(Participants attending the ‘Beyond Poverty’ conference in Auckland in March will probably recall John Tomlinson, our poet-academic friend from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. John’s stay with us coincided with the visit of Sr Connie Driscoll from the US, and he felt inspired to pen the following lines, which we decided to share with the readers of Common Ground.)Vol.4, No.2. 1997.
The one eyed nun from hell
has come down here to tell
how to slash the dole,
how to scar the soul,
how to thrash the poor and so much more.
Removing people from the welfare roll,
forcing the unemployed to work for the dole,
destroying people’s legitimacy
in the name of ending their dependency.
We don’t need this silly witch
to tell us how to dig a ditch.
We rationalised and privatised
the things we owned in common.
Now there is little left to sell
they turn to a one eyed nun from hell,
with her unpleasant habit:
of competition and efficiency
poverty and dependency.
Hers is a message of hopelessness
misery, impoverishment and uselessness.
Ours is a message of hope and solidarity,
of joy and unity
between workers and workless
between those who are happy
and those who are distressed.
We are free.
Free of a free market mentality.
We are free.
Free to join in common mutuality.
we don’t need to denigrate.
Ours is a message of love not hate.
We don’t need to put others down.
Ours is a struggle without division,
we don’t want their revision
of our citizenship.
also published in Anarchist Age Monthly No.76 April 1997.
Copyright © 2023 John Tomlinson