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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 7, Number 4, December 2013

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Marilyn Humbert
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Djanggawul’s Painting

Not far from Curtin Springs, about 50 kilometres east of Uluru I am dumbstruck. The size of the rock. A flat-topped, black monolith rises out of the mostly flat landscape as dawn sun clambers above the horizon. We stop at the viewing point to take photos and walk to the top of the lookout. It is then we realise we are not looking at Uluru but Mt Connor, part of the same rocky substrate as Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

Artilia
smooth and flawless
in first light
the outback dressed
in morning suit and top-hat

Heat increases as we trek up the trail through fine red sand past straggly melaleucas filled with red-breasted finches jigging on twiggy branches. At the top of the lookout, mid-morning sun has tinted the rock brownish-orange with grey highlights in vertical folds and pleats. In the opposite direction, the southeast, a shiny white line stretches across the landscape. Lake Amadeus, the largest salt lake in the Northern Territory.

dry salt flat
strung across bare earth—
white pearls
hang about
her suntanned neck


Author's Notes:

Artilia: the indigenous name for Mt Connor.

Djanggawul: indigenous spirits, three siblings, two female and one male, who created the landscape of Australia and covered it with flora.

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