Many Happy Returns: 26/1/1938 by Tim Thorne

A carriage-load of Kooris* was brought in
from the reserve at Menindee.
They were taken straight from the train and locked
in the Redfern police barracks stable,
guarded by dogs until the 26th.

Then they emerged, ready to play their part.
Wearing leaves, they were chased along the beach
by people dressed as British soldiers,
carrying bayonets. The organisers, it seemed,
hadn’t needed to bring these people in specially
nor lock and guard them like a surprise gift.

Amateur historical and theatrical
society members just love
that sort of thing. Party games and dressing up
are marks of a civilised culture:
playhouse or drawing room, parliament or church.

After sharing a float in the parade
like jolly good fellows, the Kooris were sent back
next day to their tin sheds by the Darling.

*Kooris are one of Australia’s Indigenous peoples.

From: https://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/thorne-tim/poems/many-happy-returns-2611938-0778054

Date: 2004

By: Tim Thorne (1944- )

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