peace and freedom verses

jerusalem australia

And will those feet in future time
Walk on our crowded city street,
And shall the holy lamb of God
Stand where our intersections meet?
And can the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our private hells?
And can Jerusalem be built
Among these bright atomic shells?

Bring me my jets of burning gold,
Bring me the lasers of desire,
Bring swords of words, and dreams, unfold!
Bring me the rocketry of fire.
I will not cease the constant fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my   hand,
Till children see Jerusalem
Still building in this Promised Land


for whom the bells ring

      It would ring the bells of heaven

            that have not rung for years

            If nations lost their powers

            and people came to theirs

            And everyone together

            Rose up with fearful prayers

            for wild and blinkered war-men

            and maddened Bulls and Bears

            and wretched bogey newsmen  

            and the mad, marching hares.

written on a journey in Britain

After a meeting describing the bunkers for important people built in the Grampians, Scotland   - but none for the rest of the people.

Batten down this earth and its trees

before the hurricane

Cover the farms and the forests,

  net over the streams,

Butterflies and insects,

shield - how? from this flame.

But none of these

is in a bunkering scheme.

Bury the books deep,

make cellars for your heritage.

Is there a deepfreeze

you can bank grandchildren in?

Dustcovers for democracy -

a military entourage

will come to take the scenery,

  when the war begins.

(And must all countries bear that wrath?

And must this landscape die?

What flesh can barricade their path,

What blood unspilled can cry?)

Beyond the screens of lies and smoke I see

One Fate still spins a spider thread -

  that it need not be.

facing the mirror

Humankind that cannot bear

very much reality

is unaware of our duality

with enemies we share

the evil that we see

only in the foe we know

the mirror to our greed

the glass to our fear, the seeds that we sow.

We cannot see it near and close

but over there, we know.

And name the evil  - in our foe.

       Beyond Tigers

Napalm, napalm burning bright

In the forests of the night

How can mortal hand or eye

Dare frame this fearful way to die?

What the factory, what the frame,

In what enterprise thy name?

What the profits that were sought,

Named in the company's report?

What workman dare to take his part

To pour that poison in your heart?

By whom the formula complete?

Whose the carrier, whose the fleet?

On what distant mouths or eyes

Burns this outrage from the skies?

Whose the hands that dare desire

To touch that key and drop that fire?

Stars throw down their lightning spears

to quench those deserts with new tears.

Now does He smile when this He sees,

That what He made,

should now make these?

The Vietnam War

( Tune" All that I've got is a troubled mind')

Dress me in khaki

wave from the shore

I'm leaving you fellows

I'm sent to the war.

Don't promise me glory

That meaning's unsure

It's kept for the dead when

They're sent to the war.

Don't promise me freedom

There's none any more.

It's not for a fellow

That's sent to the war.

Don't promise me love

It's not worth a straw

There's none of it lasts when

We're sent to the war.

Don't promise me Country,

Peace, Justice or Law,

You've sent them upriver

And me to the war.

Just bundle all up

that you've valued before,

It won't need a label

Just send to the war.

Tomorrow it's your turn

You'll cry and implore,

Then remember all us folk

You sent to the war.


Devil and Us

Devil and us is having a fight -
Glory hallelujah!

Devil is wrong and we are right-
Glory hallelujah!

Right don't know which way to turn-
Glory hallelujah!

Got to fight on the Devil's terms-
Glory hallelujah

! If the right should want to win-
Glory hallelujah!

Got to fight gainst sin with sin-
Glory hallelujah!

Fighting the devil you can't stay true- Glory hallelujah!
Got to get your own hands dirty too- Glory hallelujah!

Devil's feeling mighty gay-
Glory hallelujah!

Devil's winning either way-
to hell with hallelujah!


(following a UK news-item about reduced budgets for missiles)

Five little Tridents for a nuclear war.

One dropped from the estimates

and then there were four.

Four little Tridents launched into the sea

One wasn't fail-safe,

and then there were three.

Three little Tridents sailing in the blue,

One had an accident,

and then there were two.

Two little Tridents hiding from the sun,

One failed its logistics,

and then there was one.

One little Trident sitting like a bunny

A satellite had know-how, and

  Pop goes all our money.


If you put £7.5 billion into four baskets,

don't expect chickens.


Children play and shout

"Bang Bang you're dead!"

Behind the fence

"O God," his mother said.

Adults play and shout

Their TV blood is red

Its drama news tonight,

"O God" a mother said.

Generals play and shout.

Move missiles up ahead.

Bomb what? Those towns below.

"O God," five million said.

Devils play and shout

Their dice has rolled ahead

and blows apart.

"O world," God said.

Star Wars Star Peace

At the last moment the missiles

Saw the trees in the field

And the wild things that run

In the woods and the streams,

From the ricks and the barns,

The town roofs and the weather vanes,

Faces on people in the streets,

And history that had lain

Six thousand years.

They were poised, hung above this

It was a theatre, a war theatre.

The scenario of the sky

was black around it.

Within the sky shone, white,

Those stars already dead.

Hobbes Leviathan

See the dragon clanking towards the abyss.

The children cheer,

For their nursery stories

Are full of dragons.

Its scales are of gold, of bronze,

And of plutonium.

Its eyes are blind. It has breath that kills.

Each joint is articulated to move with

And to move its whole social carcase.

It has a belly like a sex-shop,

It has a voice like a howling mob.

In its stomach

Are three million undigested unemployed.

Scattered behind like memorials

Lie its stone eggs.

Britannia holds her Trident and laughs.

A horrified voice calls,

"St. George of Merrie England!"

For a dead demonstrator - Nance Walsh SOS
protest marcher in   the Vietnam war

She walked among the good and bad

in tidy coat and shoes

a placard in her tired hand

which never made the news.

She asked the cause and not the use

to join the patient queues.

There was not any scarlet splash

although heart's blood is red,

No barricades, no headline clash,

No body-count of dead,

No photos framed, life-stories sold,

No panegyric said.

When liberty still has a price

to all this may be said,

some pay it with a traitor's flags,

some with their blood's red.

A housewife paid a quiet way;

She walked, and is dead.


Friends, you will break your hearts to build.

Its easier to smash,

to kill the evil with the good,

bring all down in the crash.

Sodom you may condemn,

without its ten just men.

This land, with its good and bad,

made Nan.

Peace Will

The bird is in the egg,

while the bomb is in the shell,

the child is in the womb,

the souls are in hell.

Fresh blows the breeze over   new ruins.

Flowers with the weeds

are in the seeds in the cracks

that brought down these empires.

Take away the syringe from the brain,

gun from the head,

horror from the eye of the children,

soot without the fire,

pitch without the road,

offer no god's flesh

when the communion is dead.

Tell the young children

the bomb is in the egg,

the bird is explosive,

that the infant is monstrous,

the man born raging.

that cities lie vacant,

winds carry the plague.

In the cracks waits a hope,

waiting for a movement of will.

Turning from that screen,

  from the images, from the wall,

let your small hands, as the tendrils,

reach for the sun.

Listen within you,

there's silence, there's music,

Look now.     Life's done.   and again begun.


matriotism - love of all my countries

This is the land I was born in, grey-leafed and grand,

These are my sunny skies over the red sand,

and the canyons dropping down from the strewn plain.

I love this land where the dust swirls in the rain.

This is the land that I lived in, hills with green leas,

among islands interlaced with the deep seas,

I would live and die for my country of summer trees.

This is the land I have come from, with spice in the street,

and singing with drums where the rivers meet,

my pulse beats with them, and the rhythms sway

to a northern marsh where only the reed pipes play.

These are the great cities that gave the earth light,

These are the lands that are my birth-right,

This is my earth, and yours, it is rich it is dear.
What bomb may yet fall on you, what spreading death I fear.


God of our fathers in the past
Lord of their far-flung battle-line
Beneath whose awful hand we lost
Dominion over palm and pine -
Those warnings that we heeded not,
Have we forgot, have we forgot?

Far-called our bombers melt away,
On towns and jungles falls the fire,
Lo, all our wealth of yesterday
Is burnt with Troy and sunk at Tyre.
Lord God of ghosts that squander yet,
God of the lost, lest we forget.

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In missile tube and atom shard,
All craven dust that poisons dust
And guarding ruins what they guard,
For murdering boast and deadly word,
Not mercy as we give mercy, Lord.

Earth cannot pay our awful price,
Captains and commissars depart,
Alone a long-past sacrifice
calls still for our contrite heart.
Lord God of hosts, remind us yet,
God of the lost, lest we forget.