Sunday, August 26, 2012

Country of the Lost

Thomas Timothee Vasse from the French explorer Nicolas Baudon's expedition was lost in the surf in Western Australia before the state was settled by the UK government in 1829.
The nearby river and estuary and a town of approx 1300 people was named after the lost seaman.
The poem was published by Western Review and Pixel Press 


If Thomas Timothee Vasse
Of Dieppe
had not drowned in the surf
at Geographe Bay in 1801
but lived
to welcome the Bussells
in 1837
could he have persuaded them
the Nyungar people
were not wandering nomads
but guardians of the land
and had kept the ancient laws
forty thousand years. 

Now the forests are eaten
By wood chipping
the cleared land
turned the rivers to salt
where Nyungar fished
and danced the corroboree
of the hunt
sang of the totem
kangaroo goanna and emu
and the great serpent
which came from the north
carving life-giving waterways
out of the earth mother. 

In thirty years
Of living with the Nyungar
Thomas Timothee Vasse
might have learned
the relationship of the land
     to the people     
         and the people  
               to the land
but the old truths are forgotten
and we, the inheritors
ignore their passing.

 Buy a print copy from
Three children try to save a creek from the developers.

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