Sydney

My mind wandered on the hillsides
above those english fields
the smell of hay the prick of gorse
the meanings clear to me
the sun was never setting
twilight bestrode the day
and the feelings i was feeling
would never go away.

this was my blessed england
this is where i was born
this england now forgotten
while i live on fatal shores.

i stole a half a sixpence
i needed it for bread
then i was here transported
and am the walking dead.

i am now here in australia
the convict nation found
when ships do cease their sailing
and when they run aground.

its not easy in this foreign land
its hot and dry and hard
but the soldiers here amongst us
sell us rum and whisky jars.

for its too late to make conscience
a real matter in the day
one drink one drink one drink of rum
and my dreams they float away.

it was magical at landing
after four months on those seas
we could not walk in a straight line
with our sea full wobbled knees.

we hunkered down in sydney
we were sent out straight to work
we lived in a small compound
with dry biscuits as our perk.

we stitched and sewed rough garments
we worked with fingers raw
we worked and worked and worked
till we couldn't work no more.

our home was called the factory
we never got outside
we never saw that sydney
a distant twenty miles.

i've told it like it was then
i'll tell it to the world
about that female factory
and all us factory girls.

by David Keig

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