Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011

Hearing Without Listening: Uluru and the Pitjantjatjara Aborigines

by Gabrielle Lockwood

You found us, but we didn't ask to be found,
For you arrived, but we were here first,
And you saw us, but you didn't observe us,
You therefore acknowledged us, but you didn't learn from us.
You heard us, but you didn't listen to us,
And you spoke to us, but not in our language,
You tried to teach us, but your ways,
So you touched our land, but you didn't feel it.
Consequently you took without really knowing what you were taking,
And you gave back, but with conditions.
Our history is your profit,
Our presence your challenge,
And our future lies in your hands as the consequence of your actions.

Added: 03.04.2011

Judges' comments on this poem


Very powerful, with all the contradictions of "touching without feeling" etc