David Hancock rocks the house at the non-official launch Maypal, Mayali’ ga Wäŋa: Shellfish, Meaning & Place. A Yolŋu Bilingual Identification Guide to Shellfish of North East Arnhem Land.
“For Yolŋu people, language and country are connected parts of a sacred inheritance, the wellspring of knowledge, wisdom and a truly priceless possession. This wisdom is reflected here in this collection in the Yolŋu names, poetry and ecological associations of maypal.”
We were overwhelmed by David’s magnificent close up photographs of the characters of the sea shore and their most intimate moments.
Then, I described the precise scientific (Linnaean) identifications with matching colour photographs that make it the only comprehensive field guide to Australian shellfish above the tropic of Capricorn and thus utterly unique.
Then, under a full moon, I read a poem by Barraṯawuy, we had free drinks and it was a wonderful night. Thank you to all of you who came, it was lovely to see you!
Barraṯawuy – “Yakarra manupaŋu”
Yalalaŋumirrinydja walalany dhu ŋuthan dhiyakidhi maypalgu wiripu yäku mala ga marŋgithirr.
Later as the children grow they will learn the many names of shellfish.
Ḻirra-ŋäṉ’ka gaŋga galkirri ga ḻuŋgurrma gaŋga, ga djalathaŋ, ŋayaŋu wargugu ḻiya roŋiyirr gurruṯukurr.
When the wind blows gently from the North-west, softly from the North, the South, you remember loved ones.
Gapu wapurarr ŋayi ga ŋorra ga ḻirra ŋäṉ’ka
ŋayaŋu nhuŋu wuyunhamirr gurrupanmirr ŋayaŋu marrtji nhuŋuwuy gurruṯumirr yarratakurr marratjamirriŋulil ga marrkapthun bitjandhi billi bala maypal yurrnha nhe dhu märram.
When the sea is calm, when the wind blows gently from the North-west, you yearn for family, long gone – remembered, this is the time to gather shellfish.
Ḻirra-ŋäṉ’ka ŋayaŋu nhuŋu wuyunhamirr gurrupanmirr ga dhamanapan guyaŋanhawuy djäy’-ŋupan gurruṯumirriyanhamirr
When the wind blows, feelings intertwine joining with memories, memories of loved ones;
Maypal nhe dhu guyaŋa ga ŋayaŋu nhuŋu dhaman
apanminy djäy’-ŋupan gurruṯumirriyanhamirr.
remember the shellfish and your heart will reconnect with family and friends.