Passing bull 24– A good mantra?


Two phrases must go on the Blacklist – ‘boots on the ground’ and ‘stand shoulder to shoulder.’  The second is what you do when you don’t have the first.

But our Prime Minister – AND MAY GOD DEFEND HIM! – has unwrapped a pearler.  He said that this is not a time for ‘gestures or machismo’.

Our PM had the Sniper in mind.  The Sniper had nothing but gestures and machismo.  One great gesture told us that he was mad – knighting a duke – and one exercise in machismo confirmed that he was stupid as well as mad – threatening to shirtfront a Mafia Tsar.  In the result, we now have a PM in cities like Berlin and Paris who does not make us ashamed or give us nervous breakdowns while we wait for the next inane gesture or threatening machismo.

Do you, too, still share the immensity of the relief?  Or as Gough said to Margaret: ‘Did the earth move for you too?’  I feel like Kant did when told of the fall of the Bastille – ‘Now let your servant go in peace to the grave for I have seen the glory of the world.’

All we have to put up with now is Doctor Death, the Grecian Poodle, telling us to put boots on the ground and form an alliance with the Mafia Tsar – and put boots on the ground with him.  Doctor Death did not refer to the Death Cult.  The Sniper has world rights to that bullshit.

And how apt is the phrase ‘gestures and machismo’ for the best mates of the Sniper, the Parrot, and the Lowflying Dutchman?  It might remind us of the difference between Shock jocks and hookers; the latter sell some grubby transient togetherness for money; Shock Jocks peddle grubby permanent enmity for money.  Otherwise, they have lots in common.  They cloister around the gutter.

And now look at the two World’s Best Practice in gesture and machismo – Erdogan and Putin.  At each other’s throats.  No one believes a word that either says, but Doctor Death wants us to hold hands and walk in boots on the ground with both.  While they do their best to wipe each other out.  The Leader of the Free World must be deeply grateful for the gratuitous advice given to him by that Master of Wars, the Grecian Poodle.

Should we have our own Thanksgiving Day?  We have left behind what Churchill called ‘a new Dark age made more sinister by the lights of perverted science’ and we now have the chance also described by Churchill to ‘walk in those broad sunlit uplands.’

And while we are on good news for the Liberal Party, take a look at the Premier of New South Wales, Mr Mike Baird!  It is not just that he can make a decision and take a stand, and stare down a fear campaign from yesterday’s tired men – he has the Michelle Payne effect.  An open Australian face and a flat unpretentious Australian voice.  He just oozes political premiership form and style, and good luck to him!

Final Gwen Harwood poem

I apologise for splitting Oyster Cove.  The following may be my favourite poem.  There is more than a bit of Michelle Payne here, too.  It is what I think poetry is about.

In the park


She sits in the park.  Her clothes are out of date.

Two children whine and bicker, tug her skirt.

A third draws aimless patterns in the dirt.

Someone she loved once passes by – too late


to feign indifference to that casual nod.

‘How nice’, et cetera.  ‘Time holds great surprises.’

From his neat head unquestionably rises

a small balloon….’but for the grace of God…’


They stand a while in flickering light, rehearsing

the children’s names and birthdays.  ‘It’s so sweet

to hear their chatter, watch them grow and thrive,’

she says to his departing smile.  Then, nursing

the youngest child, sits staring at her feet.

To the wind she says, ‘They have eaten me alive.’

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