Keith Johnson

Bronze Star - 2,838 Points (9th June 1944 / Cheshire, England)

Daramoolen And The Dreamtime - Poem by Keith Johnson

[For the Ngunnawal people - traditional custodians of the Monaro Plains and the Canberra region]

DARAMOOLEN AND THE DREAMTIME


Then there was no man
Or even woman
And the sky was clear
Only the sun
And beneath the sun
Lay the snake.

So the snake slept
For long
Alone and inert
Until it awoke
Hungry and thirsty
Ready.

Then the snake
Made a woman
From the moonlight
And when she
Had grown
He drank from her.

After the snake had
Tasted the blood
The rain came
And the land came to life
With many creatures
And the snake became a rainbow.

Then the woman said
‘Daramoolen
Make me a man
So that I can give birth’
And the Rainbow Snake
Made a man
And the woman was glad.

So people came to the world
And children played.
And as the children grew
The mother told them:
‘With blood and rain
The snake made you.’

But the man was curious
And when the moon came
He tasted the blood
From the woman
And cut himself
So that he too could bleed.

Then the man
Mixed her blood with his
And the Rainbow snake
Became very angry
Saying: ‘these children
Are mine’.

Then the snake went along
Far away
And drought
Covered the land
So that the people
Had no food and were afraid.

So the woman
Sent her two eldest sons
To find Daramoolen
And they found him
Coiled cold against a
Great mountain.

And the boys said:
‘Our mother has sent us
Open your mouth
And give us hope
That blood can
Bring the rain again’.

And Daramoolen
Ate the boys
And they were gone
But he said to the woman:
‘Here is Jedinbilla -
Where boys become men’.

And the snake made
Murra bidgee mullangari
[To keep the pathway
To the ancestors alive]
Saying: ‘Now the boys
Are colours on my skin

Ngunna yerrabi yanggu
[So you are welcome
To leave footprints on the land]
Where your people
Will see the rain again

And the man must dream’.

Topic(s) of this poem: places


Comments about Daramoolen And The Dreamtime by Keith Johnson

  • (8/27/2015 4:47:00 PM)


    Interesting poem.Snake has been a custodian of fertility in culture of India also. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, August 27, 2015

Poem Edited: Friday, August 28, 2015


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