I’d like to be able to say it’s been a strange week but strange weeks are becoming fairly commonplace so I don’t quite know where to go with that one. Sometimes the only direction to go when you’re feeling a bit besieged, is back. I frequently bemoan the absence of a mentor in my personal and professional life and am often convinced that if only a kindly and experienced person would take me in hand, I would give that Hanif Kureishi (whom I love and worship – don’t get me wrong) a run for his money. I do, very obviously, need looking after and it is much more difficult for a woman to get a devoted partner/carer. That’s my excuse anyway.
in your circle of caravans, you told us that the bush
has its own economy and showed us how
to count its currency in roots and shells.
Quandamooka and trained to find the fish; you’d
talk to her gently and whisper where they lived and
she would turn stealth at your command and pounce.
You’d show us the patience of a million years of knowing
as we asked you to tell us how the world works and why
we couldn’t get it right no matter how many metals and
minerals we dug and fashioned into bombs and guns.
blue eyes you pointed out a long shadow and said,
look there as a dugong hunkered below us like a
u-boat on the losing side of a long and dirty war.
that made the little things all right and the years
of scrubbing and healing fade to kindness as you
found the heart to return the waves of comrades at the RSL*.
gone from the reach of your outstretched hand and
forgotten how you dreamt for all of us, I heard that
two whales came; perhaps they even sang for you.
*RSL – Returned and Services League – Australian armed services veterans’ organisation.
Picture from www.oodgeroo.qut.edu.au. I have my own pictures but I have no idea where they are- up in the loft somewhere. This one looks like how I most remember her.