19 Years

by | Sep 1, 2020

Nineteen years, nineteen lies

nineteen lockups where justice dies

Nineteen children dragged away

by nineteen others, one fine day.


Nineteen denials turn your head

nineteen bodies on tracks found dead.

Nineteen Police cars around the bend

just in case you’re with a friend.


Nineteen grave sites, nineteen mothers

burying daughters, sons and brothers.

Nineteen arrests between dusk and dawn

nineteen handcuffs on the lawn.


Nineteen songs, nineteen dances,

from far horizons come nineteen glances.

Nineteen smells of dust and sand,

nineteen thousand years on land.


Nineteen schemes, nineteen scholars,

proposing settlements with dollars.

Nineteen jail cells filled with kids,

nineteen reasons to bang on lids.


Nineteen others, granted bail,

nineteen brothers back in jail.

Nineteen different ways of searching,

nineteen tracks with trackers working.


Nineteen shoes shined, nineteen masters,

nineteen sets of chains on rafters.

Nineteen times and nothing found,

nineteen ways to get around.


Nineteen guards who block the entrance,

nineteen years with reduced sentence.

Nineteen verses for the nation

sung for moral appropriation.


Nineteen treaties, nineteen vows,

nineteen whys and nineteen hows.

Nineteen ways of being told,

nineteen dollars made to look like gold.


Nineteen teachers read from a book

about a man, a man named Cook.

Nineteen denials and nineteen more,

nineteen times dragged to the floor.


Nineteen women cry tears of rage,

for nineteen children half their age.

Nineteen races with the dogs,

nineteen racist ideologues.


Nineteen colours in our skin,

nineteen angles to shine light in.

Nineteen failings from Commissions past,

nineteen changes from the last.


Nineteen fish caught with spear,

nineteen meal times spread with cheer.

Nineteen students graduate,

no time to waste or vacillate.


Nineteen stars, to render mysteries,

nineteen dream time tribal histories.

Nineteen ways to till the land,

nineteen ways to understand.


Nineteen leaders, nineteen voices,

laying bare the nineteen choices.

Nineteen times caught on tape,

theft of food the taste of grape.


Nineteen more who walk on by,

the grapes in season are worth a try.

Nineteen eyes preventing trouble,

watching from inside their bubble.


Nineteen lists of nineteen streets,

nineteen cops mark out their beats.

Nineteen frisks of nineteen pockets,

nineteen pills with nineteen dockets.


Nineteen protests beaten back,

nineteen arrests to keep us all on track.

Nineteen lawyers work through the night,

nineteen sticks of dynamite.


Nineteen reasons to sit and learn,

nineteen ways to make country burn.

Nineteen berries, nineteen plants,

cook them, eat them, sing and dance.


Nineteen elders state their position,

nineteen points in their petition.

Nineteen beds, turned away

neatly turned for another’s stay.


Nineteen bodies in the loam,

rest in their ancestral home.

Nineteen tongues, daily spoken

raising spirits never broken.


Nineteen days of dream time sharing

nineteen ways to show the caring

Nineteen seasons on land and sea,

nineteen steps between you and me.


© copyright – Stephen Newman 2020