Winner of the 2013 Writer's Competition:
Sameside, written by Eli Pietens, East Lismore
This green jewel, north of the south and south of north
The longitudinal apex of a pregnant continent
A place where many are born and more come to be reborn
The first to receive the sun's touch in the dawn.
Lessons taught aeons ago need to be learned
Words from a thousand years ago need to be heard
Our world is in flux and yet we resist the change
Change that would see us in the end remain the same and regain
Thanks enough cannot be given to the elders of the old
Who resided here with wisdom deep in the stories that they told
Prophet prophit profit I'll follow you no more
Until you can show me that you will not sacrifice your sons, your daughters.
Let us bloom, let us grow, let us think, let us know
That the answer lies deep beneath the skin, inside us
At the core of our being at the bones of who we are
The heart that beats wildly, not the wound, nor the scar
Don't stain me, sustain me, I don't want to leave my mark upon the world
Insane is exponential growth or another election
Consume as fast as a furnace blast
Slow down some, it's a journey, not a race to get further from the past.
I love this place and it loves me
From the ragged ranges to the sanguine sea
Let's put this zupzel in a natural order
Not for us, not for me, but for our sons, for our daughters.
I wrote this poem with the thought of the north coast, my home, on my mind. I am a proud Aboriginal person and this heritage gives me a long, tangible connection to the land, both in body and spirit. This is not my country traditionally however this does not lessen the respect I have for it and I believe this should be the same for all people who have come from different lands, whether from this country originally or from continents afar.
My eyes see the intense beauty this place possesses. My ears hear the conversations of the country and the folks who live here. I am privileged to live with the country and among the people of the north coast.
My concern for the future is the relationship we have with the land, this is no doubt shared by many people of our area. Farmers and rural folk are just as concerned as environmentalists and conservationists when it comes to the health of the land. Both understand that without it we are no more. We need it. It does not need us.
I often find that in conversation people love the same thing (in this case the country) yet often come to disagreement in regards to how it is cared for. Funny. If we get to the core of meaning we stand on the same side.
The poem I wrote speaks of pregnancy and children. This is because I have children who are proud to be north coasters and Aboriginal. I want my culture to be taken seriously by the people who are given the responsibility to make decisions for the future, for it is not our future it is our children's.
I want decisions regardless of what they are considering to be made with the thought 'How will this affect my great great grandchildren? What will they think of me? Their answers should be heard above that of the profit maker that does not consider further than the end of the financial year.
40000 years and likely more – That's sustainability. I think those old fellas had something right.
It's about time we listened.