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The Spike or Victoria College Review 1937

God Defend New Zealand

page 46

God Defend New Zealand

In recent issues Spike has published articles written by Professors newly arrived at the College. Following this custom Spike has obtained from Professor I. A. Gordon the following contribution, wherein he has applied his poetic talent in a salutatory criticism of local habits and affairs.

Ode to the Southern Hemisphere

Oh half the world, yet how much less than half,
Great Hemisphere, forgive me if I chaff
Your thousand little oddities or praise
The wonder of your free and easy ways.
When I packed up from Europe's blessed shore,
The multitude sent up an envious roar:
"Ah happy man!" the Booking Office cried;
"Ah happy man!" the parting friends replied,
"Gone though he be so many miles from home,
The latitude is much the same as Rome.
The land there blossoms with a million flowers,
The annual sunshine is two thousand hours;
What could a man ask more than spend his days
In yon far island paradise and laze
In such a land of butter, thermal spas,
Meat, greenstone, passion fruit and pakehas?
Ah happy man, farewell," cried every mouth,
"Gone to the Brighter Britain of the South."

I came, I saw, I had a good look round.
Great Hemisphere, what wonders there I found!
(Starting, of course, with the deflated Pound)
Here man proud man is born and lives and dies
Under the gaze of legislative eyes;
Drilled from the hour he gnawed his teething ring
Upon the system of Sir Truby King,
He falls a victim (with his own applause)
To cock-eyed custom and maternal laws.
Orion stands, up-ended, at a loss,
Mutely protesting to the Southern Cross.
Domesticated bankers wash their plates
While wharfees drive around in Ford V Eights;
Here Learning's subterranean course is run,
A spare time hobby when the day is done;
Here Brighter Britain has but Evening Flicks,
(Here where the pubs shut down for good at six!)
If Pictures pall, imported records play,
From 2ZB and staider 2YA.

They say no Englishman can understand
The catastrophic ways of Maoriland.
"New Zealand Leads the World," the headlines blare.

page 47

It may be so; I only answer "Where?"
Where are the songs of Spring and Autumn too,
Where are the things that only craftsmen do?
Where are the architect's aspiring dreams,
Where are the scores with more ennobling themes?
Where (if we must compare small things with these)
Where is the car not screwed from C.K.D.'s?

Great Hemisphere, you are a pleasant place;
Great Hemisphere, you breed a pleasant race,
But bright progressive country of the fern,
Like your great Hemisphere you have a lot to learn.