Symbols of the world's religions



Ross Keating

In the opening poem to Proletarians-Transition entitled "Present Australians" Brabazon uses such a voice — "I am a pamphleteer of God. / I am a son of my Guru. / And I bring messages to an old land." — and then goes on to deliver his message of God's oneness: "I proclaim the message which my Guru taught me, / that none exist save God, / that your material dreams are nothing but emptiness."

The first thing that strikes the reader in all of these poems is Brabazon's concern for working people in everyday occupations. This is seen in the titles, for instance: "Song of the Accountant," "Chorus for Cooks and Waitresses," "Song for Lab. Assistants," "Song for Call Girls, Professional and Amateur."

In the "Song of the Recluse," which suggests an occupation free from social responsibility, Brabazon presents the opposite view in which the recluse is seen as inextricably connected with each person in society. This poem more than any other in the collection reveals Brabazon's new found role as a poet committed to people:

"I am welded inescapably to every living man and woman.
Not for a moment can I escape my obligations.
I work ceaselessly
     breaking down the barriers
          which exist between myself and me;
between every man and woman and their fulfilment.
If I cease for a moment
     In my meditation and purification
          I am loafing on my job,
on my part of the construction of the New Humanity.

You have misjudged me grossly:
You think I am an escapist from life.
I tell you
I have escaped into life, which I share
     unconditionally with, and in

If it is a work which you do not understand,
     be frank and admit it
     and do not condemn.
You hold it no shame
     to retreat
          every night
               into unconsciousness;

I have retreated into consciousness;
     I labour to make it permanent and complete.
For that is our great work
     The great task which lies before us:
The replacing of unconsciousness
     with consciousness;
The replacing of ignorance
     with knowledge;
The releasing of energy
     into love,
The turning of stones into BREAD."

2002 © Ross Keating


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