For Douglas

In a land well trod
not flat but deep,
etched in lines of song
on ridges red by ochre
and once upon a time, by slaughter.

This at the hands of our fathers.
Now hidden in history’s shadow
the ancient’s heritage not well understood
or anguish felt for them, whose suffering
echoes across seven generations.

What could be cherished
with such spirits – the gentle natured wisdom
that does when recognised
nourish and unblemish
the white wash of ignorance
that once invoked atrocity as necessity.

To pause and touch this capacity
for recognition, to offer meagre apology
as but a humble first limp, albeit powerful beginning,
to ongoing actions of forgiveness and compassion to
heal this red land and join in unison
the lines of ancient song.

MChallis © 2015