Our hands



Selected poems



Our hands

The church is an old man with heavy robes
Heavy lidded, head bowed
We are twisting, clutching, writhing
Pointing fingers, fists stamping tables or shaking in fury
But the old man is deaf and blind and besides
His head is low
And he sits within a prison cell

In time (strange hope from here)
Our rage and bodies soften
And a bell is heard again

Our hands find the gentle reality of our own skin
Another's warm palm and a voice that says it's okay to mourn

This is compassion
The pain of being human

— Clare Locke


we are sorry

there will come a time
when we bring these young ones
home from oblivion
name them
declare their age and their home of birth
admire and respect them
for their courage in their plight

if only we had the national imagination
and the heart
to do it now

for it will come to pass
a leader stands and exclaims
we are sorry for those who suffered
from our pacific solution
from their forced stay on Manus
for the damage done on Nauru
we are sorry about the temporary protection visa
for the policy of no visa
for the tough and mean treatment at our hands
in your moment of most desperate plight.

and the people now scarred
by loss of homelands
and the dash of hope they held

will look up
and struggle on

— Colleen Keating


Topic tags: Clare Locke, Colleen Keating, poetry, clergy sexual abuse, royal commission, Manus Island, Nauru



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Existing comments

We are sorry beautifully written strong impact thanks

Shirl Breen | 20 March 2019  

I am truly sorry and beg forgiveness

Jill Hutt | 20 March 2019  

Very moving & so true, thank you

Margaret O’Donoghue | 23 March 2019  

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