Tuesday, August 24, 2010

TUESDAY POEM: "Elegy Written Near the Mitchell Freeway" by Andrew M. Bell


The car horns toll the knell of parting day,
The toxic fumes creep slowly o’er the park,
The traffic homeward plods its weary way,
And leaves the world to joggers and the dark.

Now fades the shimmering lakescape on the sight,
And to the air the dusk its stillness brings,
Save where mosquitoes wheel in droning flight,
Ross River virus loaded in their stings;

Save that from yonder television tower
The besieged magnate to his “mates” complains
The A.B.T. has exercised its power,
Sent him packing without ill-gotten gains.

Beneath those tiled roofs, that mortgaged shade,
Where heaves the serf in many an exhausted heap,
Each of the dole queue mortally afraid,
Whose forefathers once rode upon the sheep.

The wheezy cough of beery-breathing morn,
They swallow Berocca for their straw-filled heads,
The clock’s shrill clarion, or their arguing spawn,
Once more shall rouse them from beloved beds.

For they no more have savings in their banks,
Both busy partners toil to meet their ends;
No children run to lisp their heartfelt thanks,
They clamour for Air Jordans like their friends.

Oft did their annual jaunt to Bali yield,
Their furrows smoothed by oily massage strokes;
How jocund were their Customs trolleys wheeled!
Their cases bowed by extra grog and smokes!

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their media-fed dreams have learned to stray;
The Holy Grail of the Lotto life
Has taken free out of the word Freeway.

Ó Andrew M. Bell

POET'S NOTE: This poem was written in 1992 when I was living in Perth, Western Australia.
It is an affectionate parody which seeks to update Thomas Gray's famous poem, Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard, for the modern, urban environment that is the norm for many of today's readers.
    The A.B.T. referred to in the poem is the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal which, at the time, was trying to devolve some of the media power concentrated in the hands of only a few media barons.
     The poet wishes to acknowledge The West Australian newspaper in whose pages this poem first appeared.

1 comment:

  1. Now that's a very sobering indictment on modern life. Nice poem.