Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Furphy’s Law: As told to an Australian poet.

Do you know Stella Maria Sarah?

She was a lyrebird, dancing in the cultural forest that is Australian literature.

Among the myth of mateship and the dear larrikin;

where we pretend that the only venom comes from our spiders and snakes.

She was a 'happy little Vegemite' who knew all about the insular nature of the bush telegraph.

We dream of our own Lindsay inspired 'Magic Pudding'; one that fills the void that builds with each foray into the abyss that is the quest for acknowledgement.

Blindly worshiping the icons built on Colonial foundations:

The digger,

The swagman,

The drover,

and the mighty battler.

These men pass muster – they had a go.

Now we do the same. Have a go that is, and look for the bludger, the wowser, the dobber –

anyone who no longer quietly serves the Crown.

That black and white harpy, who warbles her dissent at our culture,

has forgotten the beauty contained within the acerbic expectations we have of our people.

She tells a wild yarn in a dialect devoid of the Strine that pulses through her veins.

Where she lives they have the stiff upper lip, whereas we mutely salute those who enforce the ideal –

'keep your bloody mouth shut.'

We whisper, "I'll keep mine closed, if you'll keep yours."

Down here,

where a little hard yakka never hurt anyone,

where our admiration is directed at those who bravely fought the troopers during the Eureka Stockade,

we prefer to create barriers that lock out anyone who does not understand our particular manipulation of the Queen's tongue.

To be a true blue Aussie, that language must be a part of you.

It is a badge of honour that adorns the armour of words that you wear without shame.

Without it, we would much rather hail a man named Kelly, and sing praise to a thieving swaggy, than admit you've got something for us to learn from too.


  1. Nice poem. The last line has a good kick.

  2. Beautiful. and I am truly AUSSIE and proud of it :)

  3. So true, that language and understanding our "particular manipulation" of it, is one of the last barriers between 'true' Aussies and those who are simply desperate enough to come here and create a life. Although aren't they then Aussie by virtue, as all us non-indigenous are too? Love the imagery, the 'warbling' of the black and white harpy is so quintessentially Australian, for me, bringing back memories of summer mornings walking to school, surrounded by the eucalyptus trees :)

  4. Thanks for the support ladies :) It means a lot, especially as I feel it's not one of my strongest poems, but I still like what I did with the language.

    Glad to see you back Laura