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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 17: 29 Jan. 2023
Poem: 166 words
+ Visual Art
Poem by Hazel Hall

Painting by George Stubbs

The Kongouro from New Holland


The Kongouro from New Holland: 1772 Painting by George Stubbs

Perched upon a rock, you turn to view 
dreaming origins one final time 
at dawn of the invasion of your land. 
Perhaps you’re sensing chaos yet to come. 
Those hills will disappear and buildings scrape 
the sky to sever freedoms of the past. 
White men will place you on their coat of arms 
harbinger of the guns that bring you harm. 

Painted from sketches and an empty skin, 
does apprehension glitter in that eye, 
point of the artist’s focus? Now displayed 
in Greenwich London, home is far away. 
There, you’re packed on supermarket shelves, 
emblem of our stewardship and wealth. 

Author’s Note:

The Kongouro from New Holland is by George Stubbs (1724-1806). It is one of two of the first paintings of Australian animals— kangaroo and dingo. The work was commissioned by Sir Joseph Banks who travelled with Lieutenant James Cook on his first voyage of discovery. It was first displayed at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, in 1773.

Publisher’s Note:

Image above was downloaded from Wikimedia (link retrieved on 8 January 2023): https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Kongouro_from_New_Holland_(Kangaroo)_NMM_ZBA5754_(cropped).jpg

The pair of oil-on-canvas paintings by George Stubbs, The Kongouro from New Holland (1772) and Portrait of a Large Dog (Dingo), are exhibited in The Art and Science of Exploration, 1768-80 at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich:
https://www.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/rmgc-object-573621 and

Hazel Hall
Issue 17 (29 January 2023)

is a versatile poet, editor, and musicologist who is well published in Australia and internationally. She has an interest in hybrid forms, and a growing number of her published poems blend two different styles. Her collections include Step By Step: Tai Chi Meditations (Picaro Poets, 2018), Moonlight over the Siding (Interactive Press, 2019), Severed Web (Picaro Poets, 2020), and a verse drama, Please Add Your Signature and Date It Here (Litoria Press, 2021).

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