Kuller Kullup

Kuller Kullup walked
from the stoney shoulder of Targangil
to this bend of Birrarung
spoke to all the people gathered there,
Wathaurong, Bunurong, Maap
Wurunjeri, Ganai, Taungurong,
all the people,
and he said,
the sky is falling in,
bring me poles, the longest poles,
bring me axes of sharp edged greenstone,
for the sky is falling in.
The missionary arrived, as they usually do,
but Kuller Kullup refused to speak
while the man of god was there,
for these were the great seer’s people
and his message to them was
the sky is falling in,
bring me axes, bring me poles,
together we will repair the rent
in our world.
Of course the missionary
demanded to know what was said,
as they usually do,
and for the price of a loaf of bread
to a hungry man
and a blanket,
to a woman whose child was cold,
he purchased the information
that the sky was falling in.
Oh those natives,
those children,
their savage superstitions,
Henny Penny the sky is falling in,
and soon the whole of Bearbrass
was chortling at the foolish blacks.
Some guessed, as some do, that the need for poles and axes
had a more metaphoric intent,
a more tactical thrust,
and they made sure that,
Kuller Kullup, sky master,
dream master,
was never seen again,
just in case.
How dare he assume a superior dream.
And so the dust was settled,
the gold was won,
the sheep were shorn,
banks were vaulted
parliaments raised.
Of course the gardens
followed the rule of Kew, as you do,
no natives of course, no natives at all
for nothing in this land
could please an Englishman’s hall,
except of course, the grass and gold, the beaches
a sunrise or two,
the quaintness of the kangaroo,
the docility of koala and wombat,
the duck billed ornithorinchus.
Exotica, unnecessary really,
when you could have a fox and a rabbit,
a trout and a blackberry,
thank you Ferdinand von Mueller,
creator of the gardens,
destroyer of rivers,
the founder of the real Australia.
Kuller Kullup

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