The first time I really saw you, I was standing on the shore . . . I felt you.
As the cold ocean breeze brushed my face, I thought that . . . I heard you.
Carried on the wind was a thousand voices of a thousand generations.
I took off my shoes, I let the red sand run through my toes . . .I know you.
As I recalled my father's native tongue, I closed my eyes . . .I sang for you.
You joined me as a thousand voices of a thousand generations.
And then . . It was as if you spoke to my flesh somewhere in my chest
You felt me, you heard me, you know me, you heard my song and you said …
Home . . . with a thousand voices of a thousand generations
Translated into Yolŋu Matha
by Galathi Dhurrkay
Ŋurruŋumirr ŋarra nhäma nhuna, ŋarra ga dhärra raŋiŋur… ŋarra dhäkay ŋäma nhuna.
Ŋunhi ŋayi watay ŋulwitjthu beŋur ḏamurruŋ’ŋur gapuŋur djirripuŋal ŋarrany buku, ḻiya waṉḏinyaramam ŋarrany… ŋarra ŋäma nhuna.
Gurrukam ga watay dharrwa rirrakay, rirrakay waka ŋurrkanhawuy yolŋu walal.
Ŋarra yapmaram rraku ḻukupuy, ŋarra miku munatha waṉḏinyamaram ḻukupuykurr bininygurr… ŋarra marŋgi nhuŋu.
Ŋunhi ŋarra roŋiyirr birrka’yun ŋarraku bäpa’mirriŋuw dhäruk, ŋarra dhaḻ’yun rraku maŋutji… ŋarra miyaman manikay nhuŋu.
Nhe ŋarrakal dhä-manapan, dharrwa rirrakay waka ŋurrkanhawuy yolŋu walal.
Bala… nhe gärrin rrakal rumballila nhakun nhe waŋan ŋarrakal ŋayaŋuŋura djinagan.
Dhäkay ŋäma nhe ŋarrany, ŋäma nhe ŋarrany, marŋgi nhe ŋarraku, ŋäma nhe ŋarraku manikay bala nhe waŋan…
Wäŋa… dharrwa rirrakay waka ŋurrkanhawuy yolŋu walal.
About the Poet
About the Translator
Jane Galathi is Yolŋu Wangurri women from Galiwin’ku community Elcho Island, currently living in Darwin, working and team teaching in the Yolngu Language and culture at Charles Darwin University.