This poem is taken from Stand 223, 17(3) September - November 2019.

Paul Collis Poem
Hero Black, Remembered

Baiame changed shape at night.
One became two –Two Snakes – The Rainbow
One Snake, Guldabira, danced North.
The other, Wartanuring, danced South – down Menindee way.
Rainbow Snakes made the rivers. Made them join, in love.
Guldabira moved then, towards Wanaaring, leaving water stones and ochre.
After the rivers joined the Rainbow Snakes became One again.
Baiame left the skins remnants on earth, and then returned to the sky.
Water stones bring water, ochre paint bring spirits into the body.
My River – Barka, she’s empty now. But I know where the water stones are
I’ll paint-up in ochre and crush mica to add, to make my black skin shine,
I’ll dance and Baiame will see me.


Author’s note

Mr. Hero Black was my great grandfather.

He was a Barkindji person. He died before I was born, unfortunately I never met him in my life. But, I’m kinda meeting him through the words of others – their memories of him, and I am getting to know a little of him through Hero’s own words.
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