From The Other Side

The dead do not stay dead. There’s your Dad
teaching kids still in the voice of Oodgeroo;
for punishment, putting the kids on cut and dried
mission rations – that’s unsurprising news
of the habit of white contempt, from the other side.

On both sides of the Bay kids were empire-bred,
saluted and sang God Save and marched into school.
Foreigners, natives – suburban talk assured
us they weren’t much good, were placed on earth to be ruled
by us, who knew nothing of you. On the other side.

But you, Oodgeroo, you refused to be nullified.
You heard the put-downs, you saw what a sneer could do.
You mourned what was going, you spoke of making new.
You stood on your land with the lore you lived as proof
of title, you asked us across, to sit side by side. 

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