Plain speaking

I imagined an American cousin asking, ‘David, what’s “The crux of the nation” about?’ (See Senryu, below).

Crux means both a cross (with its vague religious connotations) and it means the most important point of an issue.
In this case, the issue is defined by the title of the poem. The word ‘crux’ is also used to point towards one of two symbols on the Australian Flag, the Southern Cross constellation of stars. Whilst five other nations display the Southern Cross on their flag, Australians are very attached to it as a symbol of national identify. It is far more significant than the other symbol, the Union Jack, a symbol which seems increasingly anachronistic in the twenty-first century.

Now to the body of the poem.

Purists frown on the use of capital letters in a Senryu. But I like to bend that rule (and that of using punctuation) to add meaningful emphasis. It is easy to see that ‘Southern’ is the only capitalised word in the first line and ‘Home’ is the only other capitalised word, and it is in the third line. The intended connotation of this pairing is that of a Southern Home. This usage reflects the fact that roughly 97% of Australians are non-indigenous. The capitalisation of ‘Southern’ also provides another perhaps too subtle connection with the Deep South in the USA and its historic use of the Confederated Flag. (There is a ‘Politics’ tag for this Senryu).
It is my perception that in both countries there have been attempts to annex these crosses-of-stars as symbols of righteous racial hatred. I think (or at least hope) that the attempts to pervert the meaning of the Southern Cross in Australia have failed and I think it’s because of a deep attachment to its breadth of symbolic meanings, including sticking together in the face of adversity.
(If interested, refer: pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/the-symbolism-of-australia-s-southern-cross).

The shape of the Southern cross connotes resurrection, even if tenuously, but I wanted to imply a connection between the concept of resurrection and a desire to start a new life in a new land. This brings us to the second use of a capital letter and to the space between the words ‘ Home’ and ‘land’. This has three connotations. First it is a dig at Homeland security, which has been used as an excuse to spy on citizens and encroach on freedoms (anathema to the spirit of the 1854 Eureka Stockade stand against authority by rebels who used the crux as there symbol). Second, the gap between the words ‘Home’ and ‘land’ endeavours to strengthen the sense of a difference between the new home and the land left behind. Third, the separation of the words ‘Home’ and ‘land’ is a response to the tension that still exists between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians because the land has, some say, been more or less robbed from the indigenous peoples.
Regarding the second line, which is the crux of the poem, the word ‘variegated’ hints at the diversity of Australia’s immigrant population and the National ideal of multi-culturalism, whilst the word ‘shade’ is intended to imply looking out for one another.

All the best Cuz,
DD

PS No more plain speaking, well for a while at least.

6 thoughts on “Plain speaking”

    1. Thanks Cuz. I was thinking of you when I used the word ‘endeavour’ hoping you would be the one person in the world to make the connection with that gallant barque. All the best. DD

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Po’try was fun to write, so I am chuffed you liked it. I will look in to the link between the Scottish flag and Confederate. The Union Jack on the Aussie flag includes the white cross and I am now curious to explore its history and meaning.
    Thanks Cuz.
    DD

    Like

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