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.
Pimpling, rippling, stippling
upon my whitened hollowed frame. Fear not, to Ikara, come.
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.
Honey eater, kookaburra, cockatoo
gather at the invitation.
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