Poetry and song are inextricably interwoven in most indigenous Australian traditions. Yet the poetic masterpieces found across the continent are little-known outside their immediate communities, tied up as they are with the intricacies of the languages they are sung in. As a result, Australia has little awareness of the many hundreds of Shakespeares, Keatses, and Bob Dylans whose poetic masterpieces are composed in First Nations languages. The same goes for the continent’s rich and varied indigenous musical traditions. In this talk I will give a glimpse into the richness of the poetic language found across a number of Australian indigenous traditions, focussing on allusive subtlety, inner feeling, multilingual characterisation, the deployment of vocabulary and grammar for expressive nuance, and the role of song in maintaining language knowledge through the powerful emotional charge it generates.