Darling

by Sue Aldred, Australia

This is written with acknowledgement and respect for the elders past and present of the Barkindji nation


Barkindji are weeping for their Baarka mother -
The Darling is dying, our darling is dying 
from putrid green ponds, her fish belly up.
They call it the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. 

The Darling is dying, your darling is dying,
once mighty river, shrinking and drying. 
They call it the Murray-Darling Basin Plan -
means putrid green ponds, fish belly up.

Once mighty river, now shrinking and drying.
Fifty-year-old Murray Cod lie dead in 
putrid green ponds, white bellies up. 
She mourns mass fish kills in Menindee 

Fifty-year-old Murray Cod lie dead,
while cotton fields flourish upstream. 
She mourns mass fish kills in Menindee. 
For seventeen months she did not flow 

Green cotton fields flourish upstream, 
big irrigators pump out her lifeblood 
For seventeen months she did not flow - 
those hungry crops and greedy growers.

Big irrigators pump out her lifeblood, 
Brewarrina fish traps - meeting place no more 
those hungry crops and greedy growers 
‘The river is community, community is us’ 

Brewarrina fish traps - meeting place no more
‘Lose the river, we lose our identity’ 
‘The river is community, community is us’
Eight clans once gathered there 

‘Lose the river, we lose our identity’ 
Eight languages were spoken, 
eight clans once gathered there
on the flood plains, teeming wetlands 

Eight languages were spoken. 
Reports are written now, 
on dry flood plains, empty wetlands.
There are forty-four recommendations.

Reports are written now,
there’s talk of a Royal Commission, 
there are forty-four recommendations.
Barkindji still weeping for their Baarka mother.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2018/apr/05/murray-darling-when-the-river-runs-dry Quotes in italics from Bradley Hardy

Written after camping near the devastated Darling River in 2018

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