The Crucifixion of Civilization.

All registered Forum users can post bush poetry dedicated to all those who served
Post Reply
User avatar
Mal McLean
Posts: 521
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:40 pm
Location: North Lakes

The Crucifixion of Civilization.

Post by Mal McLean » Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:04 pm

The Crucifixion of Civilization.
©M M (Mal) Beveridge 2015

(In memory of the sculptor George Raynor Hoff whose proposed bronzes, The Crucifixion of Civilization and Sacrifice after Victory, each featuring a naked lithe young woman standing on piles of the dead and the detritus of war, draped on or in front of a cross, had they been produced from the clay moulds, would have completed his trilogy at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park Sydney.)


And when the men of God looked down
their noses long beneath a frown
and saw a woman crucified
“A blasphemy is this!” they cried,
and so the casts were guilty found.

(Are we not mother, sister, wife?
Tis we endure the cross of life.)

The Master at his clay looked up
and wondered idly o’er his cup
“Were ever women writ in lists
of casualties? These sculptor’s fists
have turned the clay to make amends.”

(Did we not bear the sacrifice,
the mothers wives and daughters, thrice?)

“They did not scale the tall trench wall
where killed and maimed and wounded fall,
but this I know, a woman dies
for ev’ry fallen man that lies
beneath a white stone crucifix.”

(The sculptor and the maiden twice,
both crucified in sacrifice.)

Are wives and mothers crucified,
in nakedness to priests denied,
with sisters, daughters worn with care,
too close for comfort? Cast your stare
upon the mound of sacrifice!

(And though he said what’s meant to be
We think he thought the same as we.)

Did he whose hands the casts had made
undo them both at that crusade
or did they dissipate anon,
a nod, a wink and both were gone?
In any case, a nation wronged.

(Beneath the holy cross we spy
the maiden who will best the lie.)

The Waiting Woman looks to sea.
The Weeping Mother bends at knee.
Toowoomba Violet tall and straight.
Wooloomooloo, the Mothers Gate
transplanted for a car parks need.

(We rent our clothes we beat our breast
but never can we lie in rest.)

Lest we forget a mothers pain,
a daughters angst, the tears that rain
from wives and sisters in their grief
whose hearts must beat without relief.
Oh, Crucifixion! Sacrifice!

(Tis we upon that cross must drape
while bloodied peace still stains our rape.)
---------------------------------------------
Preserve the Culture!

User avatar
David Campbell
Posts: 1232
Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2010 10:27 am
Location: Melbourne
Contact:

Re: The Crucifixion of Civilization.

Post by David Campbell » Wed Apr 27, 2016 11:42 am

G’day Mal

I’m usually reluctant to say too much about poems in case there’s a conflict of interest with my judging role, but it bothers me that this has been up for several days now and has been totally ignored. (Which seems odd, given this is a poetry site, and Bob is pleading for poems to be posted.) It’s a terrific piece of writing, with an interesting structure (particularly the use of the two-line ‘chorus’) and a powerful message. It led me to check the Hoff story and discover that he was attacked over the morality of those three sculptures by a Catholic Archbishop, the Master Builders’ Association of NSW, and the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. Your device of using the sculptor’s voice to justify what he has depicted and point out the role that women inevitably play in conflict is very effective, with the sculptor turning the clay to “make amends”. I particularly like the stanza that begins “They did not scale…” and the one at the end “Lest we forget…”

The poem deserves a wider audience, but there are a few small things you should fix if you have publication or competitions (although probably not bush poetry?) in mind. His middle name is “Rayner”, not “Raynor”. Should be “Woolloomooloo”. And you need to tidy up a few possessive apostrophes: “Mother’s Gate” or "Mothers' Gate", depending on meaning; “car park’s need”; “mother’s pain”; “daughter’s angst”. And there’s something which is not clear. Are the main stanzas from “Are wives and mothers crucified…” onwards still in the sculptor’s voice? There are no inverted commas to suggest they are, but I wonder if this is intentional or just an oversight? Hope you don’t mind these comments, but it’s such a good poem it’d be a pity to let these things slide.

Cheers
David

User avatar
Maureen K Clifford
Posts: 7509
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:31 am
Location: Ipswich - Paul Pisasale country and home of the Ipswich Poetry Feast
Contact:

Re: The Crucifixion of Civilization.

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:35 pm

It is an excellent write Mal and I apologise for not noticing it - I confess I am a little overawed by it. It is not a poem that one can just read and say something trite about - it needs to be read IMO several times because the content really requires consideration. It is quite deep and I confess complete ignorance as to this sculptor and his bronze statue and I don't recall ever having seen them. I then discover that they were hidden in a bank vault for over 37 years and then lost ...http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/04/ ... 32478.html

Now I am curious as to what prompted you to write this poem and where you came across the story for it
Check out The Scribbly Bark Poets blog site here -
http://scribblybarkpoetry.blogspot.com.au/


I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

User avatar
Mal McLean
Posts: 521
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:40 pm
Location: North Lakes

Re: The Crucifixion of Civilization.

Post by Mal McLean » Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:29 pm

Thank you David and Maureen,

I'm afraid using the computer has made my critical eye lazy. Typo, punctuation and spelling errors will be corrected soon.

The narrator starts again at, "Are wives and mothers...." but I take your point David, it's a little clumsy. I'll have a good look at that.

It is always helpful to get another set of eyes on your work. I appreciate it.

This poem fell out of research I was doing into war memorials erected by or for women. I was shocked by the lack of information available. While engaged in this research I came upon the article Maureen refers to at: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/04/ ... 32478.html. I urge ABPA members to read this article. Warning: you may be angry. I was then and remain now, outraged. My wife told me to "Write the bloody poem and get it out of your system." Unearthing information about the moulds wasn't always easy and despite a variety of views being put I discovered that the overriding suspicion was that their was a deliberate destruction of the offending items. A tragedy for our nation, either way. Sadly I had a computer hard drive failure and my external back up also failed half way through restoring all my files. I managed to save all of my poetry but lost all my research, innumerable drafts and notes.

This poem was never meant to be for competitions. I did throw it in to one or two, but only to make sure someone actually had to read it.

It was something that had to be written. While writing it, I began to feel something of the angst that Hoff himself must have felt. In the end, using the device of the female voices as a metaphor for the memorials that should have been built as well as telling their own story may have been too difficult as I entwined all the different threads. Finally, I'm not sure if the Catholic Church or the RSL would be happy with this poem as I point out the duality of the physical and moral rape of women in war and I draw the observation that the nudity was a bit too close to home for some in the priesthood. Maybe, way too close.

Thank you David and Maureen

Mal
Last edited by Mal McLean on Thu Apr 28, 2016 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Preserve the Culture!

User avatar
Maureen K Clifford
Posts: 7509
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:31 am
Location: Ipswich - Paul Pisasale country and home of the Ipswich Poetry Feast
Contact:

Re: The Crucifixion of Civilization.

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:23 am

I am always interested in things like this Mal - so much of our history is conveniently swept under a rug because the truth is unpalatable or may cause offence to someone or to some institution ( these numpties on FB who think they are making a statement by posting things that may offend others regardless missed the boat by many years) Protest has always been a part of the Australian make up - we protested against communism, abortion, conscription and Vietnam when I was younger, now we protest against boat people and Muslims...there is always something that is going to get up some people's noses. Sometimes protest is warranted other times it is ignorance and paranoia kicking in.

I can well imagine the sculptor concerned here being very offended and hurt over the attitude of the church - remember the furor over the Opera House? Architect Jørn Utzon would have felt exactly the same. Blue Poles was another. We are too often guilty of throwing the baby out with the bathwater to our shame - perhaps that reflects on our naivete as a nation.

It is good that you wrote a poem about this and got it our of your system as your wife said - sadly though I suspect you will be pushing the proverbial uphill because in today's public eye it would be considered 'old news' when our population these days has the interest span lasting less than a week on anything - such is the price we pay for instant media gratification in the modern world. That of course is only my opinion and a cynical one at that :roll:
Check out The Scribbly Bark Poets blog site here -
http://scribblybarkpoetry.blogspot.com.au/


I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

User avatar
Mal McLean
Posts: 521
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:40 pm
Location: North Lakes

Re: The Crucifixion of Civilization.

Post by Mal McLean » Sat Apr 30, 2016 4:29 pm

Nah Matt,

I chucked it in the Peter Porter but of course didn't get a look in. I didn't expect one of course. I never thought about the Blake. That's life. Actually, i thought about that line..."and did those feet in ancient times"...As I have become a "religious athiest" , that is I don't believe in religion, it brought a sense of irony to me. Nice to hear from you mate.

Mal
Preserve the Culture!

Heather

Re: The Crucifixion of Civilization.

Post by Heather » Sat Apr 30, 2016 5:00 pm

It's a brilliant poem Mal. (I didn't write earlier as I wanted time to re-read and digest). I'd give it an award :) Unusual to start a poem with "And" but I really like that. Can't say I have a favourite line - I just like it all and it is one I will read again.

Heather :)

User avatar
Mal McLean
Posts: 521
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:40 pm
Location: North Lakes

Re: The Crucifixion of Civilization.

Post by Mal McLean » Sat Apr 30, 2016 5:04 pm

:) Heather. Thanks.
Preserve the Culture!

Vic Jefferies
Posts: 1041
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:21 am

Re: The Crucifixion of Civilization.

Post by Vic Jefferies » Mon May 02, 2016 11:29 am

Wonderful writing Mal and a great poem. Thank you for the information regarding the missing statues and the fact that the Anzac Memorial remains unfinished. It is a remarkable and soul stirring building and unfortunately not visited by sufficient people.

Post Reply