Camp  Fires

Published  1972





Camp Songs
I   Woman's Lullaby
II  Chant
III Magic
Love is in Death
Dark Rose
Taemphull Mhor
Wild Cat
Mad House

Camp Songs

I    Woman's Lullaby

Rock by the fire your baby
Dance to the shadows' fall
Dream in the light of ashes
Do not heed the warrior's call.

Create not echo man's cry
The spear is not your tool,
You are the woman and mother
The male mind must not touch you.

Sing in the dusk to children
Teach them ancestral lore,
Be as your nature is,
Feel, not worry about law.

Do not walk to the men's ring
Their work is not your desire,
Sit by the fire of your wisdom
Have it untainted to give.

Brood and sleep and ponder
As is your woman's way,
Be to man as complete female
Not second rate male in the race.

Grey is the time in the tent
When the role of each is mixed,
And foolish is the harvest.
Both join as one sex without sex.

Do not let fear force you
To seek out the hunter's track,
You learn his art to kill your own
And the camp will begin to crumble.

Rock by the fire your baby
Heal away ancient wrong
Dream in the light of ashes
Cradle the tribe in your song.

II    Chant

Beat, beat, craft
The code of the tribe,
Clay out the seed of desire.

Seize the pulse of the earth's revolving,
Realize the dark unknown,
Accept the nature of Man.

Man cannot be sun
Petal cannot be fruit
Calf cannot be kangaroo.

By the feet and the beat of the didgeridoo
Stamp in awareness
That man is not god but Man.

Set up the hut with its bark of trees,
Create from its wisdom taboo,
Give to each tribe a root.

Man needs a god
Witch-doctor must live
Art and science mix.

Kill not in corroboree shadows of fire,
Nor tide away the sand.
Watch, not scar the moon.

Beat, beat, grow
In the art of humanity,
Learn the atom of Man.

III    Magic

Man, fast in creation
Quick love and away,
Woman will earth the spark.

And poet will seize
Flashing firefly,
Wing in the lightning dart.

I, woman in loving
Poet creating,
Enjoy double gulp of life.

For stick upon stick
Is my love with my lover,
Warmth in the aboriginal way.

Never the township
Never the childmonths
Always campfires opening out.

No darkness of waiting
In the earth of my body
No need to wait out the spark.

Beacon of male mind
Burns into poet's,
Milk in my body is flame.

And the lips at the breast
Are the music of love
Born in the tongue of words.

Dancers together
We flare out the shadows,
Absorb all the leaping light.

Child to the woman,
Fire to the poet,
Breath of the camp is ablaze.

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Your face, beloved, brightly swung me
Back to lovers and to Love,
You were the fire that let me see
The painted wall within the cave.

With you my memory was seered
I held remembrance of my source,
I saw the white stream flowing clear
From you to all earth's Eden.

In love you turned my head around
To understand the birth divine,
I seized from you the key of song
To follow into Paradise.

In worship of human complete
I caught the cry of peasant,
Harvesting as god the wheat
Astir with seed of every man.

Beloved, you have flamed me free,
Your single fire is camp fire,
Love for man has sunned to me
The ancient power of pagan muse.

You, lover, burnt me into hills
Of dark and day and seeking
Around Purgatory and into Hell
To dance gaily in Eden.

Beloved man, you mothered me
To bathe in the garden's fountain,
I lipped with you the cup of love
Drank juice of inspiration.

All my love grows out from you
Single lover, named by time,
My joy had licked in naked kiss
The holy light of every eye.

Beloved, from your hair ablaze
You lit the appled tree of Life,
You ate the fruit into the snake
And gave me breath of Paradise.

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Love is in death

Death is my mother
I longer about the grave
That gave me birth.

Love ties me
Into Spring flowers
Scattered around dead feet

I am the star
Born in the sky
Of black night.

I move in a dawn
That end with dusk
And rises from dark.

My child is the dying
Of my children,
As my mother is death.

Corded from the corpse
I give blood
To the skeleton.

Death lives through my body,
I hear in laughter
The agony of cancer

See in suns
The aging of funerals,
Join the women wailing.

Conscious in streets
Of reality.
That is twentieth century.

Conscious in dreamtime
Of reality
Ever living.

I wake into light from the light
That now from dark
Gives me sight of light.

So bright that what
Is daytime
Seems torch to bushfire.

People of the grave
Mingle about my fingers,
Mother my hours to the Flood

To Eden and the apple,
To garden untombed,
To cross and swastika.

Death is my mother,
I touch the stillness
With security of child

Loved beyond all adult pain.
Joyful in knowledge
That love is in death.

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Dark Rose

Through the dark rose runs the love
Warm as the sun on the beach.
Into the rose the love flows
And summer stirs open.
About the deep rose the love goes
Strange as a star.
Over the rose the love moves
And strong turns the earth.

Deep the dark rose in its blooming,
Deep, deep as peace.
And dark is the depth of the light
On which the love feeds.

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Teamphull Mhor
Lewis, Outer Hebrides

This church, built in the 12th century, and now belonging to the Anglican community is called, to this day, by Gaelic speakers of English, Temple.

Here is no religion, only gods
And man's spirit praying
Communion is Catholic kneeling to pagan
In a cup of centuries.

History moves here as the pilgrimage of one man
Being fragmented into all races.

Norse sings as Anglo-Saxon,
Celt rises with the Norman
Into one congregation,
Desiring only to adore.

Worship here hold bread of fulfilment
Leavened before earless puritan began.

Candles are bright with beauty
And the god, faced Catholic saint,
Touches man's eyes
Human, as these fingered walls.

Life makes this altar for the need of soul,
Not Time nor Church nor State.

This temple lingering in the stone of its baptism
Hands out from heather birth
All images of Man,
Dreaming eternally of God.

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Wild Cat

There is no silk or silver
Where the wet wild cat
Springs from the path of the car.
The snow is hard and naked
As it falls onto roofs of tin.

No newspaper shouts the name
Of the shepherd who struggles
To reach the flood- starved lambs.
Only the cry of cat warns man
There are other creatures alive.

At work in the wild cat's glen
Man's senses are cut sharp
As the knife that guts the deer,
Freeing him to fulfilment
In instinct of insignificance.

Here by the wild cat's track
The rock and the rain are the foe,
Not every other man and one's own soul.
And only the strong will reach the stag
When the gale force wind is blowing.

Days are sweat of work,
Nights are dead with sleep,
But man walks balanced here
As he bends his heads to the storm
He does not pretend to control.

Here where the wild cat claws
Man kneels and stands as man.

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Mad House


The house was stone
The fire was warm
People danced inside,
I wanted to enter in.

A storm arose
The wind blew hard
Thunder shook the ground,
Lighting let me see.

The house was straw
The fire was cold
People limped inside,
I could not enter ine.


The house is warden from the self,
Society's warped rule,
The level of each man's spirit
Lies within himself.

I thought to turn away from me
To walk out of my soul,
But I am whole when I realise
I know the power within me.

I tried to ward off destiny,
To be strait-jacketed,
But accepted social measurement
Is asylum of mad house.


I marry then my destiny,
I cannot part with it.
We will join in chorus
To sing outside the house.

We'll sing of gleeful fools
Of sanity in storm
I, with self will find my fire
And grow into a home.

Destiny, I, myself,
We'll walk along together.
My ruler is my eye to see
Truth lies in fools of vision.

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