Saying Sorry

First published Green Left Weekly 2001.

You peer insensate from the parapet
like some myopic gargoyle
one eye blinded by the future
the other averted from the past.
And from your twisted spout- regret.
Deep and sincere, no doubt:
but, not sorrow: yet.
Gabbling grotesque glyph
distorting the story of settlement
disguising deeds malign
by asserting good intent.
Denying invasion of this continent.
The small steps of the minuet
meant to reconcile at last
what happened in the past.
Practical reconciliation
must surely be enough
to end the hate
and to placate
the conscience of the nation,
for all the land,
lives and children taken.
And as such
you don’t ask much
just that they demonstrate
their mutual obligation.