"Us" by C.J. Dennis

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Three-fourths of the trouble over the Northern Territory agreement arise out of inability to realise the greatness of this country's possibilities.  There has been a frantic clawing to drag the Port Darwin railway round by "our" State and to deviate it through "our" backyard, apparently because of an impression that there is never going to be any other railway, and that if "we" don't get hold of this particular railway "we" are for ever undone. - BULLETIN (30/6/'10).

Now listen to me, good masters,
   You of the States Frights crowd,
You of the shrill, high voices
   Clamoring long and loud;
Filling the land with your ravings,
   Renting the air with your fuss,
To what in the end do your mouthings trend?
   Whom do you mean by "Us"?

You are ever alert and ready
   To clamor about "our" aims;
You never neglect the chances
   Of bolstering up "our" claims;
"We" have to be considered,
   "We" of the voices loud, 
But it seemeth to me that your frequent "we"
   Is the "we" of a small, mean crowd.

For "us" of a bloated city
   The needs of a land must wait;
And the weal of a nation suffer
   For "us" of a selfish State -
"Us" of an ancient order
   Of rancor and hate and spite,
And what care we how the nation be
  So long as we hold our "right"?

I have seen "you" rise at a banquet,
   A pitiful sight to see:
Your wide white weskit bulging
   With tucker and loyalty.
Of the great and glorious Hempire
   I have heard you yammering hard,
Then marked you drop with sickening flop
  To the claims of "our" backyard.

If "we" can collar the railway
   The national hope we'll blast;
And we'll deafen the land with howlings
   If the claims of "our" port are passed.
If a scheme can't be exploited
   For the gain of "our" precious State,
Then we'll rave and cuss, and the howl of "us"
   Is a howl of envious hate.

What are the needs of a nation,
   What are a whole land's aims
If they clash with our paltry notions
   Of "interests," "rights" and "claims"?
"We," with our back-yard visions;
   "We," with our hen-roost dreams -
Your plans we'll smash; there must be spot cash
   For "us" in your nation's schemes.

Then listen to me good masters,
   While you rave and whine and fuss,
The day of your doom is nearing,
   And you'll answer to all of US -
Us of the young Australia,
   When your clamor and howls be spent;
And dawns the day when you'll all make way
   For "Us of the Continent."

First published in The Bulletin, 28 July 1910

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 28, 2013 9:31 AM.

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