Author: Robert Hoskin
The poem helped to form the basis of our church service on 29 April 2018 on the theme of discomfort.
I came across an upturned car at old Mowanjum
Very old car rusting in the sun
A reminder of a time when a people on the run
A people upturned, a people forced away
Removed from their lands and at the end of the day
Settled near Derby where they were meant to stay.
But even then, they were seen in the way
Mowan – jum meaning settled at last
Hardly a refuge from a white avalanche?
I came across this Fj ute at Old Mowanjum
Like, nothing’s new under the Kimberley sun,
Nothing is permanent, nothing beyond change
Dust to dust at the foot of the range.
This seems a grim portent of my own bitter end,
I will sink in the fertile soil
And like this old car will contend
With wind, sand and soil and the biting rain So,
in years to come, at the end of the day Nothing
will be found, for the land has its way!
And what of the present,
Some forty years on
Nestled as they are on the Gibb River Road
What of this people of new Mowanjum
What of these cars
Piled high in the sun
What is their word to our wasteful ears?
What is their sign to assuage our tears?
How sad it is that they met their fate
A little early, when the warranty ran out
Some abruptly when the new took their place.
There are red cars and blue cars
White, even black
Some met their end on an up-country track
Some were wrecked in a drunken rage
Others were discarded and had their windscreens smashed
By playful kids wanting release
From the dull routine and nothing feast.
With little to offer and much to explore
With harsh surrounds with no end in store.
Upturned cars, piled up high
Windscreens smashed and waiting to die
You speak of neglect, but is there really more?
You are feeling lost and wanting to roar
Like an angry lion trapped in cell
Or a hungry bear with its energy sapped
By incessant challenges that beat at the door
By constant threats that promise only more
What do they say of your fragile souls
Waiting together like newborn fowls.