Australian Poetry

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Humans and the natural worldA.D. Hope * Australia Les Murray * The quality of sprawl * Bat's Ultrasound * Inside Ayers Rock * The Dream Of Wearing Shorts ForeverMark O’Connor * Turtles Hatching * A Queenslander Remembers the Twentieth Century * Rainbow Lorikeets * The Beginning * Moon Over Mindil Beach, N.T. Bruce Dawe * Search and Destroy * Advice to an Interplanetary VisitorHenry Kendall * BellbirdsMidnight Oil * Kosciusko * Blue Sky MineJudith Beveridge * The Domesticity of Giraffes * AppaloosaPeter Skyzynecki * Flying Foxes Neil Paech * zoo: bats/the flying foxesKev Carmody * I’ve Been MovedJudith Wright * The Surfer * At Cooloolah * Flying-fox on barbed wireJohn Kinsella * Chainsaw|

A.D. Hope - AustraliaA Nation of trees, drab blue and desolate grey In the field uniform of modern wars,
Darkens her hills, those endless, outstretched paws
Of Sphinx demolished or stone lion worn away.

They call her a young country, but they lie:
She is the last of lands, the emptiest,
A woman beyond her change of life, a breast
Still tender but within the womb is dry.Without songs, architecture, history: The emotions and superstitions of younger lands,
Her rivers of water drown among inland sands,
The river of her immense stupidity

Floods her monotonous tribes from Cairns to Perth.
In them at last the ultimate men arrive
Whose boast is not: “we live” but “we survive.”
A type who will inhabit the dying earth.And her five cities, like five teeming sores, Each drains her: a vast parasite robber-state
Where second-hand Europeans pullulate
Timidly on the edge of alien shores.Yet there are some like me turn gladly home From the lush jungle of modern thought, to find
The Arabian desert of the human mind,
Hoping, if still from the deserts the prophets come,

Such savage and scarlet as no green hills dare
Springs in that waste, some spirit which escapes
The learned doubt, the chatter of cultured apes
Which is called civilization over there.Les Murray - The Quality Of Sprawl Sprawl is the qualityof the man who cut down his Rolls-Royceinto a farm utility truck, and sprawlis what the company lacked when it made repeated effortsto buy the vehicle back and repair its image. Sprawl is doing your farm work by aeroplane, roughly,or driving a hitchhiker that extra hundred miles home.It is the rococo of being your own still centre.It is never lighting cigars with ten dollar notes:that's idiot ostentation and murder of starving people.Nor can it be bought with the ash of million dollar deeds. Sprawl lengthens the legs; it trains greyhounds on liver and beer.Sprawl almost never says, Why not?, with palms comically raisednor can it be dressed for, not even in running shoes wornwith mink and a nose ring. That is Society. That's Style.Sprawl is more like the thirteenth banana in a dozenor anyway the fourteenth. Sprawl is Hank Stamper in Never Give an Inchbisecting an obstructive official's desk with a chain saw.Not harming the official. Sprawl is never brutal,though it's often intransigent. Sprawl is never Simon de Montfortat a town-storming: Kill them all! God will know His own.Knowing the man's name this was said to might be sprawl. Sprawl occurs in art. The fifteenth to twenty-firstlines in a sonnet, for example. And in certain paintings.I have sprawl enough to have forgotten which paintings.Turner's glorious Burning of the Houses of Parliamentcomes to mind, a doubling bannered triumph of sprawl -except he didn't fire them. Sprawl gets up the noses of many kinds of people(every kind that comes in kinds) whose futures don't include it.Some decry it as criminal presumption, silken-robed Pope Alexanderdividing the new world between Spain and Portugal.If he smiled in petto afterwards, perhaps the thing did have sprawl. Sprawl is really classless, though. It is John Christopher Frederick Murrayasleep in his neighbours' best bed in spurs and...
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