New Internationalist

Coolungar thieves

Issue 311
Nigh! Listen! Can you hear
the anguished cry of a mother’s tears
Streaming down a face, contorted with fear

Shooh! Hear her now plead
to hard men in black suits
Who invaded her womb to steal her precious fruit

Be quiet! And you will hear
a breeze whispering through ghostly trees
’Tis the whimper of stolen children
who have vivid memories
Of poor mummy and daddy
falling to their knees
Begging the Wajella’s God
to please – set our Coolungars free

Bellai, Manatji! Beware
of their bold, cold stares
Those icy, snake eyes
are looking down where
Little sister, and baby brother
lay hidden, right there
Don’t move, don’t breathe, be still
the Devil is near

Mummy! Daddy! Here they come – run!
scattered seeds in the breeze
Head for Yonga creek
where Great Uncle will be
Great Uncle won’t let the Wajellas take thee
he’ll fight to the last
like he did at Gallipoli

But even uncle couldn’t beat
this force mightier than we
Could ever imagine
in our wildest dreams
Thus with batons they sunk
proud unc’ to his knees
Into the belly of the beast they flung
Brotherboy, sistergirl and me

Nyorn! My poor uncle laying sprawled
by the sacred waterhole
Blood dripping from a wound
that cut deep to his soul
He once fought for freedom
In another’s country
Now laying broken in his heartland
denied justice and dignity

Shhh! Quiet now Coolungars
don’t fret for mummy’s song
The Briddea will hear you
and preach that ’tis wrong
to pine for lesser beings
with paganistic ways
He’ll flog us, in the name of Jesus
then for our souls he will pray

Faraway, camp quiet, no children
like a midnight cemetery
Tears hard like gravel
too painful to set free
Vacant stunned faces
still unable to believe
The evil, cruel arrogance
of those demonic, Coolungar Thieves.

Graeme Dixon is a poet, author of Holocaust Island, music student and sometime lecturer on Aboriginal history and social-justice issues.

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