CANBERRA poet John Paynter is moved to political commentary with a piece he calls “Capital Punishment”.
A Canadian, John has lived in Australia since 1972. He taught psychology at Sydney University for eight years and it was there he met Mary Ann (“my soulmate”). She died in April, 2016, and is featured in the poem.
I’m scared she says shiny and clear;
in her blue eyes, a single tear
rolls down her cheek as they arrive …
the icebergs, seeing if she’s alive –
shine pencil lights, they all collide
to see the agony inside.
We need more scans, the icebergs shout;
The boatman comes and sails her out.
An angel who is dressed in blue
races past and yells hey you!
She needs her drug to actuate
but she has come too late.
The scans are done amid great pain
the icebergs frosty – … all in vain
Your wife is dying, nought we can do.
She will suffer,
so will you.
(Your cat and dog can die in peace –
One green injection, sweet release …
They leave pain-free, with dignity.
It makes me think of my sweet cat,
the one who died while in my lap,
The kindly face of vets while sad.
ensured my pal went while still glad
to be with me and purring sweet …
Instantly he is asleep.)
And then the ones who deal the death,
who come to take away her breath
with eyes as dark as any night –
and with no feeling for her plight
take away her saline drip …
a rule imposed by vicarship.
In a country ruled by fear
(secularity is not here)
the black-eyed icebergs cowards all –
bow to the serpent’s loathsome call.
My beliefs take precedence –
You can not make your own sense.
I hereby articulate
you do my wishes,
God is great.
And so, my sweet and loving wife
(who never harmed a soul in life)
lies in pain for days on end – …
watched by children, me, and friend.
All are victims of this act –
religious terrorist attack
The blue-robed serpent, shameless brute
blue tie matching his blue suit
whose deity he lets decide
on rules that we cannot abide –
and with him others of his kind
whose humanity is surely blind …
who cling to visions we deride
and cast the public’s votes
And in the place where death has reign
blue angels fight to ease the pain
while victims plead, eyes red with sorrow
For God’s sake! End my life tomorrow!
Why hast though forsaken me?
You’ve stolen our democracy