Time to set things right. Part 3

Image make-it-love-it.com

Many year before the world read, or listened, to Alain de Botton or Kevin McLoud you had an interest in architecture. It started when you were at school and it was heightened when you commenced tertiary study. At that time you found the most effective way to study was to swot in the civic library because it was only a few block from your dorm.

But you are no swot and you were too easily distracted by the variety of books, and magazines available.. You spent too much time on those magazines; Architecture Today , and Design. So much that the intention to swot and assemble the information of the lectures of the day was forgotten. Perhaps it was your academic interest however you had the sense to recognise the limits of your poor record at school and you dabbled at the edges in these publications rather than commit to certain failure.

In the sixty years since then you have remained interested in good design and style as an interested bystander and you are incandescent with rage at what is happening.


The source of most fundamental of human rights is found in the UNHCR. On housing it states,

“The human right to adequate housing is more than just four walls and a roof. It is the right of every woman, man, youth and child to gain and sustain a safe and secure home and community in which to live in peace and dignity”

(Reference – https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Housing/toolkit/Pages/RighttoAdequateHousingToolkit.aspx

“I love you.” These were the first words spoken to me by a girl in grade 4. She said them as I walked around on playground duty on my first teaching round. (I am reminded of her words a few months short of sixty years ago.) The school was overflowing with children. I am now guessing the Tate St Primary School in East Geelong class had children from thirty different language groups then.

This child lived in an area of social housing. Geelong was an industrial hub for the greater western district of Victoria. The city was a distribution centre for wool, wheat, timber, oil refining, tractors, carpets and cars. Victoria was the centre of the country’s wealth in post WW11. Consequently it had an insatiable need for workers. These workers needed immediate housing, and the State stepped in to help.

The need for housing and classrooms was overwhelming. Holmesglen Technical School, later to become Holmesglen technical college, taught building. This place developed new building processes that enabled the government to quickly build new suburbs of social housing. East Geelong had its share of mid height brutalistic flats built in the Baurhaus style. It also built hundreds of independent bungalows of light timber construction and concrete kit homes.

The residents, from all corners of the globe, became the backbone of the country because they worked in repetitive factory jobs others rejected. It happened, regardless of their previous occupations, because an absence of skills in the English language held them back. The government took a small percentage of their wages as rent – so they quickly became financially secure as many families had both parents working. Some even worked two or more jobs.

What their suburbs did not have were centres for socialising. Life for our migrant cohort was relentless. It was isolating and this caused family disruption, and in time, social problems. Certain suburbs became notorious, are still notorious, for antisocial adult behaviour. (For instance, in Geelong people still think badly of Corio, Norlale)

That was yesterday. In the past government played a leading role in housing. It accepted it was best equipped to fill this basic need quickly. Times change – the government sold off much of its stock over the years. This was because most had become dated or uninhabitable. Once most Victorians (around 80% owned their own homes. The state, and some charities, now provided housing for around 3 – 3.5% of all housing. Alarmingly many people are homeless today.

The rental market is mainly in the domain of private investors. Government policy has allowed tax breaks for investors and they invest with self interested motives. Cheap rent is a thing of the past. Tenants have fewer rights than owners so many people pay big rents for unsuitable premises.

It has reached the stage the breaks given to investors have the effect of locking out new homeowners from old suburbs.

The upside is interest on loans have never been cheaper. The downside is the affordability is steeper. (Once a family could pay off principal and interest on a home loan in twenty years with the initial loan taking about 25 – 30% of the average weekly earnings. Today with at 20% deposit it will take 55 x-60% of the average weekly wage and 45 years to own a home.

Today a new home buyer can (usually) only buy a home in a distant suburb. Profit is the motive at every level of what comes next. This new suburb is the sole responsibility of a developer who has purchased a tract of farmland. Before any development starts the developer denudes the topsoil, installs drainage and basic infrastructure and commences a scheduled selloff of home allotments. The actual building is done by a bevy of selected national builders.


The nearest development is Armstrong. If you read the development brief it reads like a new Camelot. https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/armstrongcreek/armstrong/article/item/8d3dd7069eb92cd.aspx

Despite all I read, all I understand is the motive remains profit. Although it is designed to become a new city unlike Corio or Norlane once were. It will take fifty years to assess whether it has worked any better than the government plan did years ago. Housing persons is a first right, nevertheless once they have a roof over their head they need to feel loved as that loveless child once made clear to me.

Armstrong is really just a dot on the map. Australia currently has hundreds of similar dots all over the country. Pick a city and it will be being developed this way.

Is the new way going to end with the horrific results of another Grenfell Tower Fire? Many of the buildings look fine but are they? Few if any meet the design factors the owners really want because the house they buy is a compromise of affordability and style.

Don’t get me started on (largely) unoccupied city towers that are basically vaults for the surplus capital of the wealthy. Capital has no interest in the unmeasurable things like style, structure, design and substance found in magazines like Architecture Today and Design.

If I had become an architect I would be like many of today’s architects. I would be caught trying to satisfy the greedy wants of my clients instead of the humble need for aesthetics.

Alain de Botton and Kevin McLoud have tried to teach us good architecture is worth the investment and not to count the cost of anything less.

Thanks for reading. Now please have your say. You can educate me to open my mind.

Time to set things right. Part 2

Photo NASA

These are hard days for investors looking to earn interest on their money because official interest rates are at an all time low. Somehow central banks think the economy will be stimulated to prosperity if everyone spends, and they will do that because a little debt won’t hurt. Consequently retirees are not investing in term deposits as they once did for safety, instead they are interested in company profits. We like to see big business doing well because they pay dividends, even though we might not have direct interests in them.

The last days of this decade are informative. The financial year might not be half way through , but we can spot trends. There are too many trends the writer dislikes on day 180 of 2019.

• I do not like to see companies avoiding tax. The tax employees pay is not a company payment. I dislike it when they use this an excuse/answer.

“Our company is heavily invested in the economy because we provide thousands of jobs.” This does not wash with me.

• I do not like it when companies avoid paying full wages. Companies underpaying employers this year would fill a page. (The employment legislation may be difficult to navigate but the number of workers overpaid would not cover a line, therefore something does not wash.

• I do not like it when the companies showing most growth are new companies in such smelly industries as pay-day loans, artificial intelligence, or long time companies like Aristocrat Leisure (gambling) or Domino’s Pizza (wage theft,)

• I do not like it when the board pays the CEO more than 250 times the average country wage (Qantas). Each man gets 168 hours a week. Reducing the workforce does not take brilliance. Real brilliance is required to build people, and that build business health.

• I do not like it company boards put the interests of shareholders before ethics. A principled life starts with the ethics. Boards of Banks, Gambling companies, ………… have been found wanting in the last six months. The reputation of a company is unavoidably linked to its directors

• I do not like it when multinational companies falsely invoice local entities to avoid tax. (Everywhere).

• I do not approve of companies using casualisation of the work force to reduce obligation to workers. If they only work on a casual basis they work for you.

Our government does not escape criticism.

This government is linked in its unfair distribution of water.

This government is linked to being Lassize faire with mining companies; oil, gas, minerals, coal. Gold. The resources exploited are once only sales yet the miners are excused from royalty payments while in establishment.

This is the wealth for which we are famous. The government has no plan to preserve the real wealth for future generations.

In order to deliver a surplus government is withholding payment to legitimate recipients at every turn. It could stimulate the economy with quantitate easing yet it refuses

This government has no plans for the environmental safety – including its flora and fauna.

We are open for business to anyone with the other capital because the government takes no interest in who owns what under AU $200 million.

• I do not like it when under employed people are considered to be working if they clock an hour a week at a job. In every effective way they are unemployed.

We can do our bit. In fact we must do more.

The last six months have been dry across the country. Our farmers have done it tough. Meat, grain, vegetables, farm produce of all kinds are diminished. Farm incomes are down. The real costs are being avoided by the public because our supermarkets buy from the cheapest supplier.

As purchasers we have a responsibility to our countrymen. Where ever it is feasible to by local produce we should. In the past six months many of the brands we used to buy have been purchased by off shore owners. It does not improve our economy to help boost the wealth of foreign countries. (I understand our producers, our sons and daughters are employed to make these products but I see this as only temporary. Past experience shows off shore owners like the brand they do not care how, or where it is made. )

I have written this because I have grand children. I want them to know what I have witnessed in the last six months does not look good for them and I disapprove.

If you agree please let me know. If you disagree with me please comment and I can grow in wisdom. As my writing is with the prejudice of ignorance of old age I need your help. . Please bring me up to speed where you see the chance.

Time to set things right. Part 1

Unexplained hot water blob off New Zealand

It is a beautiful summer day. Those who can are holidaying near the sea. The waves break gently on the shore, and children play in the shallows. In the hinterland smoke fills the air and the ground is on fire. This is the landscape of my country. As the decade ends we have had five temperature breaking days this month.

Some say this is climate change. Others point to former records set in 1896. At that time hundreds of people died in the extreme heat. Then no one talked of global warming and that is one reason given for their skepticism today. The climate always changes.

The weather bureau agrees many parts of the country did record extraordinary temperatures but this early summer is hotter. They argue the gauges were not uniform until recently. In times past thermometers were measured where they sat. Some might well have been read in direct sunlight and those would indeed be wrong. Why, in the late 1950s we had a week of days over 37 degrees. Or so the daily papers recorded. It was hot but it was hot when we expected it to be hot. This year it is hot earlier than expected.

The fact is wherever you live- the climate in your corner of the globe is not as you expect. It is drier. It is hotter, it is colder. Colder? Yes colder., and it is wetter. Extremes of weather is what we have been told to expect for thirty years. Storms will be fiercer. Droughts will be longer. In a world changing because of human living patterns.

This seems to agree with what I learned in my course in sustainability and am reading in the press. No corner of the globe seem immune. Sea ice has melted in the Arctic. In Antartica great slabs of permanent ice have broken free of the continent. Permafrost is melting and ruining road works in North America. Floods have caused havoc across the globe. Venice is used to a high water event once a year. Now it is happening more frequently. Just as frequently sea erosion is washing away once stable shorelines.

It is creatures that seem to be the worst effected at this point. Animals are becoming extinct before their life patterns are reasonably understood. You might care to add to the list of common creatures that seem to be paying the price of much needed human intervention. I can think of bees, frogs, birds, that seem to be threatened with destruction. The thing is miniature creatures seem to suffer without causing alarm at first. It is only when crops are not germinating as they should we sit up and notice.

We do notice. We notice when food costs soar. We notice when the dishes we like need ingredients in short supply. We notice when whole nations cannot grow their basic foods and the die in terrible famines, or the flee their homelands as refugees. We notice but we do not fight for anything until it is at our door.

What can we do? Most of us prefer to do nothing. Some of us are concerned enough to chain themselves, in protest, to immovable objects. Some understand and they try to change government policies. Recently 190 nations met in Madrid to discuss the subject but like Paris and Kyoto nothing was decided.

In the past countries did act promptly to fix the ozone over the Antartica. http://theconversation.com/the-ozone-hole-is-both-an-environmental-success-story-and-an-enduring-global-threat-100524

The countries worked quickly to reset the refrigeration hydrocarbon gasses that caused the rapid damage. This time in almost every country there a self interest groups of fossil fuel influence holding back the needs of their constituents. You are one. Where do you sit? My reason for writing is a self interest one. I want my grandchild to understand I do not agree with the policies of my government that put the interests of today’s big business before the lives of populations yet to be born. I will go further. I think it is irresponsible not to act on the best scientific advice available to this generation.


I read and I reread what I have written and every time I post. I miss the most obvious errors for this I apologise.

The illustration is from The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/27/hot-blob-vast-and-unusual-patch-of-warm-water-off-new-zealand-coast-puzzles-scientists?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Thank you again for reading my post.

Poetry requires young minds. Revised

Wilfred Owen

Broken bodies of boys torn apart by bombs

Seigfried Sassoon

With embarrassment I realised a Dizain has to have rhyming lines according to the pattern ababbccdcd.

I have learned a lesson to read, revise, and wait before posting.

Here is a newer version.


Broken bodies of boys torn apart by enemy

Fire – for King and Country on foreign soil.

Left Eucalyptus air. In their dichotomy

The troops grieving mothers torn, as land-holds boil.

Remember the fallen in ANZAC Day turmoil

Dicky, my school head master placed faith in

Warring soldier poets Sassoon and Owen,

Military men, saw brutality

In Somme and Flanders sodden trenches. Even

Daws understood poetry requires affinity


When he retired Daws lamented he left writing poetry, something he loved to do, much too long. I am now well past the age he was when he made this lament. Like him I find interesting words much harder to recall. Once again I am having difficulty with spelling and I find predictive text demands another level of concentration. Too frequently I will type something, keep typing, and look to see what I have before me is not what I had written.

Anyway, this Dizain poem has illustrations taken from the Australian War Museum site.

Once again, thank you for reading my efforts.

You know poetry. Please teach me by telling me where I can improve.

Christmas Dizain

Christmas is family time at our place

The children are in anticipation

Their stockings filled with gifts of tinselled grace

Will bring them treasured tokens to keep in speculation

And hold them very busy for their vocation

When school resumes and holidays are over

They will be ready to tell of the favour

To classmates agog how with the Yule gift

Their summer hols flew by without labour

And next year with luck, and good planing, regift.


dizain 10 lines of ten syllables

Ababbccdcd

Refer to

https://dversepoets.com/2019/07/18/poetry-form-dizain/

factorydirectcraft.com

Tinsel Illustration

Thank you for your visit. In my haste to finish I may have miscounted the syllables. Please feel free to suggest improvements.

John Masefield inspired Sea-Fever

Around fifteen years after my school class read John Masefield’s poem “Sea-Fever” we were reading about his death in 1967. His lines beginning with, “ I must go down to the seas again….” impacted on me from the start.

In the intervening years I lived near lakes. Later all my visits to the coast were to the fishing villages near the Twelve Apostles. In the mornings the fishermen would return to shore and I would watch as they hauled their Couta boats out of the water onto the pier. Thus I saw the results of working as sea from the safety of the land.

Consequently my experience with boats is very limited. In fact to say I had an occasional sails on Gippsland lakes would sum it up.

Once though I spent thirty hours in Bass Strait on a 36 ft yacht. We started in blissfully calm waters that turned into a raging forty knot storm through the night. On that occasion my faith in boats was buoyed by memories of sticks, and how when tossed into a stream, they always floated. So I did on it. To think of sailors lost in stormy seas would have been too terrible that night.

Now I find, for reasons that can only be fathomed by analysis of my unconscious mind, I am building a dinghy. The plans suggest it can be fitted with a small sail. The knowledge it can be propelled by the wind has had me imagine I can pass on my love of sailing to my grandchildren playing in it. If I build one they can sail it single handedly, this is how I imagine it anyway.

Roger and I each started building “Blondie” a John Bell stitch-and-glue designed dinghy a few weeks ago. I think you need to come up to speed about how it is going.

The journey of this little boat started with a visit to the Internet where we found its rudimentary plans. From there we visited VJS Victorian Joinery Supplies and found marine plywood at a good price. Because we were building two boats we bought four sheets 1200×2400. fig 1.

Fig 1

When we got them to Roger’s workshop the first job was to measure and mark the dimensions of our first cuts. Like good tradesmen we measured twice before cutting. (It is safer to recheck your work before putting it under a saw. So we did.) We carefully measured and checked our cuts and work began. Fig 2.

Fig 2

We cut and rounded off two bottoms, two left sides and two right sides.

Then we used cable ties to pull the pieces together after we drilled holes every so often.

The boats came together when we applied resin and fibreglass around the inside joins. Fig 3

Fig 3

The job has only just begun but now you can see we each have a boat like shape. Fig 4

Fig 4

Thanks for reading. Come back again to follow the next stages.

Cricket

WG Grace Wikipedia

I pinched this little example from a film. It is the job of an observant reader/film buff to tell me which one. The old man says to the youngster, look through these binoculars. See how things a long way off seem closer.

“Yes”, came the reply.

“It looks all clear and sharp, that is the future.”

“Now look through the binoculars from the other end,”

“Ok”

“Notice how everything looks far away and the details are harder to make out, that is like looking at the past.”

In the past, on Friday afternoon we played sport as one of our end of week activities. The big kids played their game on the school oval. The seconds played, in the school grounds. Other teams played on nearby grounds. But the kids like me had to walk all the way through town and we played on some open area near the railway station. The ground must be a mile from the school but that didn’t seem to matter. The walk to the ground, and back, used up a good deal of the available time. It suited the supervising teacher and it suited the ragbag team of leftover kids I joined.

On the particular day I most clearly remember I hit two sixes off consecutive balls. Mr Higgins the history teacher was our umpire and supervising teacher. He had an English background and he was horrified that anyone would so recklessly swing their bat – even at a bad ball – and swat at it as I had. So, he halted the game and took a moment to instruct me how I should hold the bat.

“Hold it straight up and down like this.”

He instructed the bowler to bowl a ball at him. From the crease he demonstrated how to properly stroke the ball to the boundary with a simple twist of the wrist keeping the blade of the bat upright and close to the legs at all times. His four was made effortlessly. It was flicked to the boundary as he moved his feet forward and the bat gracefully struck the ball to the off past the keeper.

“Now you have a go.”

I did. I was clumsily holding the bat upright as instructed but I could clearly see the ball could not be reached if I stayed put. I had the ball clearly in my sight so I did as I had in the previous two shots and I flicked out my bat and I missed the ball altogether. Mr Higgins was unimpressed.

“When the ball is wide like that it is not going to hit your stumps so you don’t have to hit it. Just let it fly past to the wicket keeper. It is his job to stop it -not yours. If he misses and the ball runs away your team can pick up the byes. Now try again.

I did. I waited patiently while the bowler walked back to his mark. I kept the bat upright. I patted the toe of the bat on the ground a couple of times. The bowler turned and started to run at me. Out the corner of my eye I could see a big gap on the leg side. I waited. The bowler was about to deliver the ball. I wasn’t watching his hand as he released it and it was more than halfway down the pitch before I saw it. It was on my leg side. I took a big swing and I hit it as hard as the balls I had whacked for six.

Mr Higgins cried out. “Not like that.”

Some little Twerp at mid off ran in toward me. I had miss hit it. The ball flew high into the air a little forward of me. By the time I saw the ball again it was swallowed into the Twerp’s hands.

“Out” came the umpire’s decision.

My innings was over. As the last man in we packed up and on the way back to school gave me some home truths on the finer points of cricket.

That was not my only cricketing gift. When I was about thirteen I was given a full sized bat by two of my uncles who played district cricket in Melbourne. It was a beautifully well oiled, well used, piece of willow. Paul and Hughie said it was a good bat and I would enjoy using it. They could no longer use it though because a couple of the rubber springs in the handle were broken.

I had a man sized for the first time. At home I had no one interested in cricket. In my primary school cricket matches were played at sports time. We would all go outside. The teacher would choose, Spencer and Thommo to act as captains and choose from the classmates lined up against the wall. First one boy, and another would be chose by Spencer or Thommo until each boy was chose to play in team one or two. I was always one of the last to be chosen.

I have fairly recounted my most memorable day in cricket above and it will come as no surprise my bat was dormant most of its life with me until I saw I could repurpose it.

I took a saw to it and fashioned the willow into the hull of a yacht. I cut off the handle. It was never any good. It had broken springs. I cut both sides of the toe into a point. I drilled a hole in the centre and I attached a mast. I walked to Lake Bullen Merri and did as men do. I played around with boats.

Nearing the same age Sam has a bag of cricket paraphernalia. He has been selected to represent his district in a series of regional games. He is the Spencer, or the Thommo of my era that was once selected to pick out players for the team. I do hope he gets to hear part of his cricketing heritage comes from the grandfather that once played under the influence of Mr Higgins.

Thanks for reading. Where did I find the opening reference?

Al Pacino in ?.?

I have remembered. It was Al Pacino in the Netflix 2019 movie, The Irishman.

Will you stand with me?

Courtesy http://pundelina.blogspot.com/2011/06/pieta-is-my-favourite-sculpture-and.html

Why did you drive?
Why did you fly?
Why did you walk?
Why did you swim?
Why did you listen?
Why did you stand, or sit?

The answer to these questions is to understand. Do you understand? I think not.

You stood because it had become the custom of audiences to stand in contemplative silence in that passage of Hadel’s Messiah. As the years rolled on, the world around you became more diverse and fewer people stood – to what is rumoured to be a moment King George11 was supposedly moved to stand. Standing, or sitting, the music is grand anyway. I have since learned many concert halls dissuade people standing because the noise is disrespectful of the musicians efforts.

In most concerts and operas you have seen you have remained seated. As you did before many of the huge tableaux seen in some of the greatest galleries. People often sit and absorb the masterpieces before them. It is only when they are drawn into the work they stand and give thought to individual brush stokes the artist has used in adding life to the work.

When you walk across the forecourt of a skyscraper in the financial district of the city, do you contemplate the sculpture of the bull? In other parts of the city do you you look above the plinth at the massive features where forefather stand, (it is always – forefathers). Is the individual remembered? How often is the thought for the artist?

In Florence, Michelangelo is more important than his biblical subject David. In Paris you stand and look at Venus de Milo from different angles. The Greek artist responsible is lost in history. In the Vatican the Pieta, difficult to see, behind bullet proof glass and milling crowds, the importance of the artist and the subject seem balanced.

When you drive you usually do so with a destination in mind. Sometimes unexpectedly you are face to face with roadside works of art. In your neck of the woods it is now policy a certain percentage of the roadwork costs be expended on art, and it is possible for you to question why a piece stands where it does. But some work gives rise for you to make a special journey to see it. Whether it is to see the “Angel of the North” in Northumbria England,or the Lake Ballard aboriginal sculptures in Western Australia (as yet unvisited). The sheer size, or scope of the work is motivation enough. You marvel at the work because it exists. The artist and the artistic vision dwarfed by the objects themselves. It must be noted Anthony Gormley created both works.

We sailed to Phuket when we visited the Big Buddha. However it is small when compared to the Spring Temple in China (all 128m tall and unseen by you. It is closer in size to Gustav Eiffel’s Statue of Liberty by all accounts.) Your son and grandson visited “Christ the Redeemer” in Brazil when they flew to the city for the World Cup so they have a better perspective on the magnitude of the work, even though it was not the reason for their visit.

Art can be minute and it can be grand. It moves us to think about life and the human condition. It prompts us to contemplate and to grow. Art will flourish in privation and it will be produced in abundance. Civilisation is bettered when we celebrate all art. It does not matter if it is; visual art, musical art, the written word, or performance. It is designed to entertain us, teach, or inform us. Our world is bettered by artistic thinkers.

Our government, in its reorganisation of ministerial portfolios shows it has lost human understanding when it undervalues artists as it now has.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-26/election-2019-scott-morrison-unveils-government-ministry/11150626

Today my weekly read, The Saturday Paper has a poem by Maxine Beneba Clarke as it does every week. Her words have motivated my contribution but I cannot do them justice alone. Forgive my inability to attempt to do so. Without permission I include her work.

PORTFOLIO

the prime minister has
killed the department of the arts
                and is rolling arts in with rail and roads
 
all of us have encountered
  enough art
                     to know
 
         the devastation,
in this symbolism alone
 
 
                     as if nothing beautiful
      ever reached into his chest
and, beyond all logic,
                                        moved him:
 
        an exquisite string of words never
turned his world upside down,
                           or back upright again
 
 
nobody told the prime minister
 
      art is the closest
          one can get
to “god”
 
and in fact, exactly what it means
to have a soul
 
 
it’s a ten-year-old brown girl,
      already life-weary from the world at large,
somehow stumbling
                 upon a copy of maya angelou’s
                                         and still i rise
 
it’s her, understanding as she reads
                   – yes, my honey dumpling –
for the very first time
        that self-love black love you love
 is the only way a child-girl-woman,
                            person,
                                          will get out of here
                                 alive
 
art
 
is the memory
        of your better half:
 
fifteen glorious years together
 
she fought hard, but slipped away,
                   after the first round
of radiation
 
                   it’s the kids, the next morning,
                     staring at you, with fear written
on their tiny faces
    like where’s our mama gone
         you don’t know how to make french toast
much less do our braids
 
art is six months after that,
          when you’re through the worst,
and her song comes on the radio
 
   this time, it makes you smile though:
 
her, in that hot pink dress
     twirling to the chorus, all the way
down the aisle,
                     and how her blunt fringe
brushed your shoulder,
                     after she kissed you
and became your wife
 
it’s how the harmony makes you feel
       as you’re folding the school clothes
the way she would have liked
 
 
art is at the heart
of all that we are
 
the markings on the wall,
                     and who walked here,
              and everything that came before
 
 
who cares, thinks the prime minister,
where we stick art, in the portfolios of the nation:
        it’s not about coal power
or curbing welfare, or wealth generation
 
 
here is a man
        not nearly enlightened enough
to understand
 
how closely they are linked
 
that painting gives pennies back to medicare, that
old-time jazz, that opera, eases congestion
in the hospitals, helps our old folk live
longer in their own homes, that cultural
and creative activity pumps more than one hundred
billion dollars into our economy
 
that poetry
              is why that kid so close to falling
through the cracks
                      even gets up
and walks to school, that
sometimes the books in the library
are the only good place you have to go
 
and there is nothing else on earth
 
like the hushed leaning-forward-together crowd
                as bangarra dances
 
                                         another show 

Maxine Beneba Clarke
The Saturday Paper 14th December 2019