Yanha-mam-birra – Release
By Jeanine Leane
~ Wiradjuri interpretations provided by Aunty Elaine Lomas
The space of my emptiness is a chasm so deep so wide
I’ll fall to endless nothing without your words to cross it.
I have starved for you to feed my soul nourish my
blood to strengthen my bones, Ngadhi Bagurany
dhabul (ngadhi bugaray darbhul)
I have craved for the taste of your sound on my
parched lips the drip-drop of your coolness on my
parched palette. dulba nginhu balaba nganda-birra
mugumaga (mucu maga)
Ached for you to speak to sing to sound to shout
release your syllables to the air that I can breathe you
drink you grasp you. murun-wiginya nyal,
yirba-dharra nyal, mulgamarra nyal.
My tongue thick—a heavy cringing prisoner bashed
and battered by two hundred and thirty years of
colonial submission stalls stubborn over your form.
For too long my mouth paid lip-service to English
been a slave to grammar prisoner to punctuation
handmaiden to pronunciations servant of prim
proper and poise.
Life sentence lifted my tongue can liberate my heart
with these words from you
I am Wiradjuri … Badhu Wiradjuri
I am proud … Badhu Dyiramadilinya
I am here … Badhu Nginha