Monday, 14 February 2011

Gifts: a love poem

Here's one of my favourite love poems, by the Australian Aboriginal poet Oodgeroo Noonucal. In contrast to all the tedious, unimaginative hype that surrounds Valentine's Day each year, this poem portrays something quite wonderful and quite essential about the nature of romantic love:

Gifts

‘I will bring you love,’ said the young lover,
‘A glad light to dance in your dark eye.
Pendants I will bring of the white bone,
And gay parrot feathers to deck your hair.’

But she only shook her head.

‘I will put a child in your arms,’ he said.
‘Will be a great headman, great rain-maker.
I will make remembered songs about you
That all tribes in all the wandering camps
Will sing forever.’

But she was not impressed.

‘I will bring you the still moonlight of the lagoon
And steal for you the singing of all the birds;
I will bring down the stars from heaven to you,
And put the bright rainbow into your hand.’

‘No,’ she said, ‘bring me tree-grubs.’

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