Poems

Saltwater Mourning

A poem by Samuel McKechnie, New South Wales.

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Bars…

Of heart
Of mind
Of steel

Alone
Unable to

Feel
Grandfather the Wind
Grandmother the Rain,
Their lilting cadence, gentle
Dialect of spirit becoming

Torrid surge
Of anger, of sorrow
Magnified in reverberating
Echo through hollow void

Of cell
And soul.

Sunken eyes 
‘Neath heavy brow,
Summon half-forgotten apparitions
Look hard, just may

See
Father the Saltwater
Mother the Red-dust,
He the strong
She the elegant,

He who shapes by grains
She who bears, sustains
Sodden heat, humid embrace
Held by country, swathed in grace

No longer!
Nay, no longer

Hear
Brother the Turtle
Sister the Dugong,
Weeping saltwater
Sing lament of flesh and bone,

Of lost men

Removed from sanctuary
And briny womb
Of refuge, only bricks
And mortar here

And bars…

Of heart
Of mind 
Of steel

Samuel is a young Torres Strait and Wiradjuri man. Thank you Samuel for sending me this poem!

Homework

  • What tells this poem about the relationship of Aboriginal people to their land?
  • Feel the emotions expressed in this poem. What are they? What caused them?
  • Research incarceration rates among Aboriginal men. How relates this poem to those statistics?

Read another one?

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2019, Saltwater Mourning, <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/arts/poems/saltwater-mourning>, retrieved 21 August 2019

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