Redressing an ancient land

I was encouraged to read in the latest edition of The Expository Times a wee reflection on Australia’s recent apology to the stolen generations (which I have posted about here, here, and here) by William Loader (Murdoch University, Perth) on ‘Australia’s Day of Apology to the Stolen Generations of its Indigenous Peoples (13th February 2008)’. The article begins with this moving poem:

The tears touch the red dust beneath our feet
changing the colour of our land.
The cries of children forcibly removed
and mothers running behind parting cars
echo today in Australia’s parliament.
The drought of denial is broken,
the stories heard at the highest level.
Old men and women, first peoples
– and some still in their thirties –
who bear the wounds, respond to heal the nation,
embracing the bipartisan apology,
bringing a coolamon, cradle for newborns,
container of nourishment,
to the heart of government,
a symbol of new beginning.

Rejoice, peoples of the world, in our tears!
Celebrate our pain, our being born again to new hope!
Watch over our grief and our setting out afresh
to bring justice and hope,
to walk and work with the ancient peoples of this land,
to rebuild a nation with reconciliation
and engagement which brings seeds to life,
sees the deserts bloom,
and builds firm trunks and mighty trees across our land.

The tears will dry.
The pain will always remain.
No equation can right the wrongs.
No need to fear or deny memory,
but only to welcome new possibilities,
let life burst from the burning,
fresh shoots from charred remains,
and the beauty of diversity and change
redress our ancient land.

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