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.
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.
He rode a white horse
heading the Anzac Day Parade
fought at Ladysmith
and treated me
as his batman
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
The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse, chosen by Les A. Murray.
NOURISHING TERRAINS, Australian Aboriginal Views of Landscape and Wilderness: