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The Vine That Will Not Die.

Here’s to the vine that will not die.
Here’s to its root, branch and leaf.
Here’s to its tendrils of hope.

Here’s to Gurindgi strike at Wave Hill Station,
Here’s to their spokesman, Vincent Lingiari:
We want to live on our land, our way.

Here’s to Eddie Mabo’s Murry Island landmarks.
Here’s to his heritage, ownership and words:
This land belongs to me, not the Crown.

Here’s to the justice of native title.
Here’s to the end of land-stealing fiction.
Here’s to the end of terra nullius, nobody’s land.

Here’s to the descendants of the Colonial Wars.
Here’s to those of the Stolen Generation.
Here’s to their survival and strength.

Here’s to those who cannot be suppressed.
Here’s to artists, poets, playwrights, singers, dancers,
musicians, sportspeople, actors, teachers, lawyers, doctors.

Here’s to their sense of community.
Here’s to kinship, sharing and family.
Here’s to the belonging to country.

Here’s to people that will not be defeated.
Here’s to the courage of common folk.
Here’s to the champions of hope.

Neil Creighton is an Australian poet whose work as a teacher of English and Drama brought him into close contact with thousands of young lives, most happy and triumphant but too many tragically filled with neglect. It made him intensely aware of how opportunity is so unequally proportioned and his work often reflects strong interest in social justice. He has been widely published, both online and in hard copy. Publications in hard copy include “The Second Genesis: An Anthology of Contemporary World Poetry”, “Prosopisia”, “Poetry Quarterly”, “The Poeming Pigeon”. Online he has been published in “Antiheroin Chic”, “Autumn Sky Daily”, “Praxis Mag Online”, “Peacock Journal”, “Rats Ass Review”, “New Verse News”, “Poets Reading the News”, “Silver Birch Press”. He is a Contributing Editor at “Verse-Virtual”, an online poetry journal. His chapbook, “Earth Music”, has been selected by Praxis Magazine Online for publication in 2019-20.

This poem is part of Neil Creighton’s most recent chapbook, Rock Dreaming, forthcoming from Kelsay Books.

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