Poem by Bill Neidjie, (1920 – 23 May 2002). Bill Neidjie, from Alligator River, Kakadu, spoke Aboriginal English, a form of that language adapted by the Aboriginal people of Australia in their 60,000 + year old oral tradition. To share in this ancient tradition read the following excerpt aloud…
LOOK how they fly…
Alright. I’ll make camp there under….
Well I’ll tell you about this story,
about story where you feel… laying down.
Tree, grass, star…
because star and tree working with you.
We got blood pressure
but same thing… spirit in your body,
but e working with you.
Even nice wind e blow… having sleep…
because that spirit e with you.
Listen carefully this, you can hear me.
I’m telling you this because earth just like mother
and father or brother of you.
That tree same thing.
Your body, my body I suppose,
I’m same as you… anyone.
Tree working when you sleeping and dream.
This story e can listen carefully, e can listen slow.
If you in city well I suppose lot of houses,
you can’t hardly look this star
but might be one night you look.
Have a look star because that’s the feeling.
String, blood… through your body.
That star e working there… see?
E working. I can see.
Some of them small, you can’t hardly see.
Always at night, if you lie down…
look careful, e working… see?
When you sleep… blood pumping.
So you look… e go pink, e come white.
See im work? E work.
In the night you dream, lay down,
that star e working for you.
I love tree because e love me too.
E watching me same as you
tree e working with your body, my body,
e work with us.
While you sleep e working.
Daylight, when you walking around, e work too.
That tree, grass… that all like our father.
Dirt, earth, I sleep with this earth.
Grass… just like you brother.
In my blood in my arm this grass.
This dirt for us because we’ll be dead,
we’ll be going this earth.
This the story now.
Stone e never move
Rock e don’t move round,
e got to stay for ever and ever.
E’ll be there million, million… star.
Because e stay, e never move.
Tree e follow you’n’me.
e’ll be dead behind us but next one e’ll come.
Same people. Aborigine same.
We’ll be dead but next one, kid, e’ll be born.
Same this tree
Star e’ll stay for ever and ever.