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Some Words for and from Bracken Fern and Bull Kelp

curled or uncurled under sun you both say with twirling limbs green or not that you have known light like a son       i understand       and admire you for being home and healing       it is not an easy task to be a home     thank you for holding the forest       swamp     ocean floor       rockpool      scrub       

      drifting       swaying or silent       still like a prayer      grown of fertile salt or sand or soil      womb-like immemorial      in which i also bury my unnameable feelings for not knowing or noticing enough about you      

swimming alongside you in the ancient ray of water       whose reflections remind me of my many privileges      while you mimic the moon and soften the land      with love      with the great sigh out      with your shade under shadow      you       being the altar       and i thank you for your balm      for soothing the ache       and itch       the stitch in my hip from the long walk home      for returning to me      upon different shores      under different skies      when i was ready      thank you for carrying the water       despite living in water       for not tiring       even when we do 

Remembering Relic


The rocks and their honeyed lichen                remember,                   

the mountains and their cliff-face                   remember 

the relic, 

the sound of tree trunk         hollowed        never empty

alive under ancestral breath passed circular through lip.


Wind medicine gentle

on rising gum leaf

and star spirit              /           silent siren

                                                                        won’t forget 

the place where we were born,

                                                                        won’t forget

the embers       enveloping day

or snakeskin soft

in the new branch, 

                                                                        don’t forget

the day it fell to earth,

                                                                        can’t forget     

the lomandra unpicked           everywhere

and river water rolling, lapping, licking.


                                                Remember      the remembering,

                                                                        the returning,

                                                                        the undoing

                                                                        of hand of heart of home,

and the sacred song that echoes, extracted,

                                                                        entertaining eternity.

In Red


Behind eyes unopened

I have watched sunlight 

                                                and leaf shadow 

dance a crimson ceremony,

as hand 

                        follows                                    heartbeat

to trace the landscape 

I have only known in 





An internal painting 

                                                carried in ochre,

                                                            in birdsong,

                                                            in sea shell,

                                                carries me to that place

where everything is crimson:


            crushed crab shell       

                                                tree resin

                        the sun, viewed from under the tea tree lake                          

                                    river stone

snapper scale                                       

                        fire flame

                                                lilly pilly,        unpicked

and everything else     edible              or not

            and the blood that pools          since arrival





It is all


and it is all 


and it is all      

                        in red

Healing Brambles


Brambles native or not grown of loam

and a prayer                in the stone      

and scar tissue blue rapture ran up the tree 

like scribbly gum markings and new skin symbols silver

are lucid memory        and medicine   of longing       

of surrender and matrilineal breath    and birth          

the remedy      of reclamation 

of home 

of honey          

is healing fossilised in an early moment of you                     

while I hold milk        and dew           

to weave an initiation cloth    

to cradle transformation stitched of life 

and archetypal death. 

Finding Home


I hear the call 

from out across the floodplains

that separate a home unknown 

                                                from here,

too sacred to answer 

with this soft song

in foreign tongue,

slimy, slick as it leaves my lips.


Only in blood have I been 

to this place, unseen,

and if home is northward,

then red dust falls 

between walls of golden sedge 

to carry us from here

                                    to there,


where sheets of paper bark 

peel back to reveal a story

black against the opal

trunk of tree.


So I carry saltbush 

between cheek and gum

to lick the words

from my mouth

            before calling back 

            to Country’s song.

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