Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Dreamtime

Uluru -

connecting with the dreamtime
tapping into the deepest well
of our collective memories

with eyes closed, I call up
the Ancestor Beings,
here when this world
began, with its
mountains and rivers and trees,
its air and fire and water

when their work was
complete, they traveled back
into the earth and slept

sometimes their spirits 
stayed behind
in rocks or trees,
and these became sacred places

Today we're in the Dreaming -
in the Now-
the only time the aborigines

Feel the spirits
of the Ancestors,
as you chant to the beat
of the drum

Look quickly
across the campfire
and you might catch their shadows,
see their kind wisdom-eyes

Hear them say:

"Right now one 
of your eyes is sleeping,
but one of them is awake.

When you see with both eyes,
we will awaken from our dreaming
to join you,
and the world
will be made new"

It is time to open our sleeping eye. This poem, written in 2013, was inspired by Julian Lennon's amazing film Whaledreamers, about a gathering of aboriginal elders from all over the world, who met at the edge of the sea and sang the whales in, as they did in times of old. To be shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, fine reading with your coffee, every Sunday morning. Happy New Year to all.


  1. I added the documentary to my watch list. What a gorgeous poem. Praying we open both eyes.

  2. Sherry, I'm astounded. When I visited Ayres Rick in 1977 (now renamed Uluru, the indigenous name, but still Ayres Rick back then - or, to many Aussies, just The Rock) I saw, psychically, huge figures of sleeping people within it. You may know that many beings of the Dreamtime legends in Australia were gigantic - and fossils of huge versions of indigenous animals were finally found. So I presume I was seeing human figures from the Dreaming, and it seemed to me they were in some kind of suspension, not dead. But of course this was not a physical seeing and I kept very quiet about it at the time, as I thought the people I was with would consider me crazy. In fact have told almost no-one ever - but your poem, coupled with that photo, brings it all back so vividly.

    1. This is astonishing, Rosemary. How wonderful to see such beings in the rock. Wow!you would love Whaledreamers.

  3. This is a beautiful and well-penned poem, Sherry, it is indeed time to open our sleeping eye! We do have to learn to feel the spirits of the Ancestors and take heed!

  4. what a beautiful thought about awakening and realization!

  5. 'til human voices wake us and we drown' - Eliot knew too how important is the spirit world for soul and inspiration though his Elders had a different form.

    You have woven wonderful words here Sherry and set us up for a magical New Year. Best wishes for 2019

  6. I hope that more of us will open that sleeping eye so we can awaken to out inheritance as human beings and learn to protect it.

  7. Such a gorgeous poem of awakening and realization, Sherry!💞

  8. maybe the ancients know better than us..

  9. There is a sense of nature you will never see unless you find a place of sufficient isolation to place a campfire.... maybe that's what is needed for us to understand the wonder we are destroying with the lights.

  10. I completely agree, we must awake and see... before we lose it all, before our ability to connect with Nature (in all her forms) becomes nothing but an empty myth.

  11. Oh, I’ve heard of and read about Aboriginal Dreamtime, Sherry! I love the idea of ‘tapping into the deepest well / of our collective memories’ and that sometimes spirits stayed behind in rocks and trees that became sacred places. The lines that made me tingle are:
    ‘Look quickly
    across the campfire
    and you might catch their shadows,
    see their kind wisdom-eyes’.

    The film you mentioned reminds me of the film 'Whale Rider' about the Maori culture of New Zealand - one of my favourite films.

  12. This is magnificent. I want to say it's one of your best, but I think so many are 'your best' that now I can't categorize them this way.
    I think I fell into the dream of the poem and I yearn for those ancestral spirits to materialize again...soon.

  13. Sherry, this is simply astounding. I will have to check out Whaledreamers.

  14. A very interesting concept of those creator spirits left behind watching
    Happy New Year. Thanks for dropping by my sumie Sunday


  15. I love how this piece talks about awareness--and wisdom--beautiful, beautiful write Sherry!

  16. I have seen the Whaledreamers and it is magnificent. As is your poem. We do need to awaken. We also need to dream. Your poem tells us we need to do both before we drown ourselves

  17. Something to think about--I wonder what anyone would say about the world and the things left to those who come after and the care taken or not.

  18. Beautiful. Some of the lines here, are the stuff of goosebumps:

    'Look quickly
    across the campfire
    and you might catch their shadows,'

    absolutely blew me away … and then THAT CLOSE. Awesome writing, Sherry!

  19. The Rock is something I still have not seen. It is on my to do list. Distances are so vast here by car and it is cheaper to fly overseas than take an internal flight.The reason most Aussies have seen more of the rest of world than their own country.
    Aboriginal culture is fascinating and you can feel it in the actual topography.There is a place near where I live called the Warrumbungles
    which is very isolated formidable and eerie. I have only been a couple of times and don't feel comfortable there.The early settlers must have been so afraid when they first settled these places.I can feel the fear still in the cottage.

  20. Oh! This is so nostalgic! Its as if you written the voice of the planet much we have lost but still its not too late to reclaim the ancient wisdom of protecting our nature by praying to the sacred groves. Thanks for enlightening us about the tradition of the aboriginals.

  21. Wow. Much to think about here, especially that sleeping eye!


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Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!