Published in Wide Open, Sydney Technical High School Journal, St George Call, Kogarah [Sydney], 1972. Awarded school Literature Prize.
Mingled dark and cream marbles stare
From a sallow skin.
Mosaic lashes and shades of light
Silhouette and alight
The crouched, simian-like peasant.
Stealthy movements click the automatic element,
Which glistens in the paradise sun. The air,
Alive with parasitic pins,
Is still humid, although dried by clouds of dirt and dust
And powder – which skirt pock-marked, shredded mountains.
Defoiled, manipulated mountains – symbols of the thrust
Of rocket, thunder and actinium.
The corporal’s weapon whips out its steel bullets,
Mushrooming clouds of powder, and staining the atmosphere
With the Fresh smell of blood.
Dilated nostrils Flood
With sickening delight, as Marbles of Fortunes set
Rolling down the hill, leaves no virtue, no Fear,
No more than the puppet-body
Spiked in the thicket of bamboo alongside the rice-paddy.
Retracking our trail to our army camp,
We carefully listened to clues of lurking human pests.
But, the birds are gone where man menanced near,
So, only the insect buzz hums in our ears.
Our souls drown – wreathed in vines that ramp,
And garlanded with rifles wrapped round our chest,
We, the drunk designers of Death’s Door,
Never reminisce nor carefully pause…
Perfidious, mindless, soldier-heroes
Pray beneath Buddha, in a church or a pagoda.
The name Jesus or Nirvana
Burns to snow…