(1. superior refinement or elegance, possessed or
affected 2. gentle or noble birth) Macquarie
(refers to people of high social status, and their
typical way of life) Collins Cobuild
In Van Demon's Land
Very little experience of this
type of existence.
India: we ate in the streets
allowed one hotel, one salad.
Dar es Salaam: that old
pukka faded gracious terrace
Out of Copenhagen, empty
black and white tiled halls
In Melbourne, you can
persuade your children to
romp on Como's lawns, or
drift through the fernery
at Ripponlea, forget the nearby
railway, main road, workers
cottages, car parks, car yard.
I think of Sarah,caught
in London streets
sent to Van
Who did they think they were
those early adventurers? Making
slaves, the servile, stacking the odds
with penal servitude. You venture
into their old homes, so young
still, two centuries of scramble
self-justification, stories about
natural order, cream at the top
the 'bread and circuses' mobs
decent folk and special, the nobs.
"Stuck up!" we chanted
at school. And still there are those
for whom embroidery and piano
performance are the measure
the signal that the family, or
the one person, is born to rule.