Spirit Songs for Anzac Eve

Glenda Cloughley and Judith Kelly

Words and music by Glenda Cloughley. Verse 3 words and music by Judith Kelly.


Sounds like wind in the eucalypts and the soft cries of mothers
Whispers in the wind Sighing in the trees
We hear spirit women calling for their children in the night
On Anzac Eve near the lantern light
Spirit mothers keening as the dark mountain breathes


Lulay my boy, are you come to me? Oh come to me!
In the dream of death I heard you crying far away
Child, you were crying My son, you were dying!
O gone to war far away Lulay, lulay


Our women and our children around the fire we mourn
Crying and weeping our tears of loss, of loss so great
Our fire, our fire The ancestors are here
The flames reach to the sky as we cry and we cry


On Anzac Eve near the lantern light
Spirit voices singing to the people in the night


O sorrow of the Earth Sorrow of the mothers Sorry songs
Love and longing, breathing in the wind, sighing
Swirling round the flames, our sorry spirits grieving
Through the wartime, deathtime Still whispering the love Lulay, lulay


People, hear the law of the seeds in your lament
Dark seeds In the fire humming like a new song growing
Opening with your longing Sprouting in the night
Flowering new songs, old songs, the love songs Lulay, lulay, lulay

Ngunnawal elders have told us that Mt Ainslie is a woman’s place in local Indigenous tradition. At night on the mountain, looking down at the lights of the Australian War Memorial and the city of Canberra, Glenda heard the keening of mothers in the wind and wrote this song. Judith Kelly, a Yamatji-Noongar singer-songwriter from West Australia, contributed an Aboriginal mother’s lament as verse 3. The song has been part of the ceremonial beginning of the annual Anzac Eve Peace Vigil on Mt Ainslie since 2011.

First page of musical score for <cite>Spirit Songs</cite>