Taking on a transformation as an eagle and in that formation I was traveling within the cloud dust: and within the cloud dust there were small balls of lights. They were so small, as small as the smallest grain of sand. I myself was one of many divided as a matrix, scattered throughout and far reaches of the universe. We were all moving and weaving continually as if someone was making a dress out of stars.

And the more I knew about myself the larger an image I became. I looked over my shoulder. It was the universe. And looking back at the small ball of light that was small as the smallest grain of sand, I knew then really it was the size of our sun.

And the moral behind this story talks about the burning desire that burns within you that drives you to do the things you do! For me personally, I see mine every passing day of my life: the sun. It is also one of many scattered throughout and far reaches of the universe.

And when I sleep under the stars, as usual, I see so many of them that remind me that each individual has a burning desire that burns within them that drives them to do the things they do.

And as long as there’s a warmth that burns within it and rotates around the four corners of the earth, there’s a life that was given a purpose that comes in the form of human flesh. A gift of mortality.

Edwin Lee Mulligan


‘Sun poem’ was commissioned for the dance theatre production Cut the Sky (2015) by Marrugeku.

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There’s two points of view about country, there’s a whitefella way of looking at country: seeing country as commodity, things they can take from the land and what they can make of it that can be useful. In my country there’s a lot of minerals. From diamond, gold, copper, oil, you name it. It’s all there for the taking. There is also uranium and gas. This country is very rich they say. But from an Aboriginal point of view there is another way of looking at country. The country dreams for her children.

For example gas ... the most desired mineral right now in the Kimberleys. For us she is a lady. She is part of our country’s richest mining deposit in Australian history. She’s a very rare expensive mineral that is highly toxic and a poisonous liquid substance hidden miles beneath us, within the Earth crust.

I’m going to tell you about this lady. Her English name is Valhalla, meaning the land of the dead. She is the most feared woman that ever walked the face of the earth. There were many stories that been foretold about this woman: stealing people from their sleep, possessing whole clan groups with silent death sleeps, leaving them to wake up into the spirit world, entombed in termite mounds for eternity.

They considered her to be very dangerous but to me, she’s like a mother. She’s been dreaming country. Dreams of ghost walking termite mounds in the distance through grassless plains.

She held my hand and walked me through country, speaking to the land and the land was listening. There’s a message being brushed up by the wind, her whispering words of burning grass dancing with tongues of fire.

When I stand on my spirit country, Ballil, I look down from the ridge. I see grassless plains where she once walked devouring innocent souls for her liking. We are continually warning people, even the hungry mining dog companies about a treacherous woman. She is poison.

Her name is Dungkabah (whisper)

Edwin Lee Mulligan


‘Dungkabah’ was commissioned for the dance theatre production Cut the Sky (2015) by Marrugeku.

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Sleeping under a blanket, half asleep, I wrapped myself tightly, feeling the warmth after a cold night. I thought I was in a dream and wished it would be a good one. And as I spoke to myself about what this generation had to do with me, and the purpose in this life I’ve been given, all of a sudden I went into a deep dream. It happened so fast, it was like being sucked into a tunnel through a vacuum, Willy Willy, tornado and a twister.

My whole body went numb, paralysed. I couldn’t feel anything except the rhythm of my heart beating. As it beats it became louder and the louder it became the more heavily it weighed and the more heavily it weighed my spirit grew into a formation, becoming larger than a life image. My spirit transmitted, descending within the earth, and transforming into one of mother earth’s recognisable landmark monuments she created.

At that point I became gigantic and muscular, stretching for kilometres. In a way I had the earth in the palm of my hands. And looking at my hands I knew it was a symbol of great significance and high priority as an offering that was prepared for a celebration.

After that transformation to a dream I opened my eyes and what was before me left me breath-taken. I became a mountain overlooking vast flood plains. The ground was so fertile and rich having layers of minerals that were attached to my nerve systems, running with water and river. I became one with this earth. Pretty much like the blanket that I wrapped myself around that night but on a grand scale.

And then a voice I heard that spoke to me that felt encouraging to my spirit. The spirit of the land spoke to me, they said: Can you feel the connection to this land? I turned around under the gaze of my ancestors and softly replied ... exactly.

Edwin Lee Mulligan


‘Blanket Story’ was commissioned for the dance theatre production Cut the Sky (2015) by Marrugeku.

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It’s been years and it’s never been raining, a sign of weather patterns at work in the creamy blue skies. An elder looked up and noticed a single cloud formation appeared. It was going towards a significant place. The cloud was very small and very dark and yet it still didn’t rain.

On this earth we walk the grassy plains with sun bleached sensitive skin sucked up by the heat, and with this temperature we too will weather away like a single insignificant blade of grass in the field.

Since the coming of time the spirits of the skies have been painting their pictures, telling the story of changing seasons.

They reached to the earth choosing individual vibrant colors to paint the universal giant canvas, calculating the mathematics of day and night, of rotating cosmos with our sun, stars and the moon, second by second in an endless equation.

An elder would say they’re singing our mothers’ land beneath our feet. We too will sing with them and yet our generation still walks on the grassy plains left alone wondering what this weather patterns means.

Edwin Lee Mulligan


‘Jimidilung’ was commissioned for the dance theatre production Cut the Sky (2015) by Marrugeku.

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Once upon a time the crocodile was a human being. And then one day, one particular day his heart became hard and when his heart became harder, his flesh became hard and when his flesh became harder his skin became hard, and when his skin became harder it transformed into the scales on his back, deeply cut wounds that have never been healed.

He developed a taste for blood, he ripped open his stomach in a sacrifice. His own blood became cries of pain, floating debris of the past drifting on murky waters. He built towns and cities as a bandage to cover his wounds, leaving only a bloodstain to reveal his past. And then the crocodile says, ‘All Kingdoms are built by blood’.

The crocodile is a great hunter, a hunter of souls. Having the characteristics of a human being he is no different from a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And in the nature of the wolf he too walks on all fours.

Beware of murky waters and beware what lies below. There is a cunning creature that needs more than water to drink and more than a bandage to cover his scaly skin.

Edwin Lee Mulligan


‘Crocodile’ was commissioned for the dance theatre production Cut the Sky (2015) by Marrugeku.

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I went where she reigned
far underground, deeper
than roots, in rooms hollowed
by hand and bone, where curved walls
contained my breath like lungs.

              Passageways opened onto chambers
              honeycombed in stone
              where there was no light
              and blind air read my skin.

Who painted the womb-shaped
echo-chamber with ochre veins?
The spirals on concave walls seem
to move with sound waves, fluid
as amniotic water, persistent as blood.

               So far down, this far back, definition
               fades. We braille a truth, one version
               from things only guessed at.

In bone-dug bethels where perhaps
they incubated dreams, a woman
sleeps. In my palm, earth to earth
I hold her double: a small, clay statue,

                rotund buttocks, fall of ample breasts
                all luxuriant volume, prompting again
                the old question: is she diviner or divine?

Annamaria Weldon

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While women scanned the horizon, fishers
and hunters tended their nets, someone
etched the Lapwing crown-plumes in clay.

Abandoning hunger and
its frozen ground, they soar
South with the Grigale wind

Middle Sea harbingers of the
Lampuki-fish moon, its halo
a herald of autumn rains.

Outlines, incisions quicken those
plovers’ flight through terracotta sky.
A ghost flock, timeless on stone.

Annamaria Weldon

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We met at the Neolithic display. I was staring
at the loom-weights, suspended in a glass case.
Handcarved stones, smaller than seashells

a tell-tale hole bored through their middle. That’s when
I noticed you, uncanny yet not out of place
holding a loom-weight. You seemed at home with fibre

your fingers felt its tensions, slack or taut,
sensitive to texture, strong hands threading
the weft, sinews familiar with the shuttle’s path

muscle memory of when to hold and release.
Back, forth, you weaved row after row, as friction sloughed
filaments of flax, infusing the hut’s dim light

with motes that clogged your lungs; each year
you strained harder and harder for breath. What
sustained you, arms aching as they bent and stretched,

shoulders lifting and lowering to the music
of your tuneless harp? Did your eyes sting?
Could you close them sometimes in that dark,

give yourself to the reverie and bridge the cleave
in time where we met, staring at those loom-weight stones,
handcarved and smaller than seashells, a tell-tale hole

bored through their middle. Suspended in the glass case
they have never stopped telling your story. Spellbound
I found myself called back by their slight shapes

by the weight of memory you left behind.

Annamaria Weldon

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  • Custom Article Title 'in the National Museum of Maltese Archaeology' by Annamaria Weldon | States of Poetry WA - Series Two
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Alabaster: such a beautiful word for silence.
Neolithic Venus, was translucence eloquent
enough when stone was our mother tongue?

Yellow-throated crocus were strewn
at your feet, they fed you honey
and broad beans. Worship swelled

your breasts and fertile belly, men lived
without weapons, women were weavers
and potters crowned in cowrie shells

at death and in time their whitened bones
dyed red, with precious ochre
the blood of second life.

When survival required human milk,
herbalists were doctors and spirals holy signs,
hysteria a gift, fecundity revered

you were honoured as mother of the world
incarnate and neither clerics nor sceptics mocked
our fealty to the sacred feminine.

Annamaria Weldon

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Archipelago, sleeping goddess whose body
we trample as tourists take selfies, bored lovers
seek mystery, stray dogs piss on temple stones.

Inside the sanctuary walls, torba floors endure
their bone-white ground broken as the silence
now deities are curios, gift shop souvenirs.

Asphodel and Sea-squill bloom in the corners of ruins
strewn like footnotes to remind us these shrines
are still alive. At dawn on the Solstice, an entry fee

is our only offering. Careless crowds block the portal
so the sun’s first beams can’t touch the holiest stone.
A child making a wild posy is chased by a man in uniform.

Annamaria Weldon


*torba is the Maltese word for hard plaster-like material made by the repeated pounding and wetting of several layers of Golbigerina limestone dust; it was usually spread over a rubble foundation for making temple and hut floors).

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