Les Murray: “Stone statues of ancient waves, tongue like dingoes on shore”.
On the Shore.
HERE many a time she must have walked,
The dull sand brightening ‘neath her feet,
The cool air quivering as she talked,
Or laughed, or warbled sweet.
The shifting sand no trace of her,
No sound the wandering wind retains,
But, breaking where the footprints were.
Loudly the sea complains.
1880 ‘On the Shore.’, The Queenslander(Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 – 1939), 28 February, p. 265, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20331530
Walking a solitary road
A young boy or girl knows that if they want to be part of a group that drinks, they have to drink. If they want to be part of a group that parties, they have to party. If they want to be part of a group that uses bad language, they have to use bad language. If they want to be part of a group that engages in a certain kind of behavior, they have to participate in that behavior. If they want to be accepted by some particular group they have to participate in that group's behavior. They know all that by instinct. They know what they must do to be liked and accepted. They must conform to the attitudes, outlooks and values of the group they wish to be accepted into. If a young person looks around and sees that everyone is drinking, partying and using bad language he knows he has a choice. He can either join them or walk a lonely road. The young person who decides within himself that he will not drink, that he will be a total abstainer, knows there will be a price for that, there will be consequences for himself. The teetotaler is aware that he has freely chosen a path that necessarily makes him a loner, an outcast, an object of ridicule and scorn, to a large portion of society. The young person who has determined within himself to take the route of never using low, profane or bad language knows there will be consequences. He knows he cannot ever be really accepted by that large portion of society that does these things. He knows he will walk a lonely road. The young person with scruples, high personal standards, integrity who looks at the crowd and has moral objections to their behavior has a choice: he can maintain his standards and principles and walk a lonely road or he can give them up and join the crowd. A young person knows that one must either go with the crowd and be one of them or have the courage and strength to stand alone. The young person who chooses a path of strict principle in regard to drinking, smoking, low language, etc. knows what he is doing. He knows he has chosen to buck the crowd rather than go with it. He knows he has chosen a lonely path, a solitary path. He knows he has freely chosen a way that will bring upon himself ridicule and rejection and ostracism. He knows that you cannot have both the approval of the crowd and of God. You have to choose. You have to have the strength to stand alone, to walk alone. You have to be willing to accept ostricism and rejection. The crowd doesn't like the person who doesn't go along with it. The drinkers and partying don't want a non- drinker around when they are partying. He is a wet blanket, a kill-joy. Those whose minds and language are gutter don't like those who don't accept their language, mind and humour. The person of integrity, the person of moral standards who objects to the moral depravity of the crowd walks a solitary road. He lives on a different wavelength. He is a different species, a creature from another planet, a creature from an alien culture. What induces a person to walk a solitary road? Well, conscience, fear of God, love of God. But yet it is not really a solitary road. God is with him. God is his friend. And he is his own friend. He has two true friends: God and himself. May 2008 http://www.solitaryroad.com/a961.html
Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 – 1907), Saturday 3 January 1891,