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Coloured Bows

Tony Smith


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Poem by Nina Murdoch
Music by Tony Smith

AE1 off Rabaul


Just before Christmas 2017, explorers discovered the wreck of the AE1. This submarine was the first vessel lost by the Australian navy in September 1914. It was patrolling waters off the German held territory of New Guinea. The local Tolai people had a legend about a 'devil fish'.

When a group of us put together a CD about voices opposed to or questioning Australia's role in the war of 1914-18 we called it 'Silent Centenary'. Protestors were silenced then as they are now. Even grieving mothers were told they should be proud to have made a sacrifice and that instead of crying they should want to give more sons.
This makes all the more remarkable any attempts to note the horror and waste of the war.

Nina Murdoch was a great poet of the time. Her 'Coloured Bows' describes the way women at the naval base in Sydney wore ribbons to identify with the ships of their loved ones. I set the poem to music and Gene sings it.
The cruisers and destroyers have borne our men away
Perhaps ten thousand miles divide our men from us today
They may be in the North Sea, they may be close at hand
We only know for certain that we wish them safe on land

It’s red for The Australian, the Little Penguin’s blue
It’s white for the Encounter and The Sydney’s purple hue
But it’s black, plain black, if your husband or your son
Sailed out of Sydney on the A E 1.

Oh we’re not afraid of hardship and we’re not the sort to shirk
And if the pay is not enough we’ll simply get more work
And some have gone to service to earn an extra pound
To put towards a cottage or perhaps a piece of ground

It’s red for The Australian, the Little Penguin’s blue
It’s white for the Encounter and The Sydney’s purple hue
But it’s black, plain black, if your husband or your son
Sailed out of Sydney on the A E 1.

So it’s not the fear of struggling with hunger at the door
And it isn’t that we’re lonely, we’ve been through that before
But it breaks a woman’s spirit when there’s trouble with her mate
And for her the helpless knowledge she can only work and wait

It’s red for The Australian, the Little Penguin’s blue
It’s white for the Encounter and The Sydney’s purple hue
But it’s black, plain black, if your husband or your son
Sailed out of Sydney on the A E 1.

inviata da Tony Smith - 21/12/2017 - 21:21


Chissà quanto ci vorrà per trovare il sommergibile argentino scomparso alcune settimane fa?

B.B. - 21/12/2017 - 23:24


Già, c'è voluto di meno per ritrovare Santiago Maldonado. Anche lui sommerso, ma in un fiumiciattolo.

Tutta l'umana pietà per i sommergibilisti. Però non glielo aveva ordinato il dottore di andare a fare il glu glu militare.

A proposito, proprio dall'Argentina arriva questa fotografia:

argepozz


Dos mil comerían por un año con lo que cuesta un minuto militar...

In questo caso, beberían. Salud.

Riccardo Venturi - 22/12/2017 - 00:36


D'accordo con te, Riccardo.

Però penso che bambini costretti a bere alle pozzanghere così come marinai costretti a scendere nelle profondità, inutilmente e per di più su di un sommergibile varato nel 1983 (millenovecentottantatrè), siano entrambe immagini forti di una nazione allo sbando, dove un popolo dovrebbe soltanto spazzare via la propria classe dirigente.

E invece, in Argentina come qui da noi, non succede nulla...

E poi la tragedia dell'ARA San Juan mi riporta alla mente quella dell'ARA General Belgrano, la guerra delle Falklands/Malvinas, i brutti musi dei militari al potere, inetti nella guerra e feroci nel genocidio della propria gente, e mi sale una rabbia da dentro...

Saluzzi

B.B. - 22/12/2017 - 20:42



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