Eye Spy

I spy with my little eye,

This is the story of a little girls cry.

It’s a sad sad tale,

I hope that she can prevail, inhale and let go of all the despair. 

Be prepared, because this will tear,

Your soul, your heart apart.

Even though she is so distant,

We need to fight for her right of existence.


From a Western Arrente family,

She ain’t no balanda,

(Sorry for mixing my lingo, she is linguistically diverse, but it appears by some to be a curse that she ain’t learned in written English verse).

She lives on a town camp, that’s an NT Intervention causality.

They had good intentions they tell me.

She sits amongst squalor, eating tin meat,

With 10 dogs at her feet, her family gets very little of that Australian dollar.


Her cousins sisters and young aunties, all been put on government orders,

Volatile Substance Abusers.

Not that soluble glue, but that intolerable chemical goo,

That head ache inflicting, like leaded petrol sickening.

They treated like drug users, problem juniors.

They blame these at risk youth, misusers, and the abused.

I think we are all to be accused.


The marle kweke, the little girl, only a child, her life not yet unfolded.

Her life, too much hardship, she has seen too much shit, caught between politics, of governments and families, she’s wearing the kicks.

Like windows shattered by bricks, like family dying because they are too sick, like a knife stabbed in her mumma’s leg as quick as a magic trick, inflicted by her father’s swift hand.


This little girl, couldn’t sleep last night,

Her grandfathers were up drinking and fighting until the sun light!

And she felt fright.

The night ended and she wanted to sleep.

But that school bus, arrives at 8.05,

And the driver yells, “marle kweke time to learn and thrive”.

After half an hour of an interaction that involved cursing and coercing,

The little girls on the bus, the other students start to make a fuss, teasing,

She’s crying, her clothes are dirty and her hair unbrushed.

Oh that little girl’s heart is crushed. She wants to fit in, she isn’t that thick skinned.

She isn’t that tough.

Grown up too fast, she is too smart,

And attitude that will out wit and outlast, any older, never so bolder.

The teacher heart never been colder.

The little girl is demeaned, not showered and cleaned.

The teacher only knows how to intervene.


So a government welfare department action started, family interviewed.

The new to the territory, the straight out of Uni, the young social worker,

She departed feeling disheartened.

Not seeing the hardships and disempowerment that all the family suffer,

Not wanting to support and connect, encourage the family to reflect.

No she was the authority; she had a job to do and a government policy to throw at you.

Some legislation to demolish you.

The little girl was taken, placed with a non Indigenous, non western Arrente.

Yes a balanda.

Because apparently they can raise children better, because that little girl will learn English and be able to spell settler, because that little girl won’t be dirty clothed nor have any threat to her.

But she will become a bed wetter, an emotional wreck,

Man that government department has got to have it’s head checked.


The government isn’t helping this young girl with her survival.

And all the young people are suicidal.

We all should be appalled.

Stand up for our Indigenous brothers and sisters,

Not look in on their lives, enthralled.


This sad sad tale is also one of betrayal.

A government apology, nothing but a frail crumb of abused democracy.

What anthropology, keep culture strong and language alive,

Why would the government worry about that mythology.

They just talk in terminology and churn out some policy,

With such intense urgency.

An emergency response, a startled response.


A deterrent you see, coz all the government can do is look at old policies and make them current.

They want land, for mines and dumps, for development,

It’s an embarrassment; our government isn’t very intelligent,

 And the majority of Australians think the topic is irrelevant.

Well fuck that…


I spy with little my eye,

I don’t want to see that little girl cry.


© Jessie Giles 2010

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