"As the War Drums Beat Again"

poem from a past struggle


( with assistance from John Greenleaf Whittier )

In Wellingtown on Anzac day
At five am when it’s cold and grey

Down by the windy Cenotaph
The sabre rattling makes you barf

Lest we forget, the leaders intone
from the bottom of their hearts of stone

They weep remembering fallen men
Then order more to march off again

Will a Labour government save us?
No. They’re first to make our children go

And die, to keep profits in the black
In the name of a four starred union jack

While the old stuck record turned again
Up rose Val Morse to honour the slain

She burnt the flag of the profiteers
Ignoring the threats and the misplaced jeers

'Shoot, if you must, this young blond head,
don’t die for the bosses wars,' she said.

A shade of sadness, a blush of shame,
Over the face of nobody came;

No nobler nature within us stirred
To life at that woman's deed and word;

Instead, from Waring Taylor street
Sounded the tread of blue clad feet

She got off in the end, but all the same
They’re unlikely to make Val Morse a Dame

A future time will see “our flag”
For what it is, a butcher’s rag

Then ever the stars above look down
On four well burnt stars in Wellingtown.


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