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The unifying of several unions into one “super-union” (if we are to…

In the pure flood of sound, they are scarfed with light, a voice
like the voice of God booms from the stands
Ooohh you bludger and the covenant is sealed.

By Robert WoodAndrew Bolt has been at it again. He has a…

Part Fifteen of a history of European occupation, rule, and brutal imperialism…

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

“A Way to Attain a Life without Boundaries”: The Poetry …

In all of this, Dawe is poking affectionate fun at ardent footy supporters. It may be foolish to treat a game as defining a life, but in Dawe’s views there is the same compensation as is found in some religions – the hope of resurrection. There’s always next season.

Apr 22, 2016 · Tim Dean is a Professor of English

Australian Rules Football is still essentially the same game on the field as it was when Dawes wrote his poem, though old-timers say a number of rule changes have reduced its physicality. But the way it is organized has changed almost beyond recognition by the inception of the Australian Football League. Footy fervor may still be most intense in Victoria, but surely it is rivalled by South Australia, with two teams in the AFL, with Western Australia a close second. There are two teams in both NSW and Queensland, and though tribal loyalties remain strongest to the rugby codes in those states, AFL is no longer a Victorian phenomenon. But hand in hand with the expansion of the game has come its corporatization. Football is big business now, and clubs have a corporate culture, with highly paid CEOs, media departments, and sponsorship and merchandising arms. The AFL draft does some levelling down of clubs, but being a rich club still helps enormously in making for on-field success. The new recruit from Eaglehawk will be expected to be a media savvy role model, and Chicken Smallhorn probably wouldn’t get a game. Fans are consumers, who expect to have a ‘football experience’ that goes beyond simply watching their team play. Can the sort of intense local loyalty that made ‘a little Tiger’ still prevail in this climate?

He teaches ENGL 101, Introduction to Poetry

Dawe’s theme is that supporting a footy team is a religious experience. There are any number of quasi-religious references, including to empyrean, or the highest heaven, bonding to a club as a covenant, teams with quasi-religious names like the Demons, (the Melbourne Football Club) and the Saints, (the St Kilda Football Club), and going up the premiership ladder as an ascent into heaven. The renewal of teams by recruiting young men is likened to the fertility rites of Maya.

Public Poetry – Like This Press

The week before the AFL grand final seems a fitting time to recall Bruce Dawe’s great – if somewhat ironic – hymn to Aussie Rules Football. Despite the changes in the ALF that have occurred since he wrote it in 1960s (I think) – when he was writing about the Victorian Football League – I still can’t go to a match without some line or other popping into my head – like ‘Ooohh you bludger!’