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Mike Subritzky


Te Awamutu, Waikato, NZ

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South Pole Station


Mike Subritzky

One day at the South Pole a plane touched down,
And I got out and I stood on the ground.

And all around me the earth was still,
Not a bird in the sky, not a tree, or a hill.

Just bright white snow that was frozen and cold,
and a radio mast! and a barber shop pole!

Spirit of ANZAC


Mike Subritzky

They clad us in the colours of the forest,
and armed us with the weapons made for war.
Then taught to us the ancient trade of killing,
and led us to the sound of battles roar.

So give us comfort as we lay down bleeding,
and pray upon our cold and stiffened dead.
But mark our place that we might be accounted,
this foreign soil becomes our graven bed.

Now children place upon this stone a garland,
and learn of us each Anzac Day at dawn.
We are New Zealand's dead from distant conflict,
our sacrifice remembered ever more.

Kiwi Peacekeepers


Mike Subritzky

There's death all around me, there's death in the air,
I can smell it and feel it - and I know now the fear.
The road could be mined, or an ambush await,
it may be the end - our appointment with fate.

The escorts have left us, we're now on our own,
I'm as frightened as hell - and we're all so alone.
Our armour is moving, we're leaving the town,
Rhodesians are waving, yelling - "Keep your heads down!"

I look at the Gunner, his face is all drawn,
his machine gun is loaded - and the safety catch on.
We drive through the war zone, on dirt roads blood red,
past African kraals - with children unfed.

Expecting a tank mine, or bullet to tell,
or a Russian made rocket - to take us to hell.
At Assembly Place "Lima", the site of an old kraal,
we finally halt - and put our backs to the wall.

Raise the stars of our Nation, raise the Brit's Union Jack,
put the dread right behind us - for there's no turning back.
Not there for the fighting, not there for the fall,
we are the friend of no one - and the enemy of all.
...We are the Peacekeepers.

The Last Anzac


Mike Subritzky

They buried Doug Dibley today,
a fine old gentleman who died in his sleep,
at Rotorua on a hot December afternoon.
No warriors death for him on Walkers Ridge,
where the poppies fed on the blood and frozen dreams;
of good young men from Wellington.

A days leave and a seven year old son at my side,
we bore witness as six tall infantrymen in service dress,
raised him high from the gun carriage,
and quietly marched his flag draped casket to eternal rest;
among the trees and hills of his beloved Ngongotaha.

Volleys fired and mournful bugles call,
we shall not see his like again,
no more grow old as yet no more remain,
with living memory of that time,
when machine gun and bayonet did their awful work,
and Anzac boys closed with desperate Turk,
among the gullies and crumbling ridges;
of a foreign coast that was Gallipoli.

Remember this day my son,
remember this hour and this place,
for here and now they bury this nation's last lament,
to a time of King and Empire.
And the poppies on the ridges grow,
and the scrub thorn in the valleys thrive,
and the memory of young mates who died;
we sod this day with Trooper Dibley.

A Cigarette Comrade


Mike Subritzky

A cigarette comrade -
before I die
my face is torn
and my eyes are gone
but if you hold it to my lips
I can still draw the flame.

It matters not comrade -
that we are foe
I'm comfortable here
in your hospital tent
quietly bleeding into the dirt below.

Forgive me comrade -
if I call my mothers name
but it's so lonely here
on your hospital floor
and it helps me with the pain.

You weep for me comrade -
please don't be sad
the cowbells sound
I hear the doves
it is a good day for my life to end.

The butt is sodden comrade -
and I leave you now
goodbye my friend
until we meet again
far, far away from this African hell.

Sarajevo Haiku


Mike Subritzky

Shape moved before me
Foresight laid central to mass
Pull trigger, girl fell.

Dead Girl's Tanka:

You robbed me of life this day,
My parents will always mourn.

(In Memory: Sarajevo Siege 1992 - 1995)

bird of a single flight


Mike Subritzky

bird of a single flight

we met only once,
it was that morning
but i will never forget you,
your life is part of mine now
and i will always remember.

you wore a white blouse,
so very bright in the morning
whilst i was unshaven
and in my dressing gown.

you had become the kotuku,
that beautiful bird
of a single flight
whilst i was earth bound
and became your epitaph.

it was early,
and i had woken
from that same old
dream of africa
the machine guns,
the blood,
and the angry black faces.

i remember the way your hair,
billowed in the wind,
and as i watched you fall
i began to bless myself
in the old way
'In nomine Patri, et Filio'...
and pray that when your journey
God would hold your soul
in the palm of his hand.

(In Memory of all who died that day 11 September 2001)
Kotuku - A New Zealand native heron, which is pure white. It is regarded as the magical 'Bird of a Single Flight', and symbolises everything rare and beautiful. Ancient Maori believed that if a Kotuku was ever sighted it heralded the death of a Great Chief. It was said that Kotuku is an inhabitant of the other world, the spirit land of Reinga.