William Hart- Smith

Moondeen, the eldest of the river tribe,
too old for the council of elders,
thin as the meanest desert myall,
felt something happening within him.

As he chipped at the throwing-stick
fixed between his old knees,
he watched the little rock lizards that gleamed and shone,
going over his feet sometimes,
quick and cold as a drop of rain.
And he thought a long time about that.

As he worked the euro fat into the wood,
rubbing fiercely till it came smooth
like the black stones in the river,
then pushed it into the hot ashes again
and rubbed, and went on rubbing.
He remembered that the wood had once been a tree;
he thought about the trees,
and made one name for them all,
One name which would be for one tree
yet all of them together;
and he muttered it over and over to himself.

He thought about the throwing-stick he was making,
and who would hunt with it, and lose it, where,
and where it would lie one day lost for ever,
and how long was forever;
and he dreamed adventures about it while he was still awake.

He thought about the river,
where it started, right down to where it ended,
pouring into the great water that stretches away forever;
he thought about it all day long,
until the men came back from their hunting
and the dogs and the women went out to meet then
with dust and hullalooing,
which made him forget the word he had almost made for the river,
and a rage took fire within him over nothing at all.

Nobody knew why Moondeen was always angry and short tempered;
spat like a lizard when disturbed.

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