The first thing we see
on entering the settler cemetery
where the dead still lie in the lie
of their country, under grass
long dead with no rain
is the cracked black earth
and the ash black shoulders of stones
toppled in random stacks,
that row and that
in the shadow of bones, white serifs
wedged out of sight.
You ask me, where is my face,
in the earth, in the night,
the fire alive in the tree?
Peter Minter (NSW) is a poet, editor and reviewer, and with Lisa Slade is co-curator of the Poets Paint Words exhibition. His Empty Texas won the 2000 Age Poetry Book of the Year, and he was poetry editor of Meanjin from 2000-2005. His latest book is blue grass.
Settler Cemetery was written by Peter Minter in response to Imants Tillers’ White Aborigines (No. 2) 1983 in the Newcastle Region Art Gallery collection.