Union Songs

three poems by Jim Sharp©Jim Sharp

waving on the breeze

'tis may day ... the workers day!
the year nineteen ninety eight
bringing ten thousand to Brisbane's street's
twenty thousand dancing marching feet.

colours rallying at Albert park, for confab joy & tears
many varied flags waving on the breeze
the red alert, any number of Eureka's tru blu
& a zillion stylized union southern stars.

any old hoi polloi artist
portraying that amphitheatre
could well 'ave excelled Claude Monet's 1878
"The Rue Saint-Denis" Paris streetscape canvas.

'cause those workers on the hillside
were shaking off their torpor!
they had dared to fight!
they had dared to win!
they had dared to show some will!

it could 'ave been a dream we had
it could 'ave been we were going insane
'cause a six pack we scored!
from the full bench today!

O! how the workers yelled,
O! how we hugged & cried
O! how we loved this day
'cause 'neath a noon red sun
we've cracked the "power" of our despair.

down the roadway

as the autumn moon casts its shadows
shady legal & civil storm troopers
furtively navigate brisbane's river.

and born is a new industrial tradition
wi' chemical sprays, primed savage dogs
& union bustin' armed thugs... 'ave g/day!

"all hail!" little johnny Hit-Liar, & his
shady conspirators ... al corrigan speers,
joe reith goebbels... 'stralia's imperial fascists.

jack-bootin' it all o'er this country
creatin', worker against worker competition
wi' the world's best nose-dive wage practice.

O comrades! come shake off our torpor
we're on the edge of chaos & preggers
wi' an immanently complex creativity

and wedded to a life & death struggle
so! light our candles
'tis labor against capital ...
down the roadway


Alfred Speers organized the Nazi slave-labor.
Josef Goebbels was the minister for lies.
Winston Churhill was a Tory minister, who sent the troops in;
against striking Welsh miners in the 1920's.
Adolph Hitler the fascist leader of Germany.
Boozh-wah the capitalists.
Apparatchik agent.]

while youse can!

look deeply into those cold-blooded eyes
of alfred corrigan speers.

look deeply into those cruel eyes
of josef reith goebbels.

look deeply into those brutal eyes,
of winston howard hit-Liar.

look deeply into those apparatchik eyes
parrotin' words for shady men in grey.

while youse can!

look deeply into their eyes
'cause their class justice is blind.

look intensely into their eyes
'cause they're boozh-wah warriors
loathin' our social & humane soul.

look profoundly into their eyes
eyes of brain-dead bean counters
worshippin' at the stock exchange altar.

look wisely into their eyes
& take the appropriate action...
where youse can!


Many thanks to Jim Sharp for permission to add this poem to the Union Songs collection.

Waving in the Breeze was written after the high court victory for the MUA in the Patrick Dispute in 1998

Jim writes:
"Here's the mua poems I'd promised to send. 'waving on the breeze' is a
finished one. it came out of brizzie's may day march, which we have in qld
on the first monday of may. the day we won 6to1 a six pack! you shud have
heard the roar of 10,000 voices as we cracked the power of our despair."

Return to top of page