I try to forgive
the country of my birth
Of my early years
I was grown, with family,
When we accepted
that there were other people.
Other colours. Other races.
That we lived among them.
I can never accept
That the first act of my new country was
to exclude them.
There were people here when we came
We, my people, my fathers, my forebears,
Women, men. Like us.
As this century moves on I come to know,
How different I have become
My country’s past is not now
one which I am proud to know
There was another country.
I knew it not
I was taught its history long
I knew it better than my own.
Today, I read history of my own
That we fought that country’s wars
Our young men died for them.
And that we gloried in that obeisance
That unwillingness to be ourselves
I cannot understand, I cannot forgive
Those who taught me thus
But I am proud. I am proud of those young men
of courage, of a depth so often called on.
And the vast expanse of green and brown.
Its people all, just as strong,
as those young men.
Yet still today. I seek,
To find those we ask to lead ,
touching with the same knuckle
as did my fathers and father forebears.
This I cannot understand.