For appreciating Les Murray's An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow
Text of poem, some commentary and bio data.
LesMurray.org plain text version
This 1969 poem, published in Learning Human: Selected Poems 1998, is considered by many as the best crafted and most typical of Les Murray's work. It has achieved a considerable profile in the landscape of Australian poetry studied overseas.
Saints prayed for the gift of tears so they could more palpably join with Our Lord in his passion. as if to feel some of the suffering with him. This identification with the suffering Christ may seem a long way from service of the poor in our eyes, but as a spirituality focuses on the person and the humanity of Christ, a person might be led to express his or her compassion for and empathy with the Lord just as those who suffered the periodic bleeding of stigmata did. The tears of this man weeping in Martin Place are cleansing tears, not tears of regret or despair. Only tears such as these can break the drought of self-sufficiency. These tears bring healing, they are tears that bring a reconciliation so that with the dignity of one who has wept the man got up and walked off down Pitt street, renewed, done with it and ready for life. Tears then are regenerative, transformative if you like to enable us to get on with the next stage. Jeremiah is called the weeping prophet. Is this man weeping in Martin Place some kind of a prophet, an absolutely ordinary kind of prophet somehow?