song of sorry

people of this land offered strangers water
hospitality
strange strangers
very strange
white like the dead

bringers of death

in the blink of an eye
hundreds of thousands
(maybe millions?)
died
the stranger’s first death gift:
smallpox

language groups decimated
skin relations lost
love lost
future lost
deep shock
deep grief

who will perform the ceremonies?

must work together with ghost-like white man
look after country
teach him law
take care of sacred places

faith broken
woodlands felled
wetlands drained
earth mined
totem animals killed
replaced by death-bringer’s strange bleating sheep
foxes, rats, rabbits, cats…

faith broken
country broken
heart broken
law broken
deep, deep grief

family dying;
animals, birds, trees, waterholes…
sacred places of the creator beings
of the Dreaming
all dying

sisters raped
daughters stolen
sons chained
shot
hung

clear creeks sullied by white man’s
faeces
sickness
gold tailings
cattle-trodden soil
bull shit

white man’s law
not earth law
not sacred
writ on flimsy paper
changes every time
never same
just more bullshit

Earth Law doesn’t change
cannot be crumpled
burnt
or rewritten
True Law
writ in earth
not on paper

people scattered
imprisoned
ridiculed
disrespected

who will perform the ceremonies?
maintain the Dreaming?
keep the law?

sorry business
so very, very
sorry

24 June 2014 AMNorman
……

4-anne-with-turtle-gumaroy


http://altsoundings.com/
scroll to “Song of Sorry” – recorded at
The Melbourne Didgeridoo Festival
on 11th April 2015. …...

I was born in Mornington, Victoria, 6th generation Australian, descendant of Scottish, Irish and Welsh immigrants who settled in Western Victoria and South Australia. I grew up in Boonwurrung country without ever being told the name of the country or meeting the people whose land had been taken and so dramatically transformed. I asked… I asked questions as a child and young adult, and met blank looks of unknowing. “They are all dead, Anne. They are not here any more.” I would walk along the cliff tops with my parents and be shown shell middens… the remains of thousands of years of a strong fishing culture, of a people who lived in the place I called home. What happened? I have now read many historical documents and books and have met descendants of the Boonwurrung (or Bunnerong) clans … and I feel great pain at the history of my country… my country in the local sense and in the sense of the wider continent.
 
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About anne norman

musician, shakuhachi player, author, poet, tea lover...
This entry was posted in Environmental essays and poems, poems and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to song of sorry

  1. “Earth Law
    doesn’t change
    cannot be crumpled
    burnt
    or rewritten
    True Law
    writ in earth
    not on paper”

    This brings to mind: The only true Knowledge is Reality-Knowledge. It is not something you know, but something you are…

    and, yes, so very, very sorry. Here in Morocco where I live now we are it is the second day of Ramadan, a month of reviewing and purifying one’s life. I am not sure how many of our Muslim countrymen and women take that part of Ramadan to heart, but we are noticing that everything is much more quiet – people staying at home and visiting with family. We are feeling it as a very contemplative time.

    Like

  2. anne norman says:

    thank you Tomas. Morocco… a place I would like to visit. I experienced my first Ramadan in Malaysia. There is a real sense of community when everyone fasts together and breaks fast together… must fast more myself…

    Like

  3. Hi Anne — Tomas’ wife, Alia, here. Such poignant words: arrows shot truly that found their marks in my being. Your poems are powerful transmissions of the images you see/sense/receive and then are able to share with us. Tomas played a short clip of your flute playing as well. Another form of poetry, exquisitely delivered. We are all being asked to perform the ceremonies now; we all have the duty of keeping sacred law. I believe it is our destiny to steward our Mother planet. We must all participate now or lose our option to be here. That is my vision for the restitution of this sacred world. All blessings to you, Alia

    Like

    • anne norman says:

      “We are all being asked to perform the ceremonies now; we all have the duty of keeping sacred law. I believe it is our destiny to steward our Mother planet. We must all participate now or lose our option to be here.” Deep inhalation… yes. Thank you for your sharing here and your own “Enquire Within.” Staying true and focused and open… very hard sometimes. All strength to you and Tomas. I am off to have a hot bath now 🙂

      Like

      • OOO — a hot bath — haven’t had one of those in 3 months. I’ll have to learn how to use the Hammams (bath house) which I hear are incredible. We just don’t happen to have one in this tiny village or Aouchtam. Enjoy yours — with pleasure!

        Like

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