These poems were written across 2016 when Kevin Brophy was living in the remote community of Mulan, home to the Walmajarri speaking custodians of the Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) around Lake Paruku (Lake Gregory in many maps) in Western Australia.
This is a book about deep history and living in the moment; beauty and poverty; comic discovery and tragic loss. Kevin Brophy writes about people and place like no-one else. I will be urging others to read this extraordinary book for years to come.
This is a sure-eyed condensery of a community and a place: its knowledge, its resilience and griefs, its skies and weather, children, birds, dogs and boggy roads, and always the presence of the Lake. It is a vital record, sometimes close to hymn, that gifts to the reader openhearted and open-ended encounters with the specific.
In these poems Kevin Brophy offers us the gift of days in which the ordinary is always surprising – where children arrive in the morning at the school gate “walking as if they have walked all night to get here”, and the same word is used for the swelling of a corpse and the rising of a loaf. It is a country where different worlds infiltrate and unsettle each other, where encounters take place at the brink of understanding, and humanity shines through each poem with the lustre of stones polished by rain.