A Song of Hope by Kath Walker
My teacher told me, when I was little, I took everything for granted and never thought anything of it, that, at a time in every person's life, they'll look back and reflect upon their choices. She said some people regret their decisions, what they've done with their lives as well and how they've influenced others, and so they try to quickly change, but changing is difficult and it takes time, so just take it step by step. She said that to one of my friends who was always in trouble and bullying people. I was six when I heard this, and I couldn't stop laughing. I think now and realise I probably made her quite mad actually. However, when I read this poem, I noticed the similarities between the poem and what my teacher had said. A Song of Hope was written to express racism in Australia and how much it affects people. It was published by Kath Walker, an aboriginal Australian who's more commonly known as Oodgeroo.
Look up, my people,
The dawn is breaking
The world is waking
To a bright new day
When none defame us
No restriction tame us
Nor colour shame us
Nor sneer dismay.
Now brood no more
On the years behind you
The hope assigned you
Shall the past replace
When a juster justice
Grown wise and stronger
Points the bone no longer
At a darker race.
So long we waited
Bound and frustrated
Till hate be hated
And caste deposed
Now light shall guide us
No goal denied us
And all doors open
That long were closed.
See plain the promise
Night's nearly over
And though long the climb
New rights will greet us
New mateship meet us
And joy complete us
In our new Dream Time.
To our fathers' father
The paid, the sorrow;
To our children's children
The glad tomorrow.
A Song Of Hope. The name in itself gives you a fairly clear idea
of the poem; however, it doesn't give away everything. It lets
you know that the text is to give hope, but nothing about a new
beginning after the racial tension between the natives and white
settlers and it hides that it's directed at Aboriginals. It's
very well-worded and powerful and bluntly states the faults and
flaws of white Australians. I don't know for certain, but I think
someone who doesn't share the same viewpoints as Oogeroo, would
feel indirectly confronted. Walker wants you to think about your
actions before your act and your words before you speak. She
wants you to feel, bad, in a way, but I think she also wants you
to feel sad and then, about half-way through, she tries to lift
your spirit and say: "Well, you can't change the past, so let's
work hard towards a tomorrow without racism."
During A Song of Hope, certain lines especially caught my attention, either because I didn't get them and so I tried to grasp an understanding of them, or simply because I liked they were written. For example: Till the hate be hated. I really loved this line. At first, it didn't make any sense but then I realized it meant: until the hate towards black is hated by us. Another example is here, in line 3: The world is waking. This is actually when I started paying attention to what I was reading. When I first saw the poem, I just scrolled down and almost closed the tab before I read this line. At that point, it made me wake up, and keep reading.
Oodgeroo's Song of Hope has being set out in the structure of a well-written ballad. She uses many poetic terms such as rhyme at the end of most lines and imagery. The rhyme of each line is used to better create rhythm and flow throughout the poem so the reader doesn't become too confused. Imagery, like most poems, is done to paint a richer and more vivid picture. Her poetics devices are very inspiring and create a deep on impact on the reader.
Overall, A Song of Hope tells the story of a bright new day where racism lives no longer and Aboriginals are accepted and allowed their rights among our society. Kath Walker demonstrates a vast understanding of human's feelings and emotions. It's also evident that she can easily connect with her people and their wishes. She uses a huge vocabulary and carefully words each line as to leave a long lasting impression. Thank-you very much for listening.