Warlpiri lamentation

The wailings rise and ebb,
but persist,
as the mourners file unevenly past the coffin;
(men first, and then the women and children).
The polished wooden box
upon which they lovingly drape themselves,
is painted as a flag;
red, yellow and black,
as befits the proud Warlpiri elder.
Underpinning the plaintive howls,  
a battered keyboard supplies a sequence of chords,
giving shape to the primal plainsong’s
ancient lament.
Fifteen metres above,
a tall and straggly eucalypt
offers patchy shade to the mourners.
As the sorry-songs continue,
the local flock of galahs makes a noisy entrance
to assume its accustomed place in the branches.
The birds add their cries to proceedings;
on two occasions taking flight
and wheeling about
in a screeching pink and grey salute.
At an appropriate time, concluding
that their work here is complete.
they make a respectful departure.

© Ken Rookes 2013




One thought on “Warlpiri lamentation

  1. Pingback: Warlpiri lamentation a poignant poem | Wondrous Words

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.