© Brian Beesley

Winner, 2009 Coo-ee March Festival - Open Section Gilgandra, NSW.

My country, oh my country, now what have we done to you?

Your face reflects a sadness, which our fathers never knew.

No more the ‘vision splendid’ stirs the spirit in your soul –

is it too late to render what my generation stole?

Although the cost of ‘tolerance’ is worth it, some will say;

I think that freedom’s price amounts to more than thieves could pay.

My country, oh my country, could we look them in the eye,

those men who left you waiting when they heard the battle cry?

And where the lonely headstones line their graves below the ‘Sphinx’,

an unknown soldier’s resting and I wonder what he thinks,

for circumstance demanded that he stands and pays a price    

but what have we repaid him for his noble sacrifice?

My country, oh my country, where have all your heroes gone –

the soldiers, statesmen, scholars whom your name depended on,

whose honour, faith and courage meant, for those of us to come,

had finer education and a sweeter tune to hum?

But virtue hid beneath the empty bed our ‘wisdom’ made –

can you remember when we used to call a spade a spade?

My country, oh my country, tell me, where did we go wrong?

I hear your ‘anthem’ playing with the Dagworth Station song

but underneath the pomp I sense a deep deception there,

so what’s behind this feeling that we just don’t seem to care?

I know your heart is aching, sadly mine is hurting too,

perhaps our nature comes from never fighting over you.

My country, oh my country, how you must be weeping now

to see the streets erupt in violent anarchy and how

authority has faded to a wishy-washy blue,

commanded by bureaucracy that hasn’t got a clue,

while ev’ry day the doctor comes to spin his tricky tales

but prattle wears a little thin when law and order fails.

My country, oh my country, well aren’t you the lucky one?

We take for granted all your gifts when all is said and done.

Don’t blame the disaffected migrant who refuses to

conform, nor blame the white extremist, itching for a blue.

Instead condemn the politicians preaching that we should

exist as sep’rate cultures, knowing that we never could.

My country, oh my country, well where do we go from here?

Your innocence and good times are behind us now I fear.

We should have nipped it in the bud when ‘social engineers’

rewrote our history and turned our laughter into tears.

Perhaps we’ll earn another chance to paint a better scene –  

one country with one culture, how we always should have been.