An unsung land is a dead land
Forget the song
And the land will surely die.
Our forebears, though mostly illiterate,
Made music that can still make us cry
Musical phrases, like a map reference,
And the land read as a musical score
Where singing the land
Has the crowd calling out for more.
The song couplets stretch across tectonic plates
Just like mountains stretch across continents
And someone waving as we pass through endless gates.
Pale sand, red rock, burning fire
Everything your heart may desire
Mapping the music
to which everything transcends
This is where the story begins not ends.
Religion, pagan or Christian
Permeating everything, blending,
People sympathetic and synthetic,
Careless and unknowing of secular beginning
Or religious ending.
All the colours of the rainbow
Dressed in human clothing
Aisling, dreang, radharc
And the gift of seeing what isn’t there
When the songs are left unsung
Who is then left to care?




Labyrinth of impossible pathways

Meandering across Australia

Singing the Aborigines home

Singing out the names of every

Bird, bee and tree

Singing rook and river

Singing you and me

Singing all the world

Into being.


A dreaming track

A path across the land

Or sometimes the sky

Creator-Beings dreaming

Songs, stories, dances, paintings

Petrosomatoglyphs on the land

Leaving huge footprints behind

Navigating vast distances

Through the parched interior

Language no barrier

Melodic contours in song

Passing over the land

Rhythmically beating out the jives

Where the spirits of unborn children

Sing to keep the land alive


Chatwin tells us how it was

The songlines stretching across the eons

People singing their lives into existence

Following signs their ancestors

Had tuned to perfection.

Their roads invisible to us

No traces we could follow

No marks we could discern

No bulldozer dented this terrain

No tarmac spread for others gain

 No buildings stacked with pure disdain

To leave wrecked nature in their wake

The lines were left to all for free

If our blinkered eyes could only see.


Yarralin, Walujapi

Black-Headed Python

Rainbow Serpent

Native Cat Dreaming

Arranda, Kaititja, Kukaja

Unmatjera, Ilpara


Long lines