by Anne Casey, Australia
Take one shovel A big, big BIG shovel Dig one hole A big, big BLACK hole Extract all carbon in the form of coal (approximately 2.3 billion tonnes) Reserve for later Into the big, big BIG BLACK hole, pour: All rights of the Wangan, Jagalingou and Juru indigenous people Slowly adding: 120 billion litres of groundwater (if available) Futures of Carmichael, Thompson, Barcoo, Diamantina, Flinders, Bulloo and Warrego rivers Stir well before adding: Lake Buchanan, Lake Galilee, Betts Creek, and as many small aquifers of the Galilee and Great Artesian basins as you can get your hands on (quantities subject to seasonal variation) Slowly slide sand and soil of: 75,000 square kilometres of the Desert Uplands into the big, big BIG BLACK hole Using a sharp-bladed mixer, carefully blend in: Large quantities and varieties of unique fauna, particularly Black Throated Finch Add Wallum Frogs and Sugar Gliders for colour and sweetness Now add: Over 14,000 species of irreplaceable indigenous flora, particularly rare boronia (the rarer, the better) Tip the remaining ingredients in and cover up: 23 laws relating to financial rectitude Several large handfuls of environmental protection statutes One billion dollars of Australian taxpayers’ money Sixty-nine thousand reef tourism jobs (10,000 jobs should rise out of the mixture to balance acidity) You can now discard: The strongly held opinions of 12 million Australians, as well as Australia’s international reputation While you are waiting, take the 2.3 billion tonnes of carbon reserved earlier, and: Slowly simmer one small blue planet
This poem was first published in hope for whole: poets speak up to Adani anthology (Plumwood Mountain 2018). It was selected for performance by the Climate Guardians at the Biennale of Australian Art 2018, the largest ever showcase of living Australian artists, in October 2018 and to be read by Anne Casey at the Remembrance for Lost Species 2019 event at Articulate Space in Sydney. This poem was also published in Anne Casey’s poetry collection, out of emptied cups (Salmon Poetry 2019) and printed as a limited edition poster by Garden Lounge creative space in Newtown, Sydney.