australia: consecration of the land – a poem

they came in fleets of sailing ships,

some free, but most in chains.

they built their towns and cleared their fields

upon these fertile plains.

 

and they explored on foot, on horse,

on camel, and by sea,

and found the land already home

to people proud and free.

 

a people with an ancient law

as old as stars above. . .

with trepidation now they watched

these men devoid of love.

 

they saw the shackled convict slaves

flogged half to death and worse.

they heard their howls of agony,

they heard the tyrants’ curse.

 

and in their time they too succumbed

defeated by the gun –

their spears could not defend them so

they had too turn and run.

 

the trees and mountains saw it all,

the wild bush creatures too,

koala, emu, terrapin,

snake, crow and kangaroo.

 

and as the land had always done

it held its magic rites,

communing with the dreamtime stars

through all the fear-filled nights.

 

they gathered like a zodiac

round sacred uluru,

and talked and planned and danced and sang

and made strong magic, too.

 

they clapped and chanted for their laws

of gentleness and peace

to put an end to slavery

and give the slaves release.

 

they brought down law on all of us

its spirit true and strong

for justice and equality,

cruel slavery is wrong!

 

for in this deep and timeless land

of landscapes harsh and wild

there is a sacred promise made

to every newborn child

 

for every child’s a universe

ablaze with living stars,

within this law of sacredness

we’re all great avatars.

 

we humans need good lives, safe homes,

our children cared for too,

health, freedom, power, a voice for all,

not only for the few.

 

the beasts are many and the plants

are cosmic dreamings, yes,

our planet lives and feels her lands

reacting to the stress

 

this law comes down upon us all,

unspoken, yet well-known –

this star-blessed earth must cherished be

it isn’t just our own.

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