Forgotten Australians, memories, poetry

The Crucified #1

Carole May Smith shares a poem written by her deceased brother Christopher Peter Carroll. Chris grew up in homes in three states. He died just before Carole was to meet him after a 15 year separation.

Chris grew up in Largs Bay Cottage Home, SA; St Michael’s Home, Baulkham Hills, NSW; Bridgewater Care and Assessment Centre, WA;  and, Hollywood Children’s Village, Hollywood WA.

Carole writes:

My brother wrote this poem in 2001 not long after the Salvation Army found him for me after some 15 yrs at least apart.

He wrote these words while in rehab in a bout of depression trying to deal with the horrors and terrors inflicted on him, me and our other brother and sister in our childhoods.

Bro passed away in Feb 2004 of a massive heart attack before we had the chance to meet again in person.

These are his story through his own words …

The Crucifed

What are they that we bear them in mind?
Welcome us no!
They pay us no mind.

Here is a question to ponder aloof _
Is Man kind?
Harken to me quickly truth,
for it has nought to do with mankind.

Tales of woe and rusty knights,
To fearful dreams and sleepless nights.

Of things etheral and in silhouette,
Only ethetics,
vain,
slimy
silly and wet.

What will befall me this awful morn?
When will they gather?
and who for me will mourn?

Surely keep my mind and heart
rock steady and able,
So to keep me from murder intent,
of the likes of Cain and Abel.

For fiery arrows at me they have threw,
Forgiven me not,
they pierce me through.

Truly this morning is both dire and grave,
They have conspired together,
and have already dug my grave.

What have I done for this to earn?
If they only knew –
Behold!
When will it end?
For they now have bound me
in this dark dank hold.

This time I was broken,
busted
and kneed,
They never once showed pity,
or tended to my earnest need.

Kicking and bashing me
they thought it light,
Keeping me imprisoned,
they are blinded
and cannot see the Light.

The assaults and insults,
my body torn,
it bears the score,
They slashed and hacked,
laughing and mocking
as they added their score.

Hear the screech of the baleful crow,
How they mocked me,
and stupendously did crow.

It was terrible indeed to pay this fare,
Ignoble and ignorant
they despised
what was honest and fair.

Dear sweet mankind,
who cut and vexed me to the vein,
Dead ears to listen,
all given freely and truly not in vain.

Splintered and shattered
they pummel me to an un-Godly site,
Satanic untold horrors are my plight,
as I now fight what defies sane sight.

Please forgive them Father
and be not cross,
Pagan rituals they rather,
as they hammer me to a cross.

Father keep me true
and in fair stead,
For they dishonour me,
and defy logic instead.

Likened as a dog,
they hung me from a tree
at a place called the skull,
Loathesome men,
their crime is clear,
while cavorting
and drinking wine did scull.

So now here I am,
I beseech Thee
with my voice
and arms out-stretch,
So be it,
I can do no more,
 for I have done my stretch.

I go now to a glory
where everything is majestic
and bright,
I truly forgive them,
for they are slow witted,
dull
and not quite bright.

Dreadful men what have you done?
I will surely mark your crowns.
desire me,
and wake up to be ready
in time to receive
the promised golden crowns.

Come be with ME
and I will let you ascent,
Can you understand ME
or the energy I’ve spent,
all I ask is an oath of accent.

All things must be
and will be
to MY true accord,
Any who defy ME,
I will accordingly sever the cord.

I AM who I AM,
and there is nothing
that I do not know,
If you ask ME properly
and truthfully
I would never say no.

I was and AM
even before time began to flow,
I will let you drink from the waters
that will never cease to flow.

by Christopher 2001

Forgotten Australians, poetry

‘Warrior’s Journey’

Author and counsellor Margaret Spivey lived in Children’s Homes from the age of 18 months to 17 years. ‘Warrior’s Journey’ is Margaret’s powerful poem tracing life in welfare and beyond.

‘Warrior’s Journey’ was published in Beyond the Tobacco Bush, Beyond the Cocoa Bean (2003), and Warrior’s Journey (2003).

Warrior’s Journey

Father dies
mother leaves
sisters taken away.
Helpless, defenceless.
No hand to cling to,
Welfare Property
Ward number 77318
another number, another mouth,
another body, another untouched soul,
another heart to be healed,
another shadow in the dark of night.
She is two years old.
From one dwelling to another she is sent.
Disconnected, her child’s heart broken, the need for love
Unquenched.
A vacuum for her confidence and sense of self;
anxiety and anger her constant companions
she struggles to belong, she doesn’t belong.
Hands shake, body trembles,
cries unheard, muffled under bed covers.
She is ten years old.

She thinks of death to escape the anguish.
She believes she has no right to take up space,
to breathe air.
She believes there will be rejoicing at her passing,
a problem solved.
She releases the genie in the bottle,
life goes on about her,
she closes her eyes and waits.
She is marked. She is spared.
Like the first born of the Israelites, the Angel of Death passes her by.
She is twelve years old.

Tormented by anger, a prisoner of rage.
Her cries for justice, she fights to be heard.
They say, ‘she’s a psychiatric case’
and needs to be medicated.
Silence her voice, dull her mind, and inhibit her strong emotions.
She must endure the rash, the itch, the weight gain, the hand tremors, and the sluggish thoughts.
Now they say ‘she’s boring with no powers of conversation’.
In school she sits, eyes heavy; she drops her head – just for a moment.
She sleeps her days away.
She is fourteen years old

She hears the call of the warrior soul.
She resists sedation; the murder of her spirit.
Pills hurtle across the fence, a cry goes out
‘I won’t do what you want any more!’
Strong male hands force her down, inject her into submission.
They say ‘it’s for her own good and for the good of others’.
She is ‘disturbed’, ‘mad’, emotionally retarded’.
She is fifteen years old.

She is released, pushed out into a world of strangers.
They don’t understand or care about her sorrow.
She must find work, forge relationships, and build a life. There is no help, there is no social net to catch her, and there is no family to
give her connection.
She must find her own way.
She is lost, jobs are transient, and relationships unravel.
Booze is her solace, drugs her respite, madness her rescuer.
The streets her home.
She is seventeen years old.

She is a mother;
frightened, solitary,
how can she care for the infant in her arms?
She needs help, she reaches out,
her children are removed.
She can’t be trusted, she can’t trust herself.
It’s for her own good ‘in the best interest of the children’.
She seeks the comfort of death,
but death rejects her plea.
The ‘Warrior Soul’ calls her to life.
She yearns to be a mother, she craves to do it right,
Her children are ‘restored’,
She is twenty-four years old.

A single mother, living in poverty.
She hears the call of her warrior soul
She needs to dream, she needs to believe,
She needs to hope.
However, she is mad.
Her mind has betrayed her,
what can she anticipate?
The pills, the booze, the violence.
How can she break the will to self-annihilate?
She is determined.
She must find a way.
She is twenty-seven years old.
She treads the road of trials,
She cries out ‘there is no God!’
Lost within her madness,
admitted to the Clinic.
‘What is wrong with me?’ she pleads.
She is thirty-three years old.

The warrior soul is stronger
than the darkness, that binds her.
She heeds its call.
Is there a God? She prays to believe.
She dares for more than mere survival,
she crawls out from within the sewage of her life.
She is thirty-six years old.

Her untaught soul greets the morning.
She discovers she is far more than all her experiences.
More than her illness.
She knows now, in each one of us
there is a gold of great worth.
There is a warrior soul of strength and courage.
Compelled to transform her suffering.
she studies, she learns, she grows,
finds enduring love, personal value.
She connects.
Passes on her hope,
helps others finds their way.
Sometimes death still whispers her name,
however, she grips the hand of the warrior within,
she has learnt to trust.
She has found power and strength within,
She is forty-five years old.

copyright Margaret Spivey 2003

Beyond the Tobacco Bush
Beyond the Cocoa Bean
Warrior’s Journey
Forgotten Australians, poetry

‘Those Long Lost Years’

Graham Evans, who was sent to st Vincent’s Boys Home, Westmead in 1962, has been contributing to this website since it began. Read Graham’s latest song lyrics.

Those Long Lost Years

If I could take you back to times when we were young
All these stories of abuse you hear, have not just begun
It’s been our life time, and no one can really see
Except the abused and my friends, what’s left to be

We’ll we fight for justice, and our equal rights
Because we’re fully pledged ‘Forgotten Australians’ both day and night
And we’re so tired of lying down with these silent tears
But! what do you expect, after all ‘Those Long Lost Years’

It’s been our life time, and no one want’s to see
Not the Churches, the Government’s themselves, nor Society
Well we’re so tired of lying down with these silent tears
But what do you expect after all ‘Those Long Lost Years’

Yah! It’s been our life time, and no one want’s to see
Not the Churches, the Governments themselves, nor Society
Well! we’re not going to lye down no more, we’re going to stand and fight for our cause
But what! do you expect, after all ‘Those Long Lost Years’
And what do you expect, after all ‘Those Long Lost Years’.

art, Forgotten Australians, painting, poetry

‘A Severed Life’

by Rachael Romero (guest author) on 8 June, 2011

Rachael Romero, who was in the The Pines, the Convent of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Plympton, South Australia, shares her drawing A Severed Life.

Rachael writes about her art work:

Those responsible for our incarceration were looking in the mirror.
How many lives cauterized?
How many hands maimed?
Girls not protected but stained by unwarranted and self-righteous religious and civil presumption of guilt.
Their persecuters were looking in the mirror.

‘Magdalene Laundry Convent of Good Shepherd Crown’ by Rachael Romero copyright 2011
Forgotten Australians, poetry

‘Pines Indoctrination’

by Rachael Romero (guest author) on 2 May, 2011

In 1971, Rachael Romero, soon after her release from The Pines (Sisters of the Good Shepherd Convent), Plympton, SA, wrote a poem about how it felt to be indoctrinated.

Of Pine Indoctrination, copyright Rachael Romero

Of Pines Indoctrination

A tattooed mind
with fear and cold
and logic warped
to please false aims

a cringing heart
a slaughtered soul
a bleeding confiscated mind

Deadened, buried lay my will
Hushed with fear and violent threat
Unwanted, stifled, broken, ill
stumbling on a stormy deck.

copyright Rachael Romero

Forgotten Australians, memories, poetry

One Man

by Barbara Lane (guest author) on 16 April, 2011

Barbara spent time as a child in Opal House, Opal Joyce Wilding Home, Wilson Youth Hospital, Vaughan House, The Haven and at Wolston Park Hospital (Osler House) between the years 1970 and 1979. Barbara is now the co-ordinator of the support group Now Remembered Australians Inc. In her poem One Man, Barbara pays tribute to Fr. Wally Dethlefs who helped to establish The Justice for Juveniles Group, previously known as the Wilson Protest Group. Wally also set up one of the first refuges for youth in Brisbane.

One Man

When I was young and in a place
Where no one seemed to care,
One man fought on my behalf
Though others would not dare.

I’d been told I had no rights
For I was “just a kid”,
But one man fought on my behalf
And showed me that I did.

They took away my childhood,
My freedom and the sky,
But one man fought on my behalf
When others would not try.

They locked me up in Wilson
But now I have the key
For one man fought on my behalf:
His name is Wally D.

documents, Forgotten Australians, memories, poetry

‘Escape Attempt’ 2

by Rachael Romero (guest author) on 13 April, 2011

Rachael Romero, who was in The Pines (Convent of the Good Shepherd, Plympton) shares one of her poems:
Rachael explains:

This was written right after I left the Pines, Convent of the Good Shepherd. My friend Agi and I decided to feign a religious calling so we could “do rosary” in the chapel before dinner. We had our eyes on a high window that was not barred. To escape through it was a dream, but we persisted for weeks before abandoning the idea.

Furtive, stealthy in the gloom The noise and cracks of a silent room Every step an inch to free life Every inch a step to new strife Fear, regret, anticipation Throbbing, pulsing, circulation. “The window’s high, the glass is thick. All I need’s a heavy brick.” “But what of noise? – Someone will hear They’ll keep us here another year” “Agi come back it is too late I hear a key at the staircase gate Kneel down, kneel down, make out to pray They may not even come this way Our chance has gone, perhaps it’s best Let’s go back, sit with the rest I had no-where to go anyway Trust “Sour Grapes” to cause delay”  copyright Rachel Romero
Escape Attempt poem

Escape Attempt

Furtive, stealthy in the gloom
The noise and cracks of a silent room
Every step an inch to free life
Every inch a step to new strife
Fear, regret, anticipation
Throbbing, pulsing, circulation.
“The window’s high, the glass is thick.
All I need’s a heavy brick.”
“But what of noise? – Someone will hear
They’ll keep us here another year”
“Agi come back it is too late
I hear a key at the staircase gate
Kneel down, kneel down, make out to pray
They may not even come this way
Our chance has gone, perhaps it’s best
Let’s go back, sit with the rest
I had no-where to go anyway
Trust “Sour Grapes” to cause delay”

copyright Rachel Romero