1966 | Australia

Now or Never

Time is running out, and time is close at hand.

The miner rapes
The heart of earth
With his violent spade.
Stealing, bottling her black blood
For the sake of greedy trade.
On his metal throne of destruction,
He labors away with a will,
Piling the mountainous minerals high
With giant tool and iron drill.

In his greedy lust for power,
He destroys old nature’s will.
For the sake of the filthy dollar,
He dirties the nest he builds.
Well he knows that violence
Of his destructive kind
Will be violently written
Upon the sands of time.

But time is running out
And time is close at hand,
For the Dreamtime folk are massing
To defend their timeless land.

Come gentle black man
Show your strength;
Time to take a stand.
Make the violent miner feel
Your violent
Love of land.

© 1992 by Kath Walker. Used with permission of Marion Boyars Publishers.

Photograph of Oodergoo Noonuccal

Oodgeroo Noonuccal

“Time is Running Out.” Born Kathleen Ruska in Queensland in 1920, the first published Aboriginal poet was a member of the Noonuccal tribe. She became the secretary of the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in 1960, published We Are Going in 1964, and helped to pass a constitutional amendment that granted suffrage for Aborigines in 1967. In 1988 Ruska gave back her Member of the Order of the British Empire award and adopted the name Oodgeroo Noonuccal.