Union Songs

four poems by Jim Sharp©Jim Sharp

'tis a creepin' boozh-wah dictatorship

the roads are lined with the coppers forces
and yet! we must march ahead of our sea change.
why shud we fear walking thru heavy metal?
who says the workers has no thoughtful minds?
how else cud we pierce your tyrannical state?
who says our young ones be class neutral?
'tis "known!" why you shud legislate & incarcerate our leaders
and that our labour regime be nought but! invisible bars,
you can’t add our young ones to your class.
who says that workers have no will to fight?
how else shall we pierce your power-over us?
who says our young ones be class neutral?
'tis "known!" why you shud summon us before the courts
and yet! though you jail us one & all,
we shall in waves refuse your domination.

class instincts

superficial class perceptions begets individualistic cripples
cripples scornful of fella workers who seem such a servile lot
meanwhile capital & labour live within
grasp of one’s up & down reforms
whilst socially conscious tribunes whisper class conceptions
and when without "rhyme or reason"
unforeseen class struggle materialises
a spectre haunts the boozh-wah-zie
"'tis the best of ten rounds & it’s on!"
free human beings flying loose
victory or defeat be our will t will it out.

class kleptomania

some times but only sometimes
I smuggle verse words
acroos the class lines
proletarianising form & content
‘ tis a long tradition
shakespeare, coleridge & brecth.
social renaissance
the new left right felled the marxian tree
pronounced it rotten to its very core
without tinder to kindle, "‘tis the end of history."
and yet! those with a materialist conception of history
emerge to chipped away the rotten periphery &
fashioned the hard core tinder to enkindle a social fire.

we await the day

when our immense darkness
be over come & red embers
fires the dawn
burn, burn,
crackle hearts enlightens
dormant belfry’s


Many thanks to Jim Sharp for permission to add these poems to the Union Songs collection.

Jim writes:
"I worked in the meat industry in England and here from 1947 until 1985. Those last 25 years were on the chain as a boner. In 1985 400 meatworkers were made redundant from the then most modern meatworks in oz at that time, which the bosses closed down never to open again as an example to other meatworkers how far capital was prepared to go to discipline militancy, full stop! We were at the time the most militant meat shed in oz and some of us were blacked listed never to work again.

I've had poems published in anti-war/peace newsletters here in Queensland over the years and one published with a letter in the miners magazine Common Cause called "Moura" about the mid 1990s mining disaster and one in Seeing Red along with an article called "Owd Norm" which was about "shared " union and work experience at Borthwicks meatworks over 15 years"

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