'Love and Tradition' by Ellen van Neerven | States of Poetry Queensland - Series One

for Aunty Nancy Bamaga

rising sea
takes and
breaks into backyards
to trouble families

we cannot live
with the seas in our bellies
we cannot rest
with the sea at our legs

the tide
is coming
to stroke
our dead

we want to know
who unplugged
our island
of childhood

island
of love and tradition
let them see
what has gone under 

Ellen van Neerven

Recording

Ellen van Neerven

Ellen van Neerven

Ellen van Neerven is a young Yugambeh woman from South-East Queensland. Her first book, Heat and Light (UQP, 2014), was awarded the 2015 Dobbie Award and the 2013 David Unaipon Award, and was also shortlisted for the Stella Prize and the NSW Premier's Literary Awards. Her next book, a poetry collection, Comfort Food, is a highly anticipated 2016 release. She lives and works in Brisbane, as managing editor of the black&write! Indigenous Writing and Editing Project.