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Lee sent me this poem ‘Silence’ by Nola Gregory by email today. I asked her where she got it. Then I noticed an email from our mutual friend Ergilio Vicente asking me to go to his Zorpia site where he had posted a photo of himself and this poem. I think he relates to it very strongly. I am hoping a Timorese friend will translate this into Tetun for us? Perhaps Gil will. I will ask him. Jen


In silence you have suffered
Your pain locked deep inside
You fought so long for this
And still you kept your pride
The tears of all the mothers
For their children they did cry
Their broken hearts a memory
Etched in the children‚s eyes

Born of a strong proud people
Never would you forget
The anguish and the burdens
Now your life had been all set
But the yearning was still a part of you
You just did not feel right
Something here was missing
You knew you had to fight

And fight you did throughout the years
To parliaments, pollies and all
How could you make them listen
Would they heed your heartfelt calls
All you wanted was an apology
Not thinking it would take so long
And sorry was just one little word
Was asking for this so wrong

A flood of overwhelming emotions
Will be felt on this memorable day
And those who have gone before us
In spirit will lead the way
The stolen generations
Will stand with hands on hearts
Today the tears flow freely
And this is just only the start

Nola Gregory © 5 February 2008

Nola Gregory is an Aboriginal Australian whose grandfather was a Timorese

fisherman from Kupang that came to Australia with the pearling luggers. Nola has given

permission for the publication of her poem on sms.

For permission to use this poem or translate it Contact Nola Gregory:

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4 Responses to “Silence”

  1. Jacqueline McGowan-Jones Says:

    Please note this poem is the copyright of Nola Gregory and she should be contacted before anybody translates this or publishes/reproduces it. Intellectual property is attached.

    Nola is able to be contacted via email at

  2. Jacky, Whoops! thanks for reminding me! This was circulating on the net and I just didn’t think about copyright. I have written to Nola today to apologise and request her permission to use her poem here.

  3. Heppy news, Nola has kindly granted permission for her poem to be used on this site. Thank you Nola.

  4. Heppy news, Nola has kindly granted permission for her poem to be used on this site. Thank you Nola.
    And SURPRISE! we found out her grandfather was from Kupang. She is part Timorese! Jen