Wednesday, 3 May 2017

White Slavery by Grant Harbison

So I stole a bit of bread
And the authorities were sayin’…”Hang him till he’s dead!”
It was just a piece and I didn’t need more
I even gave the crust to a needy whore
But mercy was absent on English shore
Their words filled me with dread
I was still a young man and didn’t want to be dead
My punishment was the whip
And then ripped from my family and put on a ship
God, Almighty. No more would I see them or go back to Blighty
Well, that was their way
Us lowers classes didn’t have a say
No say in it
The attitude of the upper class was really quite shit
We arrived
Not many survived
I was angry but I knew that I had to behave
 “You are now in Australia,” they told us when we arrived. “And you’ll be here until your grave!”
It might have had warm and sunny weather
But conditions drove us all to the end of our tether
And just men
Ship loads of them coming again and again
I needed to see a woman
This bloody punishment was completely Inhuman
And then I saw her at the end of the strand
The way that she was gesturing suggested command
Making sure no one was watching me
I wandered up the beach to see
We struggled a bit with communication
But the act of love needs no interpretation
I saw her every now and then
But I never breathed a word to the other men
Because in a land where there’s no escape
Even the good man might consider rape 

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