Saturday, December 17, 2016

Confronting the Bulldozers

I want to make clear that I do not advocate anyone putting themselves in harm's way when confronting bulldozers and other vegetation-clearing equipment.

If I make a personal choice to do so, in any given situation, at any given time, then I do it alone and expect no others to follow my example (in words or deed).

For me, that's a carefully thought out position when all other means have failed. I do not advocate any form of violent resistance.

I do believe I have the right to place myself between natural habitat which is under assault, and the machines being used to facilitate the assault.

I think the most effective approach is to 'talk' or 'sing' to the machines, so to speak — that is, to voice as one the opposition (poetry is effective) so that it is heard by all, confronting the machines, their drivers, and those who wield the power behind them (those so often faceless cowards who send the 'troops' in to do the dirty work).

Below is a poem, written in the context of the Beeliar Wetlands situation, which I believe could be effective 'sung' or spoken 'to' the bulldozers and those behind them, and also to all the 'undecided' or indifferent people who so often unwittingly contribute to the scenario of destruction.

So, please DO NOT ever put yourself at physical risk, but always stand united against this assault against the rights of the environment and, indeed, assault against human rights in so many different ways. We can act in peace and also respect ourselves in doing so.

The Bulldozer Poem

Bulldozers rend flesh. Bulldozers make devils
of good people. Bulldozers are compelled to do
as they are told. Bulldozers grimace when they

tear the earth’s skin — from earth they came.
Bulldozers are made by people who also want new
mobile phones to play games on, and to feed families.

Bulldozers are observers of phenomena — decisions
are taken out of their hands. They are full of perceptions.
They will hear our pleas and struggle against their masters.

Bulldozers slice & dice, bulldozers tenderise, bulldozers
reshape the sandpit, make grrrriiing noises, kids’ motorskills.
Bulldozers slice the snake in half so it chases its own tail,

writing in front of its face. Bulldozers are vigorous
percussionists, sounding the snap and boom of hollows
caving in, feathers of the cockatoos a whisper in the roar.

Bulldozers deny the existence of Aether, though they know
deep down in their pistons, deep in their levers, that all
is spheres and heavens and voices of ancestors worry

at their peace. Bulldozers recognise final causes, and embrace
outcomes that put them out of work. There’s always more
scrub to delete, surely... surely? O continuous tracked tractor,

O S and U blades, each to his orders, his skillset. Communal
as D9 Dozers (whose buckets uplift to asteroids waiting
to be quarried). O bulldozer! your history! O those Holt tractors

working the paddocks, O the first slow tanks crushing
the battlefield. The interconnectedness of Being. Philosopher!
O your Makers — Cummings and Caterpillar — O great Cat

we grew up in their thrall whether we knew it or not — playing
sports where the woodlands grew, where you rode in after
the great trees had been removed. You innovate and flatten.

We must know your worldliness — working with companies
to make a world of endless horizons. It’s a team effort, excoriating
an eco-system. Not even you can tackle an old-growth tall tree alone.

But we know your power, your pedigree, your sheer bloody
mindedness. Sorry, forgive us, we should keep this civil, O dozer!
In you is a cosmology — we have yelled the names of bandicoots

and possums, of kangaroos and echidnas, of honeyeaters
and the day-sleeping tawny frogmouth you kill in its silence.
And now we stand before you, supplicant and yet resistant,

asking you to hear us over your war-cry, over your work
ethic being played for all it’s worth. Hear us, hear me
don’t laugh at our bathos, take us seriously, forgive

our inarticulateness, our scrabbling for words as you crush
us, the world as we know it, the hands that fed you, that made you.
Listen not to those officials who have taken advantage

of their position, who have turned their offices to hate
the world and smile, kissing the tiny hands of babies
that you can barely hear as your engines roar with power.

But you don’t see the exquisite colour of the world, bulldozer —
green is your irritant. We understand, bulldozer, we do —
it is fear that compels you, rippling through eternity,
          embracing the inorganics of modernity.

                                                              John Kinsella

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