I love a sunburnt country

Posted on: February 4, 2011

It really gets on my goat that people keep quoting Dorothy Mackellar’s My Country as proof that there is no such thing as climate change.  A poem written more than 100 years ago by a homesick 19 year old versus an ever-increasing body of refereed scientific thought…hmm, hard to know which way to jump really.

Nothing against Ms Mackellar herself, whose original poem has brought much joy to many over the years – it’s not her fault her work is being used by the dark forces of denial.  But in view of our current circumstances, some updating was obviously required.  So here’s my version:

I love a sunburnt country
A land of sweeping plains
Of climate change deniers
Of droughts and flooding rains,
Of bleaching coral reefs
In oceans that are warming –
making cyclones rage through towns
and huge fires go a-storming.

I love her coal industry lobbyists,
I love her rightwing jocks –
either choosing wilful ignorance
or lying through their socks.
I love her weak politicians,
heads firmly in the sand –
‘the greatest moral challenge’
has pretty much been canned.

I weep for what will happen,
And wonder where it ends
Watching scenes of great destruction,
untold damage, death of friends.
I love her far horizons
with their burnt or ripped-up trees,
her vulnerability and our terror –
the wide-brown land for me.

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