Aboriginiese digkuns

Ali Cobby Eckermann

Ali Cobby Eckermann

Met hul onlangse uitgawe fokus Poetry International Web onder andere op die relatief onbekende digkuns van die aboriginiese digters in Australië. Die een wat oombliklik my aandag getrek het, is Ali Cobby Eckermann van Kauma, ‘n tradisievaste  streek in die noordwestelike gebiede van  Suid-Australië waar Yankunytjatjara die grootste taalgroep is.

Eckermann, wat in 1963 gebore is, is as baba by haar ouers weggeneem en aan die familie Eckermann vir aanneming gegee. Enkele jare gelede kon sy egter wel, danksy die hulp van organisasies soos Link Up en Stolen Generations, daarin slaag om weer haar biologiese ma op te spoor. Sedertdien skryf sy in Australiese Engels sowel as die inheemse Yankunytjatjara: “Sometimes combining the two and incorporating Yankunytjatjara words to powerful effect; her poetry tackles the violent and harrowing realities of Aboriginal historical and contemporary experience with force, compassion and craft,” aldus die oorsigartikel op Poetry International Web.

Tans woon sy in Koolunga in Suid-Australië waar sy ‘n skrywersherberg vir aboriginiese skrywers gevestig het. Sy is ‘n veelbekroonde digter wie se gedigte ook al internasionaal gepubliseer is.

Oor haar ietwat ongewone skrywerskap het Eckermann haar soos volg uitgelaat: “I guess I write for both my families, and for my ongoing healing that I need in my life.  Mostly though for the Aboriginal audience. It is my biggest thrill is when they attend any forum to hear my words. I have been amazed at the reaction from the wider Australian and international audiences to my poetry, which encourages me to keep writing too . . . Poetry has also been the tool to assist my adopted family to understand some of the change that occurred deep within myself. I often say “poetry saves lives”.

Mmm, inderdaad. Vir jou leesplesier volg haar digreeks “Yankunytjatjara Love Poems” onder aan die Nuuswekker. Op Poetry International Web is daar nog heelwat van haar gedigte wat geniet kan word.

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Sedert gister het Hennie Aucamp ‘n omvattende essay oor Hubert du Plessis se verskuns gestuur vir plasing. Onder die vaste bloggers het Desmond Painter ‘n stuk gelewer oor Marthinus Versfeld en Andries Bezuidenhout oor die skilder Walter Meyer. In Buiteblik is daar ‘n bydrae deur Lize Viljoen oor die Tsunami in Japan; ook is daar Nederlandse vertalings van drie T.T. Cloete-gedigte in die vertaalkamers geplaas. Geno Spoormans en Carina van der Walt is verantwoordelik vir die vertalings waarby skakels na Geno se voorlesings op YouTube ook aangebring is.

Ten slotte – Francois Groepe, hoofbestuurder van Media24, het op Charles Malan se Ope Brief aan die bestuur van Media24 gereageer; met sy eie reaksie daarby.

Lekker lees en onthou: struikrowers loop soms gebaadjie-en-das tussen ons rond.

Mooi bly.

LE

 

Yankunytjatjara Love Poems

 

1.

I walk to the south    I walk to the north
where are you my Warrior?

I sit with the desert    I sit with the ocean
where are you my Warrior?

I sing to the trees    I sing to the rocks
where are you my Warrior?

I dance with the birds    I dance with the animals
where are you my Warrior?

Heaven is everywhere
where are You?

2.
I will show you a field of zebra finch Dreaming in the shadow of the stony hill ochre
when the soft blanket of language hums and kinship campfires flavour windswept hair

little girls stack single twigs on embers under Grandfathers skin of painted love
the dance of emu feathers will sweep the red earth with your smile

do not look at me in daylight; that gift comes in the night
tomorrow I will show Mother our marriage proposal in my smile

3.
in the cave she rolls the big rock for table, for the desert wildflowers they pick each another
she carries many coolamons filled with river sand to soften the hard rock floor

she makes shelf from braided saplings to hold all the feathers given by the message birds
when he sleeps she polishes his weapons with goanna and emu fat till they glisten in fire light

he tells the story of the notches on his spear, the story of the maps on his woomera
their eyes fill with spot fires lit on his return

the other women laugh “get over yourself” they laugh “he’s not that good”
she smiles she knows him in the night

4.
there is love in the wind by the singing rock
down the river by the ancient tree
love in kangaroo goanna and emu
love when spirits speak no human voice
at the sacred sites eyes unblemished
watch wedge tail eagle soar over hidden water
find the love

5.
Survival Day
I hear you as you sit
in silence your eyes search the Dreamtime
crammed in a modern world

Ah! there are the children of the Dreamtime
hands on thighs dancing
black legs beat drum and didgeridoo

Ah! there are the Grandmothers of the Dreamtime
quiet under shade trees alert for dangers
ready to fight protect and die

Ah! husbands and wives of the Dreamtime
share soul celebrations beyond the cultures
another baby of the Dreamtime will be born soon

Ah! all the Grandfathers sit silent
unmoving become rock face and sacred tree
the gibar magic man one with the earth

Ah! I see you on the horizon
in silence you search the Dreamtime
your eyes meet my silence

you reveal your presence with your smile

 

© Ali Cobby Eckermann (Uit: Nosside World Poetry Award Anthology, 2010)

Vertaling deur: Ali Cobby Eckermann. Opgeneem in: Best Australian Poems 2010.

 

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