I recently bought a pack of socks while I was in Melbourne and was intrigued to find that they came with each sock labelled left or right. Given that these were an adult size and that the people of Melbourne strike me as the types who most likely know their left from their right, I came to the conclusion that this labelling was intended to be symbolic, an attempt to raise awareness of, and perhaps even overcome, the deep divide that exists between the political right and left in Australia.
Like trying to walk with your feet spread wide apart (or indeed, heading off in different directions), this divide presents a huge impediment to Australia’s struggle to adapt to the challenges of climate change.
Gazing at the symbol-laden socks, and profoundly moved by this noble act of weaving performed by the garment industry, I was compelled to write the following poem. I hope it succeeds in conveying the pathos, and enlightenment, I experienced on opening the packet:
In Oz they put words on each sock,
To urge politicians to talk,
Though they may just be feet,
The analogy’s neat,
‘Cos each needs the other to walk.