Response to the course on Judith Wright by Michael Griffith by Colleen Keating

Colleen Keating’s poem in response to her engagement with Judith Wright in the recent “Call to Be” course 2023

remembering Judith Wright

Did we not know their blood channelled our rivers
and the black dust our crops ate was their dust?  JW*


come back  meet us under the pepper trees

rugged up against Braidwood’s autumn air

in your caramel three-quarter coat

beanie and flat ribbed shoes

come back  shuffle the years

like a pack of conjuror’s cards

be the wordsmith once again

bring your gift for making love with words

your words that sear into the soul    that

once heard cannot be untold

your turn of phrase to shock

jolt us out of apathy

and talk again to us  of paradox

and how all of us are one at last

when we followed you that year

in crisp of dawn to find the platypus

you     so proud they had returned to your local creek

farm fences bejewelled with spider webs

and flecks of seedy fleece hang on barbs

our feet cracked under frosted grass  and lines

of poplars caught the first light of day

gold and pomegranate

and when we watched the polished mirror

of the creek hold a softly mellowed sky

and an arrowhead of ripples

broke into the silence of our day

as a flock of galahs lifted off as one

the pink glint of their wings

outpouring a halo of thoughts

your poetics spread before us like your life

and gave us truths we barely wanted to know

now we lean into the shame of what ‘progress’ does

come back and walk amongst us once again

Colleen Keating