Lost words of Shelley – The Existing State of Things – Politics

Friday 8 July marked the bicentenary of Shelley (4 August 1792 – 8 July 1822) and below are some lost words only discovered in 2006 from a political pamphlet.

Shelley’s poem was “lost” for nearly 200 years, before a single copy of the pamphlet was “rediscovered” in 2006, and a decade later bought by Oxford’s Bodleian Library, so finally it could be read by the public again

“Shall rank corruption pass unheeded by, 
Shall flattery’s voice ascend the wearied sky;
And shall no patriot tear the veil away
Which hides these vices from the face of day?
Is public virtue dead? – is courage gone?”

These lines are taken from Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things, an excoriation of the moral devastation wreaked in late Georgian Britain two centuries ago. It was written by Percy Bysshe Shelley and published anonymously in 1811, in support of the radical Irish journalist Peter Finnerty, who had been imprisoned for seditious libel after accusing the Anglo-Irish politician Viscount Castlereagh of the torture and executions of Irish rebels challenging British rule.
(I came across them from a recent article in the Guardian Newspaper by Kenan Malik … Long gone, but speaking clearly to our age – Shelley, the poet of moral and political corruption | Kenan Malik | The Guardian)

The lines can relate to the sad state of humanity across the ages. And they are apt today in lamentation at what is happening in many places across the world.

Shelley astounds me by his great productive flow of words throughout his short life.

Shelley on Wikipedia

Election Day in Australia – The Political Environment

Tomorrow is Federal Election Day in Australia for both the House of Representatives and the Senate though many have already voted.

on the beach
the plastic choke of humanity
washes the skin

Voting for the environment is a world consideration, not just Australia. For the many who have never come to these shores the beach is typically synonymous when thinking of Australia. On the Beach is a well-known book by Nevil Shute in which Australia is the last place to suffer radiation after nuclear fallout has destroyed the rest of the world. It was made into a film in 1959 starring Ava Gardner and Gregory Peck.

Whatever Party wins, the environment must be of prime consideration. Australia like many parts of the world is experiencing extremes in weather involving drought, fires, and floods. And I would really like to see something done about the amount of plastic polluting the oceans and being washed up on our beaches. It is truly time to do something!

Australia is
adorned with adorable awesome amazing
Beaches
VOTE YES
and pick up a bit of litter!

… and here is a link to a new edition of Nevil Shute’s ‘On the Beach‘ – https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6582666/modern-messages-in-on-the-beach/

Canberra Can – Canberra Speaking

Canberra is speaking

Canberra and the beauty of Canberra is speaking loudly at this time of year! Canberra is such a fine city in so many ways apart from benefitting from the relatively low impact of the virus. I do hope those local readers can get out in the spring sunshine and enjoy the colour flush and associated return to warmer days. We have an abundance of recreational areas and nature parks. It raises the spirit no end; especially for those that have been confined at home! And isn’t it wonderful that the majority of those infected have recovered and are now able to get out and appreciate the change!

Here is an image from our garden of the crab-apple saying a white hello.

Unfortunately, the Australian media often uses ‘Canberra is speaking’ in a different context. I say unfortunately because those that have never experienced the delights of Canberra can have a coloured image associated by the political life of our city.

I wonder to what extent this stereotype is changing and how much people can Canberra in this way. It is in this light that I encourage the uninitiated to come see and for themselves in the following sonnet …

Canberra Can
Canberra can be quite annoying 
the polies are soul destroying
they come from a different place
to give our fine city a tainted face
please do not send rubbish here 
to rape their time in sex and beer
we care about our reputation!
we are the Capital of the Ozie nation!
so, peel off this superficial skin 
place firmly in the rubbish bin
and come to Canberra yourself to see
the abundancy of our city
then I am sure you will discover 
that this fair city is like no other!
Richard Scutter

For those readers outside Australia the unacceptable sexual behaviour by some politicians has come to the fore, including inappropriate behaviour and lack of respect for women generally. Interesting, the ‘Profumo / Christine Keeler Affair’ documentary has recently been on television. This was a major scandal in British Politics in the early sixties.

Smoke – Michael Symmons Roberts – Comments

Smoke

First one tree, then another, horizons close
towards us, house-lights dim and drown.
The huge, low moon dissolves. Pray in us,

spirit, animus, holy ghost among
the wet leaves, in the smoke’s mute song.
Eyes sting. All perspective gone.

One building bleeds into another.
Torch beams shrink to dandelions
Headlamps fade to dull gems set in cars.

Distances collapse. Shouts could cross
streets, valleys, oceans. Silence, broken
by a siren on another continent.

And what burns? Sweet and salt,
bracken, berries, hair. What new edifice
hardens within, waits for world to sharpen.

Michael Symmons Roberts (1963

Animus – hostility
Edifice – structure

This poem, written by UK poet Michael Symmons Roberts in 2011, marries nicely with the smoke drenched city of Canberra as the wanton bushfires send their hangover dust into Canberra from the devastation on the NSW south coast.

A clear message that is not going away – long after the smoke dissipates!

Unfortunately the Australian Prime Minister (Scott Morrison) is not showing the leadership needed to address climate change in an adequate way – waiting for some serious sharpening.

Below Black Mountain Tower, Canberra shrouded in smoke (3 January 2019) …

20200103_112105[1]

A link to Michael Symmons Roberts on Wikipedia.