Poems

meatworker-bashed-by-snr-cnst-john-watt-in-secondary-boycott-of-live-cattle-1978-at-hamilton-wharf-brisbane

Meatworker bashed by Snr Cnst John Watt in secondary-boycott-of-live-cattle-1978 at Hamilton Wharf Brisbane. Ambulance refused to attend the injured man’s wound. Bjelke-Petersen went on the news that night commending police intervention.

 

Poems written or selected by working class poet and meatworker, Jim SharpJim Sharp.

[ Editor’s Note: I have thrown in a few myself and hope that others will do the same.]

Jim was a meatworker by trade and member of the Australasian Meatworkers Industrial Employees Union (AMIEU).

Jim has published a book of his poetry.

His book is called Leftside.

You can read more about it at http://www.surplusvalue.org.au/Leftside.html

Workers’ Poems

Australia used to be
The land of the free
Before the Cole Royal Commission
And the ABCC
Now as a worker
Can be criminal activity
If I open my mouth at work
In relation to safety
I can go to Jail
For meeting with my mates
To talk about our work place
It’s a national disgrace
The ABCC are funded
By Australian workers taxes
To interrogate construction crews
Who stand up against Injustice
They say we are coercive
We are bullies and we’re thugs
Ask yourself who’s crooked here
The politicians or us mugs
Spark Witt

**************


Ode to lives lost at Mirabad

Verse from R Kelly, union member – during the 1973 lockout in NSW

To the Master Builders

From R. Kelly, Union Number 3492.

Mr Martin, sirs and gentlemen, I trust that you are well,
And disposed I hope to reading this story that I tell.
Though ill-equipped for writing, and silent in the past,
I take out my stub of pencil to have a say at last.
Of my years as builder’s labourer, you of course can’t know,
I count them on my calouses, and hair that’s streaked with snow;
And not one word against you have I ever thought or spoken,
My faith in toil and dignity remained throughout – unbroken.
For life is sweet for living, when you overlook the rough,
A job, a home, a loving wife, I guess just THAT’s enough.
Of course some builder’s labourers don’t share my own solution,
For we hear the many speeches for strike and revolution.
The world is full of discontent, and men are heard to say,
“There’s no future for the kind of man who takes the easy way.”
But take the easy way I have, for always I was taught
That peace is found in simple things with honest money bought.

But Life has reached a cross-road – I admit a little late,
And a lot of things I never saw, I learned outside your gate.
Locked out and sent home jobless! Me, who did his best!
Branded as a LABOURER, lumped with all the rest!
The sun came up next morning, I sat among my fears,
Thinking of the sweat I’d shed, counting up the years.
And I thought about the Union Hall where Union members stand
To speak the way that members do who wear the Union brand.
And their roar to lift the rafters in a savage battle cry
As I sat alone and doubting – today I wonder why.
For I find that I’m not young, but not too old to see the light;
Not too old to toil, sirs, and not too old to fight!
For all that I have loved – those things I cling to still;
If I must fight to keep them, then fight by God I will.
Yes, the Master Builders’ lockout has shown me where I stand,
And respectfully advise you – I wear the Union brand.
During the 1973 lockout in NSW

*********************

Bob Walker: The twenty-third point

This story I’m about to tell,
About a bloke you all know well.
A Union Rep. here on the job
And known by all of us as Bob.

He fought the cause on our behalf,
With his neck stuck out like a big giraffe.
An upright man he’d stand and fight,
As he knew the cause he fought was right.

With dedication rarely seen,
He removed the barriers in between
and brought together as best he knew,
The Boilermakers, Ironworkers, and AEU.

But a united front was not desired,
by the boss and so Bob was fired.
Of Bob they must have lived in fear
As a lesser man would still be here.

The metal Trades then took a hand,
You know them all that gallant band.
In judgement sat with wig and gown,
A decision they then handed down.

Guilty and without remission
Bob used a phone without permission.
A dreadful thing for him to do,
It serves him right, we’ll sack him too.

And if unity you are all seekin’
There’s the Metal Trades and Evans Deakin.
They worked together at this job,
Of sacking him, this man called Bob.

H.O.

[Editor’s Note: The unknown author, who worked at the Evans Deakin shipyards, Kangaroo Point, read out this poem to a group of workmates that Bob Walker had invited for a ‘barbie’ at his house … probably in 1972 … the apprentices hoisted the red flag up the flag pole … those were the days. *AEU = Amalgamated Engineering Union]

*********************

A Poet Woke Up
by Lachlan Hurse and Sue Monk

A poet woke up
and looked for inspiration
the trees and the grass
dissolved before his eyes
as he stepped outside

A poet woke up
and listened very hard
but deaf to the wind
he didn’t hear the call
of the currawong

Walking through the streets of the city
Searching through the ruins of times gone by
Looking for the rhyme and the reason
Searching for the words of times to come

A poet woke up
there was something in the air
the fragrance of a flower
was lost amidst the scent
of activity

A poet walked on
there were people all around
rough hands building dreams
small hands holding on
as they stepped outside

Walking through the streets of the city
Searching through ruins of times gone by
Looking for the rhyme and the reason
Searching for the words of times to come

Copyright © 1996 Lachlan Hurse and Sue Monk

*************

Haiti moon

Surviving the earth quake

Th’ boozh-wah-zie

Meatworker bashed by Snr Cnst John Watt in secondary-boycott-of-live-cattle-1978 at Hamilton Wharf Brisbane. Ambulance refused to attend the injured man’s wound. Bjelke-Petersen went on the news that night commending the police intervention.

****AMONGST THE HIGHLY PLACED
It is considered low to talk about food.
The fact is : they have
Already eaten.
The lowly must leave this earth
Without having tasted
Any good meat.
For wondering where they come from and
Where they are going
The fine evenings find them
Too exhausted.
They have not yet seen
The mountains and the great sea
When their time is already up.
If the lowly do not
Think about what’s low
They will never rise. — Brecht

****************

Luna Haití

Sobrevivir al terremoto de la tierra

La burguesía

****************************

Jim asks that people read this poem with reference to

‘Creation:’ A drama about the life of Charles Darwin

Ageing “old”

 

 

Owd parched hearts

free from fear of regret

thirst nay more to dread

anxiety mockery nor shadows

owd parched hearts thirst

a passing red blooded fiery

shaping of nature herself &

her law fevered upsurges

owd parched hearts freed

of the yoke of religion & the

fear of death yearns to cum & go

between a younger lovers thighs

jim sharp

**************************************************************

‘Without frugality none can be rich, and with it very few would be poor.’ Samuel Johnson

turning sam johnson
upside down
coz without exploitation
none can be rich!

while transformers of nature
unto wards material wealth
calls forth new melodious qualities
hence emancipated workers

***********************************************************************

comrades some of brecht’s poems

jim

Bertolt Brecht

Bertolt Brecht

From a German War Primer

by Bertolt Brecht

THE WORKERS CRY OUT FOR work
The merchants cry out for markets.
The unemployed are hungry.

The employed are asked to share the poverty now.
The hands laying folded are awaiting again.

The war mobilization order is already written out.
The shells need makings .

coz those at the top end of town know!

war ended the nineteen thirties depression

[above i’m doodling by trying to adopt some of brecht]

jim

***

AMONGST THE HIGHLY PLACED
It is considered low to talk about food.
The fact is : they have
Already eaten.
The lowly must leave this earth
Without having tasted
Any good meat.
For wondering where they come from and
Where they are going
The fine evenings find them
Too exhausted.
They have not yet seen
The mountains and the great sea
When their time is already up.
If the lowly do not
Think about what’s low
They will never rise.
THE BREAD OF THE HUNGRY HAS
ALL BEEN EATEN
Meat has become unknown. Useless
The pouring out of the people’s sweat.
The laurel groves have been
lopped down.
From the chimneys of the arms factories
Rises smoke.
THE HOUSE-PAINTER SPEAKS OF
GREAT TIMES TO COME.
The forests still grow
The fields still bear
The cities still stand
The people still breathe.
ON THE CALENDAR THE DAY IS NOT
YET SHOWN
Every month, every day
Lies open. One of those days
Is going to be marked with a cross.
THE WORKERS CRY OUT FOR BREAD
The merchants cry out for markets.
The unemployed were hungry. The employed
Are hungry now.
The hands that lay folded are busy again.
The are making shells.
THOSE WHO TAKE THE MEAT FROM THE TABLE
Teach contentment.
Those for whom the contribution is destined
Demand sacrifice.
Those who eat their fill speak to the hungry
Of wonderful times to come.
Those who lead the country into the abyss
Call ruling too difficult
For ordinary men.
WHEN LEADERS SPEAK OF PEACE
The common folk know
That war is coming.
When leaders curse war
The mobilization order is already written out.
THOSE AT THE TOP SAY: PEACE
AND WAR
Are of different substance.
But their peace and their war
Are like wind and storm.
War grows from their peace
Like son from his mother
He bears
Her frightful features.
ON THE WALL WAS CHALKED:
They want war.
The man who wrote it
Has already fallen.
THOSE AT THE TOP SAY:
This way to glory.
Those down below say:
This way to the grave.
THE WAR WHICH IS COMING
Is not the first one. There were
Other wars before it.
When the last one came to an end
There were conquerors and conquered.
Among the conquered the common people
Starved. Among the conquerors
The common people starved too.
THOSE AT THE TOP SAY COMRADESHIP
Reigns in the army.
The truth of this is seen
In the cookhouse.
In their hearts should be
The selfsame courage. But
On their plates
Are two kinds of rations.
WHEN IT COMES TO MARCHING MANY DO NOT
KNOW
That their enemy is marching at their head.
The voice which gives them their orders
Is their enemy’s voice and
The man who speaks of the enemy
Is the enemy himself.
IT IS NIGHT
The married couples
Lie in their beds. The young women
Will bear orphans.
GENERAL, YOUR TANK IS A POWERFUL VEHICLE
It smashes down forests and crushes a hundred men.
But it has one defect:
It needs a driver.
General, your bomber is powerful
It flies faster than a storm and carries more than an elephant.
But it has one defect:
It needs a mechanic.
General, man is very useful.
He can fly and he can kill.
But he has one defect:
He can think.

******************************************

A good poem

g’day comrades
here’s a poem from yesteryear raising serious & pertinent class questions for us in 2008 i.e. will fanny mae & freddy mac cause capital to implode! so be ready to risetowards the sun?
jim

“DUST CAPITAL”
Well! 1993 is here – the rich are
getting richer –
And Pollies know the score real well-
just acting as a “fixer”!
The unemployed can’t understand
what’s happened to the system –
Though karl Marx wrote
Das Capital – but very few
would listen!
From ’29 to’39 The Great Depression
ravaged –
The working Class of Aussie Land –
their living standards savaged!
The cause – of course – the wall
Street Crash –
When Slaves became but Garbage
Trash!
Das Capitals world famed ballon
had finally gone bust –
And Stock Exchanges round the
World – had failed the money lust!
Well! like i said – it’s ’93 and
so it’s on again –
Recession now – to fool the folk –
though just another name!
Das Capital is still the same –
exploits you one by one –
As bigger fish eat smaller fish –
Monopoly has won!
Right now the clock of histroy once
more it will repeat –
The failure of Das Capital – in
ultimate defeat!

written by gordon castle (79)
mosman park, W.A. 22/10/93
source: The B.L – summer 1993
***********************
g’day friends
i feel this poem by jim culleny maywell speak to most readers at https://bushtelegraph.wordpress.com/
jim

Don Q. in Mahattan
–Biting the dust of ’01Image_don_qixote_2
Jim Culleny

Dining in Soho alone, a man
served by a girl with lip studs, nose ring,
and serpent tattoo uncoiling
from deep cleavage,
sees the new man of La Mancha,
in dim light across the room,
seated with his back to the street:

He topples a pepper mill with his fork
gesturing to his wife, Sancha,
vowing he’ll redeem New York.

Sancha smiles and re-sets the mill in place
among constellations of pepper stars
strewn across formica space.

Between them supper’s done:
spent dinnerware, filaments of flaked filo
circling half a buttered bun,
remnants of dense moussaka,
and that pepper mill now standing like a dustbowl silo
near languid cubes in tepid water.

Don (el Hombre), enemy of disorder,
sweeps a hand through this small universe
like a superanal patriot
and plows a thousand miniscule black galaxies
into his cupped palm
and dumps ’em on a plate.

He takes his tined baton
between forefinger and thumb
and sets a cadence in the atmosphere
thumping his undiffident drum.

Then Don, el futile hombre,
maestro of mishap,
conducts the ice and water glass
into long-suffering Sancha’s lap.

http://3quarksdaily.blogs.com/3quarksdaily/2008/09/monday-poem.html#comments///

******************

g’day friends
’tis always nice when one gets replies as i did yesterday over my posting of, “mahmoud darwish’s poetry will never die” so here is another of darwish’s poems for your perusal
jim

With the Mist So Dense on the Bridge
Mahmoud Darwish

With the mist so dense on the bridge, he said to me,
“Is anything known to the contrary?”
I said, “At dawn, things will be clear.”

He said, “There is no time more obscure than dawn.
Let your imagination succumb
to the river.
In the blue dawn,
in the prison yard or near the pine yard,
a young man is executed, along with his hopes for victory.

In the blue dawn, the smell of bread
forms a map of a life where summer is more like a spring.
In the blue dawn, dreamers wake gently
and merrily walk in the waters of their dream.”

Where is dawn taking us?
Dawn is a bridge; where does it take us?

My friend said to me,
“I do not want a place to be buried in.
I want a place to live in and curse, if I wish.”

Place passes like a gesture between us;
“What is ‘place’?” I asked.

“Senses discovering a footprint of intuition,” he sighed.
“Oh, for that narrow street
which carried me in the vast evening
to her house on the outskirts of solitude.

Do you still keep my heart by memory
and forget the smoke of the city?”

“Do not bet on reality,” I told him.
“You will find nothing alive like its own image awaiting you.
Time tames even mountains, raising them higher
and casting them lower than you can see.
But where is the bridge taking us?”

He asked, “Is the road to the bridge long?”

I asked, “Is the mist dense at the steps of dawn?”

“For how many years were you like me?
For how long have you been me?”

I said, “I do not remember.”

He said, “I do not remember that I remembered
anything but the road.”

And he sang:
On the bridge in another land,
the saxophone announces the end of winter.
On the bridge, strangers confess their mistakes,
when no one joins them
in the song.

I said to him, “For how many years
have we urged the dove to fly
to the lotus tree in the seventh heaven?
Fly under our window, O dove: fly and fly!”

So he said, “It is as if I had lost my emotions . . .
Soon, we will imitate our voices as children,
lisping our Ss and Ls.
Sleeping like mating doves
on the vine that clothes the house.
Soon, life will appear to us spontaneously.

The mountains remain as they are beyond their image in my mind.
If memory does not fail me,
the ancient sky remains as its image in my mind, clear of hue and perception.
The radiant pure air remains as it is awaiting me.”

I said, “My friend,
the long road has rid me of my body.
I do not feel its clay. I do not feel its states.
Whenever I travel, I fly.
My steps are my visions,
my ‘I’ beckons from afar.”

“If this path of yours is long,
there is work for me with legends.”

Divine hands trained us to dig our names
into the indices of a willow tree;
we were neither clear nor obscure.

But our style in crossing streets from one time to another provoked speculation:
Who are these who, when they see a palm tree,
stand silent and prostrate themselves on its shadow?
Who, when they laugh, disturb others?

“On the bridge in another land,” he said to me,
“Strangers are known by the disconnected way they look in water,
by their introversion and their hesitant walk.
Natives proceed with direct steps toward a perspective goal
a stranger walks around, bewildered.”

He said to me, “Every bridge is a meeting point.
On the bridge I enter into what is outside of me,
And surrender my heart to a bee or a swallow.”

I said, “Not entirely.
On the bridge I walk to what is inside of me.
I train myself to be alert.
Every bridge is cracked—you are not you as you were a while before.
And beings are not memories.”

I am two in one,
or I am one split in two.
O bridge, bridge!
Which of the two fragments is me?

We have been walking on the bridge for twenty years,
we have been walking these twenty meters, there and back!
And I said, “There is not much left.”
And he said, “There is not much left.”
And we said together and separately, as well dreaming:

I shall walk lightly, steps on the wind—
a bow which crushes the land of the violin.
I will hear the pulse of my blood in pebbles,
and the veins of my place.

I shall rest my head on the carob tree stump—
it is my mother, even if she disowns me.
I shall doze a little, and two small birds shall carry me,
higher and higher, to a star that deported me.

My spirit shall wake to a former pain,
which comes like a letter from a balcony of memory.
I shall cry out, “I am still alive, because
I feel the arrow piercing my side.”

I shall look to the right, toward the jasmine;
it was there that I learned the early songs of the body.
I shall look to the left, toward the sea
where I learned to fish for foam.

I shall lie like an adolescent.
This milk on my trousers is the dregs
of a dream which provoked me and is done.

I shall deny that I am copying
the pre-Islamic poet’s siesta
between the eyes of the wild deer.

I shall drink a handful from the garden tap;
I shall get thirsty like water desiring itself.
I shall ask the first to cross my path,
“Have you seen a ghost like me,
searching for his yesterday?”

I shall carry my house on my shoulder
and walk like a slow tortoise.
I shall hunt an eagle with a broom, and ask,
“Where is the mistake?”

I shall search in mythology and archaeology
and in every -ology for my old name.
One of the goddesses of Canaan shall favor me,
then swear with a flash of lightning,
“This is my orphan son.”

I shall praise a woman who gives birth to a child
in the pipes, knowing it is of no resemblance to her.
I shall weep for a man who died when he awoke.

I shall take a line of al-Ma‘arri, and adjust it:
My body is a scrap of dust,
O tailor of being, stitch me!
I shall write:
O creator of death, leave me alone!

I shall wake the dead people of mine; we are equals.
Sleepers, are you like us,
still dreaming of the Day of Judgment?
I shall collect the ghazals the wind scattered
in Cordoba, and complete The Ring of the Dove.

I shall select from my intimate memories
a description of what is suitable:
the scent of crumpled bedsheets
after intercourse,
like the scent of grass after rain.
I shall see how the rock face grows green.

March roses will burn me in the land where I was first born.
Pomegranate blossoms will conceive me,
and I will be born from them for the last time.

I shall depart from yesterday
when I return to its inheritance: memory.
I shall approach tomorrow when I chase a cunning lark.
I shall know that I am late for my appointment.

I shall know that my tomorrow has just passed
as clouds do, without waiting.
And I shall know that the sky will soon rain on me,
and that I
am crossing the bridge.

Are we now treading the land of the tale?
It may not be as we imagine—
“It is neither butter nor honey.”
The sky is ashen,
dawn is still a septic blue.

What is “time” now?
A bridge that is long and short.
A dawn made long and cunning, as well.
What is “time” now?

“The old land dozes behind the touristic castles,
time emigrates in the star
that burned the emotional horseman.
You who sleep on needles of memory,
do you not feel the voice
of earthquakes in the gazelle’s hoof?”

I said to him, “Has fever struck you?”

His nightmare continued:
“O you who sleep, do you hear
the whisper of the Resurrection in a grain of sand?”

I said to him, “Are you speaking to me
or to yourself?”

“I reached the end of the dream . . .
I saw myself as an old man there,
and I saw my heart chasing my dog there—
it was barking.
I saw my bedroom laughing:
Are you still alive?

Come let me take from you the air,
and your wooden stick,
inlaid with Moroccan mother-of-pearl!
How should I bring back the beginning, friend?
Who am I?
Who am I without a dream and a woman’s company?”

I said, “We visit what remains of life.
Life as it is, let us train ourselves to love the things
we had, to love things that are not ours
and ours.

If we look at them together from above,
like snow falling on the mountains,
the mountains may be as they were;
and the fields as they were;
and life, intuitive and communal.”

“Are we now entering the land of the tale, my friend?
I do not want a place to be buried in.
I want a place to live in, and to curse, if I wish.”
And he stared at the bridge.

This is the gate of truth:
we can neither enter nor leave.

Nothing is known from its contrary.
The passageways are closed
and the sky is ashen-faced and narrow.

The hand of dawn pulls up the fatigue trousers
of the female officer,
higher and higher.

We have been on the bridge twenty years;
we have eaten tinned food for twenty years.
We have dressed in and out of season,
listened to new songs, excellently made,
from the barracks.

Our children have married exiled princesses
who changed their names.

We left our destinies to those
who love losses in the movies.
We read our tracks in the sand.
We were neither obscure nor clear,
like the yawning picture of the dawn.

I said, “Does your wound still torment you, friend?”

He said, “I feel nothing.
My thought has turned my body
into a register of proofs.
Nothing will prove that I am I
except for an open death on the bridge.

I gaze at a rose in the distance
and the charcoal catches fire.
I gaze at my birthplace, farther out,
and the grave expands.”

I said, “Gently, do not die now.
Life is possible on the bridge.
The metaphor is wide enough:
it is an isthmus between this world and the next,
between exile and a neighboring land.”

He said to me, while the hawks hovered above us,
“Take my name as companion,
tell it about me, and you live
until the bridge brings you back to life tomorrow.
Do not say, ‘He lived or died aimlessly marginalized.’
Say, ‘He looked down on himself from above
and saw himself clothed in a tree.’”
And he was happy with that greeting.

If this road is long
there is work for me in mythology;

I was alone on the bridge on that day
after the Messiah withdrew to
a hill in the suburbs of Jericho, before the Resurrection.
I walk, and I cannot go in or out.
I turn like a sunflower.

At night, I am awakened
by the voice of the soldier on night watch
as she sings to her lover:

Promise me nothing,
do not send me a rose from Jericho!

—Translated by Mohammad Shaheen and Amro Naddy

more>> http://www.vqronline.org/articles/2008/summer/darwish-mist-dense/

 

g’day friends
mahmoud darwish’s poetry will never die
jim

August 09, 2008
http://www.3quarksdaily.com/
Mahmoud Darwish, 1941-2008
In Ha’aretz

********************

 On the electoral defeat of John Howard:

“Down with Liberty
Long live chains (and Workchoices).”
Yet workers said no.
[Thanks to ted riethmuller for the poem and the photo]

*****************

‘tis exploitive still!

‘tis exploitive still!

whence how we produce

and live week by week

forever mortgaged

‘tis exploitive still!

whence what we produce

be conceded to tea leafing

parasites whom thrive

******************
g’day comrades
humphrey mcqueen ended his revised & updated social sketches of Oz 1888-2001 with this sentence:
if the men & women did not refine bauxite, program computors, fly aircraft, tend vineyards, bake pizzas & keep on teaching, nursing or experimenting, there would have been no olympics, no midnight oil, no east timor task force, no high court: nothing at all.
as mary gilmore wrote:

shame on the mouth
that would deny
the knotted hands
that set us high

jim
“““““““““““““““
the future makers

shameless mouth prostitutes

every day practice psychobabble

whilst spinning their lies

lies which strive to deny

and obviate the class

against class divide

meanwhile those farming the land &

wage slave on production lines

and cyber proles glued to monitors

everyday produces of products

that’s higher than yesteryear while

exclusively being the future makers

*****************
summer scented flower

you are my muse beyond savour

a slender willow gliding on by

a summer scented flower in bloom

so delightfully seductive with your

twinkling dark deep alluring eye’s

awakening an old man’s amorousness

from his reconciled drying virility

washed-up by life & aging

*******************

i know what you’re counting
“boss”…

‘tis our surplus value

***

“divine imperial charity”

behind the shock & awe
behind the missiles begetting
“collateral damage”
’twas a mission accomplished

meanwhile measly they
offer their divine imperial charity
in the name of medical & civil aide
hypocrisy with a thin veneer

whilst behind all that stands
the unblushing gods of capital
capital! with much human blood.
dripping from its talon’s

Jim Sharp


********************

My father worked with a horse-plough,
His shoulders globed like a full-sail strung
Between the shafts and the furrow.
The horses strained at his clicking tongue.

An expert. He would set the wing
And fit the bright steel-pointed sock.
The sod rolled over without breaking.
At the headrig, with a single pluck

Of reins, the sweating team turned round
And back into the land. His eye
Narrowed and angled at the ground,
Mapping the furrow exactly.

I stumbled in his hob-nailed wake,
Fell sometimes on the polished sod;
Sometimes he rode me on his back,
Dipping and rising to his plod.

I wanted to grow up and plough,
To close one eye, stiffen my arm.
All I ever did was follow
In his broad shadow round the farm.

I was a nuisance, tripping, falling,
Yapping always. But today
It is my father who keeps stumbling
Behind me, and will not go away.

Seamus Heaney

********************

Working man, I have faith in you

working man, I have faith in you,
Tho’ you’re such a damned fool in my eyes,
I know, full well, how they’ve wasted you,
And clotted your brain with their lies.
I’ve heard the sleek parsons preach to you,
I’ve studied the dope of the press,
And tho’ they have made such a mess of you,
I have faith in you, nevertheless.
For working man, there is none but you
Can think in the vital way,
Can look at life from the level of you,
And fight for equality.
There’s that which I find in the soil of you,
That brings the seed to flower,
And, working man, iI have faith in you
In this world’s most piteous hour.
by joe gorrie [1894-1968]
scots poet & dramatist. mostly about his life as a miner

********************

g’day comrades

2008! & it’s 10 years since the mua dispute, here are two poems i wrote at
the time to add to the poetry section. others poets out in cyberspace who
have a poem or three on the mua issue are most welcome to contribute.

jim

********************

wavin’ on the breeze

may day… the workers day nineteen ninety eight MUA 'victory' on May Day in 1998

bringin’ ten thousand on brisbane city streets

twenty thousand dancin’ & marchin’ feet.

colours rallyin’ at albert park, for confab, joy & tears,

many varied flags wavin’ on the breeze

there’s the red alert, any number of eureka’s tru blu,

& onside! a zillion stylized union southern stars.

for an ‘oi polloi artist

portrayin’ that amphitheatre,

could well surpass claude monet’s 1878

“the rue saint-denis” paris streetscape celebration.

’cause those workers on that hillside,

were shakin’ off their torpor!

they had dared to fight!

they had dared to win!

they had dared to show some will!

it could ‘ave been a dream we’ve had?

it could have been we’re goin’ insane?

’cause a six pack we scored,

from the full bench today!

o! how the workers yelled,

o! how we hugged & cried,

o! how we loved this day,

’cause neath a noon red sun,

we’ve cracked the “power” of our despair.

“““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`

down the road

MUA RALLY ON MAR04 as an autumn moon casts its shadows

shady legal & civil storm troopers

furtively navigate brisbane river.

and born is a new industrial tradition

wi’ chemical sprays & drilled savage dogs

Snr. Cnst. John Watt prepares to use baton against a meatworker at live export of sheep 1977 Hamilton Wharf Brisbane. Photo: AMIEU Journal.

& union bustin’ armed thugs… g’day!

“all hail!” little johnny hit-liar, & his

shady conspirators… al corrigan speers,

joe reith goebbels… ‘stralia’s imperial fascists.

marchin’ jack-booted all o’er this country

creatin’, worker against worker competition

wi’ world’s best practice wage reductions.

so comrades! come shake off our torpor

we’re on the edge of chaos & preggers

wi’ immanently complex creativity

’tis class against class so light our candles

we’re locked in a life & death struggle

labour opposin’ capital… down the road.

TO A WORKERS REVOLUTION!

““““““““““““““““““““““““““`

**********************

It is Deep
—(don’t never forget the bridge you crossed over on)Person_carolyn_rodgers
Carolyn Rodgers

Having tried to use the
witch cord
that erases the stretch of
thirty-three blocks
and tuning in the voice which
woodenly stated that the
talk box was “disconnected”
My mother, religiously girdled in
her god, slipped on some love, and
laid on my bell like a truck,
blew through my door warm wind from the south
concern making her gruff and tight-lipped
and scared
that her “baby” was starving.
she, having learned, that disconnection results from
non-payment of bill (s).
She did not
recognize the poster of the
grand le-roi (al) cat on the wall
had never even seen the books of
Black poems that I have written
thinks that I am under the influence of
“communists”
when I talk about Black as anything
other than something ugly to kill it befo it grows
in any impression she would not be
considered “relevant” or “Black”
but
there she was, standing in my room
not loudly condemning that day and
not remembering that I grew hearing her
curse the factory where she “cut uh slave”
and the cheap j-boss wouldn’t allow a union,
not remembering that I heard the tears when
they told her a high school diploma was not enough,
and here now, not able to understand, what she had
been forced to deny, still–
she pushed into my kitchen so
she could open my refrigerator to see
what I had to eat, and pressed fifty
bills in my hand saying “pay the talk bill and buy
some food; you got folks who care about you . . .”
My mother, religious-negro, proud of
having waded through a storm, is very obviously,
a sturdy Black bridge that I
crossed over, on.

http://www.3quarksdaily.com/

************************

My mother can sew up a storm …

My mother can sew up a storm on her trusty Singer machine. Add a box of Butterick’s paper patterns with their strange hieroglyphics, cloth and tape measure and that’s all she needs to create. And create she did when we lived in a country town where you couldn’t find a decent clothes shop (let alone a cheap one) to keep up with four growing girls.

All manner of material was used. I felt and smelt and rolled their names around my tongue – satin, organza, cotton, chenille and chiffon, seersucker, lurex, tartan and taffeta, lawn, flannelette, gingham and gauze.

Not only were dresses, shorts and shirts of every size coming from her home factory, there were fancy dress costumes for school, dolls’ clothes and ballet class tutus. There was even a fancy dress Bo-Beep costume sewn in crepe paper. Not a good idea in the humid north – my sister’s legs stained yellow for days.

I learned an enduring lesson in those early years – you could make anything you wanted if you put your mind to it.

trapped in midnight blue

She cuts, pins, adjusts, trims,
we stand in turn on the kitchen stool,
sisters-in-revolt while she,
pins in mouth, hisses
‘Keep still for heaven’s sake’.

Intricate papery patterns float
like sheets of dried brown skin, tattooed
with mysterious codes – bodice, nape, hemstitch, baste,
as skilled hands conjure garments from
cheap cotton, muslin, seersucker, crepe.

One year, I stand high above the kitchen floor, swirling,
enchanted, trapped in Midnight blue,
tiny red silk rosebuds sprouting,
full-skirted, organza party dress.

Delight cuts to despair.
This dress is not for me, but
destined for my cousin,
who’s clever, bossy, and sure
in an adult-speak world.
I’m just a mannequin to fit, cut and pin.

Pins take revenge.
I whinge and squirm.
The kitchen, now a battlefield
of female wills.
How I hate that dress.

Intriguing shapes spread under the tinsel branch.
Bright package torn open reveals
Midnight blue with red silk rosebuds
and a card
With love from Mum.

See Sheryl’s poems at http://sherylgwytherauthor.blogspot.com/

***********
g’day comrades
here’s a worker poem by e.p.mead’s from Condition of the Working Class in England, by Engels, 1845
’tis a poem which as never failed to move politically class conscious prolies over the past 150 years or so & with the intensification of globalisation today & the transfer of heavy industry to developing nations, ’tis as relevant again for universal class comrades.jimAt the close a few stanzas of a poem which voices the sentiments of the workers themselves about the factory system. Written by Edward P. Mead of Birmingham, it is a correct expression of the views prevailing among them.

There is a King, and a ruthless King; Not a King of the poet’s dream; But a tyrant fell, white slaves know well, And that ruthless King is Steam.

He hath an arm, an iron arm, And tho’ he hath but one, In that mighty arm there is a charm, That millions hath undone.

Like the ancient Moloch grim, his sire In Himmon’s vale that stood, His bowels are of living fire, And children are his food.

His priesthood are a hungry band, Blood-thirsty, proud, and bold; ’Tis they direct his giant hand, In turning blood to gold.

For filthy gain in their servile chain All nature’s rights they bind; They mock at lovely woman’s pain, And to manly tears are blind.

The sighs and groans of Labour’s sons Are music in their ear, And the skeleton shades, of lads and maids, In the Steam King’s hell appear.

Those hells upon earth, since the Steam King’s birth, Have scatter’d around despair; For the human mind for Heav’n design’d, With the body, is murdered there.

Then down with the King, the Moloch King, Ye working millions all; O chain his hand, or our native land Is destin’d by him to fall.

And his Satraps abhor’d, each proud Mill Lord, Now gorg’d with gold and blood, Must be put down by the nation’s frown, As well as their monster God.

Condition of the Working Class in England, by Engels, 1845


*********************************

imageGiven the probability of an imminent recession, this draft poem without a title might be worth developing collectively?

we’ve sold our tomorrow

and future tomorrow’s

swayed by wallets full of…

plastic credit cards

we’ve sold our tomorrow

and future tomorrow’s

without knowing…

who stole our surplus value …

by Jim Sharp

**********************

 Streets of Our Town

These are the streets of our town
Golden darkness at dusk
We await the storm
No shelter, rain riven
Rivulets run the gutters

Picture 017
Cold freezing passage
Cleansing lives
While darkness awaits

Fresh light sings
We can only hope
Gone are the battered wives

Picture 026There are diamonds on Brisbane river
Diamonds floating free

Rain falls once more
Seasons change, clouds come
Over gum tree silhouettes

Picture 027We march together along our streets, our town

Picture 012The sun does look good today
And let us hope

Butchers sharpen knives no more
Down and round
Battered streets of our town

************************

A Lemon
by Pablo Neruda

From blossoms
released
by the moonlight,
from an
aroma of exasperated
love,
steeped in fragrance,
yellowness
drifted from the lemon tree,Screenhunter_7
and from its planetarium
lemons descended to the earth.
Tender yield!
The coasts,
the markets glowed
with light, with
unrefined gold;
we opened
two halves
of a miracle,
congealed acid
trickled
from the hemispheres
of a star,
the most intense liqueur
of nature,
unique, vivid,
concentrated,
born of the cool, fresh
lemon,
of its fragrant house,
its acid, secret symmetry.
Knives
sliced a small
cathedral
in the lemon,
the concealed apse, opened,
revealed acid stained glass,
drops
oozed topaz,
altars,
cool architecture.
So, when you hold
the hemisphere
of a cut lemon
above your plate,
you spill
a universe of gold,
a
yellow goblet
of miracles,
a fragrant nipple
of the earth’s breast,
a ray of light that was made fruit.

5 responses to “Poems

  1. Pingback: Working Man, I Have Faith in You by Joe Gorrie | From Troubles of The World

  2. Pete Seeger Live – New Protest Song About BP Oil Spill in Gulf Coast on Banjo w James Maddock Guitar

    Like

  3. Viola Wilkins

    ATTILA THE STOCKBROKER CLEANS UP THE CITY

    I was a clerk there: I’ve seen the greed
    How wealth and power eat hope and need
    Now they’re eating each other but they’re still screaming
    ‘No interference’ – I start dreaming
    ‘Self regulation?’ OK, I say
    ‘I’m a stockbroker – let’s do it my way’
    And that’s the beginning of this little ditty:
    Attila the Stockbroker cleans up the City!

    Each gets a red nose so everybody knows
    Just who they are and where all our money goes
    No more speculate, no more accumulate –
    This is a lifestyle we’re going to eradicate
    Dealers on the floor meet squads of the poor saying
    ‘Here’s the twist, Oliver – we want more
    Work for us or we take the whole kitty’
    Attila the Stockbroker cleans up the City!

    ‘Hello Mr. Hedge Fund, have a cup of tea.
    Financial Services Authority? Me.
    You’re a parasite on the population
    Convicted of criminal speculation
    Time to atone for a life so greedy –
    Twenty years working for the poor and needy.
    Want to appeal? Try the Central Committee
    Attila the Stockbroker cleans up the City!

    Morning Mr Banker, you’re in for a shock.
    We’re taking much more than just Northern Rock!
    All the banks nationalised – Stock Exchange too.
    Utilities, railways, grabbed from the few.
    Mr Billionaire? You just lost your money.
    (Hey there, Chelsea fan, isn’t that funny!)
    The future’s brown. The future’s shitty.
    So Attila the Stockbroker cleans up the City!

    Capitalism is a John Cleese parrot.
    Let’s give it stick and not a single carrot!
    Bollocks to the dealer, the broker, the lender –
    Social justice back on the agenda
    Radical stylin’ going on here
    Smoked Mammon sarnies and really good beer
    For the poor no fear, for the rich no pity
    When Attila the Stockbroker cleans up the City!

    more: http://www.attilathestockbroker.com/

    ” For the poor no fear, for the rich no pity
    When Attila the Stockbroker cleans up the City! ”

    Note David Rovics will be touring Australia again this year & performing in Perth, Melbourne & the La Trobe Valley…as for Attila alas he has not been out here for ages.

    West Midlands IWW benefit gig – David Rovics & Attila the Stockbroker

    May 25th Bank Holiday at the Wagon and Horses, Digbeth, Birmingham. Hard hitting political songs from David Rovics & Attila the Stockbroker. A variety of food and stalls in the garden from 6pm with performances following and DJs later in the evening. £6 in. Fundraiser for the West Midlands Industrial Workers of the World, the fighting union!

    Attila first heard about David Rovics about eight years ago and immediately got in touch: they did a UK tour in May 2002 and went down so well (with the audiences and each other!) that they’ve done lots together since. On the surface their styles are very different – David’s a superficially gentle American singer-songwriter in the tradition of Phil Ochs and Woody Guthrie, Attila a loud, wild, punk rock performance poet/songwriter in the tradition of Hilaire Belloc and Joe Strummer! But their message is the same: their words breathefire at the bastards who are destroying our world, against the warmongers’ axis, against globalisation, fascism and gormless TV consumer ‘celebrity’ culture. The exact opposite of the mainstream idea of an Anglo-American alliance!

    Not long ago Damon All Bran of Blur posed the question; where are the protest singers? Here they are!

    David Rovics is an IWW member, has been called the musical voice of the progressive movement in the US, sharing the stage with activists, musicians, and celebrities alike, and has defied the record industry by making all his releases available on the internet for free. More importantly, he’s really good. He will make you laugh, he will make you cry, and he will make the revolution irresistible.

    Attila the Stockbroker’s themes are topical, his words hard-hitting, his politics unashamedly radical, but Attila will make you roar with laughter as well as seethe with anger. Inspired by the spirit and ‘Do It Yourself’ ethos of punk rock, and above all by The Clash and their overtly radical, political stance.

    SOURCE: http://www.iww.org.uk/node/242

    Like

  4. Pingback: ‘Foco Nuevo’ 2008 in pictures « Workers Bush Telegraph

  5. g’day comrades
    here’s a worker poem by e.p.mead’s from Condition of the Working Class in England, by Engels, 1845

    ’tis a poem which as never failed to move politically class conscious prolies over the past 150 years or so & with the intensification of globalisation today & the transfer of heavy industry to developnig nations, ’tis as relavent again for universal class comrades.

    jim
    ““““““““““““““““““““““““““`

    At the close a few stanzas of a poem which voices the sentiments of the workers themselves about the factory system. Written by Edward P. Mead of Birmingham, it is a correct expression of the views prevailing among them.

    There is a King, and a ruthless King; Not a King of the poet’s dream; But a tyrant fell, white slaves know well, And that ruthless King is Steam.

    He hath an arm, an iron arm, And tho’ he hath but one, In that mighty arm there is a charm, That millions hath undone.

    Like the ancient Moloch grim, his sire In Himmon’s vale that stood, His bowels are of living fire, And children are his food.

    His priesthood are a hungry band, Blood-thirsty, proud, and bold; ’Tis they direct his giant hand, In turning blood to gold.

    For filthy gain in their servile chain All nature’s rights they bind; They mock at lovely woman’s pain, And to manly tears are blind.

    The sighs and groans of Labour’s sons Are music in their ear, And the skeleton shades, of lads and maids, In the Steam King’s hell appear.

    Those hells upon earth, since the Steam King’s birth, Have scatter’d around despair; For the human mind for Heav’n design’d, With the body, is murdered there.

    Then down with the King, the Moloch King, Ye working millions all; O chain his hand, or our native land Is destin’d by him to fall.

    And his Satraps abhor’d, each proud Mill Lord, Now gorg’d with gold and blood, Must be put down by the nation’s frown, As well as their monster God.

    Condition of the Working Class in England, by Engels, 1845

    Like

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