Jim

Let’s call him Jim, ‘cause that’s what she called him
Outback Jackaroo, farmer, brother, privileged class
A time of brotherhood, kinship, great expectation
Drawn to conflict, in desperate, uncertain times

Preparing for a war, afar, exciting, exotic
A camp for warhorses at home, now reclaimed by nature’s calm
A horseman, in a time of horses, in a time of need, a Trooper
A horse soldier without a horse, a eunuch in war, nonetheless

Imagine the times
Mother Empire, embracing the world
Capitalist, naïve, newborn, umbilical cord attached
Optimism, unfettered loyalty, an anachronistic heirachy

The Nek, a king brown wrapped around its prey
Prey bitten three times, each time it moved
Advantage of time, territory, resolve
Briefly distracted, its prey escapes, to die alone

Except for Jim, not inoculated, toxic leaden rain sprayed
He, of few, a new religion, unanswered questions prayed
Baptised by fear, confirmed by strengthening courage
Three weeks respite ‘til his next anointment

Hill 60, a mouse plague of bombs, dropping, rolling, in mass
Over-run, overwhelmed, but not over Jim
Strength and resilience, turning back the tide
Carnage, a new word added, the farmer’s vocabulary

Injury wrapped on injury; Palestine tore deep his wounds
His fledgling pacifist religion, clashed badly with Gaza’s loss
A brother-in-war lost in the haze of battle
A haze of gas, a haze of minds, now parted

A man, a soldier surviving war, a woman needs
Ask David, the Vietnam Vet, knows the inner Jim
Venom remains circulating, to taunt the soul
Splattered blood of others, not purely washed away

A woman indeed, no hero without one
Healer to wife, mother to alternate generations
An alternative thinker, influencer of affected minds
Jim, with courage, strength of will, his new, questioning religion

A hero in war, one point in time, Pariah back home
A lone voice, amongst silence, courageously raised
A communist supporter, amidst devout Christian ideals, ill received
A wife, strong feminist, fame and notoriety together

Imagine the times
Depression, pandemic, disillusionment, great disappointment
Idealism vanquished, outspoken, older brother lost
A different view of the world, at war with his fellows

His hometown welcomed him as a Pariah, turned their backs
Outback hero, goldminer, socialist, husband, father, pauper
Gallipoli one of nine, Victoria Cross, inspirational at Hill 60
Courageous to the end, suicide, family to survive

 

By Jeff Austin

 


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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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