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Rineharted by the minehearted


Selected poems

One more step

So ... this is our next step
along the sad and brutal
path we've chosen.
Even if they make landfall,
even if our labyrinthine
procedures and processes
find their lives are hanging
by a fraying thread,
we won't let them stay here.

Of course they can't stay here.
There's no way we can take
so many on our own. This flood
will never end. And half
of them are shonky,
playing us for suckers. Fair go, you lot,
you've worn out your welcome.
Time to move on.

One final step remains
for us to take: shoot
them at the border.
That might go down well
in certain marginals and, anyway,
an expert could be found
to say it's more humane
than drowning.

But we'll not go that far —
for now.

Bob Morrow

Unholy Sonnet

Strip out my heart, three-personed Gina;
As yet but truck, prospect and seek to mine;
That we may improve, export and ourselves refine
Your ore, to the US, Europe, and 'specially China.
I, like a usurp'd town, ignore union dues,
And admit labour, from all quarters,
Let them all flock, to the mineral slaughter,
That holds us captive, lest wealth you lose.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be Rineharted,
But have unwise ties to ideas green;
Divorce them, untie, or render them obscene,
Take me to you, make me minehearted,
Except you extract me, I never shall be free,
Nor ever rich, unless you ravish me.

P.S. Cottier
(John Donne-over)


A nation

Of exclusion
Of isolation (I-solation)
Of rejection
Of alienation
Of dumping the waves on their own heads
Of seeking asylum elsewhere, e.g. where no families break up
Of offering asylum inside its own body to its own body parts
Of self-hallucination
Of policing so much that heaven's gates are constantly under lock and key
Of irrevolution
Of irresponsible solution
Of no
Of no sharers
Of nay sayers
Of yes slayers
Of dreaming for its own sake
Of white on white
Of calculated cons
Of a scheme designed to last longer than long itself
Of hate boats
Of hate eyes
Of hate ears
Of love that contains a hole in it
Of hope that does the same

A nation
Of no asylum to others but its own people

Asylum sought
Asylum given
Asylum, the size of a continent, lived and being lived

Ouyang Yu

Bob Morrow headshotBob Morrow lives in Melbourne and fell into writing poetry while in Ireland searching for his forebears' roots. He is currently working on a collection of poems about family and the sense of place.

P. S. Cottier headshotP.S. Cottier is Australian Poetry's first online poet in residence. You can read more of her writing at www.australianpoetry.org

Ouyang Yu headshotOuyang Yu is now teaching at a Shanghai-based university and his most recent publication of translation is Things I Didn't Know by Roberth Hughes (Nanjing University Press, China, 2013) and his latest publication of creative nonifction, in Chinese, is yixin diaochong (The Translator's Heart Carving an Insect) (Showwe Press, Taiwan, 2013).

Topic tags: Bob Morrow, P. S. Cottier, Ouyang Yu, poetry



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Existing comments

As an Engineer Poetry is not meant for me to understand , but to protest about the Iron Age seems a bit silly to me and to blame it in Gina just petty .

John Crew | 10 September 2013  

Why poetry is not meant for engineers to understand is anyone’s guess. John Crew, for example, seems perfectly adept at using a bit of irony and metaphor himself by calling the current Australian economic period “the Iron Age.” Methinks he protests too much. Is the poet blaming Gina? Surely the crucial phrase is the rhyme “Your ore”. In this the poet goes to the heart of the debate because, as we know, it’s not her ore. It’s Australian ore, to which is attached a little three-letter word that Gina doesn’t want to know about: tax.

CLOSE READING | 10 September 2013  

Poetic licence perhaps? Is Gina a metaphor for something much larger? Am I stating the obvious, as my wife often accuses me of doing?

Brett | 10 September 2013  

My main worry about rewriting John Donne was the punctuation, which I had to change, while trying to maintain the same basic pattern as in the original. But I quite like those semi-colons now, paused like diggers at the end of the first two sentences, and at the end of the tenth line. Though why they are paused is indeed a mystery. (P.S. Cottier)

Penelope | 10 September 2013  

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