Oz Day Haiku 2019

In this wide scorched land
fear settles red, a dust film
smothering justice.

Who chose this dark day
of dispossession and death
for celebration?

 

© Ken Rookes

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Unuttered expletives

When I was younger
and more polite,
my life was filled with unuttered expletives.
Prime Ministers and other hypocrite politicians,
fat-cat capitalists
and other corrupt leaders,
press barons and fascist commentators;
they all provided grounds
for my unspoken ire.

Sadly,
the occasions for outrage have multiplied
and the world of my grandchildren
appears destined for destruction.
Now, old, grumpy,
and unconcerned about causing offence,
I no longer have time
or space in my life
for the unuttered.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018

Lament for the children

We’re aching the children,
we want to wipe their tears
We want to give them freedom,
we long to end their fear.

We can feel the shame,
the helplessness and pain,
of children in detention,
their lives held in suspension.
We mourn with them and grieve,
and we won’t be relieved
Until the suff’ring kids are freed
Until the kids are freed.

These families are sentenced
to futility and despair
while those who sit in judgement
condemn without a care.
But no crime has been committed,
they came looking for a welcome;
they asked us for protection,
and we stole their hope and freedom

We’re aching the children,
we want to wipe their tears
We want to give them freedom,
we long to end their fear.

The criminals in Canberra
pretend to serve our interest.
They claim it’s for our benefit,
that it’s for the best.
Our moral compass has been lost
on that we can be clear:
It’s been swallowed by the politics,
of racism and fear;

On the tiny island of Nauru,
amidst the desolation,
no one’s going anywhere;
there is no destination.
There’s nothing to look forward to
just more desperation,
for children and their parents, too,
a helpless situation.

We’re aching the children,
we want to wipe their tears
We want to give them freedom,
we long to end their fear.

Childhood should be wond’rous,
with laughter. and with learning;
without the fear and sadness,
the aching and the yearning.
If we only could we’d make it right,
create a justice outcome,
take their hands, hold them tight
and make these children welcome.

How long must the children wait
for justice and compassion?
Kindness, hospitality;
why must these things be rationed?
We will raise our voices high,
together we shall loudly cry:
Until the suff’ring kids are freed,
Until the kids are freed.

We’re aching the children,
we want to wipe their tears
We want to give them freedom,
we long to end their fear.

Ken Rookes 2018

I wrote this for the Bendigo Rural Ausralians for Refugees rally held last Wednesday, calling for the release of children and their families from detention on the Island of Nauru. The people were invited to participate in the response (Bold). It works as a sort of rap.

I was invited to offer it as a prayer at Eaglehawk Uniting Church this morning. People responded positively, and it opened up some good conversations

 

We stopped listening

Haiku for the respectable

We stopped listening
to Jesus some years ago.
His words were too hard.

We much prefer wealth
and power and influence.
We vote for Mammon.

We like the idea
of being known as Christians,
just not the method.

He said Love Neighbour
but failed to clearly define
the limits to love.

We believe in love.
We do our bit. The failure
must lie somewhere else.

We like the concept
of justice. We just don’t think
we should bear the cost.

One thing that he said:
The poor are always with you.
We agree with that.

Some people languish
behind gates and barbed wire.
Nought to do with us.

We do not much like
the idea of grace, unless
applied to ourselves.

We are deserving,
unlike the many who aren’t.
Jesus rewards us.

We are disciples,
following our Lord Jesus,
anchored to the ground.

 

© Ken Rookes 2018