The Seed Collector
Your mother wasn’t born
a slick pillar of stiff salt
when she looked back
as women will.
And whatever went on nights
in daddy’s glistening tent
staked hard and tight
in the red sand of your story
you have now brought forth
those seeds into our village
into the long pockets
of your sweat soaked robe
to be brought out
set out like plants
watered like cacti
handed, given, released
one by one
where like Crassulas
in the shade of the fickle catalpa
which barely survives this desert.
Even with the harlot of war discarded
brimstone fails to rain
or char the traffic in women
or sear those neat rows of tents in Zoar
or parch the shepherds amidst their flocks.
Destruction locked like a cedar door
at the top of your throat
could bring down cities
to ashes and dust.
on the long side of your bones
in the dry death of sand
to be preserved
for ages untold
along side the seeds
of our garden of mysteries.
My hoe strikes
the ground. My spade turns
it loose and open
to take the seeds
and alter history.
© Beth Townsley, January 2019.
I am not a bloody racist
Never comment to their faces
I have some very good black friends
You’re up a shit creek deadend
Can’t you see my smile
is politely nice and bright
I’m the genuine true blue article
from well-meaning #NotAllWhites
of all my whitey cultures
What’s this crap you’re spinning
about capitalist social structures?
Who needs a republic
the mother ship gives us so much
All the lovely white things
sugar, flour, cotton and such
and why shift our Straya day
why do you want to #ChangetheNation?
We’re the lucky country, aren’t we?
be happy in your station.
How could these barbarians do this to the memory of such a brave and noble British explorer!! Australia would be an empty wasteland without British colonialism, that great spreader of civilisation across the globe!! Mining and farming profits should not be taxed and used to extend even more civilised white British influence everywhere!!!
Racism toward courageous white exploiters of an empty land is intolerable!!!!
It’s come down to this
Tim Minchin sings Neil Finn
till the cows come home
You better be home soon
then video killed the radio star
We wave sparklers in the dark
in the singing forest and consider
No new Holdens off the line in 2019
in my mind and in my car
Gotta wonder about the Bathurst
this year without the local team
We’ll be ridin’ on the horses, yeah
And the NSW Lib gov charges
Sydneyites and hangers on
Fifty five bucks a seat
for the coathanger show
It’s come down to this –
a fireworks levy.
Relax, you can see it all on TV
till the scoundrel silvertails
kill off the ABC
Doing the eagle rock
yet we still call Lostralia home.
Tousled mother and child sleep against a temporary fence,
Curl together, serene, cane bowl and coins by bare feet near the Louvre,
Closed for completion of another underground car park.
In the Place du Concours, Japanese busloads
point Nikons at streaky grey monuments
where knitters considering the contemporary charm
of the guillotine would be run over.
Locked away in the Tuilleries, romance floats with Monet’s waterlilies.
Even on a spring day after rain, the Eiffel Tower
is coyly wreathed in smog,
while down the dusty Seine, tourist boats
swarm around the Ile de la Cité and
fish bloat in the run off.
By lucid evening light, in Montmartre love affairs revive,
Chic short-skirted girls lick strawberry icecream
and watch modern masters sketch on sidewalks.
Beneath, cold-hearted youths clutch knives
and wait at lonely Metro corners.
Over the elegant Mansard roofs, tribal traffic
howls in the noxious fumes of Paris spring,
Red cars career down cobblestones meant for carriages.
There’s no charm in a million charging Citroens –
a great place to visit,
I wouldn’t want to choke there.
The current riots in Paris reminded me of this poem written after a visit to Paris. I never regretted reaching the age of 37 without a ride in a red sports car through Paris with the warm smoggy wind in my hair. This poem was published by Bruce Dawe in 1992 in the Courier Mail literary section, before it was axed. Sarkozy’s government banned beggars around the Louvre and other tourist hot spots in 2011.
Do as I say but not as I do
Screeched the preening cock-a-too
Praised by chattering yes-birds
Who don’t walk the squawk
Yet parade in vain glory
From the Great Bird’s talk.
So the Song takes precedence
Over atonal dissent
Principles aren’t meant
to be set in cement!
Why risk abandonment
By precious Flock sycophants?
Together let all of us squawk
Drown out our contradictory walk
Keep our eyes on the prize
We can do no wrong
If we adore the Great Bird
Who leads us in song!
October 1, 2018