Aboriginal Poetry on the Milky Way

Standard

From “The Unwritten Song: Poetry of the Primitive and Traditional Peoples of the World, Volume 1”
Edited by Willard Trask, Translator unnamed

Aranda
Central Australia; Simpson Desert, Northern Territory

“Native-Cat Songs”

The great beam of the Milky Way
Sends out flashes of lightning incessantly.
The great beam of the Milky Way
Casts a flickering fire glow over the sky forever.
The great beam of the Milky Way
Gleams and shines forever.
The great beam of the Milky Way
Burns bright crimson forever.
The great beam of the Milky Way
Quivers with deep passion forever.
The great beam of the Milky Way
Trembles with unquenchable desire forever.
The great beam of the Milky Way
Draws all men to itself by their forelocks.
The great beam of the Milky Way
Unceasingly draws all men, wherever they may be.
The tnatantja pole rises into the air,-
The great beam of the Milky Way.
The kauaua pole rises into the air,-
The great beam of the Milky Way.
The great beam of the Milky Way
Strips itself bare like a plain.

“How the pole of the Milky Way is drawing me to itself-
How my own pole is drawing me to itself!”
“How the pole of the Milky Way is drawing me to itself-
From what a far country it is drawing me to itself!”
“Let the Milky Way be tied around with many bands;
Let the dweller in the earth-hollow be tied around with many   bands!”
The pole of the Milky Way has drawn me irresistibly-
The dweller in the earth-hollow has drawn me irresistibly.”

The great beam of the Milky Way,
The dweller in the earth-hollow, is trembling with desire forever.

The narrowing sea embraces it forever,-
Its swelling waves embrace it forever.
The sea, ever narrowing, forever embraces it,-
The great beam of the Milky Way.
Its embracing arms forever tremble about it,-
The great beam of the Milky Way.
Set in the bosom of the sea it stands,
Reverberating loudly without a pause.
Set in the bosom of the sea it stands,
Sea-flecked with drifts of foam.
In the bosom, in the sea it stands,
Casting a flickering fire glow over the sky forever.

Let them sit down around the pole of the Milky Way,
Let them sit down around the dweller in the earth-hollow.
Around the pole of the Milky Way let them sit down,
Around the dweller in the earth-hollow let them sit down.
In their camp-hollow let them present gifts to each other,-
Let them sort out their bullroarers.

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