By Dakota Feirer
Somewhere in between beginning and end, are shaded beds on sacred bends
Made in layers of leaves, resembling strands, of ancient, sacred ladies
Where sweet waters ebb, and soft northern winds blow
Faceless Maidens Bellow, my arms and Nawi follow
As their rhythms, sing me home, upriver.
Here, Spirits creep amongst echoes
Keep dry eyes on sweet water’s tides, watch them rise, before I fall
For saltier waters dissolve river boarders, for once, stay on course.
In branches, old lore women call, guiding my oars
Toward she-oaked shores.
Wrinkled bark mimics brown skin, carved marks reveal maps of kinship
Names, voices and stories all told in sacred song
And Grandmothers of she-oak hold sacred bends strong
Singing recedes from the tips of her scale leaves
Down to a humming heartbeat in the earth beneath my feet
Grandest mother, I’m sorry we never had a chance to meet
I’m sorry your roots are far deeper than mine
For now, I hope this bed of tears will suffice
So swallow me, at the end of every apology
And embrace my body, in the roots of casuarina.
Melodic medicinal symphony of timeless ancestress
My name has been sung her for eternity
She-oak, she-knows, what is done and yet to come.
Earthen maternal sounds of her soft wind song,
Sing me into the ground,
Upriver, where my bones belong.
This poem was commissioned by Red Room Poetry for Poem Forest. Poem Forest is a nature writing prize that invites young people and teachers to use their words to make positive climate action. For every poem received a native tree is planted at The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan to help conserve critically endangered rainforest.