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Hard Learning

~ For Poetry in First Languages Arrernte leaders Janette, Declan and Carmel

 

Curtained off from
all known things
were lessons
enshrined in sand—
wisdom carved out
the old way,
with fingertips to Red Earth
in salt bush scrub,
a fire crackling close by
 
Lessons
in Arrernte
of sparkling Yipirinya Dreaming—
softly spoken by an Elder
in the cold of winter
as rain clouds formed
over chapped ranges
 
Wisdom
that could only be told
as the drought broke,
in the company of
coolabahs and brumbies
children and healers,
to a saltwater woman
far from home—
who needed to hear it.

Go to Kirli Saunders's profile to read more poems