Last year I entered a sonnet competition hosted by the Shakespeare Club of WA as part of the 400 birthday celebrations of William Shakespeare. Today I received ‘Sonnets on Western Australia’ in the mail. My poem, ‘Sonnet for a Native Girl, 1974’ is on page 13.
I wrote the original version of this poem a few years ago now. Back then it was entered into the Talus Prize for poetry and was commended. Over time, and for last years competition, this sonnet has changed considerably. I did not find sonnets easy to write in the early days of my studies, and still don’t- but am somewhat better for the practise. It is simply about an early childhood memory I have of seeing a small Indigenous girl with her new adoptive family at our church in Mt Lawley. I had never seen a child so miserable. She was the last in the line of children following her new parents back to their car when the service was over, and everyone was staring at her. I still remember the comments, ‘Look there! A little native girl.’ ‘What a wonderful Christian family, saving that poor child from savagery.’ and ‘It costs so much to raise a child, they are very good to take in one that isn’t their own.’ Now days we know about the Stolen Generation, but back then I really didn’t understand. Being small myself, I only saw a very lost girl, and I hope she found a way home, if not in her heart at least.
Thank you to the Shakespeare Club of WA for publishing my poem 🙂
Thanks for reading 🙂