Author’s note: Due to colonisation and the effect that the white Australia policy had on my people, I did not grow up with these stories given in physical form. My “Story” has been revealed to me slowly through Dreams and visions, which, in my culture, is a form of how songs and stories are passed down via the other realm.

Part one

In giant rock formations
Cliff face
Rocks that seem to hang from the sky
Watching us
Through the portal of timeless bush
And waterhole

Old medicine man teaches young boy
Old medicine woman teaches jikurr girl

Ill pull from your body what makes you sick
Ill pull from your mind what makes you cluttered

No Pharmacy needed here

Twigs and hair and creepy crawlies too
All these things ill pull from you
It’s the Lore passed down through dreams

No certificates for nursing here

Bush doctor
Bush medicine
Sees your sickness through their eyes
Feels your sickness through their touch

Eucalyptus leaves thrust on live embers
Smoke rise
Lift the darkness
Invite the peace of mind

No drugs needed here

It’s the law of the Earth
Lore of the Serpent
Who dreams through us
Heals through us

No bulk billing needed here
Driving through the inlands

Song in language comes to me

I sing

Think of the deep blue sea
Feel the heart of a whale

I sing

To feel the deep blue see
Healing my heart

No alcohol needed here

On giant rock formations I go
To feel the heart of
Black Cockatoo

Old Medicine man
Old medicine woman
Finds twigs and hair
Creepy crawlies too

Bush doctor
Bush Medicine
Will pull the sickness from you

Part 2

The theme is the colour green
A grasshopper
And teeth

Teeth I tread on like stepping stones
They begin as sturdy
And white
Then grow black moss like decay

Devil Grasshopper
MONSTER in its dungeon
Man eater
Keeps a secret underground
In the cove

“Don’t open that trap door – forbidden information there”

Green stone with x-ray-like teeth
I dream of them
Re-occurring in sleep
A new one begins to grow in the bottom row
Deep below where the wisdom one was
Rugged edged. Spikey.

“You have 50 months
Of this to endure
You’ll crumble
For 50 months
Then it will stop
You’ll feel yourself again
But the second lot of teeth will come
The excruciating bottom row
Decay and rot
They’ll crush the other teeth
Push them from their homes
From safe and sound
To falling out
The teeth will come back
And pain lunge into you
You’ll fall
You’ll suffer
In the sheets of agony
You’ll be covered
And finally
It will stop
You’ll be good and strong
Tall and calm
And as hard as Iron Bark”

I wake up early morning
From this dream
Both sides of my mouth are hurting now
On the opposite end of my mouth
Is a new tooth
Growing deep below
Where my old wisdom one was
Pushing through gums
Tender and bruised

Green Stone
Devil Grasshopper
And teeth that are new

Part 3

Patience in the gift of Dreaming
I return home
And Dreams settle

I awake one morning
The teeth have disappeared

“Then it will stop
You’ll feel yourself again
But the second lot of teeth will come”

Part 4

They fly from the North

Come to dance and sing
The locals look after them

Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo
Flies from the Gulf
To the South

To Sing and Dance on foreign Country
The owners look after them

The song and Melodies
Like ancient birth-right

Echo in my heart

My Blood-Rite


Cover image by Pbadams on en.wikipedia – own work by Paul B. Adams, CC BY-SA 2.5,

About Author

Jack Sheppard is of the Kurtjar clan of the Gulf of Carpentaria, North QLD. He is an artist driven by his culture, spirituality, and humanity. Jack studied at Naisda Dance College and WAAPA’s Aboriginal Theatre Course. He works and creates in the artistic elements of movement, circus, theatre and physical theatre. Jack has written one short play, ‘Monsson’, has had his poetry published in Rabbit Poetry Magazine – The Indigenous Issue, and The Australian Poetry Journal.

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