Poem: Family War Song


A son has just been born to me
but I am in Afghanistan,
when I was born my father fought
the Viet-Cong in Vietnam.
My grandpa blazed Kokoda’s trail
and stalled the ruthless Japanese,
his father fell in World War I;
a martyr in the Pyrenees.
His father fought the Afrikaans,
I think in 1899,
his father stopped the Chinese throngs
from claiming gold in Daylesford’s mines.
We first came to Van Diemen’s Land
way back in 1834,
our forebear stole a block of cheese
and thus was shipped to southern shores.
I’ll teach my son to hate them all:
the Taliban, the Japanese,
the Viet-Cong, the Afrikaans,
and cripes, to hate the smell of cheese.