This poem came out of the July 3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from janetmiles riffing off a list of prompts by aldersprig. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. Van Dieman's Land was slang for Tasmania, or Australia in general -- where people got sent when they were kicked out of England.
When the Puritans were summarily offloaded
onto the shores of Van Diemen's Land,
at first they felt quite lost.
Yet as they explored Tasmania and Australia,
they discovered something interesting --
tribes of dark people like those of Africa, yet unlike.
They had this idea, those Australians,
that everything in life could be divided
into Men's Business and Women's Business.
The Puritans thought about that.
It wasn't exactly a Christian idea, but ...
they liked the modesty of it, the orderliness of it.
If everyone had their own responsibilities,
their own areas of authority, then perhaps
the bluestockings and suffragettes would shut up.
So the elders of the Puritans
met with the elders of the Australians
and discussed matters of business.
When the negotiations were all done,
the Puritans had Men's Business and Women's Business,
the Australians had trousers and tea and literacy,
and they were sharing the land.