Friday, December 31, 2010

Judith Wright on the champing jaws of the political and corporate elite

Judith Wright's poem At a Public Dinner laments an Australian political and corporate elite interested in personal gain, power, status and profit.  As we enter a new year Wright's poem is more relevant than ever before.

At A Public Dinner
Judith Wright

No, I'm not eating. I'll watch the champing jaws,
solemnly eating and drinking my country's honor,
my country's flesh. The gravy's dripping red,
a nourishing stew for business. She's a goner-
crucified in fat speeches, toasted in wines
the colour of blood. And wounded past recall.
Let this occasion be her memorial.
It was all there in the first step onto land,
the flag raised, the guns fired.
No one but Harpur called here the land of equals,
the new Utopia...Go away, we're tired;

we're tired of being asked about tomorrow.
Today the profit. Today the hideous old,
the rising price of uranium, beef and gold.
Today, for the dreamers, the totally useless sorrow.

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