Poem written and spoken by Greg Dodge
Inspired by Rupert McCalls “Green and Gold Malaria1“
The hour would soon arrive when I could no longer ignore the pain.
I was obviously hurting, so I went to visit Doctor Lane.
This regular appointment would adjudicate my fate.
I walked into his room and I gave it to him straight:
“Doc, I wonder if you might explain this pain of mine,
I get heart fluctuations and shivers down my spine.
From there, deep in my brain, my head begins to pump.
I’ve checked all over my body and I can’t see any unusual lump.
Then there is one symptom that any human can fear –
It’s a frog in my throat, and the crying of a tear”.
Well, the Doc scratched his noggin2and gave me a serious frown.
That look in his eye told me that I could be on my way down.
“Come on Doc, what is it? My heart is hurting, and I’m so full of pain.
Give it to me frankly, don’t hold back, it’s hurting me once again?”
‘I’m unsure,’ he mumbled, ‘but let me try to understand more if I may,
This pain seems to visit annually, on what your mob call Invasion Day3“
He continues, “am I right in thinking this may explain your painful condition?”
I thought for one quick second, yep, I gave him my position.
“I get it when I’m talking with my brothers from the Yuggera4clan,
And I get it at corroboree5kicking up the red sand.
I get it when I speak to whitey’s the truth about our history.
And I get it when we share our culture, and help unlock Aboriginal mystery.
I got it in ‘92 when Mabo fought and broke the British mold6.
I got it in 2000 when Cathy Freeman7won the gold.
I got it back in ‘97 when the U.N published the “Bringing them home” report8.
I got it back when the Anangu closed the Uluru climb9as a last resort.
Or when we watch a film, or hear her sing, our very own Jessica Mauboy12.
I get it when our mob meets each July at NAIDOC Day13.
I get it reading Bruce Pascoe’s “Dark Emu”14and what he’s got to say’”.
“So all I want to know Doc Lane am I gonna die?”
He smiled so wide and looked me directly in the eye.
He fiddled with his stethoscope and placed it out of reach.
He wiped away a tear, then he gave me his passionate speech.
“For more than 65,000 years15your ancestors have been free to share this land.
Your connection to country, from west to east, and across the hot desert sand.
True ancient custodians of a land so tranquil and sometimes harsh.
to Torres Strait islands18and the marsh..
From your Dreamtime stories19, your art and thriving off the earth.
It’s where you’ve come from, stand proud to be Aboriginal as your right at birth.
So the pain you carry is your pride in where and who you actually are for sure.
Australianitus is the pain you carry, deep disconnection to country, and we must come together – to find the cure”
Greg Dodge – (c) 2020
Listen to the Poem, Australianitus here
- Poem – Green and Gold Malaria by Rupert McCall: https://portal.clubrunner.ca/9826/stories/green-and-gold-malaria
- What is a Noggin?: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/noggin
- What is Invasion Day?: https://www.commonground.org.au/learn/australia-day
- Who are the Yuggera Clan?: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jagera_people
- What is a Corroboree?: https://www.aboriginalart.com.au/didgeridoo/ceremony.html
- What was the Mabo Case about?: https://aiatsis.gov.au/explore/mabo-case
- Who is Cathy Freeman?: https://www.cathyfreemanfoundation.org.au/about-cathy-freeman
- What was the Bringing Home Report?: https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/bringing-them-home-report-1997
- Closing the Uluru Climb: https://parksaustralia.gov.au/uluru/discover/culture/uluru-climb/
- Who is Danza Baker?: https://www.australianoftheyear.org.au/recipients/danzal-baker/2069/
- Who is Baker Boy?: https://www.bakerboyofficial.com/
- Who is Jessica Mauboy?: https://www.jessicamauboy.com.au/
- What is NAIDOC?: https://www.naidoc.org.au/
- What is Dark Emu?: https://www.magabala.com/products/dark-emu
- Why 65,000 years?: https://www.nma.gov.au/defining-moments/resources/evidence-of-first-peoples#:~:text=Aboriginal%20people%20are%20known%20to,came%20to%20be%20in%20Australia
- Where is Uluru?: https://northernterritory.com/uluru-and-surrounds/destinations/uluru
- Where is Arnhem Land?: https://northernterritory.com/arnhem-land/region-guide
- Where is the Torres Strait Islands?: https://www.tsra.gov.au/the-torres-strait
- What are Dreamtime Stories?: https://dreamtime.net.au/dreaming/story-list/