ruled by poetry for tens of thousands of years

"The continent on which I live was ruled by poetry for tens of thousands of years, and I mean it was ruled openly and overtly by poetry. Only since European settlement in 1788 has it been substantially ruled by prose. The sacred law which still governs the lives of traditional Aborigines is carried by a vast map of song-poetry attached to innumerable mythic sites. Each group ‘sings’ the tract of country it occupies, just as each initiated person sings the ceremonial songs of the holy places for which he or she is responsible within that territory. A person may unselfconsciously say ‘That mountain is my mother: it is her ancestor and mine; it is the body of our ancestor, and the story we sing and enact there is her body. We are her body, too, and the songs are her body, and the ceremonies are her body. That is the Aboriginal Law.’ "

Read more of this amazing A Defense of Poetry a lecture given by Les Murray.

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