We owe it to each other to tell stories - Neil Gaiman

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Australia - A.D. Hope

At the beginning of the year I did a Coursera short course on Australian Literature. For many years I have been intrigued by the Land Down Under. I had to share this poem, and thought it would be a good starting point for an exploration of Australian Literature here on Kahaani. So without further ado, here is the poem Australia by A.D. Hope.
A Nation of trees, drab green and desolate grey
In the field uniform of modern wars,
Darkens her hills, those endless, outstretched paws
Of Sphinx demolished or stone lion worn away.
They call her a young country, but they lie:
She is the last of lands, the emptiest,
A woman beyond her change of life, a breast
Still tender but within the womb is dry.

Without songs, architecture, history:
The emotions and superstitions of younger lands,
Her rivers of water drown among inland sands,
The river of her immense stupidity

Floods her monotonous tribes from Cairns to Perth.
In them at last the ultimate men arrive
Whose boast is not: "we live" but "we survive"
A type who will inhabit the dying earth.

And her five cities, like five teeming sores,
Each drains her: a vast parasite robber-state
Where second-hand Europeans pollute
Timidly on the edge of alien shores.

Yet there are some like me turn gladly home
From the lush jungle of modern thought, to find
The Arabian desert of the human mind,
Hoping, if still from the deserts the prophets come.

Such savage and scarlet as no green hills dare
Springs in that waste, some spirit which escapes
The learned doubt, the chatter of cultured apes
Which is called civilization over there.

A.D. Hope was born in New South Wales in 1907. He completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Sydney University - majoring in English and Philosophy. He worked as a psychologist for the New South Wales Department of Labour and lectured at the University of Melbourne. He became the first Professor of English at Canberra University College. He received his OBE in 1972. A poet and critic, he published 14 anthologies, an autobiography, several critiques as well as a play called Ladies from the Sea.You can read more about A.D. Hope and his works here

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