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‘Pride you can’t disguise’: Poet’s ode to our Olympic champs

ODE TO THE SMILING EYESYou marched into that stadium and absent from your earsWas the maelstrom of the masses and its cavalcade of cheersA hundred thousand voices who were stopped from taking partBut it couldn’t stop the chorus that was roaring in your heart!From the cities and the regions and the little country townsIn the lounge rooms, on the laptops, through the ups and through the downsFrom your friends and from your families, it echoed from the startThe chorus of a country that was roaring in your heart …And I dare you to deny – it blew the back door off the barnWhen Ledecky felt the passing wind of Cyclone Ariarne!Boxall bent the railing with a flurry of his ownThen the ‘F Yeah!” of McKeown sent a shiver to the boneBecause summing up the situation wasn’t all that badWhen you know how hard she worked … and that she did it for her DadIn a symphony of syllables, the whole of Tokyo shook!With the scintillating subtlety of Izaac Stubbelty-CookMcLoughlin mined some silver, Molly O was simply superThere was Winnington and McEvoy, the Bundy boy in CooperNeill and Neale with bronze appeal in relay-painted vistasHarris, Hodges, Seebohm and the mighty Campbell sisters!Point 04 – no less, no more – Cate cut that baby fine!But let me just remind you folks that gold was on the line …A substance and a colour we got very used to seein’In the midst of a phenomenon that swimming calls ‘McKeon’One, two, three, four anthems in a history-making heavenThen rearranging record books with medals five, six, seven!Somewhere in the world right now, a dream is seen to stirWhen a kid says to his mother, “Mum … I want to be like her”Yet anthems weren’t restricted to aquatics or the likeLogan Martin sang one on the pedals of his bike!Freestyle of a different kind – the tattooed tiger soared!And what about the ruckus when the Southport Yacht Club roared!Mat Belcher – you’re a champion – the grin of winners warmsWhat rhymes with Van Der Westhuyzen? No nothing quite conformsBut Green and Jean? That winning team was poetry in motion!The K2 Kings triumphant on a gutsy golden oceanKareena Lee was just as brave to tame the open waterBarty joined the party in the way that Ipswich taught ‘er!Keegan Palmer’s ‘kick-flip’ carved a deadly winning scoreWhile the Hudson, Thompson, Cronin combo had us all in OAR!Kookaburras came to play, the Boomers bronzed one tooFrom beaches blessed by Kingaroy and Lima in PeruIndigenous to Dreamtime in the dig-set-spike formationTaliqua C / Mariafe – a stunning combination!Seeds of inspiration also planted on the trackWhen Cedric surely shouted, “Ash – today I’ve got your back!”And Moloney dug to greater depths to reconcile his fateDecathlete on the dais, yes … but not without his mateSomewhere in the world right now, a cup fills to the brimWhen a kid says to her father, “Dad I want to be like him”In celebrating Tokyo, our storyline is told -The Sunshine State emblazoned in a cloak of green and goldNow the dare of younger dreamers is the flame that lights anewAnd it culminates in Brisbane, Queensland, Twenty Thirty TwoOur Premier and Lord Mayor – they are rightfully excited!But the pride of every Queenslander is personally invitedFaster, Higher, Stronger and together we proceedThrough Paris and Los Angeles, we sweat, we strive, we bleedEmpowered and inspired by the thrill of taking part -The chorus of a country that is roaring in your heart!… Yes, you stood upon that platform having satisfied your taskBut your face was mostly hidden by the impost of a maskAppropriately decorated – Southern Cross star styleThe saddest thing of all was that we couldn’t see your smileTriumph can’t be tempered though – persistence through the yearsYour fight, your faith, your family, your passion and your peersSo when the day delivered you just couldn’t mask the prize …The emotion of that moment? … it was smiling in your eyesNo, the tear that tends to surface is a pride you can’t disguiseWhen the magic of the memory is smiling in your eyes …Rupert McCall © 2021

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