Adam called out an error I made in writing: the English would hate another invasion. I was thinking of the empire, who sold a people away. Yes, they were Chinese, and we have a track record of ignoring them — for which we now give noble apologies. The ones to my son’s ancestors (mothers side, not mine) about the poll tax on their great grandmother’s family have not helped them one jot.
But the English would hate any further invasions, knowing they are led by a premier who is Turkish and a Toff.
This made me think of my nation and people. We tend to accept people who become like us and generally ignore the indigenous activists. There is too much to do: the land is violent and drawing an income from it is hard, hard work.
(for Monte Holcroft)
These unshaped islands, on the sawyer’s bench,
Wait for the chisel of the mind,
Green canyons to the south, immense and passive,
Penetrated rarely, seeded only
By the deer-culler’s shot, or else in the north
Tribes of the shark and the octopus,
Mangroves, black hair on a boxer’s hand.
The founding fathers with their guns and bibles,
Botanist, whaler, added bones and names
To the land, to us a bridle
As if the id were a horse: the swampy towns
Like dreamers that struggle to wake,
Longing for the poets’ truth
And the lover’s pride. Something new and old
Explores its own pain, hearing
The rain’s choir on curtains of grey moss
Or fingers of the Tasman pressing
On breasts of hardening sand, as actors
Find their own solitude in mirrors,
As one who has buried his dead,
Able at last to give with an open hand.
James K Baxter