Monday, April 21, 2014

697 : A Bridge Too Far.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Built by migrants.

Sunday Whirl (Wordle #157) presents a list of words
that we must incorporate in a writing piece.  

The words this week are:

bones, twice, stolen, water, rocking, open, mess,

aches, bridge, sink, sway, limb, sharp.

The text in green is from the 
Australian National Anthem.

A Bridge Too Far

Australians all let us rejoice
For we are young and free
We've golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea:

Across the waters to our north,
In frail and rocking ships,
Desperate families on open decks
Make slow and risky trips,
Like generations come before them
Fleeing guns and bombs and whips.

Our land abounds in nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare,
In history's page let every stage
Advance Australia fair,

But this is no bridge to a better life:
They’re put into a cage.
A sorry mess, remotely placed,
To sink from sight, backstage.
A sharp and sad reminder
Of our leader’s Christian rage.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross,
We'll toil with hearts and hands,
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands,

And there they stay on stolen time,
To ache and sway alone.
Not humans to receive our care,
Just limbs and flesh and bone,
Twice expelled from safe refuge
And nowhere to call home.

For those who've come across the seas
We've boundless plains to share,
With courage let us all combine
To advance Australia fair.

In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia fair.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

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  1. Thank you. You have expressed the pain and shame I feel without swearing - something I cannot do. Or don't do.

    1. Can't honestly say 'it was a pleasure' but thank you.

  2. Brought into the open what had been the underlying pain of the early settlers. Can make the govt of the day to be more tolerant even in present day woes! Great write Cosmo!


    1. I was thinking more recent but thank you.

  3. I came from the dreamtime
    From the dusty red soil plains
    I am the ancient heart
    The keeper of the flames
    I stood upon the rocky shore
    I watched the tall ships come
    For forty thousand years I've been
    the first Australian.

    Peace and joy, Cosmo!

  4. This is a fantastic piece, showing the glaring contrast between the perceived or wishful patriotism, and the actual reality.......

  5. nice play off the national a good political poem...
    its a sad history for many a we can hopefully learn from
    but at times the present and future seem all the darker
    despite our ideals...

    1. Lowest common denominator at play? Maybe.

  6. I too like the play off the Australian anthem. The gap between deliberate blind eyes and reality is sometimes so immense. Also like the image you chose, on open bridge is never a connection.


    1. Yes, I was happy with the illustration too.

    2. He chose it for me, Elizabeth!

  7. I like the interplay with the anthem. No one wanted Jewish refugees in WW 2 either.They were sent back as well.Humans are not by nature compassionate beings.By nature they are self serving, the survival of the fittest. Without religious conviction and the rapid increase of secularism and cultural marxism we can expect more of these attitudes.Politicians practise politics not religion regardless of which religion they subscribe to.

    1. I suspect religious conviction just provides reasons, post hoc. It has not been a notable force for acceptance over the years. Religion is politics, I believe.

  8. The media is complicit; it sells fear and ignorance.

  9. This was intriguing. National anthems...they seem to show such a stark contrast between what is ideal and what is real... I loved this, J Cosmo. You have a way with words.

    1. Thank you; I'd argue, that's what they are for! Mind you, your photos are worth more than 1000 words.

  10. loved this, especially the image of Australia as a 'backstage'. funny how many things we sweep under the rug, huh?

    1. It's not just the sweeping under the rug that depresses me Nataša, it's the fact that so many people are sanguine about having a lumpy rug.

  11. Beautifully written ... I read Australian anthem for the first time today and it is really intriguing how reality differs from words inscribed on paper.

  12. Yes anthems often contradict reality..overlook the people who were there first..glorify the colonists have a lot to answer for..and people certainly do not get a warm reception here either!

  13. Beautiful write, J Cosmo!

  14. Feel for you, Cosmo... mho - it's important not what you have but what you able to make out of it. xx

  15. I really like the way you play, contrast and bring new meaning to the Australian National Anthem. I especially like the contrast between ideals and reality.

  16. I love how you have inserted the anthem here, J Cosmo. It does complete your thoughts beautifully.


  17. A sad story that so many people are effected by. Great writing.

  18. Such an interesting slice of history. It is easy to forget the suffering of previous generations that allow us to live the lives we do.

  19. Nice use of the national anthem. I like it a lot.

  20. Lofty ideals and reality are miles apart. Nice work and your national anthem is lovely.

  21. Cos, this reminds me of our Statue of Liberty: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free... yeah, right.

    You had me going to Wiki to research the sad history of Australian immigration, not only the slave colonies, but the White Australia act. Indeed, a different story from America, but the bottom line is still the same: If you aren't a Stale Pale Male, you are in big trouble. Immigration has become a bone of contention here.

    Thank you for the ironic rendition and commentary of the National Anthem. You speak volumes. Also thanks for stopping by and honoring Nina with your words. Sorry it took me so long to get back here. Peace, Amy

  22. As an Australian I heartily concur with your adaption of our national anthem. It is not unusual to ridicule our leaders but rarely have so many felt such shame with our current one.

  23. This is shocking - I had no idea that this happened. Are there no vociferous campaigners?
    Your juxtaposition of the anthem with your indictment is a powerful one.

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Love the way you wrote this, very easy to sing along to, but when you read the words and they start to sink in it hits you. I think you must be talking about the boat people. Nice write.

  25. I admire the style of weaving verses between the the ideal by using anthem and reality ~

    Good one ~

  26. Ever the cynic ... a poignant read.


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