May 2023

In Earth’s Sacred Womb

In the 1970s, I had the privilege to stay and reflectively sit on the soil of the Flinders Ranges, in Ikara (Wilpena Pound), the very heart and womb of that sacred meeting place for the Adnyamathanha People, writes Good Samaritan Sister Marie Casamento.

Life that day changed for me. Land was never the same. As its name proclaims, it truly was ‘Ikara’, a meeting place, for me. My world, this earth, my people, the universe, the heavens and beyond forever changed.

Nadirri has become a way of life. Thanks to the Adnyamthaniha People. For the first time, I became aware of an ‘invisible companion’.


In Earth’s Sacred Womb

(A poem to be read slowly)


Whispered whisperings of pastel hues

deftly brush pinpoints of twinkling light

on the night sky.

Come to Ikara, come to Ikara, come to Ikara.


Shadow-stepping in well-padded soles

imprint bare footprints in mine

on the shallow sand of a river bed

towards Ikara, Ikara, Ikara.


Take heed now, step carefully now for in this moment,

you must pierce the chilled rubicon’s waters

and feel the bite of ice

Deeply, deeply, urging you to come, come to Ikara.


Whispers echo deep

in heart’s quickened pulse

chill winds surround me

in that narrow single lane way. To lkara, to Ikara, come.


Flesh tingles,

Pimpling, rippling, stippling

patterned marks

upon my whitened hollowed frame. Fear not, to Ikara, come.


Cazneaux’s Tree, Wilpena Pound, SA. Image: Stephen Trutwin/CC BY-SA 4.0

As the ink blue-black night

slips its sleeping shoulder-length shawl

across my heart,

slumber-comforting lullaby notes hum repeatedly ‘to Ikara, come’. 


A cradling slumbering reflectivity

Nadirries upon me,

nursing tenderly, deeply, securely my very soul,

humming once more ‘to Ikara, to Ikara to … mmmmmm’.


Well before I knew it;

Well before I saw it;

Well before I heard it

I felt its throb hum the song line to Ikara.



Stillness surrounds me.

In the twinkling of a waking eye

my glimpse upward catches a cacophony of birds upon the sky.


Festooned yellow-red grevillea

hang enticingly upon the plated branch

toasting a hearty breakfast invitation.

Come, come eat in Ikara.


Kookaburra. Image: Toby Hudson/CC BY-SA 3.0

Honey eater, kookaburra, cockatoo

gather at the invitation.

You, me,

and a myriad of invisible others gather too.


The clans of the Adnyamathanha gather

Upon the ochred grass

At Ikara, Ikara, Ikara

oh come now to gather, to gather in Ikara.


The misted mountain peaks

break turreted from mist-laden air, crenellated castles,

walled fortresses, and safe wombed enclosures, all host

an amphitheatre to meet in Ikara.


Let the reconciliation be heard.

Let the birthing pain proceed.

Let democracy speak forth as hearts attend

to echo round the hollowed chamber, voice, treaty, truth, in Ikara.


Side by side,

Flank by flank

My friend and I

Lie prostrate on the earth, the ground of our being, in Ikara.


The rippled corrugated rock beneath our feet

cap the remnants of an ancient sea,

wombing entombing myriads of fossilised fish.

Once, always sustenance for sixty thousand years of progeny.


Prostrate we lie, my friend and I

among the poppy fields

of blood red desert peas

Bejewelled, bedecked, gloriously beating on pulsing hearts in Ikara.


Ikara, Ikara, Ikara my fiat, your fiat, our fiat.

Yes, yes, yes if not today, then when?

If not today then, when?

In thankfulness, in generosity, for graciousness bestowed, 


Oh may we meet, oh may we meet in Ikara, in sacred Ikara. Ah yes.


Marie J Casamento SGS


Marie Casamento

Good Samaritan Sister Marie Casamento has ministered as a teacher, principal and art psychotherapist. Today, as in the past, she endeavours to live the maxim “to attend with a listening heart”. As a resident of Wivenhoe Village, near Camden in NSW, her aim is to be neighbour to all she meets. She enjoys drawing, writing and observing nature.

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