Saturday, October 29, 2005

Oh so very Sydney

Below is the full and original version of the poem "God Drinks at the Sandringham", a piece I penned in late 1995 as the unstoppable tide of gentrification was sweeping over our beloved Newtown. Now, there seems to be some confusion as to the authorship of the above, following on from yet another article in a Sydney paper regarding the song inspired by the poem. The facts are these: in 1998 Tim Freedman of The Whitlams asked if I would consent to him using the poem (or at least the body of it) as the lyrics for a song on his upcoming album. I was more than happy, especially once I had signed the contract and seen the changes he had made to the text. I liked the tune and still do. I was not shafted, but in answer to some people's concerns, yes, it would be nice to see my original inspiration given credit in the mainstream press. However as we all know, at least in Australia, and especially Sydney, our august rags are not exactly poetry-friendly.

God Drinks at the Sandringham

He usually comes to sit by me
in the grainy light of 4 o clock

He will often sit on His hands
He is kind but nervous

I don't think He has very much money
His conversation is minimal

He likes to sit like pity
in the crook of my arm

He watches people come in
smiles, they are of Him somehow

they nod and pat His back
He is what we call in our sinecure way "alright"

He has time for everyone
He drinks slowly, deliberately

from a schooner
that always looks half full

what He does for a living
is anyone's guess

and needless to say everyone
has their own version of how He came to be here

walk down King street any day
and you will find Him waving at you

it is utterly spontaneous
a simple gesture of recognition

at certain times on certain days
He could almost be a white flag in a brisk wind

- Justin Lowe 1995

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