1800 StoneRidge Street Los Angeles CA 91000 16th March 2011 Mrs Oodgeroo Noonuccal Australia poet centre 344 Western Lane Sydney 2212 Dear Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, all your poems are very descriptive, inspirational and portray emotion skilfully with merely the use of words. I write to comment on one of my favourite, your poem of We are going. I believe this poem is extremely moving and communicates a clear message of change of environment as you and your people have been deprived of all things by the Europeans.
The many techniques you utilized contributes immensely to create the unhappy feeling towards the change. Your poem is written like a recount as it gives us a sense of happening now. Being written in present continuous tense, it emphasises that your people are still being marginalized today. “Subdued and silent” in the first stanza, is an alliteration in the first stanza which significantly accentuates the melancholy mood. This mood clearly identifies your position as unhappy and unwilling for the change.
Your well thought out use of exclusive language gives an effect of difference in the white community and your people. It conveys their disrespect for your race and disregard for your culture. The insults that you have provided are very insightful as they speak the truth of the Europeans and their life. A simile of “white men hurry about like ants” underpins the fact that the Europeans rush about meaninglessly while they could be helping others or your people build on a more suitable lifestyle. The other effective insult, I believe, is a very substantial one.
It moreover supports the contempt towards your people. “Rubbish May be tipped here”, “covers half the traces of the Bora ring”. The connotation of rubbish is something insignificant. Hence a mocking sense is created when the rubbish covers half of an important site the Bora ground. What the white community seems to be communicating is that they know the land belongs to your people. But they are sabotaging it on purpose. This being truly offensive therefore this is a very strong quote in your poem certainly conveying their disrespect.
All your poems portray change of the way you and your people live and how you find it hard to adapt due to the discrimination. The taking of your land is very unthoughtful of the Europeans and I believe that something should be done about this. Change has been a big obstacle for you and your people. In your poem, we are going, there are reminiscing of old days which very clearly conveys your want to be back in time. Use of the adjective ‘old’ in “old ceremonies”, “old ways” and “old Bora ring” suggest this reminiscing and giving off an essence of ownership of the old things.
Change is purely communicated later on when you have repeated “gone”. This word ring in our mind every time we read of it and hence the numerous times it appears seem to represent the numerous things that are gone, taken away by the Europeans. “The eagles are gone”, “the shrubs are gone”, the corroborree is gone”. Sympathy is created there as they have deprived you of so many things leading to a very unhappy change in environment around you. Although the effectiveness of your poem in conveying changes, there are things that could be changed. Your quote “gone now and scattered” contradicts each other.
When something is gone, it has disappeared therefore no longer scattered. I believe that without scattered, this would become stronger in stating that it is truly gone. Near the start, you mentioned the Rubbish being tipped in the Bora ground. Truly, the insult is strong but maybe the Europeans don’t know this is actually the Bora ground. Therefore, not actually mocking your people. Never the less, you have delivered an inspiring poem which reflects your personal feelings. May your spirits be alive forever in a more happier environment. Regards
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