Poem – Tasmanian Angels

Not many people can relate because not many people know

But that doesn’t change the way I feel.

I miss the Tasmanians.

Yeah that’s right. I miss the Tasmanians, and no

I’m not talking about the Tasmanian devil from Looney Tunes. I’m speaking of

Those descendants of the first people who split off from Australia,

Who split off from south and southeast Asia,

Who split off from the peninsula of Arabia,

Who split off from the far east side of the motherland – Africa.

Those people who had their own brains, their own tongues,

Their own flesh & blood & hearts & lungs,

Who for 60,000 years plus never harmed the outside world –

But history shows us that’s never a guarantee of safety.

Peace treaties broken before the war had been declared.

When Europeans came, no Tasmanian was spared.

It was harvest season. Natives were the starters, the main courses & the desserts.

Gun barrels flared, many despaired,

Fighting the invaders? Luckily some dared,

Like Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener.

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Who? You don’t know? Just goes to show

But to show ain’t enough so I’m gonna lay it low:

20th January 1842, Melbourne, Australia:

Two young men executed in front of 5000 spectators

The first ever executed people in Melbourne.

Crime: Killing 2 ‘white’ whalers, resisting invasion and the barbarism of civilisation.

Born in Tasmania, dragged with 14 others to Australia to be de-educated,

Mutated into model citizens of a country they didn’t belong.

And now they’re dead and gone, life has gone on

And most ‘white’ Australians don’t know or care.

Those who do cling like criminals to the hope of hearing their sentences reduced,

Cling to their ancestral English ways of hating “foreign” names so the young martyrs are now Jack and Bob.

But I? I care, care to call them by their proper names

Not Jack, it’s Tunnerminnerwait. Not Bob, it’s Maulboyheener.

Is that a mouthful? Think of their mouths, filled with the taste of eternal silence well before they reached the grave

Along with every other full-blooded Tasmanian man, woman and child in history.

I care. Because I miss the Tasmanians.

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