Stockwoman Poem: Romaine Moreton

In the text, the serpent’s eyes, Dr Romaine Moreton offers a poetic response to Thea Anamara Perkins mural Stockwoman.


the serpent’s eyes

In my ears
Are eyes

The ancient eyes of the serpent

Coiled within this place in my body
The whiteman calls ear

In my ears
Are eyes

Where flesh
And earth laws meet

In this body

Between the eyes
In my ears

Is infinity

For when the eyes move
The ear moves too

And listening, looking
Moves in the same direction





Transcending matter

This body
A carrier of earth law

Is but a moment in infinity


Serpents are waking
Aware, looking

Listening shimmering sensuous

We are here
The serpent says

We are here waiting
For you to wake up

Our Ancestors
Dwell here

Like ancient serpents
That disappear into the crevices of rocks

Sliding into the underground
to Slumber

We hear
Say the Ancients

We are here
Waiting for you to wake up

When the vibration of our Country

Our words

Our sounds


Tells us it is safe to
Return to the surface

i will again breathe
Through my skin and lungs


i am
Shelter for the serpent

Ancient laws living
In the cavities of my ears

The whiteman calls them
Ear drums

With these drums

We not only listen

We see




And shimmer like eternity

There are earth laws
Wrapped tightly in my ears

Ancient eyes of the serpent
Biding its time

Shall return to the surface
And bask in the sun

In the meantime
Know that we are here



Dr Romaine Moreton is Goenpul Yagerabul Minjungbul Bundjalung South Sean Islander (Tanna Island). Romaine is the Director of First Nations & Outreach at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS). A writer of poetry, prose, and film, and a philosopher, she has published three collections of poetry, Rimfire (Magabala, 2000), the CD-book Post Me to the Prime Minister (IAD Press, 2004), and Poems from a Homeland (Hatje Cantz, 2012), and directed two short films, The Farm (2009), and The Oysterman (2012). While a Research Fellow Filmmaker in Residence at Monash, she completed the transmedia work One Billion Beats, that examined the historical representation of Aboriginal people in Australian cinema. Prior to that, she was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Newcastle and worked on a project about Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property (ICIP and ICIPR) in the digital space. With Dr Lou Bennett, Romaine has been working closely with AFTRS on a first-of-its-kind Indigenous Curriculum for screen and broadcast, focussed through the lens of ethics and aesthetics.


Thea Anamara Perkins, Stockwoman
14 Dec 2022 – 12 Feb 2023
Wed – Sun, 10am – 5pm