He touched the medals tenderly, the ribbon colours sublime,
The case of burnished velvet, the soft attractive shine,
He touched the medals tenderly, an Uncle’s Great War “shrine”.
Posthumously given for courage, in “closing a gap in the line”.
In closing a gap in the line he died, in mud, gore and slime.
It was for these tokens of honour, he marched, to fill a gap in the line.
With Union men, many of them with those medals he’d proudly stride.
Union men, many of them and a title his Uncle wore with pride.
Himself, a Wharfie, born and bred, right down the family line,
His Uncle too, t’was always said, could lump a hundred-weight a time,
Bagged sugar, sticky with sweat, soaking wet, at eighty tons an hour,
The men would lug from those cargo holds with no break for tucker.
In the Summer strike of ’98 they marched for conditions fair,
When “Patrick” crawled to Howard’s Government to send the coppers there.
Along with the Farmer mercenaries trained by the covert ; “Sandline”
They sought to break the strikers…to break through a gap in the line.
In the middle of the night they sent in the thugs, the scabs and the dogs,
It was hard to tell which was which among the slavering, crawling hogs.
And deals were made and rights were trade between the ruling class,
That left the strikers on their own to hold the line tight to the last.
Howard set the dogs on the men and the women and children in kind,
Reith, the crawling bastard, banked the scabs through a mercenary company; “Sandline”,
And the Journalist sucks and the Murdoch hacks lent their honour to that shameful crew,
And wrote of “overpaid wharfie bludgers” when of sweat and blood they NEVER knew.
And he saw the look in the breaker’s eyes, he saw the hate confined,
So clasping tight, holding the next striker’s arms with all his might,
He called and bellowed fit to wake in fright..:”Hold boys, Hold!”
“ Hold my bastard boys!…we’ll not let them force a gap in the line!”
There comes a time in everyone’s heart, where honour and justice combine,
We must choose which side we’re marching on..what a sense of honour defines.
Would his Uncle have him march for nought, but just a place in a line,
Or should he honour best his Uncle’s pride with his class aligned.
Today he touches those medals tenderly, with a habit long refined,
But he’ll not march on Anzac Day…not while those Tory scabs declaim,
No..there’ll be a space where he held his place with the others marching time,
And owed in respect for his Uncle’s indebt’..they’ll now see clearly outlined,
That in the place of his marching space…there’ll be a gap in the line.
There’ll be a gap in the line my fellows…there’ll be a gap in the line.
Owed in respect to an Uncle’s indebt’…Today there’s a gap in the line.