As the sunrise upon the morning,
So sunrise on the mallee dawning,
Upon The Mallee brightly shining,
We hear crow announce its calling,
Calling, calling, rousting crrrarking!
Carrakkkk, carrrarking treetop calling,
The crow to its family warning.
Hear the butcher bird chortle,
Hear the honeyeater sparkle,
The magpie and the wagtail squabble,
Galahs and the cockatoos scraying
The kangaroo with joey in the stubble.
Wombat and possum trumble.
We hear the wanton, woeful die ,
Of the bush stone curlew cry.
So we begin our story telling,
Our story of our ancestors telling
That came from afar seas a-sailing,
That came afar with their families sailing,
That came many to a land so willing,
A land willing tho’ crops a failing,
Walked to the lower Flinders Rangers,
With their ploughs and animals trailing
To farm there that treacherous climate,
The rain follows the plough
But it didn’t.
And their farms died,
And their animals died,
And their dreams died,
And their children died there.
So were the Sorbs again driven,
Driven from their German valleys homeland,
Driven by the King’s armies attacking.
The Silesian weavers and their offspring,
Came with strength and courage unfailing.
That came the Selisians and the Posens,
That came the Wends and the Sorbians
I will tell you of their stories,
Of their travail and trying stories.
I can tell you of their stories,
Because I have been watching,
I am the watcher always watching,
From the rim of a far horizon.
Came with them their families and friends,
Came with them their Pastors and their religion,
Came with them their trades and skills,
The farriers, saddlers and horsemen skilled,
The farmers, bakers and carpenters too,
Came the music came the songs,
Came the singing from far along.
That came from afar seas a sailing,
Came the Irish,
Came the Italians,
Came the Cornish to mine hills and valleys.
All of them come and bring their cultures,
All of them come and bring their families,
Come and come so many singing,
All of them come and bring their cooking,
Food exotic and tastes of heaven,
Work as hard as any draughthorse,
Work as long as work was willing.
Work always there for the tilling.
Women bearing so many children,
Bearing also many still-born children,
Graveyards with young women filling
With both mother and in-birth child a dying.
The ground awash with tears a falling.
Sheoaks around graveyards sighing,
Whispering names of dead and departed.
Only the Sheoaks now left lamenting.
Let me tell you of their story,
It will be telling of the last story,
This epic will be their last story,
This poem will be the last of that era,
This time has gone and so far ended,
This time has so far gone and passed
As have all those players passed
As have all their done deeds passed,
As have their guilt and innocence passed,
Their work and building and lived lives passed,
All the farmers, their wives and children,
Gone, gone to the history past,
Gone like yesterday’s sunset past,
Gone like youth’s wild laughter past,
Like the brown leaves of Autumn fallen…
Like empty husks of Summer seeds fallen,
The summer crops pouring their seeds
Onto the Earth and onto the stone,
A heart of stone the world has become,
A new world rising of stone and cinder,
Where hope is but a one minute wonder
Where love is but a speculative opportunity.
This is why we will not survive,
This is why we will not survive,
This is why we will not survive.
Through war and plague we did thrive,
Disease and disaster we did survive,
Small tribes wandering water to water
We did survive,
We did thrive,
Hunting ground to hunting ground wander,
We did survive and thrive there under.
Shelter to shelter, hut to stone,
We did wander..we did thrive.
We did live..we did survive..
Alive for one primary desire,
Desire for one other’s life..
Desire for that loved one special..
Special loved for that one desire..
A certain one within the tribal clan,
A special one within the tribal group.
Within the shelter of the tribal clan.
Protected by the shelter of the tribe,
The one who shared our likes and dreams,
The liking for particular fruits and seeds,
The liking for a singular woven cloth,
A place of refuge,
A place of resting over others.
In times more conducive grow,
Within the heart grow to love.
Within the tribe grow to love,
But can such a thing be allowed to grow,
If not in the interest of the culture,
If not in the interest of the tribe.
What the custom where the culture,
If not of the interest for the tribe,
If not of the interest for the lovers.
And of the class and of the creed,
Can love form outside of these?
Outside of station in the culture,
Outside of position in the status.
Yet regardless if ever consummated,
Regardless of such station born,
Still will embryonic desire grow,
Still will the beginnings always show
Of that need for imagination show
Of those hidden senses and know
That the heart will hold the tender fruit
And the senses in conspiracy stored,
For those who are loved and adored.
These are the people my story tells,
Unknown people my story tells,
Neither brave nor heroes be,
Neither great lover like in history
There are no heroes in my story,
No heroes and no Gods in this story.
No Gods to steer or to control,
So let this story epic unfold,
This story that so needs be told,
I will make this story unfold,
For I am one of those families old,
That lived and thrived in this country,
Family that lived and died in this country.
That gave all they had to this country,
I AM the story of this country.
(Nb. This is a “work in progress” and a larger body of work is to follow….there may be adjustments and corrections as I go.)