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Mabo home
The past
'The Past'

by Oodgeroo Noonuccal

Let no one say the past is dead.
The past is all about us and within.
Haunted by tribal memories, I know
This little now, this accidental present
Is not the all of me, whose long making
Is so much of the past.

Tonight here in suburbia as I sit
In easy chair before electric heater,
Warmed by the red glow, I fall into dream:
I am away
At the camp fire in the bush, among
My own people, sitting on the ground,
No walls around me,
The stars over me,
The tall surrounding trees that stir in the wind
Making their own music,
Soft cries of the night coming to us, there
Where we are one with all old Nature's lives
Known and unknown,
In scenes where we belong but have now forsaken.
Deep chair and electric radiator
Are but since yesterday,
But a thousand camp fires in the forest
Are in my blood.
Let none tell me the past is wholly gone.
Now is so small a part of time, so small a part
Of all the race years that have moulded me.
Keywords: cultural preservation, culture, language, lyrics, Noonuccal, Oodgeroo

Noonuccal, Oodgeroo, Cochrane, Cathie, University of Queensland Press, p 159.
Author: Strelein, Lisa
Source: Noonuccal, Oodgeroo