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The old lady and the boy

This nation is a thoughtless and mean

adolescent chasing relevance,

knocking down his grandmother,

stomping over a country

as ancient as dreaming, older than time.

While rains and rivers turned mountains into valleys,

trees and crocodiles, wallabies and humans,

grew, reproduced and died

in her deserts and forests,

and on her plains and shores.

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Life ebbed and flowed

in gentle waves

around the millennia,

through seasons and cycles,

fires and floods,

until Australia was born

and everything changed.

Adam and Eve were thrown out of Eden,

the people torn apart from the land

in a brutal and sudden divorce.

Trees were cut down, crocodiles shot,

new creatures and disease arrived.

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The waves of life

turned into spikes,

jagged peaks on a chart,

in pursuit of perpetual growth,

the impossible dream.

Now the teenager rages.

He wants to be bigger and better than the rest.

He refuses to accept the limits,

but it is the old woman who makes the rules.

She knows the way things work,

every action has a reaction and in the end

balance must be restored.

Australian writer, environmental activist, hang-gliding assistant & former sailor, journalist & clown. Debut poetry collection available now. www.emmabriggs.net

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