Australia Day Poem – This is an Old Land
Yesterday I was quite privileged to present the Australia Day Poem at Caboolture Toastmasters.
I wanted to read a poem that was meaningful to our community that embraced the diversity of cultures and also acknowledged our Traditional Owners the first people of our nation.
I would love to share this with you now.
This is an old land
For ever nurtured and nourished
by the spirit of the Rainbow Serpent.
The land of the Darug people,
Of the Darginung and the Dharawal,
The Gundungurra and the Guringai.
An old land.
This is the new land of the convict and the refugee,
Of the European settler,
Of the Asian and the African,
The American and the Islander.
It is the golden hope-filled land.
A hope-filled land?
This is the silent sun-baked land
Of the gibber plain and granite outcrop
Of the waterhole and the rain forest
Of native title and pastoral lease
Of skyscraper and empty reservoir.
A golden land?
This is a land battered and blackened by bush fire
But look! a land of grass trees green-shooting
in the still dark-smouldering ashes;
Of wildflowers in the sun-heat-blighted desert
And of cities glistened smog-free by an autumn wind.
A sacred land!
This is the Dreaming land, the land of spirit ancestors
Of campfire and corroboree, of rock art and cave painting
A land of mosque and temple, of prayer book and philosophy text
A land of tribal elders and politicians.
And how slowly we have learnt, 60,000 years slowly, how to live with this land
And how slowly we have learnt, 200 years slowly, not to abuse this land
And how slowly we are learning, day-by-day slowly, how to share this land.
We who are black of skin, and white and brown and yellow
And sunburnt pink
Native and newcomer
Blue-eyed and brown-eyed and black-haired and fair-haired
We will live in harmony in this land
Because this is the Land of the Rainbow Serpent
And we are the Rainbow People.