Poetry Sunday 31 May 2015

Today Ira Maine, Poetry Editor introduces John Clare.  Clare’s poem ‘I am’ is at the very bottom


John Clare (1793-1864) English Poet.

John Clare, the son of an agricultural labourer, was born in the village of Helpston in Northamptonshire. He left school at twelve and worked, first as a pot boy in the local pub, before, like his father, taking up the job of farm labourer.  His slight stature, (he was only five feet tall) his regular illnesses and, as he got older, his increasing bouts of madness, were all probably (it is speculated) due to malnutrition in his childhood.

Clare was born into agricultural turmoil.  Ancient pastures were being ploughed up to grow wheat to feed the war against Napoleon Bonaparte.  Old hedgerows were torn out, forests and groves flattened and ‘commons’, common land upon which the average peasant absolutely depended for firewood, food and shelter, were being enclosed, or fenced off, the peasants driven off and driven into the new industrialised sweatshops.

Clare watched and wrote about this appalling loss of an ancient way of life.  His work was well received even though Clare insisted on using local dialect words and terms which to many would have been impossible to understand.  For example, here is an extract from his poem ‘Emmonsail’s Heath in Winter’; 

‘…Up flies the bouncing woodcock from the brig
Where a black quagmire quakes beneath the tread;
And for the haw round fields and closen rove,
And coy bumbarrels, twenty in a drove,
Flit down the hedgerows in the frozen plain
And hang on little twigs and start again…

I remember wintry scenes like this in country Ireland and wondering then how on earth creatures survived the relentless, frozen weeks.

The black quagmire (a dark ditch or pool) is bounced into by the busy woodcock who then sets himself to ‘…rove…’ for food amongst the bare hawthorn bushes.  These bushes had been traditionally grown ‘…round fields…’ to grow into well managed impenetrable hedges to keep sheep and cattle enclosed (‘…and closen…’).  In my youth these hedges were alive with hedgehogs, prowling foxes, rabbits, hares and bird’s nests.  And then Clare mentions in dialect ‘…coy bumbarrels, twenty in a drove…’ and we can probably tell what they are because they ‘flit down hedgerows…hang on …twigs and start again…’

Sparrows is my guess, flitting round the bare branches, hanging for a second on flimsy twigs, then off again, desperate to get enough to eat to allow them to survive the Winter frost and snow until the salvation of Spring comes round again.

Clare watched, horrified, as factory farming destroyed hedges, woodland and ancient groves, gates and stone walls, a habitat that had provided such grace and diversity, an astonishingly rich breeding ground for all that life and Nature had to offer, and to see it suddenly torn apart, destroyed utterly, must have been, to a man of Clare’s sensibility, devastating.

Devastated he might very well have been, but the condition didn’t prevent him from marrying the young Martha Turner in 1820 and having seven children.

He had also, at an early age, fallen madly in love with a lass called Mary Joyce, but her successful farming father would have none of it and strongly discouraged the match. Clare, though rejected, would never forget Mary and imagined, much later on, when he was confined to a lunatic asylum, that he was in fact, married to the girl.  His poor cracked brain imagined he was married to both his real wife, Martha Turner and to Mary, simultaneously.  Time and time again, despite modest literary successes, he found difficulty supporting his large family and was driven back to the business of labouring, simply to pay the bills.  A wife and kids can’t live on love and need regular feeding.

Clare, despite his difficulties, was gaining enough reputation to have an admirer, the Marquess of Exeter bequeath to him an annuity of fifteen guineas. (one guinea equalled twenty one shillings when a pound was worth twenty shillings) Together with other subscriptions from important London supporters, he wound up with the substantial sum of 45 pounds annually. Despite this sizeable income, by 1823, he was, to all intents and purposes, broke.

In his thirties now, he began to exhibit a sufficient level of madness for Martha, his wife to have him committed to The Northampton General Lunatic Asylum, where he was generally considered to be quietly and gently insane.  However, in all of his writings, whilst confined, there is not the least trace of madness. It seems that the moment he took pen to paper, sanity flooded in, took hold and guided his hand.

It is important here to emphasize that, despite his condition, hugely influential people recognised his astonishing talent and went out of their way to support him.  When, due to debt, he went back to labouring, Earl Fitzwilliam presented him with a rent free cottage with sufficient land attached to grow vegetables and allow his family to take the air.  Hopeless and a bit helpless poor John Clare even managed to wreck this arrangement.

Eventually, Clare was confined to yet another lunatic asylum, this time at Loughton in Essex, not far from London, This latest ‘hospital’ was at least 90 miles from his home in Northamptonshire.  Having spent three or four years there, one day he decided, without consultation or permission, to go home.  He walked the ninety miles (about 150 kilometres) back home and in his deluded state, called at Mary’s family home to collect her. Sadly, John  had no idea that Mary had been dead for three years.  How he coped with this revelation is unknown to me, but he apparently moved back home with Martha and the kids and resumed his old life.  No posse arrived to take him back, no enquiries were made as to his whereabouts, and his contacts with the literary world were as firm as ever.

Clare continued to write, slipping in and out of madness, labouring, accepting help from supporters until eventually, at the age of 71, he died.

He is reckoned nowadays, to be one of the finest nature poets in the English language, his evocations of pre-industrialized rural England absolutely unsurpassed.

Probably the one poem he is best known for concerns, not badgers and birdlife and the vanishing landscape, but the erratically vanishing landscape of his own mind.

The poem, entitled ‘I Am…’ is Clare desperately trying to deal with the shadows, phantoms and dreams that so beset him in his times of madness. Read the poem and he is not mad at all. He is a man struggling to make sense of this other side of him which he can, in his rational mind, examine and dissect.  But even the poem’s first verse, though technically excellent, reflects his deluded view of the world.

‘…my friends forsake me like a memory lost;…’

This is nonesense of course.  Had it not been for his friends and their encouragement he would have, years ago, died a pauper in the workhouse.

He lives, he tells us, rather self-pityingly, as ‘…the self-consumer of my woes…’ presumably meaning he is all alone and has no one to share his troubles with.

‘…They rise and vanish…like shades in love…’  It is difficult to know whether he is referring here to his friends or his woes. In the first instance he perhaps imagines his friends have risen and vanished, deserting him.  On the other hand, real or imagined woes possess his fevered mind for a time then simply vanish, like ‘…shades of love…’ and as they do the possibility of ‘…death’s oblivion…’, the possibility of swapping his madness for death, recedes.

And yet, he says, ‘… I am…’,

Clare sees himself as existing half in this world and half out of it. He knows that, unlike other people, he lives in the shadows created by his disturbed self, a half world of ‘…waking dreams, where there is neither sense of life nor joys, but the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems…’

Clare is perfectly capable of observing his own own madness but is utterly incapable of either reversing or controlling it.  Each bout must be allowed to run it’s course, during which even his nearest and dearest, his own family become alien to him;  ‘… are strange-nay, rather stranger than the rest…’ to his demented brain.

The final verse is self explanatory.  He longs for a world which will allow him to sleep untroubled as he did as a child, a garden of Eden, a Heaven where he can ‘abide with my Creator, God…’ and be, not simply free of his mind’s torment, but to become forever free, free for eternity, happy and finally at ease.

Deservedly John Clare’s work has survived very well into the present century and the space his work occupies in the pantheon is substantial.

The last two lines of this poem might equally be read as referring to either Clare’s work or his happy place amongst the stars.

‘…Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
The grass below- above the vaulted sky.’

And now for the poem

I Am!


I am: yet what I am none cares or knows,
My friends forsake me like a memory lost;
I am the self-consumer of my woes,
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shades in love and death’s oblivion lost;
And yet I am! and live with shadows tost
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
And e’en the dearest–that I loved the best–
Are strange–nay, rather stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes where man has never trod;
A place where woman never smil’d or wept;
There to abide with my creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
The grass below–above the vaulted sky.

MDFF 30 May 2013

Our Musical Dispatch for today was first published on 10 June 2012.  We republish it in two parts, the first today, the second next week.  I shake my head as I re-read it, aghast that we white Australians still do not get it.

Siku njema wangu marafiki

Not all that long after the Suez Canal was reopened, when the sunken ships and debris from the Suez Crisis were cleared, the Johan van Oldenbarneveld passed through the canal on its way to Australia.

The ship briefly stopped at Port Said. It was the first and last time I stepped onto the African continent. I have a vague memory of seeing the broken statue of Ferdinand de Lesseps lying at the base of its pedestal.
Untitled 40 Years later the memory was to be revived by television images of the staged tearing down of Sadam Hussein’s statue. That is when a North American soldier committed the diplomatic faux pas of wrapping the stars and stripes around the top of the statue, thereby telling the whole world ‘this is not a liberation but a conquest’. This in turn reminded me of one of the most iconic images from WWII, the flag raising at Iwo Jima.

When it comes to iconic images, Mervyn Bishop’s photo of Gough Whitlam pouring red soil into Vincent Lingiari’s hand takes some beating as a symbol of Australian Aborigines’ fight for Land Rights. This is a fight they are yet to win despite the hype surrounding the 20th Anniversary of the high court ‘Mabo’ decision. The Queen of Australia (no, I’m not talking about Priscilla) has just awarded the Order of Merit to our former Prime Minister John Howard. I wonder if this rare honour was bestowed on our former Prime Miniature for the damage he did to Australia’s social fabric during the more than a decade of his neo-conservative rule, or for the dismantling of ATSIC and his ‘ten point plan’ that emasculated Native Title.

To be concluded next Saturday.

The Importance of being Earnest. Children’s Literature Supplement

by Quentin Cockburn

The recent reference to the obscure Irish poet, writer and playwright, (Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde) gives cause for us to wonder about literature and the modern generation. Oscar was Bought down by the establishment. It’s a lesson to us all.

Recently our dear friend and colleague Leigh Hobbs, launched ‘Mr Chicken in Rome’. The story is simple, Childrens’ books are like that. Mr Chicken in Rome is a sort of ‘Roman Holiday’ for a large flightless bird. Mr Chicken in Rome is the third installment of the series. Mr Chicken goes to London and Paris being the first and second.


How to Draw BB # 2417

The Rome connection is doing well, and a beaming Leigh described to our intrepid correspondent, with some considerable satisfaction the booming sales, popularity and heartfelt approval from children and parents of all ages, gender and description.

Mr Hobbs mobbed by his groupies in Rome

Mr Hobbs mobbed by his groupies in Rome

“You can buy it at the Louvre and the British Museum, in both English and French, How is that’?? (insert trans in French).

Hooray for Leigh, and Hooray for Mr Chicken. It proves that with a little bit of imagination, a large, (not terribly attractive) Chicken can really go places. Who would not embrace such joyous, and all consumingly humanistic sentiments??

Well there are those who frown upon Mr Chicken. For a start the books have proved popular. The Children’s Book Council of Australia found very little to celebrate at a recent awards ceremony. Short of requesting that Mr Chicken be renamed. ‘Ms. LBGT Chook’, they were unable to award a prize citation or recommendation of any description. Mr Hobbs, who was encouraged by this committee to attend the awards ceremony, (with an inkling that popular humourous books are never annointed) was left Gongless. To add insult, the awards committee passed criticism on the Mr Chicken series. And so they should. In their opinion. Mr Chicken, popularised and advanced an “unhealthy body image”.. Absolutely right.. And in the depictions of Mr Chicken and his travails through the streets of London, Paris and Rome, (in the committee members own words) ‘there is a distinct absence of minority ethnic and gender subtypes in the crowd scenes”. This precludes the books, though popular, as being suitable for young readers.  I would suggest the books are “Inappropriate”! Can’t use that word more often… I’ll say it again.. ‘INAPPROPRIATE’!!! And Mr Hobbs should be DEEPLY ASHAMED! Clearly they run against the grain of contemporary Australian education policy, they are not goal oriented, insert imagination and wit where there is no requirement, and upset traditional ‘Team Australia’ values. What would Oscar do?? Clearly there is something wrong with Australian Education, as evidenced in this photograph.

Children confronting inappropriate literature. Leigh Hobbs rhs.

Children confronting inappropriate literature. Leigh Hobbs rhs.

A proper perspective

There has been a scurrilous exchange of thought going on in the pcbycp back room.  Cecil suggested growing inequality may be a problem and linked to a couple of articles in the Guardian (where else??) to support his case

The ever ferreting Quentin found this to completely demolish Cecil’s argument on the web site of a fundamentally sound middle of the road think tank (NL) plus pictorial evidence that inequality does not lead to starvation, nor misery.

I think he is quite wrong!!  he doesn’t understand that if it wasn’t for the GInas’, the Twiggys and the Clives we’d have a viable car industry, and those filthy pinko unionists would be running rampant. Look what’s happened to Ireland. They’ve had an ecomomic collapse, and all of a sudden decent Irish, decent clean-living irish Sheilas and their illegitimate kiddies are being corrupted by poofters and box biters!!!
No bloody way!! Next he’ll start banging on about the Catholic Church and question their right to bugger little boys. It teaches them RESPECT! Without respect society crumbles!!
The rich are rich and deserve a bigger share because they’re cleverer than you and I. Also, the one percent the one percent pays in taxes trickles down to keep lazy, promiscuous, cretinous dolts coerced and humbled. And that’s what makes our kind of society work. Only hard work will deliver wealth. That’s what i said to my Wealth Manager when he made some pretty weighty deliberations on where to invest Daddys substantial assets in offshore havens. Bloody hard work!!! And with current talk of changing tax loopholes and superannuation bloody risky too!!!
Thankfully Governements are not corrupted by such lefty twaddle. They know what’s good for BIg Business, and Big Business and the shareholders know what’s good for US”. And Prisons are another growth economy, good for the community, good for the shareholders! Australia is well set to become an International leader in this growth and point to a future society where traditional values keep risky experiments in social theory in check. 
Yours Sincerely
G. Hendasen IPA (NL)

Inequality does not lead to starvation, nor misery

Inequality does not lead to starvation, nor misery

Australian Football May 26 2015

Cecil Poole in personal and private correspondence with Quentin Cockburn finished with this:  “we head to NYC in 48 hours, by which time Mick Malthouse should no longer be the headline.”  

Quentin responded with this scoop:

Effin effin hell,,, I can’t wait … Got the board meeting tonight…. My mate Scott is hyper spastic with feelings of revulsion, sickness, emotional trauma, and dissipated energy in relation to the matter. I took him to the G.P, and do you know what he said, ” Tsk, Tsk, perhaps the worst case I have yet encountered…”.. he then put down his stethescope and murmured something unintelligible…

I asked him, “Tell us straight Doc, what’s the prognosis’?

He paused, took off his glasses, and said matter of factly,

“I’ll give it to you straight”!

‘Tell us Doc’?

“You see” Doc said, ” it’s the worst case of “Essendonititis’ I’ve seen in my professional experience, sadly, though it has spread, he has all the same symptoms, yet has not been in any contact with an Essendon supporter”!!

“What does that mean Doc”?

He replied, “Essedonitiitis is like Ebola, they come from the same source, infected blood samples and an associated loss of faith in the board’.

‘Oh’ I said flummoxed.

‘There are two stages, (Doc Continued), the first stage is virulent and catchy, it is called ‘Esada’, the second stage is terminal , it is called ‘Awada”.

‘Is there anything we can do to save him’? I implored.

“Nothing’! said the doctor

Doc continued, “He has to have faith in the board in order to fight the infection”

‘But that’s impossible Doc’

Doc demurred;    ‘Or the coach has to go’!

‘We can do that Doc, Is that what they did at Essendon’?

‘No’, said doc,

‘But how did they cure the outbreak of Essedonitis at Essendon’?.

‘They didn’t, they can’t and they won’t, because…. (his voice trailed)

‘Why not’? I implored Doc

‘Because they are deaf to entreaties and reason’!

‘Why is that Doc’?

‘Because Essedonititis  effects the comprehension of simple external messages’.

‘External messages?’ I implored?

‘Yes’ said Doc,

He tapped the desk with the bowl of his pipe, ‘What ever is said, is not registered’.

‘Registered Doc’?

‘Yes, my son’!, (he’d gone paternalistic)

He continued tiredly; ‘They’re blind, dumb and the rest is best left’…….,

‘What Doc’?



Theatre Report

A Night at the Oscars.

Review by Thespian Q. Stutterington esq.

Breathlessly I must report on the most recent PCBYCP Gala event held at an undisclosed location in Melbourne.  In celebration of the 120th anniversary of the launching of ‘The Importance of being Earnest’, by Oscar Wilde, (an obscure Anglo/Irish playwright and poet) at the St James Theatre.  A special bravura dedication to ‘Poonces and Sondomites’ was made by none other than ‘The Scarlet Marquis’ himself.

In a florid and exuberant display of coarse innuendo, strident homophobia and grotesque distortions of the English language, The Marquis put forth his own interpretation of Wilde, and made a scathing attack upon ‘sondomites’ the world over.

The Marquis is not a literary man, and was guilty of malapropisms and grammatical incorrectitude….but he was not lacking in venom, some wit and PUNCH!!

The Scarlet Marquis, incoherent with rage

The Scarlet Marquis, incoherent with rage

Shown here, the lucky Marquis is being ably assisted by Sen Det. Louise Lautrec of the The Russell Street CIB, in the “Hunt for Wilde”.  Confused and incoherent with rage, the Scarlet Marquis was under the mistaken belief that Wilde had fled in Exile, to Australia rather than Italy or France, and was posing as none other than the Federal Minister for Education, (and I use these words guardedly) the Rt Hon. Christopher Pyne.  Sadly, the Marquis could not find Wilde, (the minister in the room) and so was unable to “Shoot the cur Wilde down” with the Elephant Gun provided.

Marquis, Sen Det L. Lautrec and person of interest

Marquis, Sen Det L. Lautrec
and person of interest

Still though, the search continues for Wilde, and the marquis was last seen packing for Ireland, where they’ve allowed ‘Poonces and Sondomites’ to ‘engage in filthy union under law’.  Before leaving, the Marquis applauded the Australian Government for showing no such interest in matters of humanity and imagination.  We can only Heartily concur. As the Federal Attorney General put it; (the luminescent George Brandis) “Queensberry Rules”!! O.K?

Poetry Sunday 24 May 2015

with Ira Maine, Poetry Editor.

An Argument.
A poem by Thomas Moore (1779-1852)

I’ve oft been told by learned friars,
That wishing and the crime are one,
And Heaven punishes desires
As much as if the deed were done.

If wishing damns us, you and I
Are damn’d to all our heart’s content;
Come, then,at least we may enjoy
Some pleasure for our punishment !


Another disgraceful poem where an unprincipled attempt is made to persuade a lady from the path of righteousness!

Thomas Moore, born in Dublin in 1779 to a Gaelic speaking shopkeeper, and a mother whose maiden name was Codd, educated at Trinity College, Dublin (where the air was alive with the French Revolution) eventually studied law in London, but made his living by writing. He produced poems, plays and a biography of the Irish playwright, Richard Brinsley Sheridan. He was a great friend of Byron who entrusted his memoirs to Moore, to be published after his death. The memoirs were such that Moore was persuaded by Byron’s family to have them burnt. Scurrilous they most decidedly were, and their publication might very well have blighted many a reputation, but what an infamous loss to literature. Moore should have had less concern for 19th century respectability and much more concern for posterity.

Although born into a time of feverish revolution, and having dallied at college with Robert Emmet, Catholic Emancipation and the political movement known as the United Irishmen, Moore found his feet in England, lost his brogue, adopted an upper-class English accent and became becalmed in English respectability. The Irish uprising of 1798, where the French joined with the Irish in opposition to the British Empire and had their fleet destroyed by storms, seemed to pass Thomas Moore by.

Unlike Moore, and much later, Oscar Wilde did precisely the same with his brogue but, for some reason or other, never succeeded in achieving the same level of respectability. He did however, spend most of his Anglicized life being the scourge of the English nouveau riche, the new and highly respectable ‘middle class’, epitomized precisely in the black, bloated and bombazined figure of that demented old control freak, Queen Victoria.

Famously, Wilde described the English habit of ‘riding to hounds’ as;

The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable’.

But back to Moore;

Probably, or at least inasmuch as I am aware, the only poem of Moore’s which touches on war or battle, skirmish or conflict is one called ‘The Minstrel Boy’.

You could, in a time before radios, when people provided their own ‘party pieces’ in the most respectable of households, you could hear any number of “Moore’s Melodies’ being sung, the slightly martial, romantically stirring “Minstrel Boy’ always to the fore.

The Minstrel Boy.

The Minstrel boy to the war has gone,
In the ranks of death you will find him.
His father’s sword he has girded on
And his wild harp slung behind him.
Land of Song said the warrior bard
Though all the world betrays thee,
One sword at least thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee,

The minstrel fell but the foeman’s chain
Could not drag that proud soul under.
The harp he loved ne’er spoke again
For he tore its chords asunder.
And said no chains shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and bravery.
Thy songs were made for the pure and free,
They shall never sound in slavery.

Shamelessly romantic stuff, and belonging more properly in Celtic myth and saga than amongst the blood and horror of trenches and revolution.

Moore’s songs and poems, vastly popular, were sung recited and danced to throughout the 19th century.

James Joyce, the author, knew Moore’s songs and poems well enough to include their mention in his novels, and to offer Moore’s ‘Last Rose Of Summer’ as his light tenor party piece.

Hector Berlioz, amongst many other 19th century composers, either put Moore’s work to music or included his tunes in his compositions.

Finally (when you had begun to think I was never going to stop) I’ll let Dublin have the last word on Thomas Moore.

As a kid at school in Dublin we were required to learn Moore’s ‘Meeting of the Waters’ by heart.  In the Vale of Avoca, about fifty kilometres south of Dublin, two rivers meet, the Avoca and the Avonmore.  Moore visited this beauty spot spot and wrote the above mentioned poem of which I will quote the first verse;

There is not in this wide world a valley so sweet
As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet.
Oh, the last ray of feeling and life must depart
Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart.

Dublin, despite Moore’s great success, held a very jaundiced view of a Dublin man who had become more English than the English themselves and one who seemed almost unaware of the poverty and privations they suffered at the hands of the Empire.

As a tribute to Moore, Anon appended an alternative two lines to those quoted;

There is not in this wide world a valley so sweet
As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet,
But if you had to walk with no shoes on your feet,
You wouldn’t give two fucks where the bright waters meet.

MDFF 23 May 2015

Aangenaam om jullie weer eens te schrijven,

When my mother (Nakamarra) died, our oldest son (Japaljarri) sent us the following email:

Oma was wise, strong, kind and cheerful. These words are not enough: her wisdom, strength, kindness and cheerfulness inspired everyone who knew her. She was proof of how good people can really be. Her example would revive your trust in humanity, and her cheerful optimism would revive your trust in yourself. We will miss her and aspire to be like her. Good-bye Oma.

My mother belonged to that generation that often uttered wise relevant sayings. The one saying that sticks in my mind is “Doe wel en zie niet om” (“Do good, and don’t look back”- i.e. don’t hold out for gratitude, reward and/or recognition) which saying she claimed came from the Bible which she had studied in primary school.

My sister (Nungarrayi) and niece (Nampijimpa) both lived long years at my parents’ home and remember many of these Dutch sayings.

“Hij heeft lange tenen” (“He’s got long toes” i.e. they’re easily stepped on-“he is easily offended”)

Doe gewoon, dan doe je al gek genoeg” (“Carry on as you normally do, which is insane enough”)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BV-ASc0qkrM …. and your wise men don’t know how it feels to be as thick as a brick…

“Wie de schoen past, die trekt hem aan” (“He who the shoe fits, wears it”)

Wie appelen vaart, die appelen eet” (“Who transports apples, eats apples”)

Recently I was made aware of:
“Ongevraagde diensten zijn zelden aangenaam” which Google Translate rendered as “Unsolicited services are rarely pleasant”

It immediately struck a chord with me. Countless unsolicited services have been visited upon remote Aboriginal communities since before and as far back as I can remember. There is a major unsolicited services industry that services remote Aboriginal Australia, not entirely unlike a bull services a herd of cows. Just as “engagement” has replaced “consultation”, so have “service agencies” replaced “community organisations”.

Poisoned damper has long ceased to be a weapon of ethnocide and forced assimilation. Semantics and euphemisms are now the weapon of choice.

We’ve long been in an era of weasel words and dog whistles. At the same time as the unsolicited services industry has sprouted such as the “governance training” industry, we have a state government countenancing the closing down of remote Aboriginal communities, with other state governments watching with interest.

So a friend sent me this quote from African American writer Toni Morrison “Black people have chosen, or been forced to seek, safety from the whiteman’s promise.”
Eric Clapton, Promises:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3fc2WYUm4s

You refuse to take me for real
It’s time you saw what I want you to see
I’d still love you if you’d just love me

The last Dispatch (MDFF 9 May 2015) quoted Mahatma Ghandi : “….has emasculated the people and induced in them the habit of simulation. This awful habit has added to the ignorance and self deception of the administrators….”

Many years ago Nyirrpi community was asked at a public meeting if they wanted a security fence around their school. The community members said no, they wanted a basketball court. This was repeated at several meetings. Months later the school was fenced. Years later Nyirrpi got a basketball court.

And now some easy homework. Read articles about Aboriginal policies etc. Find examples of ‘unsolicited services’.

Next (and not quite as obvious) find examples of the ‘habit of simulation’.

Next, another easy task, find examples of ‘ignorance and self deception of the administrators’

The annual Closing the Gap report by the Prime Minister to the Parliament, is as good a place as any to start your research.

 Vriendelijke groeten, tot de volgende keer,


Teach your children well….

Doe wel en zie niet om”

PS- The Dispatches are emailed in batches of 70 addresses- No sooner did I launch the first lot, I received an email from someone that works for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. I’m forwarding it without comment:

“You (or your representative) are invited to attend a meeting regarding the upcoming changes to the RJCP programme.  Meeting details:

When:  Wednesday, 27th May at 2pm.

Where:  Council Meeting Room.

As most of you would be aware, there will be changes to the RJCP programme commencing from 1 July this year.  The purpose of the meeting is to provide local organisations and service providers with further information regarding the changes.”

Poetry Sunday 17 May 2015

Today’s poem comes from Australia’s foremost experimental and political poet, Lionel George Fogarty.  Penned on 7 July 2013 in Merton Victoria, here is  


No matter who lands?
Earths our same lands
Matter what worlds depend
On cost and prices
No matter whose blood we
Feed the same mouths.
Matter what love, for most are lost
With sad out comes.
No matter whose the mobs loses will find sobs.
New music seeds flowers
Oh but words needs the matter.
Land matter to every ones when done own it.
Heart pump the land where sky are in the bodies we carried.
Tears are reefs where the sea matter more,
Too feat waters we drink.
No matter who mad, the land will care to relieve a matter

from Eelahroo (Long Ago), Nyah (Looking) Möbö-Möbö (Future) Vagabond Press, Sydney, 2014