The Aborigines

by R. Paul Craig

October 6, 2003



We all
remain uneasy
about a stain
on our historic corridors
that will not be washed away,
that will not be washed clean.

Is it possible
that my Irish forebears
preferred genocide?
It's a gruff conversation,
in every heartbreaking
and forthright way.

Regurgitate our
standard line,
attack our own ellipses
and distortions, say
we are fractious
and ill-tempered?

Like stolen generations
the Aborigines are not
going to wither away,
become one with the mountain
or the flowers on the plain.

My Irish forebears
peacefully developed,
enveloped an egalitarian society
in a sparsely populated wilderness.


So many murdered,
on that long frontier,
a saga of dispossession.


We are not the murderers.
Massacres were far rarer than we think.
Anonymous black people
(anonymous to whom?)
were not numerically deposited.
The government wasn't always
at their children's throats.

hanging on to
the mercy of statistics.


What kind of negotiations
can there be
when large numbers
of the "well-armed"
do battle with large numbers
of the "ill-equipped?"


I went to purchase
a little plot
of land near Eden,
just inland from Two-fold Bay.

My land overlooks
Blackfellas Point,
an Aboriginal campsite.

In the 1840's
everyone worked together,
the first white settlers
had a mountain
and a main street
named after them.

But what if you
gave birth to
a black daughter?
What if your
Aboriginal friend
became part of a midnight burial?

What is eased
from history
when a shared
humanity is
uncomfortable, doesn't
fit in with the
prevailing ethos?

My Eden frontier
was bloody;
the settlers
were perpetrators.


Change may be
painfully, pitably slow.
An alternative history
may be needed.

A calm force,
a depth of vision
can occur.

No, redemption,
is what is being played-out.

I long
to celebrate
my own

I have
a grand desire
to claim my

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R. Paul Craig is an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at San Jacinto College in Houston, Texas. Craig's poetry has been published in small journals or on-line journals, such as The 2River View and Red River Review. He lives in Friendswood, Texas, with his wife and two children.

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Published October 6, 2003
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