Co-winner: My Ancestors

Co-winner and Highest Placed Quandamooka Entry


Each word I speak, every poem that speaks to you.

The dampened cries of My Ancestors are heard too.

Sky blue truths.

They speak not of life and death,

Rather of hope and survival.


Ginda giba nariyuba (You are my young man)


My Ancestors skin left wounded and filled with their ochre stories.

These wounded stories brimmed my budding stainless mind.

So much so they have grown to be my Childs ‘lullaby.

Just to keep them alive.


Ngari Dege (I am your Ancestor)


My Ancestors words fall upon me like dusk upon dawn;

Sovereignty and Freedom.

With closed eyes

I search for the origin of my hidden soul through each line;

And through each line

I rewrite and retell

I realise, each rhyme, every poem I write, isn’t mine.

They belong to the sovereign and free.

My ancestors.


Ginda giba nariyuba (You are my young man)

Giba Jagi binji (With fire in your belly)

Bujirang Jabur (Don’t be frightened boy)

Ngari Dege (I am your Ancestor)

Wagari Ngali (Carry me) Gana ngayi (Hear me)

Gana nariba jagi (Hear my tribal spirit)

Yara Yari ngiyariya bunji (Go tell your Brothers)

Yara Yari ngiyariya jadin (Go tell your sisters)

(Through your art)

Nyinda yara ba (you go then)


So here I am

A mere man

With a piece of paper and a pen in either hand,

Hands together, not to pray but to put ink to paper,

Retelling 229 more years of lullabies


Gana ngayi (Hear me)




I write from the heart

The source of my ink

Each line I write

Isn’t written from what I think

Rather what is held close to my heart;

My Ancestors.


Ngari gana nginda (I hear you)



Image: Petteri Sulonen

Sachem Parkin-Owens

Sachem Parkin-Owens is an eighteen-year-old Aboriginal and African-American poet. His Indigenous ties come from Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), where his family currently reside and have for multiple generations. He is also an African-American man from Tampa, Florida. Sachem grew up listening to stories from his grandmother, aunties, uncles, mum and dad about experiences they and his ancestors have been through. Sachem sees himself as a vessel for his peoples’ stories, meaning he feels his ancestors speak through his poetry as he writes.

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