Image: Beach Track

She went to the archives stretched out in the land
Followed their tracks
Followed their scents nipping in the wind
Followed a canvas sniffing out the paint.

She sent out the brushstrokes to become picture words
Reeling in acrylic memory
Reeling in encounters with testimony
Reeling in the sites of her aunties’ significances.

She called out to the images against the grain
Installed in galleries, libraries, town halls
Murals and tracks and scents and canvas
And mouths, and songs and steps
And gestures, she danced.

She called out “Here comes the butterfly
Lamenting the suffering of the
Koori song, Murri Song, Warlpiri song, Kimberly song,
Mekeo song, Man song,
Woman song, Human song,”

She danced the revisions of her story
In layers upon layers
Of the red earth
Yellow earth, brown earth and white clay.

Image: Sky Tracks

© June Perkins, First published in Aboriginal History 30, 2006.



the yellow honey eater
is dipping her beak into
the remembrance of human lives

wings hum around
the desires of hunger lingering in
human bellies

sweetness not enough
to stop this burning, wirring of wings
questioning and seeing the small

she sees the young beggar
with a bent leg stretching
her arms bent in an orangutan style
she was forced to cut one limb
and scooter for her supper

she hums around the desire for freedom
above a girl child stuck at a loom
her fingers enslaved to craft carpet
for traders who
bargain for child labour

she is wizzing above a toddler
picking roses for a highclass clientelle
she can smell the perfume of exploitation all too well…

although she doesn’t stop
the search to understand this mass of human made despair

she wishes she could take the honey dew
she has found and stop the blood
dripping from the steel

(c) June Perkins — for poetry vaults of the past.

Wind Dancer


My daughter sings through her feet
Down to the tip of her toes.

She hums in a constant drone
Of the zipping cyclonic winds.

She’s a Monica dancing a flood
Whose fury dies down in an instant.

She’s the wind dancer of our home
My daughter with winds in her feet.

(From the Vault – of my old poems (c) June Perkins)

Writing Territory, territory unwritten

writing territories

Seeding ideas
somewhere in dream earth

they grow into the trees
that my hands touch
grow into the children
from the dream earth
saying give birth to me
into your writing territory

the territory where there
are no borders
only the deep ocean
that you might not be able to breathe
in if you dive too far
or the sky you can’t move in
due to gravity and a lack of wings

Hands, feet what do they do
do you know in the womb
before you walk on the earth
or are they mysteries

I dig for my identity
in the myths, in the stories
in the dream of the earth’s birth

Evolving, into the writer
Who dreams of the hands and feet
formed in the clay on the mountain
seeing the story woven in the field

there is no territory you can’t
dream even the ocean deep
or the sky high
flying in the dream sky
I throw up the ashes of grief
For the seed of the story
And I dream….

writing territory 2

© June Perkins all rights reserved, words and images

Inside I am


Inside I am a tree

I want to spring forth

And grow throughout the nine planes


I know that there are many lands at my feet

Frost lands and Tropical lands

And many will form in my branches

I spread shade far and wide


I filter the light


The hawk waits to hide herself in my branches

She is waiting for my journey upward

To become a canopy separating earth and sky


I wait


Inside I am tall and I will reach

My hands up and from them will

Spring leaves


Leaves of books, leaves of learning

Leaves to sing and rustle all the music

Of my birth


Inside I am a tree.



© image and words June Perkins


This was inspired by a prompt at a Soulfood site on the cosmic egg and creation stories.