poem: gathering dreaming

gathering dreaming


It was a fine and bright idea, to make

Out west of town a clinic just for blacks.

They rank among the poorest, most depressed

Of groups we have, with alcohol and drugs

And  violence rife.  It’s called the Gathering Place

And aims to help redress the balance, years

Of health inequity, that hobbles blacks

Across  the land.  The founder Colleen such

An energetic star among her race;

There aren’t enough like her.  She aimed to make

A space where fragile folk felt safe, with lots

Of programs,  well connected, she and they.

Attracted many caring staff with shared

Belief in helping  folk to better life.

The ’healing program’ used traditional

Ideas and cultural values, brought some hope

To those most damaged; other clients just blacks

Who needed routine health assistance.  In

The main it felt just like a poor, depressed

Community of whites, beset by all

The ills of poverty, and not much school;

But being black brings added risks in this

The lucky country.  Darker side exists

For sure, like dealing opiates gained by packs

Of lies to doctors; then of course the old

‘Bete noir’ of learned  dependency.  Free health,

Free transport, medicines, counselling fine, but how

To get the balance tipped to self-esteem

And self-reliance?  Much to ponder, much

To do, but Colleen’s place is foundering

Because of tribalism.  Control resides

Within one family, jobs to them and their

Supporters,  acolytes a-plenty.  Bad

Decisions never properly questioned, that’s

The way it seems to work with many black

Endeavours.  So the Gathering Place which once

Seemed strong is now beset by debt and lack

Of funding, most good workers left for jobs

Secure, with programs ended; once a-buzz

With clients, workers  – now a lonely place.

Let’s hope this fine idea will rise again,

Will learn from old mistakes, for much remains

To do; the blacks so dearly need this help,

Especially provided by their own.



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