Issue sevenIssue Seven Poetry

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By Bill Cotter,

Between 1788 and 1840, twelve thousand women were transported, usually for minor offences, to New South Wales.


Oh, what is that coming so slowly,

So sadly, there, through the mist

And what is that sound I hear

Like sobbing through graveyard stones?


Why, that is the “Earl Cornwallis” my son

And what you hear are the cries of Ireland’s women.


 But what are the horrors that bore so deep

That women must stand, like cattle, in chains?

Or, what have they said or done, to deserve such shame?


They have pilfered from purses, my son,

Or marched in the streets for the poor.


And what of that shadow,

That spider thin ghost by the mast?


Why, that is your sister, my son,

Stolen, taken for ever,

So the land and the King may rest in peace.