(With thanks and grat­itude to Robert Borden)

1.

2017 was a good year for fear, a good year for screaming
Not like some other good Amer­ican years but it slid out of
A year of celebrity death and tele­vised suf­fering that we were all
Only too happy to see the back of

And in a year where somehow no one noticed how utterly idi­otic it was
To actu­ally include your opponent’s name on all your plac­ards
as if “love trumps” wasn’t as far as everyone got in the age where no one
Ever read to the end, just click and share and def­in­itely do not check the facts

We are six weeks in to this long, hot summer of 2017 – not even 100 days
And we are all already heartily sick of the knee-jerk fear

2.

The air­ports are jam-packed with crowds and ordinary people com­mit­ting atro­cities
Some­where there is a five-year old boy in hand­cuffs and another room
Con­tains a grand­mother who hasn’t eaten in 20 hours. Her tor­mentor
Is just obeying orders and has so quickly suc­cumbed to the bland banality of evil
That I can only ima­gine the con­course reeks of sulfur and the heat is unbear­able

3.

Closer to home, a woman is dying in another hell, a mere 3000 kilo­metres off the coast,
And if everyone just waits long enough, she and her baby will slip
Ever so quietly away and out of the head­lines, off the front page,
And into a grave, a silent grave, a wailing grave,
Always and forever an Aus­tralian grave, don’t mis­take for a moment
The gravity of this egre­gious error, the enormity of this out­rage
That a woman escapes from one horror, still somehow dares to create life
Inside her, to nur­ture it for this long in such con­di­tions and that
Face­less cow­ards of men con­demn her as a lesson to others,
Lest we forget for a moment that we were bap­tised by fire through war
This young nation, so proud, our bound­less plains we share.

4.

Melissa McCarthy is imit­ating Sean Spicer on Sat­urday Night Live
And it’s all anyone can talk about; well, until next week, when
All they can talk about is the mach­ismo power play pos­turing as
Poster boy Trudeau wins over Trump’s own game with the tug-and-wrestle
Hand­shake as if this micro-analysis of school­yard boys is somehow
More important than the chil­dren who are still starving in Syria
But def­in­itely can’t get through Amer­ican air­ports to safety
As if today’s rev­el­a­tions about Trump and his ties to Rus­sian spies
Is just another moment in some John Le Carré novel and mean­while
Back home, our good old boys pass around a lump of actual coal,
Laughing, may as well be singing, This’ll be the day that I die…
Because you better believe it, if we were all the way with LBJ then
You can for sure lump us with Trump, and we have to ask, Mal­colm,
How are you sleeping at night? There was a strange day when you & Kev
Showed off your awk­ward bromance on Q&A with your leather jacket on
And half the country con­torted itself into par­oxysms of admir­a­tion
And now you are nothing but an empty husk of a man.

5.

A mil­lion women are marching all over the world and I am not there.
They are wearing pink knitted caps and I am once again watching
Through a screen, which is all I do these days, and on my screen,
Women are singing, somehow, they still have beauty in their throats,
And they are singing.
They sing: I can’t keep quiet.
They sing: A one woman riot.
They sing: I have to do this, I can’t keep still.
And it’s true, here in our deepest fears, we are not cowering away.
We are gath­ering together in our thou­sands
We are crying together in our lounge rooms
We are creeping out together in our pink caps
And taking to the streets in our mad­ness and our mon­strous forms
We are linking arms together wearing purple for refugees
And we are knit­ting our lands together against the gas com­panies
And we are raising our voices in song and in anger and in love
Because it’s what we know and because words are what we have left
Because we talk too much and because we don’t know when to shut up
Because of all the times we’ve been locked up for speaking our minds
Because of all the wise women in his­tory who knew too much
We are con­nected in our out­rage and our des­pair and our hope
For all of our sis­ters every­where, for each step for­ward,
For each Malala and each Bhutto and each Golda Meir and each Emma Goldman,
For each step back, when Lambie attacks Abdel-Magied on live TV,
We will, like Yassmin, respond with dig­nity and fer­vour and grace
But we will not be silenced.