Wanjina/Turkey Creek

Out past the black stumps is the settlement of Turkey Creek
Travelling out to the desert lands where the too-dry-rivers meet
My backside on a water-drum in the back of a battered ute
An adopted son of an ancient tribe here to contribute

Travelling with the elders of the bush-turkey-goanna clans
I’m in the company of the wisdom-keepers of these ancient desert lands
To their country we go where the tuckeroo and mulga bush grow
And the secret businesses white fella can never-ever know

The kangaroo all turn as we drive along
Scatter into bush and then are all gone
Black cockatoo with their lazy wing
Mob of emus bob and the bush-larks sing

Along our way the purple range spreads its arms a sight for sore-eyes
Laboured breath from ochre dust mixed with plagues of buzzing-flies
Drive to Kija/Gija country during dream-time was made
Serpent spirit and the song-line laid

Two thousand mile from government land
Sacred rock tree …. waterhole … sand …
As day’s shadows walked their way along
Moving to rhythm of the sing-sing song

Ute rattles up to trackside camp a dead river-pine
Mother-sun tagged sista-moon stars melted time
We slept sleep with kindred spirits amongst the stars
Blackfella whitefella danced with the Wanjina for long-long hours

Till the sphere of the sun broke the seal of the sky
I watch the green-honey ants across my vision bye-bye
Breakfast damper and billy gum-leaf tea
It’s time to mark a place in the clearing for corroboree

And then with the ceremony smoked in the settled dust
The dancing done and all the bizz-bizz ‘scussed
Bushtucker man: ‘all-aboard! he cry
But the wet season thunder arrives a counter to the dry

An electric atmosphere turning ozone floro green
Towers of thunderheads like I’d never-ever seen
There was no going back to Turkey Creek today
Parched billabongs will all be awash a torrent in our way

So elders now as one sat in circle this still dusty late-noon
As the drops started pelting down like bullets in the gloom
Boomerangs all a-clapping a rhythm over rolling thunder
Started chanting the old music as old as time as old as wonder

So it was all of us returned to the world of men
Crammed into the back of the ute holding tightly once again
Excitedly chatting/watching the storm vapour-cloud disappear
Leaving the circle to the Wanjina till same time next-year

July 2020