'On Cannibals' by Jeanine Leane | States of Poetry ACT - Series One

For Patrick White (1976)

 

When the Badtjala people discovered Eliza Fraser,
her story of cannibals devoured a history.
A century later when the Badtjala people
rescued Ellen Roxborough on the fringes of paradise
White's imagination captured the Aborigine –
the Blacks – for the nation.
When she ate Badtjala woman's flesh,
she swallowed us all and we passed through the
bowels of colonial mythology all over again.
Who are the real cannibals?

 

Jeanine Leane