Paul Kelly and Joni Mitchell

Leading Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly is about to release a powerful new single that tackles Australia’s lack of action on climate change and environmental destruction.

Entitled Sleep, Australia, Sleep, Kelly says the song is both “a lament in the form of a lullaby” and “a critique of the widespread attitude among humans that we are the most important life form on the planet”. (From The Sydney Morning Herald).

50 years ago, Joni Mitchell had a similar message:

… which seems to support this comment:

How sad – all these years have passed and it’s still relevant. For an intelligent animal, we’re awfully slow learners.

Lyrics to Sleep Australia Sleep:

Sleep, Australia, sleep
The night is on the creep
Shut out the noise all around
Sleep, Australia, sleep
And dream of counting sheep
Jumping in fields coloured brown
Who’ll rock the cradle and cry?
Who’ll rock the cradle and cry?
Sleep, Australia, sleep
As off the cliff the kingdoms leap
Count them as they say goodbye
Count down the little things
The insects and birds
Count down the bigger things
The flocks and the herds
Count down our rivers
Our pastures and trees
But there’s no need to hurry
Oh, sleep now, don’t worry
‘Coz it’s only a matter of degrees
Fog, Australia, fog
Just like the boiling frog
As we go we won’t feel a thing

Who’ll rock the cradle and cry?
Who’ll rock the cradle and cry?
Sleep, my country, sleep
As off the cliff the kingdoms leap
Count them as they pass on by
Our children might know them
But their children will not
We won’t know ’til it’s gone
All the glory we’ve got
But there are more wonders coming
All new kinds of shows
With acid seas rising
To kiss coastal mountains
And big cyclones pounding
And firestorms devouring
And we’ll lose track of counting
As the corpses keep mounting
But hey, that’s just the way this old world goes
Sleep, my country, sleep
As we sow so shall we reap
Who’ll rock the cradle and cry?

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