We came to find the place contained in
legendary tracts, a hidden land of fulsome
wealth that we had always sorely lacked,
an empty land of winsome dreams.
We found the continent intact with
evidence of everything the schemers
claimed – except it wasn’t empty, then
we marked our landing with a cairn of
sticks and scratched our names.
We framed the land around without a sign
for Crown and Queen, pretended that their
heirs would reign; we even made a pact
before we left to not reveal the site, acted
for the greater good believing that it might
restrain all avaricious deeds our leaders
in their wisdom would entrain.
The native owners were a shy but generous,
open-handed race who graciously extended
hands, trusting us to come again and stay a
while – learn the natural wonders and the
colours of their land, and then in time
to walk among the spirits of their dead.
Our leaders brutalised the cautious words we
said with acid accusation, absurdly claimed
we lied to curry fame, denied we ever found
the site and trashed our reputations. We
died before the tempest came.
Our spirits wandered in the night and wilted
in the dawn, we hid within the cairn of sticks
beside the tree adorned with words we wrote
when we arrived: ‘Hope & Justice found this
Land and ceded it was owned’
© I.D. Carswell