Hilda Oakley

Australian author and poet

   Mar 12

Show Me

Show me a piece of this Ancient Land;
With features painted by the Master’s hand,
Radiant beauty all around,
This place is sacred, hallowed ground.
To this wide, brown space, a figure’s seen
Through many trials she has been,
Yet, serving others is her call,
Devoted, caring of them all.
Turning down the winding track,
She visits a woman in a run-down shack,
Who’s always awake at the crack of dawn,
Her body wrinkled and care worn.
Through dirt and sand the district nurse came,
Attending to her patient wracked with pain,
Making her feel comfortable in every way,
Attending to her wounds where she lay.
Nerida, a koori and a qualified nurse,
Brought help to the needy, so they wouldn’t get worse,
Serving her patients, seen for free,
Medical care her priority.
Life was a challenge in every way,
She’d studied her nursing every day,
Beating the odds, her exams she sailed through,
Qualified now, her dreams came true.
Riding back from where she had come,
Saw a youth in the shade of a towering gum,
She had nearly passed on by,
When something unusual caught her eye.

In severe pain the evidence she saw,
His temperature was one hundred and four,
Two jackeroo mates sitting close by,
Asked her, would he live or die?

“This man needs his appendix out!”
The signs were clear without a doubt;
She boiled her instruments over the fire,
before his temperature got any higher.

“I will do the best I can for the lad,
there’s a phial of morphine in my bag!”
She saved his life.  The lad pulled through,
He was a wandering jackeroo.

Mothers with babies would seek her care,
They came to her from everywhere,
She worked many hours, toiled into the night,
For her patients health, she would not lose sight.

Curley heads and dusky skin,
They came to her, from outside the Inn,
Here was her clinic, here was her work,
Aiding mothers in giving birth.

With no family of her own;
Her indigenous friends took her into their home,
This was a nurse who was like no-other,
They treated her as a sister or mother.

A message was sent, for a critical case,
Nurse must leave with post-haste,
Travel through this vast space,
To aid the sick one at his place.

“Missy, don’t go!” The young koori said,
“I dreamed there will be trouble ahead!
Darkness is around you like a cloud.”
But she ignored him, for she was proud.

“Where you go, the desert is bad,
Will make nursey think she’s going mad.”
Nungal her tracker went with her too,
And Ngundi, a trusty jackeroo.

She learnt many lessons from her guide,
He taught her the ways of his ancient tribe,
Simple things to do with first aid,
Most important of all, to look for shade.

Patient badly burnt from the midday sun,
Severely dehydrated, with a swollen tongue,
This patient was a difficult test,
With intensive care, she did her best.

To her the sand hills looked the same;
Her horse stumbled and became lame,
Dismounting, and walking for the horses sake,
Trekking through scrub, was bitten by a snake.

Using a bandage she bound her leg,
Restricting blood flow, or she would be dead,
Her friends used herbs learnt from earlier days,
Attending to her in their own koori ways.

She sweated and shivered into the night,
Hallucinating, a critical plight,
Fighting for life through a haze of pain,
Her friends stood by ‘til she was well again.

Surviving this life threatening ordeal,
Continued her nursing now she’s healed,
Devoted and committed to her work,
There wasn’t an illness that she would shirk.

Throb! Throb! T’was like the beat of a drum,
The Spirits were calling and she must come,
Tossing and turning to and fro,
She loved her nursing, but there she must go.

Listening intently to the call of the land,
Enticed to walkabout across red dust and sand,
Learning more of kooris herbs that heal,
Excited and eager, everything seemed unreal.

Sitting among friends at a Koori camp-fire place,
Feeling at one with her own tribal race,
The yearning to reconnect to Mother Earth,
In touch with her inner soul, to rebirth.

In the sweltering hot afternoon,
Desert wild-flowers flourish and bloom,
A riot of colours spread around,
Struggling to grow in the rocky ground.

Show me a red-streaked crimson sky,
As dawn breaks overhead on high,
Golden sun beams shining through,
The horizon aglow, a sapphire blue.

Across the dunes, hills and sand,
An awesome sight, an outcrop so grand,
Agape and in awe, her dream had come true,
She was standing, looking, at Uluru.
Hilda Oakley
Copyright © 30.08.2010

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