intricate inscriptions
etched within their sides
sacred symbols, swirls and chevrons
artistic statements of power and pride 

perfectly sculptured lines
not merely decoration
each carving instrumental
in the ceremony of initiation
yammunyamun deeply engraved
upon the ground and trees
the whirring of the bullroarer
summons the spirits to see
this ancient rite of passage
bora circles side by side
painted novices on the perimeter
under the gaze of the elders eyes
ushered along the path
instructed in tribal law
explained the special significance
of these carvings they stand before
the totems of the land
the laws of the nation
priceless pieces of knowledge
spanning from the dawn of creation
silent in the shadows
of twisted outstretched limbs
the wisdom of the trees  
sinks into their skin

follow the breeze down south
several hundred miles away
a different kind of ceremony
as people mourn beside a grave

an elder statesman recently passed
community stricken by grief
burial site beside the riverbank
a cluster of carved trees to the east
body placed beneath the earth
dirt mound upon the tomb
the women wailing loudly
he has returned to natures womb
the carvings of heroes
stare down at the deceased
strengthening his spirit
as it rises to peace


years fold into decades
colonisation underway
these carvings a curiosity
disallowed to stay
not a murmur of consultation
a peoples soul ripped apart
fracturing a culture
that has been here from the start 

after many years of waiting
a tree is finally returned
from this repatriation
there is much that we can learn

we stand amidst these images
the inscriptions bold and strong
a direct link to the dreaming
which is where they surfaced from.