Bernie pic

Bernie pic

Friday, 17 July 2020

Bush Poem 8: Seniors' Resistance

Day 8 bush poem 8:
Here is a John Best original about the Seniors’ Resistance

John Best:
Contemporary Bush Poetry reflects Australia’s life today and historically has provided a powerful vehicle for social change. Maybe not this poem, but who knows? I wrote this in 2002 and now we have a national inquiry. I’ve called it:

Are the Elderly Revolting?

I have reached the autumn of my life which wasn’t that flash in its summer.
That’s me, you see, I have always marched to the beat of another drummer.
But I like to think I can end my days, and round this great land roam,
For I’ve a dread of the living dead, locked up in a bad nursing home.

To the aged it’s a sensitive issue, to the young just a smile, maybe shrug
But I know you seldom find answers to problems swept under the rug.
So if laughter be the medicine, let’s tackle this with humour.
What’s he on about? Let me spell it out and dispense with the myth and rumour.

Those caring honest operators – this is not about you, I should stress.
It’s those few, the heartless and greedy, who attract all the unwanted press.
Yes, you’ve a problem Canberra and my thoughts on the problem I’ll share.
There’s a need to review the one you have who is responsible for aged care.

For a start there’s the problem of image which should be addressed with vigour.
Who can reconcile that aggressive style with a caring mother figure?
I’ve no doubt she’s a very nice person but on TV she makes me go tense.
She purses her lips, seems to shoot from both hips. She’d be far better off in defence!

From defence, it’s not far to travel back to, dare I mention, a war?
When the Poms built a camp concentration, you know in that blue with the Boer. 
From there it’s only a hop step and jump if you leave your thoughts free to roam
And what do you get? Your worst nightmare yet – you guessed it, a bad nursing home

In some homes you’ll find shelter and comfort and their owners should all be applauded.
Yet others deserve to be closed down, for they’re not what the doctor ordered.
Or are they? Who owns all these places? Whose is the money invested?
Do their interests conflict? Some may, I predict, and this certainly needs to be tested.

Now I’ve spoken at length to these seniors. I do poetry for them, then chat,
And slowly I’ve reached a conclusion–there’s other places they’d rather be at.
There’s a groundswell of disenchantment, now a whisper, it’ll soon be a shout 
It’s not good enough. They’re doin’ it tough. I can picture a mass breakout.

See I’ve checked out their library records and these lines you should all read between –  
Three most popular books? “The Great Escape”, “Papillon” and “Stalag 17”.
The local TAFE’s not unsympathetic: anti-nursing home protests they’ve staged
To show that they care they’ve sewn bags for hot air and taught tunnelling to the aged.

So, don’t be surprised if, one morning, balloon squadrons float over your fence.
There’ll be no spring chickens in these baskets and the hot air?
Yeah, flatulence. And don’t ring the law, please just ignore those depressions in your front lawn.
It’s a tunneller, mate. When he reaches your gate by tomorra, he’ll be gone

Should they not have the strength to leave on their own, this issue I will not shirk.
They’ll just laptop their mate in a wheelchair. Please note here the genius at work,
Vision impairment? No problem! I’ve a scheme I admit I’ve not tried,
See, I’m breedin’ these bloody big guide dogs. They’ll just hop in the saddle and ride!

And you mob, if drivin’ near nursin’ ‘omes spot someone a little bit older,
They’re not hard to pick –  they’ve a walker or stick with a furtive look over their shoulder.
Do the right thing! Lend ‘em a hand, render whatever assistance.
Your turn’ll come ‘round, now known underground “Paid up member of Senior Resistance”.

As you’ve gathered by now, I’m across this. Those that can flee will have flown.
 I’ve no doubt solved most of their problems and those left behind, “Home Alone”.
Yes Minister, you’ve done some good work. Give credit where credit is due,
But I think, and I’m not alone thinkin’, that we should do better. Don’t you?

For these folk and their like forged this nation, this country of which we’re so proud.
Some gave up their youth for Australia, others gave up their lives, brave, unbowed.
Minister, is this how we repay them? For this did they work, fight and die?
We can and we must do this better, or is “Lest We Forget” now a lie?

YOU CAN ORDER TALL TALES from your physical bookstore (author Long John Best, publisher Bent Banana Books) or in paperback or eBook from online-retailers including     (paperback and Kindle) (Barnes&Noble paperback)

Proceeds to animal welfare, RSPCA QLD

Lest We Forget is the motto of Anzac Day the Australian equivalent of Memorial Day in the US.
We started our first day of Long John Best bush poetry with a Beatles song and we will conclude our eighth day with another. For decades I thought the line was “Will you still heed me . . . “
I don’t want to usurp the genius of this rock group but I do think “Will you still heed me . . ." is a better lyric.

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