Poetry seems to be dead in Australia today, except (of course) amongst the small trendy, weird, 'fringe' people. But en masse, amongst the general public, it no longer has the currency it used to have.
Nowadays most kids wouldn't even know the names of Australia's two most well known poets: Patterson and Lawson. They wouldn't know them because their teachers don't know them and they're not required by the system to know the.
But they existed and their poetry still exists.
And I like it. Very much. Lightweight 'ballad' poetry it is often denigrated as. Well the hell with that. It is pleasing, human poetry. It pleases humans, rather than snobbish far out intellectuals or weirdos, and it tells human stories. Human stories, of course, grow daily more irrelevant to our inhuman world.
Australia now runs concentration camps for refugees, men, women and children. The population is blase about that. And/or doesn't want to know.
An incredible cruelty for Australia you think? No. It was ever thus. The world was ever thus and Australia, too. Read 'Clarke of the Kindur' and learn how 13 convicts in the prison on Norfolk Island elected to die rather than live any longer in that prison, so terrible was it. 1834 that was. Coming up 200 years ago.
For a while Australia raised itself up above that. It began in the mire of England's aristocracy's view of commoners as little better than animals and themselves inheritors of a god given right to torment and kill those commoners whenever and however they wished - and all the time live off their labours.
It raised itself above that as it became an egalitarian country owing to the need for every man at the helm to build a whole vast nation.
But now the nation is built, and overbuilt. All those country towns no longer needed, all those labouring classes no longer needed and the polarisation begins to set in again. The 'haves' against the 'have nots'.
And the 'haves', as always, begin to arrogate to themselves those english aristocracy attitudes.
Police powers proliferate. It is not exaggeration to say that today you can be imprison on suspicion of thoughts. It is no exaggeration to say that today they can and will crash into your house with guns drawn and battering doors down, like storm troopers of old and American movie cops of today (and real cops).
And the prisons filled to bursting. Already overcrowded, cells already doubled up, still they put more in. And create more offenses, more laws, more rules, more regulations.
And no one much remarks on it and no one much cares. For humanity is dead all around the western world. The machine is all. The dollar and the machine.
There's a great need for poets. For poets of old.
For men like Patterson and Lawson.
Poets are special aren't they? Need their own corner....
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