Monday, August 9, 2010

Old Botany Bay

"I'm old
Botany Bay;
stiff in the joints,
little to say.

I am he
who paved the way,
that you might walk
at your ease to-day;

I was the conscript
sent to hell
to make in the desert
the living well;

I bore the heat,
I blazed the track-
furrowed and bloody
upon my back.

I split the rock;
I felled the tree:
The nation was-
Because of me!

Old Botany Bay
Taking the sun
from day to day...
shame on the mouth
that would deny
the knotted hands
that set us high!

by Dame Mary Gilmore

Joel is reciting this poem to his class tomorrow. We both like it a lot. Mary Gilmore was a journalist and wrote for the AWU from 1908. By 1931 she was considered too radical for the AWU and wrote for the communist party instead. She stood up for the rights of women, children and indigenous people and wrote many cool poems.

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