States of Poetry 2016 - Western Australia | ‘Yamaji Culture’ by Charmaine Papertalk-Green

Yamaji Culture
A culture worth loving
A culture worth fighting for
A culture worthy of being loved

Why tell me I don't need it?
Why tell me I can't need it?
Why tell me I can't love it?
Why tell me it's not worth fighting for?
Why tell me it's not worthy of love?

Yamaji Culture
I love it – I laugh for it
I stress for it – I cry for it
I fight for it – I believe it's worthy
Of love and respect

I cry when you talk
As the colonisers
Conditioned you to
Talking of a culture to die
Talking of a dying race
When we are very much alive

I watch Yamaji culture change
Adapting to survive
Why don't you understand that?
Why can't you understand that?

Yamaji culture is a culture
Worth fighting for
A culture worth loving
A culture worthy of love and respect
Don't wipe all that away
Hang on – hang on tight
Country men and country women
Our Yamaji Culture


Charmaine Papertalk-Green

Charmaine Papertalk Green

Charmaine Papertalk Green

Charmaine Papertalk Green is a poet, visual artist and social sciences researcher from the Yamaji Nation, Western Australia. She has been represented in many anthologies focusing on Aboriginal writers in Australia. Her books include Just Like That (Fremantle Arts Centre Press) and Tiptoeing Tracker Tod (Oxford University Press). Her new book is Nganajungu Yagu (Cordite Books, 2019). Charmaine lives in Geraldton, rural Western Australia.

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