The Lucky Country

It was the lucky country once
because,
those of us who came
in wave upon wave of boats and planes,
on occasion running toward
something better
and on others running from
the unimaginable worse,
found a home where we could shelter,
where the fates of genealogy
did not matter and a dream
and hard work were reason enough
to prosper.
But the lucky country has now become
the country of the lucky ones
who weren’t turned back
by generations past,
nor by the first people of this land.
Yes, we the lucky ones
have lived here long enough to have forgotten
what it was like to be lost and found
and then embraced
by people who did not
even understand a word we said.
Yes, we the lucky ones
who walk on others’ land,
have lived here long enough
to think we own that
which only mother earth can truly own-
declaring this piece
of ancient red soil as our own
and the wild ocean as our fence,
we pace at the gates like pit-bulls raging and
bark:
“we are closed,
our home is full,
go back!”

© Valentina63 2011

The Lucky Country

Valentina D

Joined September 2008

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Artist's Description

This beautiful image taken by the amazingly talented and huge- hearted Rodeorose reminds me of all the ships that once left Europe bringing many to a new and better life …
A huge thank you to you Rosie for allowing me to use this beautiful image so aptly titled, “The Promise”.

It seems those who came in these ships in the past certainly recieved a different reception as did I after our plane trip here almost 40 years ago. There were hostels then where we were housed and fed and given lots of help to settle in and no we definitely were not detained….
“The Lucky Country” is a nickname sometimes used to describe Australia, taken from the 1964 book of the same name by social critic Donald Horne. Whilst Horne’s statement was actually made ironically, as an indictment of 1960s Australia it has primnarily over the years been used favorably; among other things, it has been used in reference to Australia’s natural resources, weather, history, distance from problems elsewhere in the world, and other sorts of prosperity.
In writng this poem it has not been my intent to be either political or controversial but to merely express my own sadness and anger at some community attitudes in regard to assylum seekers . I had been working on this prior to the tragedy on Christmas island and that gave me the impetus to finish.
I know its a very complex issue but I am saddened when I see car stickers with “f….. k off we are full” written on them or when I read some of the online comments on yesterday’s news stories But most of all when I hear those I know to be good kind people who themselves have only been here 20 to 30 years get carried away by fear fuelled thoughts of invasion and say “we are full”. We have all developed short memories I think.
On another note there are a number of small regional towns that have adopted refuge communities and are as a result now again thriving after financially struggling due to years of exodus by the young to coastal cities.Unfortunaley these good news stories are rarely heard over the announcements that yet another boat has crossed our border. Shepparton for example is now a thriving regional community with an international reputation for tolerance

*When I use the words “we” I am speaking as we the nation through past and current policies and populist views that do not necessarily reflect those of many inviduals.

Artwork Comments

  • Amir Saeed
  • Valentina D
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