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


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