I walk a plotted path
across a corralled landscape.

Designation of National Park
invoking notions of wilderness and nature,
pristine and free from Human contamination.
Except of course, it is not.

Everywhere the impact of us:
visible in the blackberry bramble;
heard in the row of cars rushing past.

The tragedy is not the presence of us
but rather,
the absence of a people who belong
in ways I can barely comprehend.

People who know the contours and creatures,
seen and unseen.
People who breathe, sing and dance with the land.
The land responding.

A fuller way to be human.
To be earthlings.

2 thoughts on “Footsteps

  1. Lovely Dinali Have you read Bruce Pascoe’s book Dark Emu? Perhaps we have already had this conversation and you have read it. He objects to the word wilderness as an invaders’ notion of Aboriginal people not effecting the land. He says that people sowed seeds to create grasslands or yam fields, or many other food landscapes. Of course they also burnt the bush to clean up or create clearings or green pick or more that I don’t know. His book gave me a greater inkling of the enormous depth of theft and destruction. In our book group after reading dark emu we have just read Salt Creek about the intimacies of the land theft in 1850s in the Coorong. Powerful.

    We keep on learning. Thanks for your piece, good to keep it in front of our minds. Love Monica

    • Thanks Monica. Yes I’ve read Dark Emu. I think I wrote the draft of this poem around the time I was reading that. In many ways our attempts at ecological management seem like the faltering steps of an infant, especially when compare to the sophisticated land management systems of first nations people across this continent. But yes that is room for much more learning. More and more I fee the need to be Learning how to live well in the little part of the earth that I live in. So hard in this busy world of constant doing.

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