Kaya to Australia Day 2020
De-civilising ships keep arriving, our shores
no longer secure, nor our culture thriving,
the wedulah (the white man) brings sickness,
death too by pointing his lethal finger.
So it’s outrage I sing this Day of Invading,
Anger I shout at the smooth persuading
of their own to the terra nullius doctrine
and the smug nerve to take and to linger.
Surprise and pride at the enduring
of songlines, of rock art, of language
maturing, of wilga for dance, culture
corrosion resisting, the didj, the singer.
So it’s pride I take this Day of Survival,
ceremony I make to sing and stamp
a revival of a near-lost world of soul
whose force continues, sets my heart to tingle.
Make it too a favourable Day of cautious
Carnival for the culture that’s come
and the culture that’s here, a caucus
of crafts and story-telling all mingling.
So I make joy from blended blessings,
football deftness, hybrid harmony,
cheeky humour, drama stars, open-
ness to future cultures coupling.
- Ted Witham
kaya – G’day
wilga – ochre for ceremony