The schools marched in procession in happiness and pride,
The city bands before them, the soldiers marched beside;
Oh, starched white frocks and sashes and suits that high schools wear,
The boy scout and the boy lout and all the rest were there,
And all flags save Australia's flag waved high in sun and air!
The Girls' High School, and Grammar School and colleges of stone
Flew all flags from their walls and towers ? all flags except our own!
And down here in the alleys where Premiers never come,
Nor candidate, nor delegate, nor sound of fife and drum,
They packed them on the lorries, seared children of the slum.
Each face seemed soiled and faded, though scrubbed with household soap,
And older than a mother-face, but with less sign of hope:
The knowledge of things evil, of drunken wreck and hag,
Of sordid sounds and voices, the everlasting "nag" ?
Oh, men without a battle-song! Oh, men without a flag!
They breed a nation's strength behind each shabby little door,
Where rent-collectors knock for aye, and Christ shall knock no more;
The sounds that hurt the mother's heart affright the children there ?
Alarm-clocks on an empty tin, the tin tray on a chair;
For weary folk are hard to wake in hot and heavy air.
They sang in Pride's Procession that Mammon might endure ?
Oh, wistful singing faces, the children of the poor!
Oh, hideous fiends of commerce! Oh, ghouls of business strife!
I wait the coming of the things to wake the land to life;
The flag without a cross or bar, the drum without a fife!
written by Adrienne Rich, published on Fri 01.18.2008 at 13:12
She had thought the studio would keep itself;
no dust upon the furniture of love.
Half heresy, to wish the taps less vocal,
written by Adrienne Rich, published on Thu 01.10.2008 at 01:59
Thinking of Caroline Herschel, 1750-1848, Astronomer, Sister of William; and Others
A woman in the shape of a monster
written by Adrienne Rich, published on Sun 11.25.2007 at 20:54
Talking of poetry, hauling the books
arm-full to the table where the heads
bend or gaze upward, listening, reading aloud,
written by Adrienne Rich, published on Thu 10.25.2007 at 21:42
My three sisters are sitting
on rocks of black obsidian.
For the first time, in this light, I can see who they are.
written by Adrienne Rich, published on Thu 08.09.2007 at 09:38
A life hauls itself uphill
through hoar-mist steaming
the sun's tongue licking
leaf upon leaf into stricken liquid