Friday, May 8, 2009

Week 9, 2009

by Sherryl Clark

Which two? Can you
name them, tell me
who they are?
Do they live together,
or are they at
each other’s throats?
This world, so bent on
assimilation, so vocal
about fitting in,
wants one tribe,
one way of living.
Drums beat, words spin,
you climb into an aeroplane
and flash across
a web of countries,
flying over people
you never see.
Try this – live with
the other tribe
without knowing their language,
their customs, their version
of courtesy.
See how well they treat you.
See how well
you treat them.

First published in Trust Me! (Ford Street, 2008)

Sherryl says: The idea for this poem came from hearing someone complain about people in Australia not speaking English and not ‘fitting in’. I remembered when I first traveled overseas what a confronting experience it was to be in a country where English wasn’t spoken – you suddenly understand something of what it must be like for new immigrants here!

Sherryl Clark has more than 34 children’s and YA books in print, including her verse novel, Sixth Grade Style Queen (Not!), a CBCA Honour Book. Her latest book is Tracey Binns is Lost (UQP). Her website is at

Write your own poem: Is there something you feel very strongly about? The environment? War? Famine? Try a political poem – but don’t preach. Instead, use imagery and ideas to get your readers thinking.

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