A Child Wife

Kath Walker, Aboriginal Poet

from the National Portrait Gallery

Portrait by Clif Peir

A Poem written by Kath Walker aka Oodgeroo Noonuccal
First published 1966.

A Child Wife

They gave me to an old man,
Joyless and old,
Life’s smile of promise
So soon to frown.
Inside his gunya
My childhood over,
I must sit for ever,
And the tears fall down.

It was love I longed for,
Young love like mine,
It was Dunwa wanted me,
The gay and brown.
Oh, old laws that tether me!
Oh, long years awaiting me!
And the grief comes over me,
And the tears fall down.

Happy the small birds
Mating and nesting,
Shrilling their gladness
No grief may drown.
But an old man’s gunya
Is my life for ever,
And I think of Dunwa,
And the tears fall down.

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