Poetry in the Time of COVID19

Feeding the Chooks


For decades they sneered
at us backward banana benders,
behind by 50 years they reckon,
we endured Bjelke’s curses of faded kitchen curtains,
daylight farm slaving and cow’s milk curdling,
fly with the crows, you get shot with the crows
as he fed the chooks, gloating.
Well, birds fly south for the summer,
and not this time, we’re roosting up north,
safe on our parochial perches.
Who’s laughing now? eh eh eh?
We already have your footballers
locked in our hubs –
yet laugh too soon, maties, and the boot
can be on the other foot in a few days …
Pride is the deadliest, most subtle sin.
Plagues follow science, not rhetoric in tabloid beatups,
thrive on denial, superstition, conspiracist ignorance.
Fertilised by desperation, selfishness and carelessness,
the toll is belling for us all.

Jinjirrie, August 2020

Big Wet

First cutoff point
Flooded creek

In our drenched little paradise, we have plenty of supplies to survive weeks of isolation if necessary and are situated well above the creek below. With luck, the power will stay on!

My father did the first comprehensive scientific Australian study based on all available historic rainfall measurements. I asked him many years ago whether anthropogenic effects were more dominant than solar cycles. He refused to give a definitive answer. Theodor Landscheidt predicted solar and climate cycles of 36 years give or take a bit. It’s now 37 years since the 1974 Brisbane deluge. In his last paper, Landscheidt also predicted a new little Ice Age, with the Gleissberg minimum occurring around 2030.

We need not wait until 2030 to see whether the forecast of the next deep Gleissberg minimum is correct. A declining trend in solar activity and global temperature should become manifest long before the deepest point in the development. The current 11-year sunspot cycle 23 with its considerably weaker activity seems to be a first indication of the new trend, especially as it was predicted on the basis of solar motion cycles two decades ago. As to temperature, only El Nino periods should interrupt the downward trend, but even El Ninos should become less frequent and strong. The outcome of this further long-range climate forecast solely based on solar activity may be considered to be a touchstone of the IPCC’s hypothesis of man-made global warming.

Of course, if humans don’t change their habits now, the resultant combined heating from solar and anthropogenic effects after 2030 might turn out to be catastrophic.

During natural crises like these, one can’t help but think of Dorothea MacKellar’s iconic settler colonial poem, which I’ve always detested.

My Country
by Dorothea McKellar

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies –
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

How much richer are the words of Oogderoo Noonuccal (Kath Walker)

Municipal Gum

Gumtree in the city street,
Hard bitumen around your feet,
Rather you should be
In the cool world of leafy forest halls
And wild bird calls
Here you seems to me
Like that poor cart-horse
Castrated, broken, a thing wronged,
Strapped and buckled, its hell prolonged,
Whose hung head and listless mien express
Its hopelessness.
Municipal gum, it is dolorous
To see you thus
Set in your black grass of bitumen—
O fellow citizen,
What have they done to us?

And my own contribution:

Leave the Land Alone

We share this land of timeless dreams,
mysteries of tree and bone,
tribal journeys of dance and song
symbols painted on stone.
Songlines of the indigenes,
they used to call it home,
broken by colonial greed
the land had never known.

We poison lakes and dam up streams,
this land that is our home,
quarry the hills and cut down trees,
don’t know how to leave it alone.
Why do we break this fragile land
and bring it to its knees?
Our eyes are blind with dollar signs,
so much that we should see.

Do you fear the force of machinery
and big money lying?
it’s hard to live guilt-free
when the country’s dying,
All that’s part of you and me
laid waste by greed and scheming,
don’t you know we’ve taken enough,
Let the land lie dreaming.


Below are some links for people who are in flood prone areas near Brisbane – please seek high ground in advance because the floods have not yet peaked and may be higher than 1974. Look after your neighbours and keep safe.

Weather Links

1974 Brisbane Floods [.pdf]
Brisbane Suburbs 1974 Flood maps
@QPSmedia: If you are outside of Australia and need urgent flood information, please contact +61 7 3055 6200 #thebigwet #qldfloods #
Queensland Floods – Floods resource site
Donate to the flood relief appeal

New images: Flooding around Ipswich Update 3.55pm
Happy birthday, mum, I love you. I’ll come help clean up as soon as I can get through
Follow the Sun to the Landscheidt Minimum
New Little Ice Age Instead of Global Warming?
Theodor Landscheidt
Landscheidt Cycles Research

Today’s Palestine / Israel Links

Richard Falk: Israel’s Violence Against Separation Wall Protests: Along the Road of STATE TERRORISM
Why it will be said one day that anti-Zionists had a better grasp on 20th C history than Uri Avnery or Tom Friedman
Palestinians in Gaza face health crisis
What happens when Arab money gets too close to the Jewish cause?
ZOABI: There can be no coexistence with a racist consensus
Jonathan Pollak : Shameful imprisonment : Non-violent demonstration is not merely the right of every citizen, but also the duty of everyone who wishes to fight against wrong.
In Defence of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
Fox News, Glenn Beck & The Jews

Today’s Wikileaks Links

Wikileaks Calls for Sarah Palin’s Arrest
U.S. Twitter Subpoena Is Harassment, Lawyer Says
Twitter’s Response to WikiLeaks Subpoena Should Be the Industry Standard
WikiLeaks might move to Switzerland
US Embassy: Iceland Wikileaks Probe Legal
WikiLeaks: Julian Assange ‘faces execution or Guantánamo detention’

Other Links

Obama Does Something Bloodthirsty Enough to Please the Psychos
Exclusive: Loughner Friend Explains Alleged Gunman’s Grudge Against Giffords – lucid dreaming, a story with a character named Angel
Our permanent culture of political violence
Remember John Lewis’ Warning About Violent Talk?
Tunisia: the brink of revolution

Brisbane Protest against Israel’s aggression in Gaza

This Friday and Saturday, public protests will be held in Brisbane against the Israeli attack on Gaza.

At 5pm on Friday January 9th there will be a roadside vigil at Brisbane Square, across George St from the top of the Queen St Mall in the city – click here for a Google Map.

And on Saturday January 10 at 12.30pm there will be a rally at Queens Park, on the corner of Elizabeth and George St in the city – click here for a Google Map. The rally will be followed by a march through the city.

Visit Let’s Take Over for more information.

To vote or not to vote

Our beautiful village, PomonaWhat choice do we have? civil disobedience – in this case opting out of the electoral process – is seen by some as the last resort for people whose vehement, legitimate wishes been ignored, where democracy has been abandoned in the push for political outcomes which may prove disastrous and which have been imposed through nefarious deception. Others have joined the Noosa Liberation Army who today took responsibility for defacing roadside election posters:

“Noosa will secede or de-amalgamate,” an email read. “It’s just a matter of time! Those who think that this fight can be won without conflict are seriously deluded. This is a war, and we will win, however long it takes.”

Voting in the grandiosely named Sunshine Coast Regional Council Quadrennial Elections is compulsory under the state Local Government Act 1993. We, the governed, might argue we are voting for representatives in an illegitimate body which does not as yet exist, and that this flawed representation was proclaimed without the consent and against the wishes of the electorate.

There is no question that the people of Noosa Shire do not want amalgamation – we have been polled numerous times about this, the last plebiscite being 96% against it.

Yet if the people of Noosa do not vote, we run the terrible risk of having pro-development Joe Natoli for mayor and reduced representation for Noosa. Regardless of the new super council, State ‘iconic’ legislation provides that development decisions will be made in Brisbane, far from those who are affected and live here. Noosa’s say in its own future at present is nobbled … reduced back to vocal community groups, some of which are banding together under the Noosa Biosphere Association.

Local governments are not defined in the Australian Constitution – they are creations of their respective States. Regionalisation and amalgamation are State controlled and designated. Under the Australian Constitution, States and Territories are the only legal representative entities recognised by the Commonwealth. The present Queensland Government was elected by us, and it can thereafter do what it likes till we vote it out.

Naturally we have thought long and hard about the bigger picture when appealing to the Federal government. Although Kevvie has been approached about the undemocratic actions of the Queensland government by disgruntled Noosa residents amongst members of many such alarmed Queensland communities, and though neither he nor Julia personally supported forced amalgamations, we believe Rudd has a definite goal in mind, to form an Australian republic. With some historical vanity, he would like to be the engineer and steward of its formation. At present, for him it may be prudent to avoid a bun fight about the delineation of Federal and State powers under the existing Constitution, and so he is staying out of the fray, to the detriment of both Noosa residents and the upholding of representative democracy on a community level generally in our State.

Once regionalisation is complete throughout Australia, what need will there be for States? The footballers may not like it, but Brisbane can still play Sydney.

Except for alienated, infuriated folks, people will start identifying with their respective regions. The Sunshine Coast will play Brisbane as usual in soccer. Then the stage will be set for further reorganisation of decision-making and responsibilities.

In the interim, what happens if there is a change of government in Queensland or nationally? What power will we in our communities have had usurped from us, and passed into the mitts of an even more despicable, aggrandising mob?

Perhaps Noosa will be protected by iconic legislation for long enough for a republic to emerge, where the rights of individuals might be defined in such a way to protect the environments in which they live as well. Pigs might fly too. Despite Australians being typical disinterested in politics (is politics an acceptable dinner conversation topic yet?), it is essential that we are engaged in the republic debate, otherwise whilst we attend our barbies and down a few beers, we may get the sort of republic we really don’t want.

Grassroots democracy can be an annoyance and sometimes a threat to the feds who like things nice and tidy in Canberra. They’d rather be at lunch or off on a nice junket. Centralised governments who do not respond to vocal communities can be willing to sacrifice happy constituents and healthy environments at the beck and call of the rich and powerful who desire progress at any cost.

Recognised internationally with UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve, Noosa, with its achievements in sustainability and community democracy could serve as a model for communities in the new Republic of Australia. It is up to all Australians to reflect upon the choices before them, and speak out to protect our children’s future and the environment which sustains us all.