Not for me the yellow brick road,
it’s not the path my feet have trod,
no rose-coloured lenses glaze my sight,
I’ve neither love nor fear of god.
Peering into the cauldron of our history
I see shame, intolerance and evasion,
exploitation, genocide and misery.
From the convict-laden ships of Sydney Cove,
through to Korea, Vietnam and now Iraq;
a racist invasion – to Capitalism’s latest attack,
devastating the poor, the homeless and the Black.
We don’t need uranium’s polluted spills,
inequality, fast cars and other rich men’s thrills,
no missiles, bombs, guns, and tanks
or, come to that, any thing which kills.
From the convict cells to Baxter’s living hells
I hear the ringing of patriotism’s bells
and my nostrils fill with putrid smells.
Capitalist tongues scream patriotic commands
through the camp’s loud speakers over desert sands.
It’s hard to hear the weeping of the lonely refugee
worn down by the camp’s oppressive monotony,
slow grinding bureaucratic and judicial pedantry
and an endless longing to be free.
Their cries drowned by goose-stepping guards,
by the low humming of the electrified maze,
their sight blinded by the sun on razor wire,
and an indifference that leaves their senses dazed.
This is the face of Howard’s Fourth Reich:
uptight, out of sight and not to bright,
with all the generosity of a scrooge’s mite.
We will create a shared harmony,
white and Black, citizen and refugee.
That will become Australia’s destiny,
a land where everyone is free,
a sharing, caring, unity,
for one and all, for you and me,
from Tassie to the Timor Sea.
Come, help us build a national decency
on foundations of justice and humanity.
First published in Al-Moharer Issue 189 Vol. 13,16/8/2004
also in New Community Quarterly Vol.2 No.3 Spring 2004 p.7
Copyright © 2023 John Tomlinson