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THE NORTHERN RIVERS

it is spoken through the old stones
which are the broken teeth
on the craggy lips of an old volcano

it is whispered in the creeks that fall
from the forest to the sea,
in the mist of the mountain birds
that feather our fiery cheeks
as we climb the trail to feast upon the view

they are folk songlines how the cedar trees fell
and the farms did swell across the valleys,
how a hundred villages grew
in the leap of water
from the rock to the river-mouth

by the turn of a century by the wheel of the river
grew a town where the loggers first did camp,
grew a city…a university, academies,
theatres & festivals of whales and flowers
and beef & blues & dance & food –
the river festivals of the rainbow region

it is silent in the shadows of the forest,
it is the veil of batwing which blackens the twilight into deep night,
the gold of fruit, the beat of farm & fleet;
it is the passing of the winter whales
where the fisherman stands
wet & poised upon his lonely rock

it is the old mountain
where the sun first touches the land
and the rivers spill to the sands
into a sea of southern crossings
and reflections of an ancient green land

David Hallett