Mysterious it lies,
a monstrous creature
nestled on flat desert plain;
deep burnt-earth orange,
now red, vermillion,
purple after rain.
a snake, a face appears
weathered in the millennia mound;
caves and tree-edged crevices beckon
offering shade from the scorching heat;
forms stare from beneath smooth overhangs
telling hypnotic dreamtimes;
languid waterholes glisten
in the sulphurous sun.
Aborigines at the rock
gathering, chanting initiations
for generation after generation -
don’t set foot on our sacred place
they ask – it is of our homeland, our home
from eternity into eternity.
but still we climb,
a scurry of insects up and up the precarious slope
tiny people gazing down from the summit.
Who is to blame? Those who climb,
or those who don’t prevent it?
Does this magnificent monolith
belong to all who come to worship as they will?
Is it just a huge inviting rock
waiting to be climbed
by all who challenge?
A mere space on earth to attain
a tick on a bucket list
a dream proposal
a now or never challenge?
Ask the watchful rock.
Perhaps it has given its verdict.
If we had ears to hear,
power of thought greater than power of ego,
humility greater than arrogance
tolerance greater than prejudice
respect greater than contempt.
Following my post about the last climbers scurrying to Uluru’s summit I wanted to revisit a poem I had written over ten years ago. The final two verses are additions, responses to more interviews with the last climbers.