Vile times, getting worsegreenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
Vile times, getting worse
By Bob Ellis
A cruel month, of lies and ruthless cheating,
And needless exhumations of Paul Keating,
Of tumbling stocks and tumbling Aussie dollars,
The slow departure of some ayatollahs,
A Cuban boy at risk, a President on trial,
A Bill Gates in extremis, a Herron in denial,
A tax man in the dock, his name, perhaps, Petroulias,
A PM with more knives in him than dead and mighty Julius,
A Liberal Party conference, bleak and loud and shallow,
Harsh whispers of a Christmas coup by loyal, shy Costello,
A petrol dearth, an interest hike, a strike of luggage porters,
A GST, a Telstra sale in early rigor mortis ,
A frail and crumbling Pope, composing his last canto,
An anal pineapple for proud Wiranto,
A march down George Street by the Interfet
For letting go mass murderers, and flying home by jet,
An Anzac march for those who had it harder,
Who saved the world, perhaps, at Bretonnieres,
And ended up with little in the larder -
Dull jobs through life, dead sons in other wars -
Who copped it sweet, who suffered for the Cause,
The Cause of bigger, safer lives for us who were their heirs
(Three generations now enslaved by men who trade in shares).
They dream away their twilights now in prisons for the aged,
Their dreams aswirl as driftwood, their mighty spirits caged,
Their slouch hats useful cover for a government uncivil
Which breaks the Anzac spirit, blows bugles and talks drivel
And stands in mist, bareheaded, looking perky,
Silent, short, and counting votes upon a beach in Turkey.
A month when Test immortal Hansie Cronje,
Observed his hero status growing scungy
When accents like his on the telephone
Proposing future matches to be thrown
And future plans for interactive scoring
Made cricket for a moment anything but boring.
He met the shafts at first with footwork fancy,
Late cuts and hooks and sweeps to leg and off,
Then heard the tapes, and with a nervous cough,
broke, wept, and craved forgiveness;
And cricket's Wisden wise men mourned in essays deep
That such a lovely player came - and went - so cheap.
John Howard wept for cricket, and said the "s" word "sorry",
But about the Stolen Children said "relax" and "not to worry".
John Herron swears there were not very many,
Some several thousand at the most, if any.
We need not heed those lies told, as a rule,
By blacks who sent their kids to boarding school
And now for drinking money, in low dives,
Tell fibs to cover up their happy lives;
We'll not be moved to mournful costly arias
For a mere ten thousand lost Azarias,
Ten thousand at the most, no more than those who fell
At Anzac Cove and Suvla Bay, the Nek and Vilanelle,
Azarias who wore the wrong complexion
And thus became expendable, upon mature reflection,
A month when ATSIC shared a frugal dinner
And returned from Yarralumla looking thinner
After quarrels over peas and mash
About who got how much, if any, cash.
After they had left, in foaming firkins,
The PM drank a rousing toast to silly Charlie Perkins,
Who promised huge apocalyptic flames
Disrupting White Australia's final jingo binge, the Games.
"Past murders are no cause," the PM wisely said, "for calling killers names."
The month John Howard met with Denis Burke
And after a long lunch, and not a lot of work,
Decided on fresh laws which, in their essence,
Prolonged for two more years a Darwin adolescence,
Which means at nineteen years, with no escape,
You'll now be charged with statutory rape
Of someone seventeen you wed last year -
A mandatory ten years' jail, I hear.
A month when certain Kosovars grew sad
To leave the softer life they lately had
Around the river walks and hills of green Wodonga
Where Ruddock swore they could not, must not linger longer
Lest they at gunpoint swift be bullied back
To dwell - till death - in some dark ruined shack
Whose every windy noise at night disturbs
With fearful dreams of murderous, roving Serbs
Young children who have lately seen their cousins killed,
Their tottering uncles fall on roadways where they died.
"Be brave, go home," said Ruddock, "leave off these tears, buck up, rebuild.
I'll not be moved by threats of suicide.
I am a Howard minister, it is a thing of pride.
No infants' tears will change this dread fate I have willed."
It was a worse month, by a good few notches,
Than others I've observed upon these watches
Through clarifying gins and ice, or scotches.
Black massacres of white Zimbabwe farmers,
Lock-up-the-blacks talk from De-Anne, and other Queensland charmers,
Racism everywhere in righteous tones,
Brain cancer from the safer mobile phones,
Three Qantas crack-ups cowards find unnerving,
Eight Telstra hackers sacked for merely perving,
Chuck Heston bidding us take back our guns,
The GST removed from hot cross buns,
Olympic drug busts on each nightly news,
Some undistinguished verse on Alan Bond by Robert Hughes,
A Bronwyn Bishop unconvinced it's over,
A tiresome comeback by Navratilova,
Instructions on untruth from Peter Reith,
A smiling, goggled Grey Nurse with white and pointy teeth,
A cash-strapped Pauline begging one week more,
A flood of DNA around Wee Waa,
A further snub for Howard by the wise Gus Dur,
Sure votes for Bush in little Elian,
Another stolen child, like many an Australian,
That most Americans in freedom's name would rather
Never spent another hour with his loved, but Cuban, father,
But choicelessly should dwell for good in a country growing horrider
Among his kooky relatives in mad, gun-toting Florida.
A sobbing plane load, going home, of wretched Kosovars
Whose land of glad bright promise soon became grim prison bars.
It was a month I look on with regret,
Though there may be much viler months on this sad planet yet.
- Bob Ellis is an author and commentator.
Bob Ellis is our very own calamity...
Regards from OZ (at least 'OZ' is nice-n-short)
-- Pieter (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 01, 2000
I liked it.
I miss the social protest songs that roused a generation to make a better world. All this needs is a six string steel guitar and a good refrain.
-- Pam (email@example.com), May 01, 2000.
Among his kooky relatives in mad, gun-toting Florida.
Yes, and we love it that way.
-- Uncle Deedah (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 01, 2000.
Thanks for the post, Pieter.
THe world is hungering for clever poetry-I really mean that!.
-- FutureShock (email@example.com), May 02, 2000.