Monday, 14 December 2020

A CURRAWONG’S SPRING

 I

High squeals

            well...peeps really

disturb the silence of the day

and off she goes again

 

Chooses a leaf from the tree

picks it

holds it in one claw

and nibbles

not at the leaf

            but what is on it

Once finished the leaf is discarded

            and another chosen

 

Later

wandering across the ashfelt

oblivious to potential danger

her head moves from side to side

alert only for the movement

            of a smaller beast

 

On each return

the peeps quieten for a time.

 

Day in day out she feeds her young

 

Above

            the nest is high and safe in the sturdy gum

Below

            the cat is lying lazily in the sun

            one eye open

            waiting patiently

            for that moment...

inevitable really

 

I close my ears and heart

I don't want to know

            or hear

                        or see

Life is too complicated for this soul


II

A pause...silence

 

One month later

I find myself waiting for relief from the incessant noise

 

The small peeps now harsh cries

            never letting up

                        the demand for more

How does she stand it?

            This mother

 

I have heard some say motherhood is overrated

I can now well believe it

 

My patience is tested by this intrusion to my day

and they have nothing to do with me

            not really

These cries are not for me

            but they affect me

I cannot ignore their demand

 

Not having had children

I wonder if I would have been the one

            to lash out

                        go too far

 

Peace at last

            but no rest

The mind waits

            the body waits

All is alert

            for it to begin again

Feed me...feed me...feed me...feed me

 

Peace...but not the reality of peace.


III

Today I saw the chick for the first time

            finally

Not content with her mother’s offering

            the relentless infant

                        chases her along the branch

                        yelling at the top of its lungs

                        pecking at her retreating back

 

Curious

            it doesn’t look at all like I expected

Its large body dwarfing

            the one which gave her life

Its feathers a different colour

            and patterning

 

I think

I fear

            it is not hers at all

 

Damn!

We are both betrayed

 

How long must she feed this

            noisy

            ungrateful

                        imposter?

 

Not too long I hope

She is looking thin

Her feathers are ruffled

Some seem to be missing

            I suspect she has lost a few

 

My interest and concern evaporates

Anger and disappointment fill the gap

The fault is not the child's

            yet it is at her my wrath is aimed

One life is as good as another

That is what I believe....isn’t it?

 

It is the betrayal

            the recognition of betrayal

which triggers such a response

 

It’s not fair!

 

So?

 

Just...let...it...go.

© 1999, A. Maie


 


Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Women and the land: a search for 'home'


The following was written in 1998 as part of university studies and served as the text for the initial performance as well as an arrow for the ensuing series of performances.  Written in response to artwork by I. Kindness (Matt meets gloss. PCL Exhibitionists, Sydney, 1998) the poem was driven by the need to search my ancestral story in context of the colonisation of Australia and the impact that this had on our First Peoples.

Women and the Land
Women on the Land
Women in the Land

Tread softly dear heart
Each step a mark.....an imprint

Know where you step
Be sure how and where you go

How to be sure?
How to know?

Time...too much...too little...
Shhhoo.....shhhooo.....shhhooo.....

I must...I need...
It is important....

I’m sorry I don’t have time right now....
Where did that time go?...Its gone already...I don’t believe it...What happened?....I’ve missed it!  What did you say?  Sometimes I feel I don’t even have time to breathe.

How can I hold...hold on to it?

I am a displaced woman
Living in a strange land,
            not mine by right
But claimed by my recent past

My people came from the North
What is it about the North that gives “right of possession?”
The right to see a land
            and a people
                        and say
                                    and feel
that it is O.K. to take possession
That we are more civilised
            and will benefit those already on that land
That we will bring a better morality
            a better understanding of life
            a better experience of life
That we have the answers.

The vanity.....the foolishness.....

Yet we bring in all the trappings of an alien life
            and suffocate what is already there
                        alien food
                        alien clothes
                        alien morality
                        alien spirituality
                        alien lifestyle
Nothing...not one thing
            interacts

So we fight...and fight...
            to survive
Fight the land
            Fight the people of the land
We do not listen
            We do not see
            We do not respond
until we have created a space...an environment
            that is our own
Then and only then do we feel
            a sense of place

But it is an alien place in this land
It sits on top...
                        over...
covering...
            hiding...
                        ignoring...
                                    all that is here
All that makes this land itself.

And what of our spirituality?
Those religions which came with us from the North?
            from elsewhere?
They also sit on top
            uneasy in their new location
Imposing their rituals
            their beliefs
            their festivals
            their seasons
on a place that does not connect...communicate

Their place...their heart...
             like the people who worship them
                        is not here.
It is in another land
where their people make pilgrimage
            away...
                        always away...
                                    never here...
                                                never here

How then can we aliens feel a sense of place
            of belonging
            of home
            of spiritual home
when we ignore and are ignorant of all that is here...
            that was here from the beginning?

Can we recover what was lost...
            connect with what was ignored...
                        or is it already too late
                                    too late to make a beginning
                                                to take the first step
                                                            to take time to make the first step?

Women and the Land
Women on the Land
Women in the Land

Tread softly dear heart
Each step a mark.....an imprint

Know where you step
Be sure how and where you go

Be sure...secure...
            listen...
                        feel...
                                    breathe...




c. A. Maie, 1998

Friday, 5 June 2020

Invocation 2020



I call on my ancestors

to heal the past

to restore the balance

and to teach us to listen


Saturday, 28 March 2020

Blessings




May Earth 

ground and comfort you 


May Wind 

give you wings 


May Water 

nourish and refresh you 


May Fire 

alert and protect you 


and may your soul be at peace



c. Annette Maie, 2006