Voice original poetry
by Dr Geoffrey Campbell
Never forget the jangle of chains
around the black men’s shining limbs.
Gangs made to crawl, to fall and stumble
for 150 years of wrongs without rights;
until that 60s white man vote
at long last called them “Australian”.
Never forget the timeless walkabout journey.
No Voice but a myriad Stories of the land;
the echoes of 60 millennia unnoticed.
Then, in a blink of years
came Pastor Doug, Polly, Namatjira
with Lionel and Evonne setting the stage.
Their Voice was loud but no one answered.
Never forget the missing livestock
and black trackers of generations
in truth stolen by someone else.
The innocent are stunned, shock-haired and mute!
But would and could speak had time permitted.
So, in now suburban, old, emu-hunting grounds
never forget the forty thousand with their Protector
camped among trees by the roar of Yarra Falls.
They shifted camp to a wilderness of spirit
with only whisperings in the waters.
Never forget inland screams and red splashes
upon broken spears and grazed faces
that stained the soil like burnt pea-flowers.
Never forget the hundreds run to a dead end
against cliff face walls, unbroken,
crouched amid zing of bullets.
Survivors in chains sun-bleached, un-fed,
gaunt faces forced to smile a heartfelt grimace.
This ancient, graceful people, let them speak!
Let them raise their Voice to the Country!
From Brisbane, Dr Geoffrey Campbell is a published poet and mathematician at the Australian National University.