The love of greed and caprice, of green and shaded lanes,
of prison cells and private hells is running in your veins.
Strong hate of distant others, sharing dreams with passersby
I know but cannot share it, I won’t believe the lie.
I love a sun-burnt country with black bodies on the plain,
and the sense of freedom, of radio-active rain.
I love her failed predictions, and her polluted sea,
her horror and her terror – the wide brown land for me.
The stark white ring-barked forests, all tragic to the moon,
the mined, denuded mountains upon which lives are strewn
the capital accumulation of the rich when workers toil
their lives crushed by indifference, it makes my red blood boil.
Core of my heart, my country! Day after day we’ll try,
to help our fellow workers, and our union will defy –
the coppers as they gather, we will treat them as a joke
their sullen drumming army can’t beat our working folk.
This is my only country! Land of the Rainbow Serpent God
two hundred years of horror where generations trod.
The truth will out, I pledge, and in the coming days
the fragile veil of decency will strengthen as we gaze.
A broken –hearted country, a wasted, vanquished land-
all you who have not loved her, you will not understand –
though this land has many horrors, racism its worst lie
each day we will confront it until the day we die.
JT written 2008 with apologies to:
“My Country” 1904 Dorothera MacKellar
Copyright © 2023 John Tomlinson