Tuesday, 31 March 2009


“The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.” - William Shakespeare

April Fool’s Day today and there were several pranks around this morning beginning on the radio where several nonsensical pieces were played, supposedly composed by a hitherto unknown son of JS Bach. Then some interesting news items including the Goodwill’s plans to tour a new ‘submersive audiovisual environment’ stage show dubbed “The Circle”. Other news regarding a new cash crop being considered for drought-stricken areas – a variety of rapidly growing berry bush that doesn’t need watering and produces ready to harvest dried fruit. Stories of several people being sent on fools’ errands, and then of course it is all over by twelve noon.

Something which wasn’t very funny was the release of the Conficker worm, which is a computer worm that can infect PCs and spread itself across a network automatically, without human interaction. It is suspected that the worldwide computer disaster may have been averted through good communication and people being alerted to use anti-virus programs.

The other very sad news item from Australia is our floods in the Northeast of NSW, with many towns severely flooded. Parts of the New South Wales mid-north coast have been declared a natural disaster zone after at least 3,200 people were trapped by a flood described by emergency services as a once-in-a-century phenomenon. The Coff’s Harbour CBD is under flood waters and the situation will not improve for a couple of weeks. All of this of course after the bushfires and destruction in Victoria. We are still recovering from the aftermath of these and many people that have been affected by the tragedy have either moved to Melbourne (our public transport is free for the victims until October, I read in the train station this morning), or are desperately trying to rebuild their lives in their devastated areas.

For Poetry Wednesday today a classic Australian poem by Dorothea Mackellar (1885 - 1968)

My Country

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!

A stark white ring-barked forest
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.

Dorothea Mackellar

The illustration is Australian artist Arthur Streeton’s 1896 painting “The purple noon's transparent might” (Oil on canvas, 123.0 x 123.0 cm in the National Gallery of Victoria).

No comments:

Post a Comment