In last Friday’s tutorial (13.05.2016) we explored the poem “The Cool Green” written by Les Murray. Even though the most influential people get star time on the Australian dollar notes, this poem focuses on what money means to the people in today’s era and what they would be the consequences if they were left to survive without it.
Three main elements stood out to me within this poem that made me rethink the real worth of money. First off, within “The Cool Green” money has become personified like it is something higher than what we physically felt before. More so, it is personified as a God figure plundering our souls, which can be seen in the first line of the first stanza where Murray regards “ Money just a means to our ends?” which focuses on money being the ‘be all or end all’ of human beings in comparison to God who in the Christian belief did begin human life and who could end it.
I also was stunned by the idea that we have ‘willingly’ given our souls away and that we have created this God all on our own. In the 21st century, our world has become increasingly prevalent to the understanding that having materials is deemed as societally correct. “The more invisible the money the vaster and swifter it’s action, exchanging us for shopping malls, rewriting us as cities and style” this entire stanza perpetrates us as individuals being wronged by money. The less we can see and physically hold the more damage it can do and re instating the idea of our souls being swapped for shopping malls and frequency changing the way cities move and the trends that flow all are linked the money.
The question stated in the last stanza, “How did money capture life away from poetry, ideology, religion? It didn’t want our souls.” leaves the most outstanding message of all. The purpose of money wasn’t to take away our spirituality and our beliefs but it did it anyway. The stanza continues then to contradict the rest of the poem through a paradox. Money is obsessed with out lives but not with our souls. This is evident by it’s affects between the past time of literary poetry, idea making and searching and more commonly the pull against an ongoing and sustained religious belief system.
Consequently, Les Murray has created one of the most controversial poems that I have read so far and as a result dives into a materialistic world, run blindly by money.
Les Murray “The Cool Green” Macquarie Pen Anthology of Australian Literature