Half Caste Girl - Judith Wright
Half Caste Girl
Little Josie buried under the bright moon
Is tired of being dead, death lasts too long.
She would like to push death aside, and stand on the hill
And beat with a waddy on the bright moon like a gong
Across the hills, the hills that belong to no people
And so to none are foreign,
Once she climbed high to find the native cherry;
The lithe darkhearted lubra
Who in her beads like blood
Dressed delicately for love
Moves her long hands among the strings of the wind,
Singing the songs of women,
The songs of love and dying.
Against the world’s stone walls she thrusts her hearth – Endless the strength of its beating –
Atom of flesh that cannot move a stone.
She used her love for lever;
But the wall is cunningly made.
Not even the strong break jail.
So she is restless still under her rootwarm cover,
Hearing the noise of living,
Forgetting the pain of dying.
Little Josie buried under the bright sun
Would like to open her eyes and dance in the light.
Who is it had covered the sun and the beautiful moon
With a wallaby skin, and left her alone in the night?
Judith Wright = Australian poet and a worker for Aboriginal rights •
Raised in wealthy pastoral English family in Armidale NSW. •
Graduated University of Sydney in English, Psychology, History
Josie is a half caste Aboriginal girl who has died.
The poem describes Josie’s time in purgatory, as her spirit still kindles within the land •
She has a deep relationship to the land because of her Aboriginal heritage, and therefore belongs. •
Also a poem of not-belonging, as she is stranded in purgatory and wishes to return to the land. •
SYMBOLIC = it is as if the souls of the murdered blacks are in limbo, or the perpetual rootlessness and torment of Purgatory awaiting, in other words, the ‘new recognition, and fresh syntheses’ that can liberate them. For example, Josie in ‘Half-Caste Girl’: is restless still under her rootwarm cover,
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