Sunday, March 16, 2014

They take death as their bride

Wrench-snatched from the rapacious hands of slow to start
Imperial Germany, Imperial England Victorious gave
To ever obedient Australia this tasty morsel of colonial
Land. The Trust Territory of New Guinea.
And Nauru Pleasant Phosphate Island, a second morsel to be savoured
And shared joint exploitation ANZAC & England. Captured, bypassed
Wither on the vine. And abused by the great torn up emptied.
And in 1989 Australia was sued for damages done to the island;

Islands placed in our trust as a token
North East quadrant of sun swaying dreams.
Bird of paradise dancing warriors, emerald snails,
Fruit bats and friar birds. Crystalline
Wave against wave, shore against shore
Ruinous trust curse, for us and our children and
Our children's children.
Bismark blood and Ironbottom sound sea
Not enough, never enough to compensate
Slaughters of Flanders and the Troad.
For the damage done to our desires.

And Little Billy told Wilson and Goerge
and all the rest “
Strategically the northern islands
(such as New Guinea)
Encompass Australia
Like fortresses.
They are as necessary
To Australia
As water to a city. “

And the ruling bourgeoisie more and more seeks salvation in fascism.
And in 1942 when the inevitable war with Imperial Japan came,
A handful of diggers and a radio tower on Manus.
Air raids and bombings and then a landing, and the diggers
Dove into the bush, destroying all the could not carry
Private Coker commented
"A hand-grenade,
and run like hell,
did the trick!"

And fighting the jungle and malaria.
Lieutenant Palmer
(cited for the Military Medal)
“He was unable to walk for several weeks
For severe septic infection on his arms and legs”
“Weakness due to several attacks of malaria.”
They carried him out.
And Lance-Corporal McLean
Took command the four man patrol &
Found the Lutheran Mission firmly
In Japanese hands. So they beat it out of there
Fortuitous, heavy, jungle obscuring rain
And the relentless beating sound
Of rain rain rain pounding covered the retreat.
Through swamp and jungle and cutting grass
And illness and starvation, and then on boats
The sailed the IJN cruised sea
And overland and over mountains
And final hope home Cairns in May.

The ruling bourgeoisie are trying to solve The problem of markets
By enslaving the weak nations,
By intensifying colonial oppression &
Repartitioning the world anew by means of war.

Finally February leap year day 29 1944
Diggers and Doughboys crawling up the Solomons Islands
And the Trust Territories landed Manus Island.
Guadalcanal, Milne Bay, Buna, The Bismark Sea, Lae,
Rabaul, Scarlet Beach, Kokoda. Diggers and Doughboys.
ANZAC sad sack dog faced privates fought with
Bayonet and machine gun and flame thrower and demo charge
And grenade and shovel and cannon and aircraft and bare hand.
And the things they saw and did died
Broke them 1000 yard shell shock stare.

Crawling mud, roaring insect, snake bite green hell jungle.
Pushing back venal bestial racist fascist
Anti-comintern ideology. Rolling back the fascist
Offensive. Manus Island attacked, and shortly recaptured.

Well, now time passed and now it seems.
Everybody's having them dreams.
Everybody sees themselves.
Walking around with no one else.

Dreams of a land without the others, dreams of an end to history
And end to the stresses and uncertainties of capitalism.
Dreams of an obsolete discredited ideology.
Old man old school old timey dreams of controlling the external.
Dreams that somehow it will end differently, that we can close
Our eyes and everything will somehow be all right.
Fearful thoughtless dreams, relaxed and comfortable.

Fascism is a most ferocious attack by capital on the mass of the working people;
Fascism is unbridled chauvinism and predatory war;
Fascism is rabid reaction and counter-revolution;
Fascism is the most vicious enemy of the working class and of all working people.

And now we can imagine on this very same spot -- wild eyed
Dare-death opium and hunger fuelled banzai attack
Shooting from the hip and shouting loud the Japanese Marines
Fall upon the position. Hacking and attacking and striking out
In all directions. Indiscriminate. And after the smoke and noise
Littered broken bodies of empty dreams the result of lies, a cynical
Grab-lust for power. Unbridled chauvinism. Rabid reaction.
Predatory war.

And then, as if a final spitting in our face
Historic irony, it was here, when we almost half-believed
In a new world, in a better world,
In a world that does not resort to war
And endless horror.
It was here on Manus
In 1950 Australia held the last trials
Japanese war criminals.

And did those geebungs and dubbos, did those inner city hooligans
Signing up for adventure, signing up for their first pair of shoes,
In fear and bravado, did they, shivering in their watery slit trenches;
Did they do all this, so much waste and horror, did they liberate
The camps so that now we too can have camps?