Australia’s Slumbering Heart
This land is a symphony I do not understand.
The red-rust dust and scattered desert-grass tell stories I cannot hear.
They sing primordial songs that my soul recognises
(I feel this connection in the west wind as the sun-heat on my back pins me to this land).
Here amongst the rush of the winds, the rustling of the shrubs,
The sway of desert flowers, the trills of birds;
I have found the silent murmur of calming heat.
My mind, brimming with stagnant water
(mercury / flowing / faintly poisonous)
Filled with tumbling leaves on its surface,
Covered thick with mosquitos and the stench of static;
I am the bow and snap of branches,
Reaching desperate boughs into sky.
My eyes are twinkling galaxies of stars,
Too dim for human comprehension,
Burning with a thousand desires.
My hands are scorched bark,
Rough and unloved.
My arms are lightning-struck,—
My heart is anchoring roots in the savannah
Spinifex till the horizon
But in my mind, there is no fire, no eddies, no moon-pull.
This land is the balm which quenches all unease; —
Soothes the anger of a brutalised people,
Soothes the sorrow of colonised homes,
Soothes the pain of a brutal government,
Soothes the fear of losing children,
Soothes the damage of White Man.
I feel ancient power here and they whisper
(This is not your land to claim);
(Seek / understand / what will never be yours)
I am theirs,
I have always been theirs,
I always will be theirs.
I thank the land, though its heat
May never be my hearth.
It knows I will always yearn
For another taste of this silence.
For I carry the heavy embers of wrongs
Done and change to come,
A quiet fire which rages unconquered—unquenched.
Mavis Tian is a third year student studying History and Govt/IR. Her work has appeared in Hermes, ARNA, Honi Soit, University of Sydney Student Anthology, and Youth in Motion Magazine. She will be self-publishing in the near future. She loves napping and is a generally anxious person trying to deal with life through poetry. You can find her online at vimasecriture.com.