the gathering at the Gabba – Rion Pym Schaare

you could tell
there was something
                                in those old trees
that stood watching
over the ridge and the river
                                it was there from the top
of the hill you could see
them coming
                                   the Brisbane River people four to five
hundred
like the seasons they came to the annual
                                              inter-tribal dateline
to welcome the place of whirling waters
whip-tailed wallaby and fighting
                                                 some swam from the north
and traveled the sea
                                 from Straddie and Moreton Island
the sound interrupted only by the echoes
                                                                of pigeons and scrub turkeys
the sun high on the hillend angled warmth
for the causarinas
in the Woolongabba shade
                                         where the shadow of  lazy light
pampered the southern end
herons sang home the ducks
                                                  wallabies and roos
                                              the feast they all came for
a sometime rain sang songs
                                          to the weary plover flight
                                          bringing them every year
to the tribes from Norman Creek
                                                   they came
                                                   they walked
                                                   and tracked the Logan
like a shared carriage song
                                         for the meet at the bullen-bullen ground
where in the night
                             when the hot coals cooled
                              the clasping of another’s woman
                              was an offence
but for the right blood an honour
                                                   a powerful rule in the name
                                                   of one in the right
                                                   and another wrong
there under the blue with the clouds
                                                       floating like drapes
light hurried on into the night
                                                in this country of Kurilpa
where the past wanders lost
like a game of hide-and-seek
                                            sleepwalkers’ ghosts wake
to the tune of dripping blood
until reached by song
                                 of the passage made
in the cooling ash-air
of morning
                   it is there through the dreamtime
                   that time looks back
as the mob stand
and stare into the hot hazy distance
                                                       to memorize it all
for the next time
                           every year was a rendezvous