Untitled (Luke Patterson)

(edited by Phillip Hall)

I’m not even sure
how to speak

my father’s Country 
or tame the river 

dog’s cunning drag 
to the bog bottom 

of reconciliation. 
But I tell nieces & 

nephews to remember
the way fire gives 

space to meaning, 
how to blend voiced 

and voiceless wattle
ash for the old people 

sunrise to sunset.
I tell ‘em everything 

a story.

*Feature image by Judith Crispin: Judy Napangardi, Warlpiri law woman among the Kurrkara (Desert Oaks) at Mina-Mina, sacred women’s site, Northern Great Sandy Desert, May 2018 

Listen to Luke Patterson read his poem


Luke Patterson is a Koori poet and folklorist living on Gadigal lands. He is interested in the ways bioregional identities and consciousness are expressed through localised and vernacular forms. Luke’s research and creative pursuits are grounded in his extensive work with Aboriginal and other community-based organisations across Australia. You can find more from Luke on Twitter