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January 25th 2010 print

Patrick McCauley

Australia Day Poem 2010

Patrick McCauley reads his Australia Day Poem 2010.

Letter to my Grandchildren – Australia Day 2010

 

In the olden days of extreme fire danger we did not breathe.
We did not breed things that breathed.
In winter we used old blankets for warmth
We stayed cool in the summer breeze.
Now we can fashion the weather.
We turn down the sun
manufacture the clouds.
We package the seasons in stretched air.
No species is permitted to die.
Australia is fireproof.
 

We no not belong here
we tear the English willows out
the trout do not breed
the cows do not graze.
We do not farm anything but native trees.
We leave the bones in the ground.
we huddle in cities by the sea
Boneburners have been taxed.

Things were dying beneath the oceans.
The carbon horse
said the invisible force
may soon be upon us.
So we brought the scheme
that does not think
and tuned the dials down.
We wrapped the country in native grasses
made weather with carbon dioxide brushes.
All those without an apology
are huddled together around red wine in the suburbs.
We let no perpetrators through the curriculum
naughty children were given Ritlin.

There it’s just gone before you woke
it disappeared around the corner
do not breathe it will hear you.
It is so silent here
Asia cooking in the kitchen
Europe hanging in the hall
that bowl of fruit from China.
Down the road the beach
the mountains in the window the creek.
Yet nothing speaks
We do not farm we cannot think.

There is the sound of moonlight striking ground by night
low flybuzzing electric.
Australia is pink.