|LEAD Action News Volume
13 Number 4, June 2013, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News (ISSN 1440-0561)
The Journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.
Editorial Team: Elizabeth O’Brien, Zac Gethin-Damon, Hitesh Lohani, Shristi Lohani and David Ratcliffe
Lead in Literature:
Poems on Ancient and Modern Hunting
By Colleen Z Burke. The copyright remains with Colleen Z Burke. Reprinted with kind permission. Ravens croak no more, A permit to kill, The shooters and Towards the mountains were published in Colleen’s poetry collection Pirouetting on a precipice: Poems of the Blue and White Mountains (Seaview Press, 2000). See Colleen’s full list of published poems at http://colleenburke.com/publications.php - her books can be purchased Better Read Than Dead Bookshop and some of her poetry books can be purchased at Gleebooks.
[Editor’s note: The following kangaroo hunting poems were chosen because the hunting method involves lead shot, and the moth hunting poem was chosen to compare old and new hunting methods. Bogong moths, hunted for millennia by Aboriginal Australians, on their annual migration to the Southern Alps / Snowy Mountains of South Eastern Australia (the White Mountains of Colleens’ poetry book title) are nutritious and “suited people in a cold climate who needed fat and a burst of energy…[as] 100 grams of bogong moth abdomen contains 38.8 grams of fat and 1805 kilojoules of energy.” See the World Health Organisation (WHO) edible insect story below, for links between insects as food and lead poisoning.]
Back cover note from the book: With brilliant imagery Colleen Burke celebrates the awesome, fragile beauty of the Blue Mountains and the Snowy Mountains. Colleen’s fine writing explores the contrast with the city, and the history and myth that resonate in the landscape. It is a magic book, rich in wisdom and humour. In the splendour and vulnerability of the mountains Colleen traces a landscape of the heart. Alison Lyssa.
White Mountain Poems
Ravens croak no more
“It would be a shame if the coming of the Europeans were
to prove as disastrous for moths as for Man . . .”
The Moth Hunters, Josephine Flood.
The tribes gathered when the frost melted
on the lower ranges of the Snowy Mountains
and thousands of hungry ravens
croaking and hovering around the granite rocks
signalled the annual arrival of millions
of Bogong moths from the north.
Like a dark cloud the moths settled,
aestivating in fissures, cracks, and crevices.
After the bull roarer and appropriate rites
There was much noise and revelry.
chanting women beat drums
with yam sticks, or nulla nullas.
Others played reeds with their fingers.
Smoke signals heralded
the beginning of the moth hunt.
and groups of men climbed
up to the high granite tors in search of prey.
The moths, stupefied with smoke,
fell onto sheets of barks, nets or skins
and were then carefully cooked,
lightly roasted, so as not to scorch
bodies, or diminish their delicate flavour.
These summer gatherings of the Walgalu
and other tribes beneath the Bogong Mountains
were for sociability, for marriage,
and to settle tribal disputes.
And the devouring of this luscious, fattening
nutritious food made bodies sleek, glossy, even fat.
And now the corroboree site
has been obliterated under the solid
weight of Blowering dam.
The Tumut river drowned.
There are no more corroborees here.
Moth numbers are dwindling
And ravens croak no more around high granite peaks.
A permit to kill for Bridie
A bright green
clearing glows through
the greyish bush.
bend to the smell of
from high mountains.
A kangaroo stands
alert – sensing
blood on the wind.
on a nearby property
hundreds of roos were
callously rounded up
for slaughter .
had a permit to cull -
a licence to massacre.
Silence – shattered by the
sound of bullets screaming into
fragile flesh. Bloodstains
congeal in clear mountain air.
The roo bounds away.
Wattle blossoms shiver
in the quickshadow
of its passing
The pulse of the earth
slow at dusk.
The whispering bush still.
Clusters of kangaroos
listen warily as we move
over the old homestead
scuffing scent of dead roses.
Grass shadows bend to our weight.
The roos jump slowly downhill.
Pause. The rifle shot is loud.
In a lilt of green old rabbit bones glow.
A roo skull lies awkwardly.
As we walk over the hillside
roos move away quickly
Towards the mountains for Paddy
Cold air rising
of gum trees
A hawk hovering . . .
Abundance of birds -
king parrots, finches
Dark cry of cockatoos
Sonorous green air
subdued in sunset.
A roo poised on the
hillside listening . . .
Greedy for this wonder
we’re reluctant to leave
to turn homewards
as though we’ll never
walk this way again.
system lead poisoning |
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