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He sits there

June 24, 2011

Australian aboriginals are the original inhabitants of Australia (been there for last 40,000 to 60,000 years). Today they are in trouble. Last year I had gone for a trek with two friends – Gyan and Prem. Gyan comes from UK. Soon after graduating (Civil engineering) he decided that he would spend his life volunteering. He has spent more than 3 decades only volunteering for various organizations. Prem comes from Italy. She has spent more than 3 decades in India learning to walk her way towards truth. Gyan talked to me about his stay with Australian aboriginals and the varied things he learnt from them. He shared with me this beautiful poem written by his friend, an Australian aboriginal. It is one of the most beautiful piece I have read.

In Alice Springs it can get that hot
The dogs never stop panting
After a week or more of build up
It might rain

It rained once for two days solid
And in the park on east side
An Aboriginal bloke in ragged clothes
Spent those two days sitting under a tree
Making movements with his arms
As if communicating with nature
He was wet through
Yet he stayed there
Alone in the rain
Minding his business
Not speaking to anyone

The eyes peered through blinds and curtains
From houses along the street
Growing anxious, fearful, insecure
They try to ignore him
But he is there, both days
So conspicuous
In the rain
Not far from the swings
They can’t help notice him
On the way to work and on the way home
In the rain
He sits there

And they are disturbed
Even though they are dry and safe in their comfortable homes
They are fearful
Even though they have hot food on the table
They are squeamish
His freedom, his ease, his being
Comfortable out of doors putting up with the rain
Makes them
Uneasy

Undoing those happy moments in the kitchen
Morning and night
And in the morning again they look out-they hope he is gone
But he’s still there
Undermining
Their enjoyment of breakfast TV
Making them feel guilty
For having a house and money and luxury
They don’t want to feel guilty-they worked hard for it

But he’s still there
Out of doors in the rain
Quietly suggesting
That what they worked for
Is not worth
That much
After all

Neil Murray

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. harshita wadhya permalink
    June 24, 2011 21:12

    Absolutely loved it.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  2. Aditya Vikram permalink
    June 24, 2011 21:56

    lovely!

    Like

  3. June 25, 2011 02:51

    Good point made .. The reason a person would want to remove a slum or an activist work for an NGO is that it makes them uncomfortable. Whether people want it or not, whether they need education or not ..Doesn’t matter .. The so called intellects will work from their AC cars and will see a man on footpath and then write an article about it ..because that made him uneasy, maybe guilty or maybe he felt guilty for not feeling guilty
    Perhaps it is the fear, the fear that you might land up in such a situation one day, that life is temporary, that life is difficult ..That they are so insecure that they will go into depression for not getting a promotion. When they see a guy under hot sun they feel insecure .. They pity on the man but they are pitying on the self that they see for a brief moment in that person

    Like

    • June 25, 2011 17:10

      Agreed.. last line was very beautifully written.. I remember another quote by an aboriginal woman – “If you have come to help me you can go home. But if you see my struggle as part of your own survival, then perhaps we can work together.
      In the 2nd line instead of saying “The reason” should we say “One of the main reasons”

      Like

      • Richie Khandelwal permalink
        September 3, 2011 16:01

        Nice poem. A little change on the quote above btw, it is by Lila watkins and she said “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together”

        Like

        • Richie Khandelwal permalink
          September 3, 2011 16:03

          oops, turns out what you posted also exists. I like the one with liberation better 😛

          Like

  4. June 25, 2011 07:52

    @ Harshita and Aditya – yes it is 🙂 have read it so many times

    Like

  5. amey permalink
    June 29, 2011 18:35

    a very good line: “If you have come to help me you can go home. But if you see my struggle as part of your own survival, then perhaps we can work together.”

    wonderful poem..

    -amey

    Like

  6. August 13, 2012 22:06

    thanks for sharing. amazing.

    Like

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