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They sent you home in a steel strapped box
stowed neatly in the bowels
of the Bristol freighter -
high across the ochre China Sea,
the summary of your passing
black, stark etched upon the lid,
"Remains Not Viewable",
and just a kid.

Your young-old eyes no longer seeing
the jungled halls in filtered light,
or orchids' glory shredded in the flight
of bullet's thump and awful sound,
by the termite's mound.

Battered beyond recognition
by the steel-jacketed messengers,
from conference halls
of ideology opposed,
and clever politicians
who never knew your name,
and cared less, for the final moment
of your agony.

Your lover's tears falling unnoticed
in the rain and roar of Wellington's streets,
wretched in your throat
the ashes of stricken grief,
at the taxi rank waiting
for the dreadful journey,
to Rongotai your steel strapped box
to greet.

All the flags and volleys neat
pompous ceremony and bugle's bleat,
a hollow sound upon the close-clipped lawn,
your soldier's son
stirring fitfully in your womb,
eager to be born into the corporate insanity
of our world where orchids once bloomed,
last seen by his father
but without comprehension,
as he struggled to pull the pin
from his last grenade.

John A. Moller
Whiskey Two Company RNZIR


home | foreword | roll of honour | the poems | links