Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Failure of Pastoral and Australian Mining Companies' Ongoing Rapacity

Eclogue of the Pastoral Where There Should be No Pastoral (Per Se)

‘Pastoral muse, offer help!’

            Miklós Radnóti, ‘Third Eclogue’ (trans. Emery George)


As the paternalistic miner tries to nip
‘native title’ in the bud — to reset to non-

exclusive, to make the buds recent if the iron
is ancient; while Rio Tinto blast and destroy

Juukun Gorge cave as sacred a place on earth
as time has allowed as has been invested

with spirit — and the company has done so
with the Crown’s law on their side...  it’s

impossible to justify pastorals
in any form, even as countermands

to the ideas they carry to infiltrate
and contaminate. It’s impossible

to configure in any way that best
serves its plea, and makes context

of reading, of land scaped into contra-
productivity, cultivated against its spirit.

All such comparisons fail, some are odious,
but death is death and tyranny tyranny

and we who reach for the literary
language of far-away localities

bound into sheaves for emperors
and land owners, for ‘readers of taste’,

for things growing in the best possible
order even when crops fail and fauns

and satyrs OD on toxins and drop dead,
this is why in the end ‘pastoral’

can only be an idea of the market —
isn’t that so, isn’t that the scenario:

the spending splurge, the largesse,
ahead of a bountiful harvest, profits,
            giving with one hand?


            John Kinsella