Have I changed or did someone steal my country?

When I was young I rebelled
I screamed and hollered
and I yelled.
Torrents of abuse
I let loose
at church and state.
Authority, I much despised
I saw through their tawdry lies.
There was nary a judge, priest nor magistrate
that I did not profess to hate.

Now I’m old,
not mature, just old;
not wise and no longer bold,
with much of my story told,
I look again at government
and wonder where their honour went.
Those petty men in power,
the rich friends they endow,
and the terror that they sow
on the unemployed and widow,
on asylum seeker and refugee,
and on the homeless Indigene.

I’m determined to bare witness
to this widespread distress
in this economic wilderness
as I watch the Emperor undress.
They say we got the economic fundamentals right
competition, efficiency, and incentives bright.
But not a gram of humanity,
nor any sense of dignity,
no helping hand in time of need
just an economic fundamentalist creed
when starving children need a feed.

To which politician shall I turn,
and which of them shall I spurn?
In my mind confusion burns.
Then some judge speaks out,
and I hear the occasional preacher shout
that it is time to come about.
To change our course
and to show remorse
for the ill treatment we’ve inflicted
on the poor and the afflicted,
that there is no justification for war,
peace is what we should be striving for;
for reparation not retribution
and of course debt absolution.

I never thought I’d see the day
When I would hear myself say
“For judge and priest thank god,
they have given us the nod
to hear the lonely person cry,
to see the desperate person die,
to realise that it’s we must try
to make this world a better place,
and join with others to end disgrace.”

Written in 2003