On the autumn yatra I gave people the opportunity to write or draw for a little while. I scribbled down the beginnings of a poem, and this is what it turned into. I had been thinking about Biame.
Biame created the earth and the Law for human society, but then went to live in the sky. Dearly loved local archaeologist Eugene Stockton cites Tony Swain's article on Biame and says that " the cult of Baiame(sic) was a religious innovation in reaction to the first settlement of Sydney". *
Last year, in December, I went to visit a cave painting of Biame, which is at Milbrodale to the east of Mt. Yengo. This is a mountain sacred to the Darkinjung people, and is at the centre of a network of sacred sites, flat on top, like Mt. Colong, Mt. Wilson, Mt. Tomah. It's a powerful image half way up a hillside, and overlooking a beautiful valley ( with a coalmine now in the distance). My rather fuzzy photos were taken in the evening.
Biame in autumn
Did Biame step off
into the sky above Mt. Hay
where a honeyeater flits feverishly
across the blue, so late to migrate,
did he let go of earthly concerns
such as what the white ghosts want,
and why it is so warm?
The sky god doesn’t see the sky as a problem.
wings up as though he’s leaping
into a pool glinting with stars
and a feathery half-moon,
the trees whisper in the wings’ downbeats
his giant feet push down
squash the mountain’s head
and he’s away
like that burn-off smoke
which drifts northwards to the place
where the honeyeaters have gone.
* "Blue Mountains Dreaming: the Aboriginal Heritage" 2nd ed. Edited by Eugene Stockton and John Merriman 2009 p. 238