Between Two Worlds
Remote Indigenous communities...
destitution, drug taking, sex offending, violence,
poverty, powerlessness, government interventions, despair
A ceremony held since the dawning of time.
Family groups travelling hundreds of miles across potholed tracks in broken down wrecks.
Gathering in their hundreds, housed, fed, loved.
Sisters, mothers, daughters, grandmothers and aunties
preening, sharing, laughing, gossiping.
Glistening, proud, muscular sons, fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers painted, gliding and stomping
singing, spears quivering.
Shaking the earth, calling the ancestors
Certain of who they are, where they belong
holding at bay a fractured calling from the west.
Night time as dark and silent as our imagination allows
Night owls, crickets
winds of eternity, and loneliness,
kept at bay,
placated by clap sticks and ancient voices
across ancient lands
biding time, welcoming the dawn
a ritualistic cleansing is enacted,
a baptismal rebirth, re-affirming all that is eternal
traditional obligations in contemporary lives
beacons for navigating two complex worlds.
Russell Irving, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory 2016