Songs of the Red Earth Elders



hear the voices
rise in unison,
even as the
parched red earth
sings, its dust
shimmers on passing

the sun
breaks into dawn,
here are trees
drawn, crowded along
the banks
of the sole muddy river,
that crawls, cacophonous
with the notes
these men serenade;

striking wood:
the gold of the prospectors
ships of intruders
visions of the future
eroding peace,
these frantic beating drums
and ancient rhythms, encapsulate
meaning into story
story into lore
lore into pure sensation;

the unbroken blue skies
of the Pilbara, an umbrella
under which
salt is made, sweat is broken
and blood is dyed,
these textures are found
in summer hearts,
that hum and console,
a promise
to the rugged land
spread far beyond the eye.

© SoulReserve 2017 & © SeaLaneHill  (9/4/2017)

[Writing this poem was an experience for two reasons: One, that I recently heard the ‘tjaabi’, or song-making and singing of dream visions by the traditional custodians of the Pilbara land. The Aboriginal Elder who narrated the story behind the songs ensured that we were all transported to a time and place, and that we felt the red earth, the sole muddy river, the crowded trees and the blazing sun upon our skins. The exploitation of the aboriginal people, although not a prominent theme, is felt too through the songs and I have tried to incorporate some aspects. Two, I collaborated with @sealanehill who inspired me to delve deeper into the words, strengthen the constructs of this poem and build something that to me is of lasting value. He titled the poem – ‘Soulsongs of the Red Earth Elders’. But, since I believe I overuse the word – soul, I took the liberty to omit it, (sorry Chris!) and keep the title ‘Songs of the Red Earth Elders’. I share the credits for this piece with him, of course.]

Although @soulreserve has given me a bit of credit for this work, I regard myself as nothing more than her first audience. She captures Pilbara in my mind’s eye most beautifully.

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