Singing the Snake
Angus & Robertson, 97 pp, $14.95 pb
‘Singing the Snake’, the poem that opens this collection, tells the story of tribes gathering at Uluru in a time of drought when ‘people drank sand’. If the singing of the people was strong and true, the Snake of Uluru would push water out from the ‘place where every river in the world begins and ends’, so that it spilled from the top of the rock.
Old Tjupurrula told this story to the poet, who asks, ‘You saw all this … water bubbling out of dry rock?’. The incredulous poet asks the same question that the white reader of Sally Morgan’s My Place must want to ask when she meets her ancestors in the bush.