[Poem] Ghostly Galleon, by John Eppel


A ghostly galleon plies the seas
that give and take, build and break
on Africa’s ex-colonies:
on Mozambique, Namibia,
(sometimes mild and sometimes wild),
Angola and South Africa.

Bang, bang, bang, the An Yue Jiang
is looking for a port,
but workers on the Durban docks
said, “Nothing of the sort!

“Take your AKs somewhere else,
your mortars and grenades;
they’ll use those bullets on working folk,
boys with dreadlocks and girls with braids,
waiters, vendors, gardeners, maids,
labourers with picks and spades,
farmers dragging the oxen’s yoke.”

There is a ghostly galleon
that plies the southern seas;
it carries death for working folk:
cannons and RPGs.

It tried to dock in Durban
to drop its deadly load,
but the Durban Dockers’ Union
upheld the workers’ code.

Well it’s a bang, bang, bang, the An Yue Jiang
Is sailing round the Cape
with toys for the Boys that make a loud noise,
that kill and maim and rape.

Salute the Durban Dockers
salute those workers bold:
they saved a thousand comrades
from misery untold.
They saved a thousand comrades,
but only for a day:
the ghostly galleon will be back —
terror is here to stay.

(c) John Eppel, 2008

About the author

John Eppel is an award-winning poet, novelist and short story writer. His books include the novels, D.G.G. Berry’s The Great North Road ( Carrefour-Hippogriff, 1992); Hatchings (Carrefour, 1993) and The Giraffe Man (Queillerie, 1994). His latest novel, The English Teacher (extract) is due out shortly from amaBooks.

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