Celebration of tears: a poem

We were running among the trees before they first came
Swimming in the water before their first fleet,
Dancing in red soils with heat beating down on our backs before they first came

Tied a noose around our necks, they did
Stole from us, poisoned, they did
Then they decided we were not human

We were hunting game among the bushlands before they came
Swimming, on foot, the wind at out feet
Dancing on the waves, drums beating like heart rhythms, thought us insane

Killed us for greed, they did
Took our children from us, they did
Fed us hate, preaching a God of love

Now we hold on to yesterday’s pain, we are lame
Broken by the ills of another man’s heart
The wounds fester, we are crippled, unable to succeed in their world

Raped our women, they did
Took even burial grounds, they did
Broke our backs and hearts, they did

Now they expect that I rejoice
On the day of their fleets landing, unaware
Of the strings of bitterness, they just don’t care, why should I?

Finally admitted us human, they did
Admitting their wrongs, they did
Said sorry and tried to make amends, they have

But is it really amends if they refuse to acknowledge our lands
Still celebrate that which breaks our hearts?
Can unity exist where wounds still exist, razors cutting?

Maybe in me choosing to forgive, healing can start
For me, my children, the next generation,
Telling them the stories of our past like old.

Teach them forgiveness, I will
Teach them to never be oppressors, I have
Taught them the power of hope.


Happy Australia Day

Yesterday (by a few hours) was Australia day. People were posting on social media about enjoying the celebrations. People lined the foreshore of Perth to see the spectacular fireworks display, others having too much to drink, while others had nice picnics with their families. Even the Tennis went on break at the Australian open in Melbourne, while fireworks were heard and seen, exploding in beautiful colours.

With so much life surrounding this day, it’s so easy to get caught up in it. But that’s not really all there is to this day, is it? While others were rejoicing yesterday, others were burning Australian flags, some just out of hate and disregard for the law, others out of true hurt at the fact that the day celebrated is the day their lands were invaded and taken away.

I can’t help but wonder, if what we are meant to celebrate is being Australian, the people, this vast nation and all it has to offer, why then is it so hard for people to agree with something as simple as the day Australia is celebrated. Shouldn’t it bother us that something we are doing now, offends our neighbour?  What would be lost if the date were moved? it doesn’t have to be the 26th of January, it can be any other day of the year. Why pick a day that changed the lives of the Aboriginal people of these lands? Does it aid the building of bridges or just fuels tension.

i think of Australia Day as a day where unity despite the differences held, is celebrated, so why should a day like the 26th of January be the day, when all it does is fuel anger in the Indigenous people? Sometimes we need to consider others and do what benefits all parties.