By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept:
when we remembered Zion.
2 As for our harps we hung them up:
upon the trees that are in that land.
3 For there those who led us away captive required of us a song:
and those who had despoiled us demanded mirth, saying, 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion."
How can I sing the Lord's song in a strange land?
from Baxter in 2005
I do not know
what will happen after I die.
I do not want to know.
But I would like the Potter to make a whistle
from the clay of my throat.
May this whistle fall into the hands
of a cheeky and naughty child
and the child to blow hard on the whistle continuously
with the suppressed and silent air of his lungs
and disrupt the sleep
of those who seem dead
to my cries.
Baxter detention centre 2005
This poem, written by an asylum seeker detained
in Villawood, was read out in Hyde Park, and also at the Canberra
protest, for World Refugee Day 2002.
If one person dies,
there is always one who will bury them.
If a bird falls from the sky,
there is one who will mend its broken wing.
If a building collapses,
Someone will dig to rescue survivors.
After the deluge,
The ones who are left will search for loved ones.
There are still just consciences.
We are the dying,
just barely breathing
We are the birds,
hearts pierced by the arrow of faith
We cry out from beneath
the rubble of humanity
Washed up by the flood to this shore
We are innocents who have kissed
the noose of Australian Democracy
We were the fan to the political fire,
who now find ourselves in the flames.
We who believed in the dream of freedom,
are stuck fast in a quagmire of prejudice.
You are the only hope after God
And you are the light in the
darkness of Australian democracy
You are the ones who are left
We hear the voice of conscience though your mouths
On behalf of the prisoners and detainees, thank you
We appreciate you dearly.
I wish my pen could express the appreciation,
but there are no words one can find
for the true feelings of human beings.