Wednesday, September 1, 2010



Elbridge Gerry


Not a very appealing face, I'm sure you must agree.
His Saturnine expression is hardly filled with glee!
Not exactly a villain, a manipulator, rather,
But the way he manipulated put everyone in a lather!
It happened in America, but the term is used world-wide;
It's been spoken a thousand times ever since he died!

In the early eighteen-hundreds Elbridge rose to fame;
He governed Massachusts; everyone knew his name.
He wanted his party, the Democrats, to win the next election,
And so he altered electoral boundaries according to his selection.
Cartoonists noted the shape thus formed and called it a 'salamander'
While commentators derided it with gusto and with candour!

An actual salamander

A cartoonist's version!

'Gerry's Salamander' was spoken of far and wide
Then changed to 'Gerrymander'  and frequently applied!
The 'G' came to be softened (it was hard in the actual name)
But that's how Elbridge Gerry attained his lasting fame.
"In 1812 the word "gerrymander" was coined when the Massachusetts legislature redrew the boundaries of state legislative districts to favor Governor Gerry's party. The Governor's strategy was to encompass most of the state's Federalists, allowing them to win in that district while his party, the Democratic-Republicans, took control of all the other districts in the state. The term eventually became part of world political vocabulary, and is still in use today"



New Growth on a Gum Tree


Spring sings a wild cantata as it surges through the blood,
As the snowdrops and the daffodils rise out of the slush and mud.
But that's in another country, where Winter takes a hold
With snow and sleet and icy winds and the greyness and the cold.
Here, in our Southern country, Spring tiptoes in, quite shy.
We hardly feel it coming; it could almost pass us by.
Oh yes, the birds are singing, but they've whistled all along;
Though there's now a nesting urgency in the music of their song.
Oh yes, the trees are in full leaf, but our trees are always green;
Bare trees are simply not a part of the true Australian scene.
Oh yes, the flowers are growing, and they're seasonal, it's true,
But right through the chilly winter, some hardy flowers grew.
And so our Spring is subtle; there is no bursting forth,
No passionate explosion as in April in the North.
First comes the golden wattle, then jacaranda's blue;
They add a touch of drama, when the season is quite new,
But the sign of Spring that captures me and thrills me when it comes
Is the pink tinge of new growth we see on the eucalypts, our gums.
I miss the Springs of my childhood, I always will, I think,
But 'My heart leaps up when I behold' our subtlety of pink.



Sylvia K said...

Really interesting bit of history for the G Day! Great post as always! Hope your week is going well, Brenda! Enjoy!


Kay L. Davies said...

I've heard of gerrymandering before, but wouldn't have been able to give anyone an off-the-cuff definition of it, because if I ever knew it, I've forgotten.
What I love about this post, however, is the last line, especially the last part of the last line: "our subtlety of pink" is so perfect, and the delicate picture of the new growth on a gum tree is subtle, and pink. I love it.
Alberta, Canada

Julie said...

I liked both these verse today, Brenda. I know the term 'gerrymander' but not the origin. Thank you for that. And yes, spring is here. Today is meant to be 24 but it is grey and it is overcast. So some rain is on its way .. but that is okay too.

I like the new growth on our natives, I like the buds of leaf, i like the new banksia, the new grevillea ... I like the sound of being in a glade where new life is coursing through ... you have me thinking ahead to the end of October when Sydney blossoms lilac ...

photowannabe said...

Thank you for the real definition and explaination of the word. That's what I love about or blogging. I learn so much.

Unknown said...

Interesting history lesson and clever verse.
I wanted to do something similar today, but only got through the history lesson. I had to throw out the rhyme.
Best wishes,

Anna's G-word

Roger Owen Green said...

actually knew the Gerry story, but it bears wider distribution

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Wanda said...

Sure learned something new by reading your ABC Wed. Thanks!

Hildred said...

I knew the meaning of gerry mandering, but not the history behind it, - hope you have a lovely spring!!

Unknown said...

Thank you for the great versifying on the history of gerry manding! Perfect contribution to G-day, RR!
You are too clever by half!
Helen Mac, ABC team

Someone is Special said...

Wow... I loved this G...

G is for Gamidolatry

--Someone Is Special--