The poet has cleverly employed imagery to symbolise forthcoming racial equality in both of these poems. Oodgeroo introduces this concept of approaching parity between the two races by metaphorically referring to ‘dawn’. In these two poems, the dawn carries a figurative meaning of finally being perceived and understood by the White tribe after their unfair treatment. Dawn, symbolising a new day, relates to Oodgeroo’s certainty on the subject of a new life for the Aboriginal people.
The dawning of a new era of equality is central to both poems; therefore, “dawn” has been referred immediately in the title of The Dawn is at Hand and in the second line of The Song of Hope.
The poet has also used personification to create a visual image and capture feelings of hope. In the Song of Hope, mateship has been given a human characteristic since it is able to “meet [them]” (28). The personifying of abstract nouns shows the reader that rather than lacking concrete items, they lack the respect, joy and freedom each individual deserves.
The aborigines long for “new rights [to] greet [them]” (Song of hope 27) and a “future which beckons [them] bravely on” (Dawn is at Hand 26). With these words, the poet holds the potential to receive symphathy from the reader who empathises with the Aborigines who have suffered from the unjust actions of the ‘Whites’. Oodgeroo’s dramatic monologues, The Dawn is at Hand and Song of Hope examine approaching racial equality between the Aborigines and the ‘Whites’. In both poems, the certainty in Oodgeroo’s voice forces the Aborigines to believe that “the dawn is at hand”.
Metaphorical references to dawn in the two poems symbolises an upcoming brighter future for the Aborigines who “soon … will take … [their] rightful place” (The Dawn is at hand 2) with all “the pain [and] the sorrow” (Song of Hope 32) left behind them. Though both poems employ slightly different devices and techniques, they both aim to leave the Aborigines anticipating the day when “the world [will wake] to a new bright day” (Song of Hope 3) for the “first Australian race” (The Dawn is at Hand 1).