Terry McArthur

Terry McArthur is a poet, songwriter, and playwright. Terry’s plays include Country Of Tears for The Midnight Sun Theatre and Dance Company which was performed at the inaugural Sydney Arts Festival and Naratic Visions which he co-directed with Chin Kham Yoke. He has written produced and directed multi-media performances including Seeking Knowledge and Casting The Oracle for the Australian Awards For University Teaching, and New Horizons for the opening of the Sydney SuperDome. As a lyricist Terry has co-written hit songs for John Farnham and James Blundell. As one half of the spoken word duo the cube he has released one album Permanent Scars and is now preparing to release Weapons Of Mass Sedition. Terry’s poetry has been published in, Upland (University Of New England Press), Holes In The Evening (Fat Possum Press edited by Michael Sharkey) and The Tin Wash Dish (ABC Books edited by John Tranter), Thylazine, Blue Pepper and Stylus. Terry’s latest collection of poems, Walking Skin is due for publication with Artesian in early 2008.


The Weather Eater’s Lament

Summer swift black sun burns
Dry rivers drink in dread the blaze
Days are dust settled thick and thin over
This track where light and language languish
The tongue no longer speaking

No more speaking
What’s done is done
Who can trace the ember from the fire
Smear ash across the face of our broken land
Or bear our lamentations beneath the dead drought years
Crossing and recrossing this once fertile valley
Hearing the song of the future blow in from the void


More Dirt Music

( for Tim Winton and Audrey Auld Mezera )

South of the dry lands
Between dirt and sea
Moving forward under brazen moon
Crossing the night tracks by foot
There is a moment when your eyes fall upon the gathering gates
A moment like no other
Those ancestral gates desolate and perpetual
Call in the forgotten songs
Cradling the words that sing of love and loss
Each song a code that blisters hearts
For who can bear such words of joy and sorrow
Who will carry such secrets in their marrow

Under the starlight of the gathering gates
There is no tomorrow
Only the songs under the shadow of blood rocks
Only the songs wedged in the red earth
Seeking out the singer
Seeking out the season
South of the dry lands
Between dirt and sea


No Worries

( for David Gulpilil)

He appeared
As if from nowhere sniffing the air
Looking out upon us who watched in the darkness
His darkness
And he spoke
As if his words had always been with us
We listened as if hearing for the first time
His darkness
One leg he said in whitefella world
One leg in his dreaming

His story
Fell upon us like the rain of rains
His coming into the camera lens like a luminous spirit
Bearing the lineage of his people
Holding the lightning in his eyes
We took him in and grappled him to ground
Fed fame and paid pittance
Let him drink and almost drown
Crowned him blackfella king
Deserted him for newer younger kings
Let him drift and ride the roar between twin worlds

He looked at us in our darkness
He smiled the smile of ages
He sang the song of his father
And disappeared
An invisible crocodile beneath the river’s banks