This is the poem from the massive #climatestrike at Coffs Harbour, which I also performed to qualify as one of the reps for NSW at the Australian Poetry Slam national final in 2019.
(The video is the APS version, the text doesn’t exactly match)
Needless to say, the poem is my own opinion, and takes some artistic licence, it isn’t the view of Uniting or the Uniting Church in Australia.
(header photo- Rob Cleary)
Once when I was preaching in a congregation
I caused a little consternation, leading to a touch of confrontation
When they heard how I used the C word
I said it not just once, this was no accidental slip
I said it a whole bunch of times, I really let it rip.
I thought I’d get away with it-
I’m middle class and white
And anyone will tell you that I’m usually polite
That bloody C word
Causes such offense
Which is fair enough, after all, I guess.
Christ was very offensive
He left the temple in a mess
Kicking over tables and
whipping those who oppress
And I mean what else can you do
When you have to
Preach from the bible each week
And Christ – and his mother – just keep
Banging on about injustice, and hypocrisy and greed
And at Christmas time we read about their life as refugees!
It’s not my fault the little child
Didn’t grow up meek and mild!
It’s not my fault Christ said we must forgive to be forgiven
(If we’re self-righteous arseholes who assume we’re off to heaven)
And that paradoxically, God sends rain on the wicked and ungrateful
So to be kids of the one in heaven we must all be merciful
Christ wanted us to do, or at least try
And our leaders to lead us
In justice and compassion
For this world of refugees
Then there’d be no rotting in detention
And we’d stick to 1.5 degrees-
If we only had a Christian prime minister!
I know, I know, we’ve already had a few.
We got lots of “thoughts and prayers”
And that’s going to continue, if I had to take a punt
With our “pray for rain” prime minister
And his “coal won’t hurt you” stunt.
Of course, neither will a cigarette- ‘til you burn it
Our PM prays for rain
But after WW1 & WW2 (and I could continue)
Wouldn’t it be strange
if God got off his butt for climate change?
Came down here to fix the weather
Or sucked all the carbon up to heaven to make it all better?
Prayers for the drought are vanity
Unless we stop the fossil fuel subsidy!
Where are the leaders who will lead us
Not misdirect and deceive us?
Well, for every disappointing PM
There’s a Miriam, a Byron, a Jacqui, a Jess
There’s Lisa with one i and Liisa with two iis and all of you I guess!
There’s Toni and Rachel and Pia and Pete
And millions of people are about to march in the streets!
You’ve never heard of them
And they’ve never heard of you
We’re Christians Muslims Atheists, Jews
Straights, lgbs and tiqs
All us scraggly little mustard bushes
Getting up off our tushes!
So whether your C word is Christ or Compassion
or Climate or Community
or crushing coal
say your C word loud and clear
live your C word and let’s put the fear of true democracy
right up the jacksy of the fossil fuel plutocracy!
Thanks South Sydney Uniting for letting my try a first draft of this on a live audience last year.