Union Songs

Is our tomorrow our yesterday?

A poem by John Tomlinson ©1998

I was sure I saw tomorrow
through the bitterness and sorrow,
replicating past disasters
of our wasted yesterdays.
When I finally saw tomorrow through the haze.
The future's dark, the future's bleak,
I can hear the future speak:
rewarding rich and powerful
but nothing for the meek.
The young have lost their future
in a country without direction.
"The times they are a changing"
for the worse:
and we carry social justice in a hearse.
We are travelling backwards,
rediscovering all our bitterness;
when we restricted blacks to settlement-
to fringe camp or the mission;
where we denied them their entitlement.
We took their children crying
but left old people dying,
men and women sighing,
as we hid beneath the lying
of "progress" and "development".
An intense ideological firmament-
the dark days of the 50s,
as the country hunted Commos,
we pushed on with development.
That wilful, sad envelopment.
We opened up the wilderness
with chainsaws and D9;
employing brutal ruthlessness,
and white law that said "it's mine".
We hid Rum Jungle tailings
ignoring Finnes River's wailings.
We drove harpoons into mammals
whose majestic songs we'd never heard.
Swapping Humpbacks for coal stacks,
factory drains and acid rains.
Overcoming scarcity overcame the necessity
-of truth.
When will we talk down to our betters and end noblesse oblige?


Many thanks to John Tomlinson for permission to use this poems on the Union Songs site.

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