Festival Readings: Karrwa Baya by Maya Hodge

Here at EWF, we’ve selected some of our favourite pieces that were originally performed at the 2020 digital Emerging Writers’ Festival, to publish over the coming weeks. We hope you will read and enjoy them as much as we did!

This week, we bring you a poem that Maya Hodge wrote for our Creative Responses to Climate Crisis event. 

Karrwa Baya

In a short amount of time
We are seeing the quickened
Destruction of our land
Our waterways
This is no phase

Our rivers bend through sand
Our rainforests reach up high
Our mountains lay resting
Yet a sickness is festering

In the coal mines
In government lies
In burning bush fires
And they continue to pry

Into sacred places
That are not for their eyes
Or their drills and greed
Allowing toxins to breed

Into the deep rolling sea
The plants and trees

Saltwater erosion and rising
That will erase rock art
And at our heart

Uluru sings quietly in the night
Hot wind and high temperatures
Will one day honeycomb its surface
Our songlines will ripple futures

Wild unrelenting bush fires
Scorch the tender earth
Our skies filled with smoke
That hung in the air for months

Infected our lungs
And clouded our eyes
Sacred Country burning
Blood red skies

Hear us
Hear us
The cries of this land
The cries of our people

We are one with this place
The trees are our limbs
The dirt is our feet
See us weep

Like the gale force winds
Our people heave
And shout like the birds
Above flying elsewhere

The flowers are blooming
At different times of year
And the foods have shifted
Try not to let the young ones fear

So we adapt and change
For two hundred and fifty years
To protect our blood ties
And listen to Country’s
Painful cries

Each generation brings new hope
Their hearts beat in time to
The swishing of the eucalyptus
The hum of the warm rocks

With caring hands we continue
To care for Country
And so will our children
This Country’s children.

Karrwa Baya       Strong Fighter