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King River

By Bruce Waddell

 

We relax in the evening light 
on his fluid banks.

The William Hovell dam
 tames him until,

like the young girl in the park,
he defiantly tumbles over the spillway

where he reaches his valley
too weak to fight rocks he once tore from the hills.

Today he playfully polishes
marble-round those too heavy to move

into mobile hides
for trout to mock the stealthy angler.

He tugs at the reeds
and questions why Hovell

disliked the name  the Pangerang people used,
Poodumbia, or that of her twin sister -Torryong.

The King and the Ovens rivers coldly
steal the story and gender other voices should tell.

Once the home of the bandicoot, koala, and platypus
Sangiovese grows on old tobacco fields   

marsh grasses sway on a zephyr
beside  her freely flowing stream

our water mirrors smoky coloured clouds overhead
for fish to hide in dark spiralling eddies.

slow birds circle tall  tree tops,
scan nighttime roosts, 

and puzzle aloud the same query,
Why the name change buddy?

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