This article addresses some of the ethical challenges in writing poetry about war. It suggests that using archival sources of the words of participants themselves addresses one of those challenges. Two projects involving the archives of war museums are described as examples in practice of writing poetry that honours conflict participants while raising questions about the conflicts themselves.
Voices join with music in this poem as another layer of sound, indicating that bodies enter only into the margins of Canberra at this point in time—there is no real recognition of humans as embodied in the plans and their early realisation. The poem uses the phrase ‘waste of a good sheep station’ which has been a critical refrain speaking to critiques of the very idea of Canberra, a critique employed to this day. Although this is a poem which employs media with potential for interactions, there is no technological interaction, indicating the absence of bodies and the lack of real power afforded ordinary Australians in the planning of Canberra, especially embodied agency.