This 14-liner may be over-compressed. You probably need to know that I spent my childhood in Innisfail in North Queensland, in an area that was settled in the 1870s after ‘punitive expeditions’ ‘dispersed’ the Mamu people who had lived there for tens of thousands of years.
November Verse 10: Mentioning the war
You said, ‘There’s no one on the planet
whose childhood was not touched by war
and if tomorrow we should ban it
we’d still need centuries or more
to rid our minds of its infection:
domestic violence, grief, abjection,
powerlessness, hate and dread.
Our silence gels it all,’ you said.
‘Not so,’ I thought. ‘For generations
my farming forebears bore no arms.
My early life knew no alarms,
the War had been in distant nations.’
Yet no one spoke, no one could face
the way we came to own that place.