‘…IT CAME AT US LIKE A JUMBO JET.

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THERE WAS NOTHING WE COULD DO BUT JUMP IN THE DAM AND COVER OUR HEADS. WE WERE DEAFENED. WE COULDN’T BREATHE. WE COULDN’T SEE. AND THEN, IT WAS GONE. IT TOOK EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING…’

UNKNOWN SURVIVOR ON TELEVISION NEWS, VICTORIA, JANUARY 2020

The first signs show the ground is dry
Parched beneath an empty sky
Drained of life, now just a crust
It blows away in clouds of dust.

And the empty men
Still sing the song
‘It’s always thus,
There’s nothing wrong’.

Rivers slowing, fish are dying
Climate sceptics keep on lying
About water sold offshore to crooks
While onshore weasels cook the books.

And the empty men
Just turn their backs
‘There’s nothing here,
Let’s all relax’.

Then science steps into the light
With truth that stings and facts that bite
Data sets are peer reviewed
Evidence with care accrued.

And the empty men
Just obfuscate
They pivot
Then they fabricate.

And now the spark, from lightning strike
From dodgy car or motorbike
From arson’s match or careless durrie
From campers in too big a hurry.

And the empty men
Massage the facts
To manage
How the world reacts.

Grim-faced farmers watch for clouds
But all they get are smoking shrouds
To wrap the lives at which they’ve slaved
As they bulldoze yet one more mass grave.

And the empty men
Offer up their prayers
And empty thoughts
To dry our tears.

Exhausted fireys try to tell
How red-rimmed eyes have just seen hell
Its gates torn off by fire’s rage
How evil’s now out of its cage.

And the empty men
Maintain the lie
The costs ignore
The help deny.

From ashen towns that once had thrived
Folks marvel that they’re still alive
Shattered by unbridled fear
Their sunburnt lands beyond repair.

And the empty men
Sustain the myth
They’ve always packed
Their fictions with.

Frightened folk demanding answers
From pseudo leaders, febrile chancers
Who promise this while blaming that
Their care would fit inside a hat.

And the empty men
Still push the fables
And toss us crumbs
From swollen tables

Then one by one the people turn
On empties who would let them burn
Self interest turns the keys in locks
As empties fret the ballot box

And the selfish men
Backs to the wall
Are forced
To catch us as we fall…

By John Dickson

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