Untitled Poem

A poem by Sharon Livermore, New South Wales

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Sold! Show me how No, thank you

I am an old wooden house with old wooden floors.
My windows are ancient and so are the doors.

I've seen better days, but I'm comfortably warm.
And there's a fire in the hearth when outside is a storm.

I'll lull you and woo you until you're asleep,
and you can stay in my arms, for as long as it takes.

For your heart that is aching to comfortably mend
so you're not scared of strangers and welcome new friends.

I'm the saltwater woman, and the ancient of days
I'm the son of the Father, I'll teach you his ways.

I'm a friend to all people, the lover of souls
It is I who first made you and will remake you whole.

I'm proud of your dark skin, you're a child of his care
You're my warrior race and my sweet maidens fair.

You're the reflection of my love, not greedy for gain
And though they don't know it, my heart is full of pain.

For I put out my hand in peace, in love
And they missed it and shunned it with musket and glove.

And they said 'we have our god' with teeth and a book
And you just have nothing, we're here for a look.

If we see anything of value and gain
We'll declare this our land, and to save you the shame

Of having nowhere to go we'll save you a bit,
Oh you might have to do with a swamp or a tip.

Consider yourselves naked and outcast and poor,
'Cos that's what we saw when we knocked at your door.

And I looked at them kindly with eyes soft and black
And thought the mother will teach them if they come back.

But they rejected her teachers, and rejected her law,
Shunned her food and her language, her songs and her lore.

They starved in the garden, they ate dusty old bread,
While sweet bush tucker waited at the table instead.

They tried to grow corn cobs, breed cattle and sheep
And mother grew weary and just fell asleep.

But the young men are rising with songs and with lore
They'll sing you back home to your foreign shore.

They'll take you and break you till your heart's full of pain
For the sacrificed love and your ill gotten gain.

They'll wake up the mother with a shout and a roar
And she'll rise up with weeping for all that she saw.

For her jewelry now gone and her wounds and her pain
And she'll shatter your dreaming and begin again.

Her greenness she'll gather and cloak at her feet
And she'll look for her governors, the mild and the meek.

She'll chase away anger and chase away pain
And rebuild her fortress so you'll not come again! 

Homework: Reflect on the poem

  • Notice how many verses of this poem rhyme on 'pain'. Why do you think this is so?
  • Who is the 'mother'? What is her jewelry and why is it gone?

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View article sources (1)

[1] Koori Mail 452 p.23

Cite this page

Korff, J 2020, Untitled Poem, <https://stage.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/arts/poems/untitled-poem>, retrieved 19 June 2024

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