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David Adès: Walkabout

 From little things big things grow

- Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly

Stepping out, tentatively,

from the gilded cage of my thoughts,
from the comfortable, absorbed narratives

of my childhood and youth 

hiding within them other, silenced, stories 
I hope it is not too late

to shed my skin, to enter country

from the feet up, from the wide sky down,
to receive its benedictions, so freely given.

There is a learning waiting.

What is sacred to you should be sacred to me, 
but first, I must see it, I must understand

what your eyes see, the depths of your vision,

the strength of your attachment,
generations in the making.

I honour your elders and ancestors,

their relationship to country, 
their wisdom, their stories, their dreamtime.

I hope it is not too late

to say sorry, for how long it has taken me
to step out from my received certainties,

to move beyond the reticence they instilled,

beyond my reluctance to acknowledge country,
your inalienable claims to it,

because I thought that to do so was tokenism,

political correctness, insincere, because I wasn’t 
walking the talk of compassion, inclusion, 

because my heart was closed when I thought it open.

I have been led, slowly, out of that cage
like a shy animal, quivering,

unsure, testing the air, the taste of freedom.

There is a learning, waiting for a place
in the untidy syllabus of my life. 

Country is waiting too, as it always has, 

as it always will: waiting to
receive me when I am ready.

There is a long way to go. I take one step, 

and then another and another.
Wait for me: I am coming.

Copyright 2022 David Adès.

David Adès is the author of Mapping the World, Afloat in Light and the chapbook Only the Questions Are Eternal. He lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and three children.

David Adès

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This entry was posted on May 12, 2022 by in Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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