The Sea Will Change, Everything Will Follow


This is part of a series of ekphrastic poems presented alongside ‘Hyphenated’ at The Substation. ‘The Sea Will Change, Everything Will Follow’ responds to Slippage’s ‘Cow’s Tongue’.

The Sea Will Change, Everything Will Follow


What should last, if not us? In our madness
we forget. Like a god you sit by the sea
as it recedes and the horizon tightens,
a gold wire. Your silence, another one
of your disappearances. How greedy
I have become, how quick to claim you,
as a child who believes that nothing
she loves could ever really die, no sense
of eternal, that kind of innocence. The dumb
pleasure in the ignorance of time, of hunger,
unappeased as the empty head of desire,
as the tongue that divides the sea. But who
am I to long for such things – the pull
of the moon, then darkness. Another
day’s arrival, and only for us.


About the Artwork


The Cow’s Tongue
Gold plated bronze
Dimensions Variable

The Cow’s Tongue is a work that directly responses to the vernacular language used throughout South East Asia to describe the Chinese 9 dash line. It explores how language is used to colloquially discuss issues of global significance, illustrating complex political ideas through ‘simplistic’ and graphic language; in this case the terminology used is in reference to the Chinese Communist Party’s claims within the region. With China itself seen as the cow’s head, ‘The cow’s tongue’ is used to denote political, economic and geographic greed and hunger.


About the Artist

Slippage is a collaborative practice by Australian born Chinese Vietnamese contemporary artist Hwafern Quach and Phuong Ngo. Slippage, examines the cycles of history in conjunction with current geopolitical and economic issues through the lens of vernacular cultures, artefacts and language.

Mindy Gill

Author: Mindy Gill

Mindy Gill is the recipient of the Queensland Premier’s Young Writers and Publishers Award and the Australian Poetry/NAHR Eco-Poetry Fellowship in Val Taleggio, Italy. Her poetry and criticism have appeared in Award Winning Australian Writing, the Institute of Modern Art, the Queensland Art Gallery, Sydney Review of Books and Australian Book Review. From 2017-2020 she was Peril Magazine's Editor-in-Chief.

Your thoughts?