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OLD BOTANY BAY by Dame Mary Gilmore

I’m old

Botany Bay;

stiff in the joints,

little to say.

I am he

who paved the way,

that you might walk

At your ease today;

I was the conscript

sent to hell

to make in the desert

the living well;

I bore the heat,

I blazed the track-

furrowed and bloody

upon my back.

I split the rock;

I felled the tree;

the nation was-

because of me!

Old Botany Bay

taking the sun

from day to day …

shame on the mouth

that would deny

the knotted hands

that set us high!

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