The Elder

By Patsy Jackson, Banyo, Queensland

I gazed into the depths of his dark brown eyes And wondered what secret within them lies I wished I had the knowledge they hold But I couldn’t ask, I’m not so bold. Could he tell me how the sea birds know There is water inland and its in full flow Winding its way to Lake Eyre And a myriad of birds lay their eggs there. He can find food and water in the arid land I look and all I see is brown dry sand He knows the language of many tribes And knows where the sand goanna hides. The undergrowth is fired at a certain time So the grasses next year will be prime The seeds are crushed to make flour Damper is made to eat at the evening hour. The young like the music of the drum and the guitar They think it is much better by far But the Elders still prefer the didgeridoo That fills the desert with sounds all through. He is proud of the tribes people, who paint Stories of the Dreamtime in lines and dots. The stories that have been told by Elders At night, by the glow of the fires’ embers. He knows that tribal living must move on The kids must get an education Literacy and technology has to be taught Along with dance, art, music and sport. The kids must cross that great divide Tell the world the Indigenous race is alive. With education a message will send That this is the beginning—not the end.

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