Bruce Dawe: homo suburbensis # I. SUBJECT MATTER This is a snapshot of an ordinary little bloke caught dreaming? worshipping? in his little patch of garden in his back yard surrounded by his prodigious vegetables who attempt to speak to compensate for his reticence. He appears “lost” in his thoughts. The poem is dedicated to Craig McGregor, a long time journalist who celebrated the typical little Aussie Battler – the dinky-di, the Ocker, the ordinary bloke or quintessential Australian character.
Consumerism # We buy things hoping for greater comfort, ease, happiness, status and self fulfillment. Whenever we are down, we also buy things. Ruth Quibell in The Promise of Things, writes: “Into inanimate things we increasingly project the power to animate our idealisations, dreams, yearnings and cravings”. We need to find things that genuinely satisfy us. We no longer repair things, we dispose of them. Computers, printers, cell phones last about three years.
Introduction to Bruce Dawe # Bruce Dawe is an Australian Poet (1930 - ) born in Geelong Victoria as the son of a labourer. He left school early and worked at odd jobs, - farm hand, handyman, gardener and postman. Dawe joined the R.A.A.F for 9 years and later studied at University part-time, gaining a B.A. M.A. & Ph D. He eventually became lecturer at University in Queensland. Bruce Dawe had few pretentions.
drifters # This is a carefree natural poem about an Australian phenomenon of transient or nomadic workers. Not quite as reviled as the gypsies of Europe, transient workers originated as shearers, rouseabouts or sundowners in early colonial times. Not willing to settle down in predictable settings, the transient workers preferred the adventure of new surroundings and meeting new people. Its attractions today extend to global citizens who regularly migrate to new continents.
enter without so much as knocking - Bruce Dawe From when we are born we go through a gradual process of change and development or periods of transition (stages, phases) from infancy, to adolescence, to youth, middle age and finally old age. * Shakespeare, in As You Like It,* calls them the seven ages of Mankind. The changes in our impressionable and formative years occur in various aspects of our being: the physical, biological, emotional, mental, psychological and social development towards maturity.
Speeches to rouse Soldiers to fight # The following excerpts illustrate contrasting techniques to arouse soldiers to fight in battle. The first one is Henry V before the Battle of Agincourt while the second is a poem by Bruce Dawe about a Drill Sargeant addressing new recruits in training. ** Henry V** France. Before Harfleur Alarum. Enter the KING, EXETER, BEDFORD, GLOUCESTER, and soldiers with scaling-ladders KING: Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
BRUCE DAWE # Biographical Born in Geelong, Victoria —1930, - Son of a Labourer Sister had verse published Father sang ballads,- Mother recited poems of l9^(th) C. Brother & he read: Westerns, thrillers and sci-fi. Education: Left school early and worked at odd jobs, - farm hand, handyman, gardener and postman. Dawe joined the R.A.A.F for 9 YRS
life cycle # SPORT replacing fanatical religion is the subject matter of this poem. Australians have an obsessive preoccupation with sport for many reasons. We have a conducive climate, lots of space for sporting fields, ample leisure time, good economic conditions including diet creating exemplary traditions for aspirations. The intensive media coverage and regional loyalties induce a counterfeit excitement towards religious ritual fervor and fanaticism. Sport replaces the blood sport of Gladiatorial Arenas.
weapons training # I. Subject Matter # This poem is an example of a sergeant (martinet) dressing down a squad of recently enlisted recruits, likely for the air force of an Asian Campaign (references to “mob of little yellows”, “a pack of Charlies” and “their rotten fish-sauce breath” suggest Vietnam War a distinctive brand of in-built war propaganda. In order to prepare young men to kill another human being you need to desensitise them.