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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.

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.