“Today’s debate about global warming is essentially a debate about freedom. The environmentalists would like to mastermind each and every possible (and impossible) aspect of our lives.”
Blue Planet in Green Shackles
June 5, 2012
(Inspired by Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson)
I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Murray, years ago,
He was predicting when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just “on spec”, addressed as follows, “Flannery, of The Overflow”.
And an answer came directed from a source quite unexpected:
(An e-text sent from a car or bar, not his words by thumbnail dipped in tar.)
’Twas the Prime Minister who sent it, and verbatim I will quote it:
“Flannery’s gone all apocalyptic, and I don’t know where we are.”
With the public accolades and flattery, a picture comes to me of Flannery
Gone a-driving “down to Canberra” where the politicians go;
Among the journalists and humdingers, he’s pointing with his fingers,
And speaking of disasters that none of us will live to know.
The Greens come out to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him,
Others ponder whether the next election will be lost - or won;
While Flannery sees a vision horrid of our country turning florid,
With tipping points, a baking sun, a rising sea and nothing being done.
In the dingy room in western Sydney I share with my dog Steak’n’Kidney,
I heard him say it’ll be so hot here soon we’ll all be mental for want of brain.
And in the street below, comes language uninviting from gutter-sceptics fighting
Over mange and his old demon, climate change. Any wonder some folks go insane?
If we could hear him now above the chatter, he’d say it doesn’t matter:
“I’ve other fish to fry; for starters, I’d have a go re-wilding planet Earth;
And clone a mammoth for the zoo, or for use in my latest new age stew.
Other blokes, I know, fight or swim or sew to prove their worth.
And if the proboscidean molecules fail to gel, it won’t be Tim’s death-knell.
There’ll always be a job for me in a morgue or funeral parlour.
No need to scream and shout, giving something back is what it’s all about;
But enough palaver, two-dollar pliers are all you need to yank fillings from a cadaver.”
As the future looks so grim, I fancy I’d like to change with him,
Like to take a turn at preaching Gaia to the masses, in a circus or on his show;
While he faces the round eternal of folk unhappy with a carbon tax infernal;
But I doubt he'd want high office, even with another Prius, our Flannery, of "The Overflow".
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The Quadrant Book of Poetry: 2001 - 2010
edited by Les Murray