Skip to content
Back to issue
Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

Open & Cut

by Anthony Lawrence




Taken from space, photos of earth

open-cut for coal

are like the ultra-sound stills

of a cross-section of face

where melanomas had metastasised

necessitating removal

of parts of the cheekbone and jaw.

Sustained inhalation of coal dust

is the mineral equivalent of breathing in

tubercular saliva, and where

the water table is black, the black-

throated finch will go out like a spark

struck from the gold nib of a pen

that signs a deal changing Native Title.

The word scrub as clear-fell.

Aquifer as under-the-table profiteer.

A dugong will surface trailing sea grass

like magnetic tape in a port

where piers were hammered home

to support the loading of containers.

And as for the Great Barrier Reef

whatever the run-off from fertiliser leaves

untouched will be imperilled

by the passage of ships

with a history of oil and coal spills.

A drone sends back HD footage of a pod

of humpback whales off Abbot Point.

An executive nods

and stamps the scene with approval

his hand waving like the flipper

of an overturned Flatback turtle.

Published: August 2022
Anthony Lawrence

is a contemporary Australian poet and novelist.

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.