water, the human spirit. It lingers amid fresh green floating weeds, until the time comes when it must re-enter the world.
Rusty Peters, artist and Gija man.


From behind glass

in a train, travelling

blind and articulated as a worm

I caught its shimmer.

A brush dipped in cobalt

has painted new grass

earth-set roots wander in water

a lustrous green and blue oval

its edges vague as twilight.

The trees wade like skinny school kids

one with a hoard of blue-winged kookaburras

in the crook of her arm

all beaks and crests


so that I hover at the water’s edge

like a dragonfly with its wings in wide arcs

transparent with hunger.


Elysian underworld, the fragrant surface,

the near heavens are clouded with feathers,

that mingle each time a jabiru

digging for file snakes or eels

strides alone through clear pools

his pronged toes in wet earth

and his glossed green-black wings

flap-fill the sky.


The billabong

shimmies, thickening with flying

floating, creeping


saratoga and long-necked turtles nose

among sunken pandanas roots

their ancestors are drawn in ochre

and x-ray on cave walls.

Organs and dry season fat on the inner eye.

Magpie-geese steer hatchlings from rush cups

through paddling-fields of wild rice

a river-dwelling ray skims the shallows.


It waxes, all of it, white and pink lily flowers

red claw, prawn, the trilling of bee-eaters

jacanas with their long toes on point

making glissades across green pads.


And the billabong will wane, regular as the moon

(all of it)


or the human body

tucked tight as a joey

until it swells wide and roo-tall

until it curls small as death.


Seeds of life and lotus

will be locked in a dim hard earth


The dry, Gurrung, licks up blue flow

that hole is where the spirits in this underland

linger, and they dream of Gudjewg,

the season wet with green floating weeds.

Published: January 2015
Lyn Hatherly

Lyn Hatherly’s focus is on poetry: editing, publishing, writing, and teaching and she is one of the managing editors of Five Islands Press. Lyn has three published books. Acts of Abrasion, Sappho’s Sweetbitter Songs (Routledge), Songs of Silence and is working on her third poetry collection: ‘We are many, and one’.

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.