Three poems from the Centre

1 Comment
The second and third poems are anonymous.


Please let him be a bird in this land
To Daggie Sheltens, detainee in Baxter for seven years

The sea is a boat on his dream
The darkness at the shore embraces
Its journey to a new land
His visa is only a wave without a name.

Baxter, desert of long sentences
Locked up his youth
Now his eyes are broken wings
Now his heart is a cloud in a cage at the detention centre.

He knew where he was in that white room
He crashed his dream with a native tree in Glenside's hospital

His mind is a wounded hope for all within the wire desert
Within the white room

His mind is a bird without air or sky to fly

Please let him be a bird in this land


Woomera burns
in the flames
he sees the ribs of the long ships
that bear the names
of all the seas he crossed.
He hears the horns
that laud his deeds.
Men come
with hose and batons.


Around the fence
they're burning off.
A robin,
dusty tail and crimson breast,
picks at the ashes.
a child looks on.
Over the wire
flies the robin,
alights upon a soft, green bush.
Towards the bush
rushes the child
and, thwarted by the wire,
as if her life were ending.
Her mother also screams,
running forward,
followed by a guard.
With arms stretched out,
the child runs
towards her mother,
past her mother,
to the turnkey
who alone
can let her fly
beyond the wire.



submit a comment

Existing comments

It is a sad comment on our hard hearts!
Theo Dopheide | 24 August 2006


Subscribe for more stories like this.

Free sign-up