The Greenhouse Vanity

Les Murray

Sea-perch over paddocks. Dunes. Salt light everywhere low down
just like the increasing gleam between Bass Strait islands
nine thousand years ago. In an offshore tidal town
the Folk Museum moans of a stormy night, and shrills:

You made the oceans rise! Rubbish, it was you!
The Pioneers Room and Recent Times are quarrelling.
By day the flannelled drone: up at daylight, lard and tea,
axe and crosscut till black dark, once I shot a ding-

o at the cradle, there at fifteen, the only white woman
ploughing by hand, parrot pie, we sewed our own music –
Recent Times blink and hum; one bends to B-cup a pair,
each point the rouge inside a kiss; one boosts the tape-deck

till coal conveyors rattle and mile-high smokestacks pant
Beige! beige! on every viewscreen. This should re-float your Hardships,
despoiler, black-shooter! – Nature’s caught up with you, Trendywank! –
So. We changed the weather. – Yep. Humans. We made and unmade the maps.