The sky today

Bushfires have been threatening, and worse than threatening, a number of rural communities in New South Wales. The sky over Sydney was grim, as the many photos posted on social media attested. Embers have been falling on the surf at Bondi and Narrabeen, and in our dog’s water bowl here in Marrickville. It’s only mid October.

If bush fires can start early, so can my sonnets.

Here in Sydney, mid October,
the sky is blanketed in smoke.
Springtime bush fires strike a sober
note – this climate change, no joke,
is promising a nasty summer.
It’s crap, says PM Abbott. Bummer!
Though left-wing Nature now attacks
he’ll still repeal the carbon tax.
A hundred homes and more are burning
but he has promises to keep
to Murdoch, Rinehart, Pell. The sleep
of Reason brings forth monsters. Turning
profits will decide our fate
unless … unless … it’s not too late

4 responses to “The sky today

  1. The enduring power of the sonett- I enjoy your cheeky take on it !
    Content wise I understand Reinhart and Murdoch want to get rid of the carbon tax but not Pell . You are right he is a climate change denier . I think it goes back to Santamaria and his fear of modernism – everything is a plot to undermine the natural hierarchy. Where do these people find joy and hope ? Why would anyone want to be a part of such a negative world view?

    My thoughts are with you – reminds me of Melbourne during Ash Wednesday


  2. Well – well-expressed Jonathan! And absolutely relevant to so many of us to-day/to-night!

    My wife and I have evacuated our home here to-night (south of Newcastle) and are now cautiously returned home – the car remaining packed with our basic valuables in case the call comes to go again – and such a scenario remains on the cards!

    Thanks again!



  3. Thanks, Michael, for introducing a bit of nuance! With apologies to George Pell, I’ll leave him there anyhow as part of that unholy trinity. I the short term of course the carbon tax is neither here nor there – the fires need to be dealt with here and now. Hopefully it won’t get as bad as your Ash Wednesday, but it looks as if things are going to get a lot worse here before they get better, and that doesn’t look too good for the rest of the country.

    Welcome home, Jim. I bet you’re missing Turkey. Stay safe,


  4. Jonathan, you are right re missing Turkey – what a fabulous, fabulous land. At various points gazing to Kastellorizo (island home to the mother of Newcastle writer Zeny GILES – and, to Kalymnos (Charmian CLIFT – Mermaids Singing, The Sponge-Divers) and to Samos Home of Pythagoras and where my wife and I spent three weeks some 25 years ago) and across Izmir (a Leeton mate’s Greek father’s great uncle was the martyred Metropolitan Bishop of Smyrna till his death in the great exchange turmoil of 1922 – St Chrysostomos KALAFATIS) and to Mytilini (ancestors of some of my students from there – and home of The ancient poet Sappho, too) and then standing at Anzak Koyu, Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair. Other resonances. Just finished reading The Dodger (2012) by Tim CARROLL – about Johnny Bigelow DODGE – via his step-father a cousin to Winston CHURCHILL – and who helped dig the grave for Rupert BROOKE during the Gallipoli campaign – though during WWII also achieving fame as one if the Great Escape number – later just prior to the ending of the war assisted across Germany and into Switzerland by a Nazi cousin to the father of one of my uncles – and so it goes!


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