#idlenomore Nourishing terrains poetry: Tony Birch and aboriginal city dwelling. Deborah Bird Rose writes.

Deborah Bird Rose says: “Some urban poets and songwriters speak of the cityscapes which form the sig- nificant places of their lives, and for those whose home country has been overtaken by a metropolis, their creative expression forms powerful links in the continuity of Aboriginal life in Australia.”

Tony Birch

Ladies’ Lounge
straddled across
laminex chairs
dragged from kitchens
into the warm streets
these women
would drink shandies
and smoke cork-tips
while the Hit Parade
drifted from the verandah
we would sit along
the bluestone gutter
listening to our mothers
singing Cilla Black
they would do nails
brush hair and
touch each other
in a late afternoon
summer sun

Read further: http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/62db1069-b7ec-4d63-b9a9-991f4b931a60/files/nourishing-terrains.pdf

Making cow eyes. For the love of cows. Cowscowscows “Cows” by Peter Kocan! #Valentines #poetryisjustawesome

Cows by Peter Kocan

Cows graze across the hill,
Measuring the day
As their shadows tell
Irrelevant time. Their gait is half-way
Between moving and standing still.

The sun is gentle on the green
Of their meadow, their mouths deep
In its heavy warmth,
A watcher could fall asleep
In the depth
Of that untroubled scene.

From each dewdrop morning
To every day’s end
They follow the cycle
Of the rhythm of the world turning
In its season. A miracle
Of normalcy is a cow’s mind.

Beyond thought’s prickling fever
They dwell in the grace
Of their own true concerns,
And in that place
Know they will live forever
With butterflies around their horns.

More about Kocan:http://evidenceanecdotal.blogspot.ca/2013/05/a-miracle-of-normalcy-is-cows-mind.html

“There is a field near the main kitchen where cows from the hospital dairy graze. There’s a peacefulness about cows.

At weekends you take a book and sit under the tree near the field and read a little and listen to music on your transistor and watch the cows.

Sometimes you lean on the fence and click your tongue at the cows and they will wander close and sniff at you and

examine you with big peaceful eyes but with a dubious look also, as if they’re wondering what your game is.

You don’t stay leaning on the fence too long.             It’s a bit too visible there.

It might look odd.

Other people don’t spend their time looking at cattle. Looking at cattle is

probably a symptom of something. ”

The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse, chosen by Les A. Murray.
USED: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=14144434264

Song Cycle of the Moon Bone, Wonguri-Mandjigai people. #nativelivesmatter #LifeLivedLikeaStory 1/3

Song Cycle of the Moon Bone

…The prawn is there, at the place of the Dugong, digging out mud with its claws
The hard-shelled prawn living there in the water, making soft little noises.

They are sitting about the camp, among the branches, along the
.        back of the camp;
sitting along in lines in the camp, they’re in the shade of the paperbark
.        trees:
sitting along in a line, like the new white spreading clouds;
In the shade of the paperbarks, they’re sitting like resting clouds.
People of the clouds, living there like the mist; like the mist sitting
.        resting with arms on knees,
In here towards the shade, in this Place, in the shadow of paperbarks.
Sitting there in rows, those Wonguri-Mandjigai people, paperbarks
.        along like a cloud.
Living on cycad-nut bread; sitting there with white-stained fingers,
Sitting in there resting, those people of the Sandfly clan…
Sitting there like mist, at that place of the Dugong… And of the
.        Dugongs Entrails…
Sitting resting there in the place of the Dugong…
In the place of the Moonlight Clay Pans, and at the place of the
.        Dugong…
There at that Dugong place they are sitting all along.

The prawn is there, at the place of the Dugong, digging out mud
.        with its claws…
The hard-shelled prawn living there in the water, making soft little
.        noises.
It burrows into the mud and casts it aside, among the lilies…
Throwing aside the mud, with soft little noises…
Digging out mud with its claws at the place of the Dugong, the place
.        of the Dugong’s Tail…
Calling the bone bukalili, The catfish bukalili, the frog bukalili, the
.        sacred tree bukalili,
The prawn is burrowing, coming up, throwing aside the mud, and
.        digging…
Climbing up on to the Lotus plants and onto their pods…

(Note from book: bukalili mans sacred epithet, power name)


USED: The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse at Abebooks!
chosen by Les A. Murray

Act Six, After Babel by Peter Goldsworthy. Poems about theatre and sex- Australia.

Act Six

Act six begins
when the curtain falls,
the corpses awake,
the daggers are cleaned.

Act six
is Juliet in the supermarket,
Mr Macbeth on the 8.15.

In act six
Hamlet sucks a tranquilliser,
Romeo washes up.

and death
is gentle and anonymous —
Lear’s respirator
switched discreetly off.

After Babel

I read once of a valley
where men and women
spoke a different tongue.

I know that any uncooked theory
can find its tribe
— but this one might be true.

For us there are three languages
— yours, mine, and the English between,
a wall of noises.

At times our children interpret,
or music connects our moods.
There are monosyllables,

the deeper grammar of fucking,
a language too subjective
for nouns.

But even after conjugation
the tense is still the same
— present imperfect.

We take our mouths from each other.
We carry away our tongues,
and the separate dictionaries of our heads.



The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse, chosen by Les A. Murray
USED: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=14144434264

Australian (Aboriginal) Poetry 2: Judith Rodriguez, Nigel Roberts!

After / the Moratorium Reading

.         the marie antoinette / slice
.                   of cake / was
.       awarded to
.                              who ever said
.            after this reading / let’s
. get it on / at Michael’s place / I heard
.                                       that guy
.       from Canberra’s got
.                   some farout
.                   vietnamese
.                        shit.

Nigel Roberts (re: Michael Wilding)

Eskimo Occasion

I am in my Eskimo-hunting-song mood,
The lawn is tundra    the car will not start
The sunlight is an avalanche     we are avalanche-struck at our
.    breakfast
struck with sunlight through grass    me and my spoonfed daughters
out of this world in our kitchen

I will sing the song of my daughter-hunting,
The waves lay down     the ice grew strong
I sang the song      of dark water under ice
the song of the winter fishing     the magic for seal rising
among the ancestor-masks.

I waited by water to dream new spirits,
The water spoke     the ice shouted
the sea opened      the sun made young shadows
they breathed my breathing       I took them from deep water
I brought them fur-warmed home.

I am dancing the year of the two great hunts,
It was I who waited       cold in the wind-break
I stamp like the bear       I call like the wind of the thaw
I leap like the sea spring-running.         My sunstruck daughters
.      splutter
and chuckle and bang their spoons:

Mummy is singing at breakfast and dancing!
So big!

Judith Rodriguez

From: The New Oxford Book of Australian Poetry

Australian (Aboriginal) poetry- Sam Mitchell (m), J.S. Harry (f), Kate Llewellyn!


After sundown the clouds start to burn,
A big one is bending low, stays and breaks up,
Then it rounds again and raises its forehead high.
On both ends sheet lightning shines.
In the middle where the first layer is gone,
You can see the flash, even inside your home.
Everything dissolves.
In the desert, wide-spread falls the cloudburst,
Drenching all the trees between the two sandhills.

Song by Sam Mitchell, sung in Njangumarda language and translated by S. Mitchell and Georg Brandenstein.


The land between us
had grown so bare
the landscape so denuded—
all we had left was what we knew—
just the rocks and the shades they cast—
your eyes my eyes, across them.

We did not need to speak, to talk.
Everything was in the rocks.
It had been said before.

We could not live there.

J.S. Harry


He rode a white horse
heading the Anzac Day Parade
fought at Ladysmith
and Gallipoli
was 90
and treated me
as his batman

helping him
down the hospital corridor
seemed holding rare archeology
by the elbow

I apologized for clumsiness
he said ‘Never mind Sister
every beginning is difficult’
but he said it in Latin

his marriage of 60 years ended
when she died
he ran the funeral elegantly
with military style
and died a month later

Kate Llewellyn

The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse, chosen by Les A. Murray.

USED: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=14144434264

NOURISHING TERRAINS, Australian Aboriginal Views of Landscape and Wilderness: