Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Bruce Dawe

 Although I don't really understand the poem, much of the imagery in Bruce Dawe's 'a' is for asia ..., which you can find in his collection called Condolences of the Season  (published by Longman Cheshire, ISBN 0-7015-1306-3) , seems almost presciently apposite in this strange wild year:

'a' is for asia ...

It is part of our peculiar charm that each time we witness
A nation's total collapse
We are amazed and hurt as the cruel wave makes nonsense
Of another sand-castle Perhaps,
And the hurt is a personal hurt as deep as a child's,
Trudging painfully up the beach
- Already planning the ramparts of his next castle,
Beyond the sea's reach ...

'Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it ...'
With, of course, variations,
And, while the beach may be limitless, there are unfortunately only
A certain number of nations,
Which means that each step we take back with bucket and spade
(Having, for protection, only
Our innocence of such things as tide-rise and tide-fall)
We must feel the more lonely,
The more desolate and set upon, while personally wishing
Not so much as a starfish harm,
And the injured look on our faces as we finally go under will be
Not the least of our charm ...

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