Three Stories, Three Songs.
I have travelled through stories.
In this half of the story
the dead walk beside me.
I sense my mother’s whispers,
hear my grandfather’s songs,
touch an emu gouged in stone,
see ancient paintings in a cave,
feel primordial shapes labour from the sea.
Stars move inside me.
Earth is a pulse beneath my feet.
I own nothing, am part of everything.
To all that is, has been, will be, I sing
“Mother, sister, father, brother,
I am earth and to earth I belong.”
Because I have travelled through stories.
I know the other half,
the one where I am trapped in dislocation,
where my tongue in confusion splits
and my tears drop on stone.
Alien gods close their ears.
My name is mocked.
My warrior forebears are ridiculed.
The land does not love me.
It slaughters my brothers.
There are no lovers to take me
From the edge of brokenness.
My father’s ancient songs are lost.
Into the emptiness I sing
Am I nothing more than just
another consequence of conquest?
Because I have travelled through stories
I dream of songs new and old
where a different sense of belonging
is forged in anguish
and tempered in compassion.
It embraces place, history and culture,
rejoices in difference,
celebrates shared humanity,
touches, palm to palm,
weeps for another’s sorrow,
shares in another’s joy.
Listen. Can you hear the music?
Voices in sweet harmony
sing of new belonging,
a transcendent humanity,
and the chorus is this-
beauty is not found in
temples and shrines but in the
home of sinful men like us.
First Published at Around the Fire 6 (Praxis)