April 2015

Forgotten warriors

An article published in The Good Oil last year inspired Colleen Keating of Sydney to write a poem which encourages us to remember and recognise all our ’warriors’.

BY Colleen Keating

history defines itself
sings legends of the frontier
explorers  stockmen  squatters
bushrangers  diggers  pioneers

yet there is a waiting
beyond consciousness
the other side of this frontier

the first peoples of our nation
wait for recognition
their story in the bones of the land
waits for remembrance

unknown numbers
chilled the spines of the intruders
skills honed for survival over eons
silent padded feet
shape-shifting oneness with the bush
theirs was the sacrifice

facing death
here become warriors
defending their land
their way of life   their lore

we revere fallen warriors
emblazon ‘lest we forget’
on monuments and cenotaphs
inscribe names on memorials

is it a dark forgetting
as one forgets burning stars in daytime
is silence a denial of history

dare we disturb our complacency
find cracks      let the light shine in

Colleen Keating

Colleen Keating is a Sydney-based poet and writer. Through her work she “explores the paradox and wonder of nature, the harsh realities of life, of inequality, injustice and increasing threat to our natural environment”. In November 2017 Colleen published her second book of poetry, "Fire on Water" (Ginninderra Press), which recently won a silver Nautilus Book Award. Colleen’s website is colleenkeatingpoet.com.au

If you would like to republish this article, please contact the editor.