Nationality [poem by Mary Gilmore, 12 May 1942]

[Editor: A poem by Mary Gilmore, written during the Second World War, 12 May 1942.]


I have grown past hate and bitterness,
I see the world as one;
But though I can no longer hate,
My son is still my son.

All men at God’s round table sit,
And all men must be fed;
But this loaf in my hand,
This loaf is my son’s bread.

Published in:
The Collected Verse of Mary Gilmore, Volume 2, 1930-1962 edited by Jennifer Strauss” [PDF; text version here] [a review of The Collected Verse of Mary Gilmore, Volume 2, 1930-1962]

Also published in:
The Chronicle (Adelaide, SA), Thursday 4 February 1954, page 31
The Canberra Times (ACT), Saturday 1 November 1969, page 19

Editor’s notes:
This poem has been read into the Hansard record in the Australian parliament and the New South Wales parliament:
Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill 1996: Second Reading”, Parliament of Australia, Thursday, 19 June 1997, page 5819 [read by Graeme Campbell, Member of the House of Representatives, representing Kalgoorlie, WA]
Full Day Hansard Transcript (Legislative Council, Corrected Copy)”, Parliament of New South Wales, Thursday 31 August 2000 [also in the shorter record “Bingara Orange Festival”, page 8585] [read by Jennifer Gardiner, Member of the NSW Legislative Council]


  1. nikki lang says:

    Mary Gilmores’ poem is a sounding of the truth that echoes in all people. We all have feelings for others, but when you are pushed you find you are only an animal. People pretend that they have lost this instinct. But all people should should know that we are only animals driven by hormones and desire to breed, to fit into our pack and find our place within it. I say to everyone would you see your child go without to give to another unknown, would you miss your child’s milestones and give up their needs to work to support another person’s child. This is a thought all governments must respect. We are animals and deserve at lest the same natural process as any wild creature.

  2. Paul Francis says:

    We are evolving ourselves out of existence.

  3. hassan koochehgazi says:

    We are two pieces of an apple,
    Cut from the middle
    Knows us the knife
    He is a creative artist
    To complete, you do not need to stick together
    Wherever we are, knife blade knows us
    We are not afraid of cutting
    He has learned the charm of the devil

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