2/ Write a letter to either Judith Beveridge, Les Murray or David Malouf telling them what you have found of greatest interest in their writing today.
I am a first year student studying Australian Literature at the Australian Catholic University. Every week, we read and analyse new poems and then select a blog topic we would like to write on. This week, I have chosen your poem, The Cool Green to work on.
I enjoy the feeling that comes across me when I read this poem, I feel as if you are reminiscing and you want me to do the same. The feeling I receive from your words is that here was a much simpler time when life was poetry. This conveys to me that in today’s day and age, money has consumed humanity. I found it particularly interesting to be reading a poem that has a connection to my life. All the poems I have read recently are about someone else’s experience, memory, perspective or journey, but with this poem, I felt as if I was more capable of unpacking the intended meaning, as the dependency on money is relevant in my life today. It was somewhat of an eye-opener to read about money as if it had an original intent before my time. “It didn’t want our souls” communicates that money wanted something originally, or it has an original purpose, and what it has now is not what its intention for existing is. I enjoyed having my mind stretched into thinking that money is so consuming of one’s mind, to the point where what we are meant to rule over is actually ruling over us. That is, we are supposed to be in control of our money – how we spend it, what bills are a part of our responsibility, what we buy for entertainment or wants etc. but, is money now in control over us? It is okay to have all of the things that money can buy, but do these things have me? Do they now have control over me in the sense that I feel restricted to live because the money I earn cannot support my every want and need that is continuously changing?
I usually do my blogs the day they are due. That is, every Friday I will look at the blog topic for the week as I’ve had the week to learn all I can about the poem, but this particular poem left my hand cramping from all the notes I was taking whilst reading it, which is why my blog is being done early this week. My mind has been so captivated by the insight you hold, I just want to learn more.
I am particularly interested in the thought of whether or not you believe that money is the god that always says yes. If we are on the topic of consuming ones life, being ruled over and submitting to something greater than ourselves, then God comes to mind. Being of Christian faith, I believe that my life is submitted to the purposes of God. And this faith also includes accepting that what I want may not necessarily be the best thing for my purpose, or me and so I must say no. But money can be so tempting here, as it is the god that always says yes. Money can do almost anything, I believe, except provide human love, but within this poem, is that your intent? To show that the consumption of ones life because of the love of money can be so big that it will replace God in the lives of believers? Does this poem have anything to do with the love of God compared to the love of money? My thoughts on whether or not this poem expresses the rule that money has over us are the lines; “we also die for it then, so who is the servant?” You have questioned the reader into thinking if they rule over money or money rules over them.
I believe you are communicating the power that money holds in the line, “millions east garbage without it”, this line expresses so much; it is a jaw-dropping line to read. Money has such a rule over humanity that without it our physical bodies starve. And now, after our physical bodies are being taken away, it is now consuming a deeper part of us: our souls. “How did money capture life away from poetry, ideology, religion? It didn’t want out souls.” This was my favourite line of the poem. As throughout it, physical parts of the human body were being mentioned, but this very last word of the last line says souls. And it leaves the audience with that. Murray, was your intention for ending the poem this way a mind game in attempting to leave us with an unanswered question that we are to think over ourselves? Because this is what it has done for me, and I have been totally captivated, not only because I am studying this, but because it has been on my mind since I read it.
Thank you, Les Murray, for this truly captivating poem.