Valerie Yules Letters

February 4, 2013

Poem – Then and Now

Filed under: climate, conservation, social problems, Uncategorized, verse — Tags: , , , — valerieyulesletters @ 12:56 am

Where stood the road and man

Stood once the plain and tree

A flowing river ran

Where now the cars fast flee

down that vast drain.

 

Each lampost was a branch

that hung with flowers and fruit

The fountain was alive

A lookout, not a water chute.

The tenements and lodging houses were

A place of habitat for balls of fur.

 

The clouds still look alive,

The man has breath

There’s air – it is not yet

A place of death

It does not illustrate

the future world in space

which may be more, or less,

than here, or then.

October 14, 2011

Ten political verses

Filed under: Political reforms, social problems, verse — Tags: , — valerieyulesletters @ 8:52 am

1. The self-awarded  emoluments of Directors

(with apologies to Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries)

“These in the day when heaven was falling
The hour when earth’s foundation fled,
Followed their mercenary calling,
Asked for more wages and are dead.
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood and earth’s foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And what they wanted was more pay.

2 WHAT I SAID I DID NOT KNOW

(Niemoller in Germany wrote:

First they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew;

then they came for the communists and I did not speak out, because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.”)

——————————————————

They came for the local councils and I did not speak out,

because I did not know

They came for public lands and I did not speak out, because I did not know

They came for electricity, gas and fuel and water and I did not speak out, because I did not know

They came for public transport and I did not speak out, because I did not know

They came for schools as property and I did not speak out because I did not know

They came for the unions and I did not speak out because I did not know

They came for Crown Land that was pastoral leases and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came for Australian industries and I did not speak out because I did not know

They came for the Carlton gardens and I did not speak out because I did not know

They came for the site of the museum that Labor had started building and I did not speak out because I did not know

They leased public beachfront for a private marina and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They cut the funding for the disabled, the mentally handicapped and the psychiatrically disturbed and I did not speak out because I did not know

They cut the funding for hospitals and community health and baby health and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came to turn annual riverbank and coastal leases into 99-year leases and I did not speak out because I did not know

They came to allow anything to be developed for private profit regardless of public and long-term harm and I did not speak out because I did not know

They came for prime sites on St Kilda Road to build private towers and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came for what they wanted in the City to build private developments and I did not speak out because I did not know

They came to clearfell in State forests for private profit and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came to impose problematic brothels and gambling in areas where people did not want them and still I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came to ruin natural beauties on Crown land by private developments for private profit and I did not speak out because I did not know.

They came for the hospitals and prisons that were on desirable land for developers and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came for the prisoners and the sick because they were profitable for private businesses and I did not speak out

because I did to know

They came to spend millions on glitz and entertainment at the cost of the people’s needs, and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came for the banks and for telecommunications and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came for the workers to put their hard-won conditions at risk and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came to put profit for shareholders above the Common Wealth and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came to change the Constitution dozens of times to curtail rights and liberties but I did not speak out because I did not know

They came for people who did speak out from their official knowledge and did not speak out because I did not know

They came to allow anything to be developed for private profit regardless of public and long-term harm and I did not speak out because I did not know

because I did not know

They came to ruin natural beauties on Crown land by private developments for private profit and I did not speak out

because I did not know.

They came to silence by  threatening  and law suits and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came to give the rich a better deal than the poor and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came for the banks and for telecommunications and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came for the workers to put their hard-won conditions at risk and I did not speak out

because I did not knows that were to let them be sold out

They came to put profit for shareholders above the Common Wealth and I did not speak out

because I did not know

They came  dozens of times to curtail rights and liberties but I did not speak out because I did not know

They came for people who did speak out from their official knowledge and did not speak out because I did not know

They came for the independent broadcaster and I did not speak out

because I did not know

 They came to silence by  threatening  and law suits and I did not speak out
because I did not know
They came to give the rich a better deal than the poor and I did not speak out
because I did not know
They came to turn the universities into profits and administration, not learning and I did not speak out because I did not know
They came to operate in silence so that I could not speak out
because I did not know
They came to sell Australia to foreign interests and I did not speak out
because I did not know
They came to sell the people and I did not speak out
because I was dumb and I had been sold.
The Scots say that when many folk arrive at the Judgement, they will plead, “Lord, Lord, we dinna ken!”  and the Lord will say,
“Well, ye ken the noo.”

3. A highly colored boy

I pass among a hostile crowd
I live their public shame
For all that should not be allowed
Or needs a dirty name.
I stand outside the house afraid
And pick my foreign skin
For every more familiar shade
Combines lest I get in.
I am the far researcher’s joy,
The local folk’s chagrin;
I’m just a really colored boy,
My colour is bright green.

 

4.Star Wars Star Peace  –

post World War II

 

At the last moment the missiles

Saw the trees in the field

And the wild things that run

In the woods and the streams,

From the ricks and the barns,

The town roofs and the weather vanes,

Faces on people in the streets,

And history that had lain

Six thousand years.

 

They were poised, hung above this

It was a theatre, a war theatre.

The scenario of the sky

was black around it.

Within the sky shone, white,

Those stars already dead.

5.   Matriotism – the countries  I love

 

This is my country I come from – rolling hills and green leas,

My country, interlaced with the deep seas.

I would live and die for my land of the tall trees,

And this land that I love, that spreads white and far.

Oh earth, the lands that I love, how beautiful you are.

 

This is my country I come from, barren and grand,

Here are my red skies over the redder sand,

And the canyons drop away from the great plain,

Where the land I love lies deep in the yellow grain.

 

This is my country with the music of the gamelan,

The rain forest and the island reef where the singing began.

Drums repeat my steppes far away

And by a northern marsh the echo, and the reed pipes play.

 

For these great cities I would fight,

For these lands that are my own birth-right,

For these peoples, this earth, this world, irreplaceable and dear –
What bombs may yet fall on you, what spreading death I fear.

 6. After a meeting in Aberdeen, Scotland,  about nuclear bunkers for the ‘essential people’

 

Batten down this earth and its trees

before the hurricane

Cover the farms and the forests,

net over the streams,

Butterflies and insects,

shield – how? from this flame.

But none of these

is in a bunkering scheme.

 

Bury the books deep,

make cellars for your heritage.

Is there a deepfreeze

you can bank grandchildren in?

 

Dustcovers for democracy –

a military entourage

will come to take the scenery,

when the war begins.

 

(And must all countries bear that wrath?

And must this landscape die?

What flesh can barricade their path,

What blood unspilled can cry?)

 

Beyond the screens of lies and smoke I see

One Fate still spins a spider thread –

that it need not be.

 

7.  Star Wars Star Peace  –

post World War II

 

At the last moment the missiles

Saw the trees in the field

And the wild things that run

In the woods and the streams,

From the ricks and the barns,

The town roofs and the weather vanes,

Faces on people in the streets,

And history that had lain

Six thousand years.

 

They were poised, hung above this

It was a theatre, a war theatre.

The scenario of the sky

was black around it.

Within the sky shone, white,

Those stars already dead.

8. The bird in the egg

The bird is in the egg,

while the bomb is in the shell,

the child is in the womb,

the souls are in hell.

Fresh blows the breeze over  new ruins.

Flowers with the weeds

are in the seeds in the cracks

that brought down these empires.

 

Take away the syringe from the brain,

gun from the head,

horror from the eye of the children,

soot without the fire,

pitch without the road,

offer no God’s flesh

when the communion is dead.

 

Tell the young children

the bomb is in the egg,

the bird is explosive,

that the infant is monstrous,

the man born raging.

that cities lie vacant,

winds carry the plague.

And that in the cracks waits a hope,

waiting for a movement of will.

 

Turning from that screen,

from the images, from the wall,

let your small hands, as the tendrils,

reach for the sun.

Listen within you,

there’s silence, there’s music,

                     Look now.    Life’s done.   and again begun.

9. The Crocodile in the Mangroves

 

Unravelled, stripped, an onion in the dark,

Food of the ancient crocodile, in the dark,

A capitalist conspiracy, the spark

Of futures trading in the murky mangroves.

 

The reeking onion splits its coat of brown,

Sprayed scents of evil from its surface brown,

Not the killing cruelty

But greed more than the fear coming down

Grasping at power, at everything, in the dirty estuaries.

 

Peel an onion whichway, it has no core,

Unless the rising shoot can spike its  flesh,

Shiny brown surface, covering, dark as it is,

Is not more evil than a rotten law,

The tears from food, tears like the crocodile,

Oppression of the crate-dwellers, or operatives in a steamy factory.

 

Murky mangroves, tears from food, dirty estuaries, steaming factories,

Three of these come from the mind of man.

10.  The fiery moon

 

Evening-

A fiery moon surprises

Her face is rent with tears

The opposite horizon

Is spread with scarlet spears.

 

The sun will plummet downwards

But fire still stokes the sky

To celebrate destruction

White rockets wheel and die.

 

So far, her lonely spinning,

So near, her piteous freeze,

Earth’s former chunk of ruin,

Flung from her deepest seas.

 

I flew my kite, part hoping

To pull her off her shelf,

She floated to the ocean

Like a mirror of herself.

 

Her image still sails skyward

Tied, as the tides pull free,

It would leave us unattended,

But the moon now lives with me.

 

____________

Dawn –

 

Anger rips the world,

The old Promethean fire

Is sunken as earth’s secrets

Make other smoke rise higher.

 

Before a lunar landscape

That lunatics will make

That fiery moon is cold now

Her very rocks will break.

 

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