Kokoda

They may be history but sacrifices should never be forgotten


 

They came in force that late July, the Chocos stood alone

Against the storm that swept our way, nothing could be done

Though made them pay for every step, no matter what we did

Our defensive line was blown away, like leaves before the wind

Amid smoke and flames the bullets sang, the air was filled with lead

And mates just fell on every side, the wounded among the dead

Retreating was our only choice, with what was on our back

We headed for the only route, the dreaded Kokoda track

Though track by name this torturous path, meandered across the isle

Up mountain side and valley floor, through jungle dark and vile

We battled lice and flies and mud, upon this rugged track,

The force of nature in our face and enemies at our back

Short on ammo, short on food, short on all supplies,

We fought to keep one step ahead, we fought to stay alive

We fought the mountain, fought the weather, fought the Japanese

Fought every rock and mud filled hole, teaming with disease

We fought by day and then by night, we fought with hands rubbed raw

We fought till every bullet spent and then we fought some more

Our injured tried to struggle on, even help a mate or two

Then Fuzzy Wuzzy’s joined the track to carry wounded through

Regardless of the rain or mud, regardless of the toll

These natives saved our mates for sure, I say God bless them all

Our clothes were rotting on our backs, our boots just fell apart

We looked a ragged sorry mess from way back at the start

We stopped a while at Ioribaiwa and dug in deep and sound

But not for long, we had to move, we couldn’t hold this ground

Though ragged troop we may have been our will was ever strong

Determined to halt the jap advance, now in reach of Moresby town

So we fell back to Imita Ridge and stopped just one last time

This was it our last reserve, our last defensive line

The Japs now sat on Ioribaiwa, they thought that they had won,

But  it was time to turn the tables on the land of Rising Sun

Our artillery now gave them hell, then we moved into attack

We hit them hard from every side, t’was time to pay them back

We came at them along the track, the fighting man to man

Retook the strongpoints one by one, then watched them as they ran

Then retreat they did and kept on going, right back along the way

Their invasion force had failed for sure, the Chocos had the day

No more retreat, time to advance, drive them into the sea

And record the infamous Kokoda Track, to its place in history

 

 

The Mission

Everyone yearns for it, thousands have actively searched for it but will you be happy when you find it?

—-

“The 23rd November 2019, there is not one among us who can forget the events of that day, not one who cannot remember the world as it was before the Event happened. This was the day that the earths’ orbit allowed it to enter the gas cloud passing through our solar system, the day hysteria gripped the planet, the day every man, woman and child on the planet became immortal, invulnerable and totally sterile.

There were those who believed it would burn away the atmosphere, those who declared it to be judgement day and those who hid in their shelters and prayed for it to pass, whatever the belief there were mass suicides, oh those fools, if only they had waited.

At first the air changed colour to a deep red and was electrically charged with constantly sparkling lights, this lasted all day and all through the night then we were out of the cloud and the sun rose next morning as though nothing had happened.

But something had happened hadn’t it, we didn’t know it at the time but within us we’d changed, and only us, like we’d been selected, like the cloud had been programmed for human DNA only, as no other life form on the planet was affected.

It didn’t take long for the various consequences of the cloud to be widely known, wars around the planet gradually slowed down then stopped altogether as warring factions realised that you can’t intimidate someone who can’t be hurt, can’t be shot and certainly can’t die. Hospital A&E department intakes stopped then strange enough all the sick people began to recover and gradually left hospital regardless of their previous illness, hospitals closed down and doctors tried to find other professions, after all what good is an organisation set up to cure people when those people no longer get sick.

The laws and people changed, many accepted their fate and looked forward to the opportunity to do everything they ‘d dreamed of, some rejoiced and others rebelled in anger against their neighbours or their gods but the end result was the same, time after all heals everything.

The list of changes goes on but the primary one  was that of sterility, the population of the planet would never increase and as no-one could die it wouldn’t decrease either, we were stuck in limbo.

There are some among you who no doubt think that this limbo status is a good thing, well tell that to the youngsters who were ready for a family and can never have one, babies who will never grow up, to young children who are permanently stuck in that mould and to very old men who do not want to live any longer but have no choice. World governments are working their way around some of these problems but logically there was only one way to solve this.”

The captain raised his posture on the podium and looked into the sea of expectant faces now hanging on his every word. “So here we are, 250 years after Event day and the reason for our mission, we are on board the fastest spaceship ever designed by man and jammed full of the brightest scientists on the planet. Our job is simple, we are in search of that cloud and when we find it you will analyse its structure and discover how it works. Once we understand that we are on a step to reversing the process, in short finding a cure for those that want it. We can return to an Earth where the children can grow up and old men who have had enough of life can die.

This may seem like an impossible dream but believe me we will find it, the future of mankind depends upon it. Fast as this ship is even now version 2 is on the drawing boards that will easily catch us up once completed so we can transfer and continue the search, the end is in sight everyone, after all we have all the time in the world to reach it.”


 

Fire Bug

So where’s the justice when everyone and everything else pays the price?

—-

The heat rolled upon them as a wave to smash and drown the valiant team
To end this battle at a blow and to an onlooker so it seemed
But through the clouds of swirling smoke, through the flames and roaring fire
Through this vision of Dante’s hell stepped the  valiant firefighter
Screaming inferno all around, still he stands his firehose spraying
Burnt trees crashing to the ground, while in his mind he’s silently praying
The wind is changing getting stronger, burning embers fill the air
Raining down behind them now, starting new fires everywhere
Never seen a fire like this, Never seen one move so fast
Never fought so hard a foe, Never thought this day his last
All day his team had fought this fire using every trick they knew
Every engine pumped out water while in the skies the aircraft flew
Water bombers struck the heart, drenched the core held its advance
But down below the crews fought on, victims in this deadly dance
Mile after mile of burnt out land, Mile after mile the wildlife ran
Mile after mile of gutted farms, Mile after mile still fighting man
They feel the heat upon their face, they feel their bodies running wet
They feel the tiredness in their limbs, they feel their minds determined yet
So into the fire this burning hell, forcing the flame wall ever back
Cutting fire breaks in the land, hoping they’d protect their back
He knew his team would not back down, knew they’d fight it till the end
Just as they had each year before, and sometimes they would lose a friend
But that’s the price they’d often paid, they’d fight until the battles won
They knew these fires and knew their source, it was just some firebug having fun

—-

 

 

Don’t Panic

Panic is the killer, once you lose your mind you lose everything!

—-

Dark, why is it so dark, can’t see a thing, not even my hand, even up close, am I blind?
Don’t panic, think, oh my head, hurts worse than any hangover, and my left arm, feels dead, numb, can’t move it, may be broken for all I know, but my head hurts, right arms stiff and my head feels wet, sticky, could be blood, what happened?. What the hell’s going on?, Oh God now I remember, the flash of light, and the noise, then being swept off my feet, then nothing, till now.
I’m in the tunnel, I’m still 400ft underground, now I remember, could think clearer if my head didn’t hurt so much, but I remember. On my way to the rock face, quite a hike down this tunnel, stopped for a drink, that’s it, just about to drink when bam, all the lights went out, wonder how long I’ve been out, could do with that drink now, feels like half the mountain in my mouth, dry but salty, must have cut my mouth somehow, wish there was a light so I can see what’s going on, maybe not though, maybe I’m better off not seeing what a mess I’m in, wonder how long ago it was, could have been hours or seconds, no way to know.
My watch, maybe I could see my watch, the dials luminous, still can’t move my left arm, going to have to twist round, Oh God that hurts, must have bruised some ribs also, or broken them more likely, still can’t see the watch though, one more try, yes a glimmer, can’t see the time but at least now I know that I’m not blind, and that I’ve still got a left arm, good news comes a little at a time.
Could do with a drink, too much dust in the air, can’t have been too long ago or it would have settled, still time for those up top to realise what’s happened, probably working their way down now, be out of here soon, they must have heard the bang, Oh God hurry.
Calm down, don’t panic, don’t panic (now where have I heard that phrase before) easier to say than to do, easy to say on the surface, in the daylight, with the wind and the sun, not so easy down here hurting in the dark and the dust, not knowing if I’m ever getting out.
Can I move my legs?, yes just, left leg seems to be in the rubble but not broken thank God, rights OK, just kick them loose and I’ll soon feel better, could be worse, If I hadn’t stopped for the drink I’d have been further down the tunnel, closer to the blast, probably in pieces now like those poor sods down on the rock face, if that’s where the blast came from they didn’t stand a chance, probably never knew about it, instantaneous, can here the coroner now, death was instantaneous, they never felt a thing, not like me eh, smashed up against the wall with God knows how much fallen rock around me, some bones broken and who knows what inside, just lying here waiting to die if no-one comes, won’t be instantaneous for me will it, still at least I have a chance, better than those other poor sods eh, better to have a chance, won’t know who was luckier till the time comes will I, Oh my head hurts.
Don’t sleep, nearly fell asleep there, shouldn’t do that, might not wake up next time, keep awake, need to listen for the rescue, need to know when they’re coming, don’t want them to miss me when they come, don’t want them to dig past me while I’m asleep, won’t be expecting me in the tunnel, should have made it to the rock face, If I hadn’t stopped for a rest and that drink!!
Maybe they’ll think everyone’s dead, maybe they’ll think that no-one could have survived and it’s not worth digging out the bodies, what’s left of them, read about it once, big explosion in a mine in South Africa, didn’t dig them out, just sealed the mine and left them in there, too dangerous to dig them out, no-one could have survived anyway. Oh God, that panic again, they won’t do that, I’ve got friends up there, people who need me, GET ME OUT, HEEEELP !!!!!
So tired, feel I should sleep, my head still hurts, can feel the blood trickling down my face, need a drink, throat is so dry, nearly had a drink before the bang, just about to swallow when wham the light went out, could do with it now. Wait. I had it then, where is it now, can’t be too far away, I mean it was in my hand when it happened, why can’t it still be here, nothing just rubble within reach, hunt further it must be.. YES, a strap, could be the bottle, must pull it loose, at last the bottle, can here it sloshing, still some in then, yes a little, wait, must sip it slowly make it last, can’t be more than a cupful in all, but enough eh, better than I could have dreamed about a few minutes ago.
Better, I feel a little better, amazing how we miss the little things, ouch my chest hurts, must have broken a few ribs after all, damn lucky though, could have been worse, much worse.
It’s so quiet, never realised how quiet it could be, can’t hear any digging or calling either, don’t worry, they’ll soon be here, nothing to panic about just yet, can’t get out of here on my own though, that’s for certain, probably most of the mountain in this tunnel, wish I had that light now, at least I could see then, try and work something out, at least I’ve never been afraid of the dark thank goodness, maybe not till now, GET ME OUT OF HERE !!
I dozed off, how long was I asleep, remember the safety lectures, don’t sleep with head wound, can’t be helped though, I’m so tired, chest still hurts, head is throbbing, but at least the blood flow seems to have stopped, must have been superficial, hope so anyway, got to keep awake this time, sing some songs, that’s what they do in the movies, can’t sing in this dust, throat is dry enough as it is, I’ll use up the air quicker, AIR, never thought about the air till now, is that why I’m feeling sleepy, is the air running out?, am I going to suffocate before I die of hyperthermia, there’s justice for you, survive the blast and choke to death, don’t be stupid, been here ages, seems like ages anyway, air is no worse than before, got to relax, got to take it easy or I’ll never make it, PLEASE COME !!
Funny how fate lends a hand, survived the blast because of a drink, shouldn’t have been here anyway, should have been at home with the wife and kids, offered to do an extra shift, why this shift?, why me?, need the money, wish I’d stayed at home now, then this would have been an empty tunnel and I’d have been up top thinking of the poor sods trapped down here and joining the team to come down and dig them out, instead fate put me here, wonder how the wife is taking it, they’ve probably told her by now that I’m down here, probably dead, she must be worried sick, ironic, her money worries will be over if I die down here, still there should be some compensation when I get out here, If I get out of here.
Where’s that watch, maybe I can see it now, even the glow of the watch is better than being alone down here in the dark, can just about reach across with my right now, my left arm feels a mess glad It’s still numb, must have been smashed up pretty bad, the jacket sleeve feels wet, wonder if I’m still losing blood, just one more nail in the coffin right, one more thing to worry about, maybe I should pull the arm closer, feels strange sticking out at that angle, now I think about it it’s no wonder I couldn’t see the watch, hope they get me out of here before the numbness wears off, I’ve a feeling that I’m going to start screaming when that happens, there that should be more comfortable, I hope, now where’s that watch, got it, glowing well this watch, remember why I got it now, cost a packet but worth it the guy in the shop said, extra strong, won’t let you down, need something a bit stronger in your line of work, cheap ones will pack up in no time but this beauty will go right on working, he was right, can hear it ticking now, what a great sound, packed with gadgets too, never need half of them, can tell the time the other side of the world and will work at 100 meters below sea level, never wanted to try and find out if he was joking or not, but it still works 400 feet down a mine shaft, and after an explosion, must call in and see the salesman in that little shop when I get out of here, if I get out of here, and the glow, can just make out the time, 3.47, came down at 2, only an hour and three quarters, can’t be right, seems like much longer, seems like forever, look through the sweat, yes its right, could be morning though, makes it nearly 14 hours, that’s more like it, but if that’s true then where are they, where are the rescue party, shouldn’t take them this long, not to go just down the shaft and along the tunnel, should it?, if they can get along the tunnel, if they can get down the shaft, what if the shaft is blocked?, what if the lifting gear is broken?, what if?, I’m off again, letting my worries play on my mind, never survive this way, concentrate on what you know, let the rescue party do the worrying, nice to see the glow though, and listen to its ticking, makes a good companion in the darkness, nice to have a friend down here with me, nice to know I’m not alone, so tired though, ever so tired.
Brightness, why is it so bright, can see it glaring through my eyelids, burning into my skull and the noise, where am I?, I can hear, “he’s coming round nurse, better call his wife”, a nurse. I’m in a hospital, or I’m dreaming, no this is real, I’m out of the mine, they did come, I missed them but they did come, must have been unconscious again, a miracle but they have found me, Oh I ache, not the dull pain of the mine but a kind of glowing ache, must be pumped full of drugs, that’s it, eyelids open, there’s a doctor, and tubes, so many tubes, and that beeping noise, so many machines, and my wife rushing in, tears, joy, we thought we’d lost you, the rescue team wouldn’t give up, you were the only one they found alive, they were certain they’d find someone, they were in the tunnel within a couple of hours, the roof was down in places but the damage was at the rock face, no-one survived there, nearly missed you among the rubble in the tunnel, didn’t expect to find anyone there, would have too if your watch alarm hadn’t gone off, set for 4 o’clock break as normal, best thing you’ve ever bought.

—-

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Just Another Emergency

So who (or what) is more reliable, the machine doing the job or the machine monitoring the machine?

—-
I recalled an article somewhere that stated that time seems to slow down at the moment that you see your death approaching giving you all the time in the world to study and accept the event without any means to avoid it. I often wondered how the author managed to survive the encounter to write about it. Looking at the forward observation scanner however made me understand what the author was talking about, that bright point of light ahead was growing brighter with every passing minute, my plotted course was currently locked and regardless of what I asked the NavComm to do we were heading straight for that sun.
For two hours now I had been arguing with the NavComm since the central computer (preferred name CC) had alerted me to the problem but it stubbornly refused to admit that there was anything wrong, that it was right on course and that there was no need for any deviation. No need?, if I had any hair then I would pull it out, a dirty great nuclear ball of burning gas in our path to me identifies a need but the NavComm disagrees and that’s the end of the matter. Of course CC had sent out a distress call but the nearest ship would arrive some hours too late to be of any help, we’d be a large cloud of radioactive particles by then so I had been woken and as the only one on the flight deck it was up to me to sort this out.
It was obvious that the NavComm had malfunctioned, had it been an earlier model I could have switched it off and guided the ship manually out of the danger but with the improvements in AI technology and the long flight times to these outer stars these generation NavComms were considered safe to be left alone, hence no off key, no memory to reboot, no access to the system buried deep in the ship somewhere.
In desperation I turned to CC for guidance, he (it) ran the rest of the ship after all and whereas he couldn’t navigate he might be able to fix the problem.
“So you agree there’s a problem CC”,
“Yes, otherwise I wouldn’t have woken you”
“So how can I fix the NavComm?”
“You can’t, It wasn’t designed to be tampered with in space, though I know where its module is you wouldn’t be able to access it and of course there are no spare parts available anyway”
“So how do we fix it?”
“There is no fix as such, I’ve made contact with it and it doesn’t believe there is a problem”
“But you do right, if you can contact it can you download its star charts and then cut its power supply?”
“No problem but I can’t navigate, my systems are not designed for it”
“That’s OK, I’ll do the navigating manually, you can show me the charts as I need them, after all it’s only another 76 years till destination, there’s no need to put me back into sleep mode.”
As an artificial Intelligence myself I wasn’t supposed to show relief as the NavComm shut down and I guided the ship away from the sun but I didn’t like the thought of my android body being vaporised even though my central program was safely back on Terra.
As for the passengers they won’t even know that there was a problem and can sleep on, things will be a little more interesting with just myself and CC around for a while.
—-
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Invisible

There are those who look and cannot see and those who don’t look at all!

—-

Hello, I’m here

Why do you walk right past

Why don’t you take the time to stop

And view whose in your path

Hello, look round

Just look me in the eye

Just accept the fact I’m lying here

How reluctantly you try

Hello, I’m real

You can’t ignore me too

You must accept I’m in your world

Not invisible to you

Hello, goodbye

I’m alone now once again

I’m cast aside by everyone

They do not feel my pain

Hello, I’m lost

Another forgotten soul

Another homeless wanderer

Transparent as a ghoul

Hello…..

—-

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A Night on the Wall

When the situation looks black you have to have confidence in your friends!

—-

They came upon us in the rain that dark and wintry night

Their swords reflected in the flames their spear points glistening bright

Our posted sentries stood no chance as arrows found their mark

Before they had a chance to call they were cut down in the dark

And down into the camp they came upon their sleeping prey

Though little groups tried to stand the tide swept them away

Those still alive just grabbed a weapon and looked for some way out

While all around the cries and screams increased the fear and doubt

That any would survive this night so sudden came the foe

No one in charge to organise, nowhere left to go

Then through the panic and the flames trumpets split the air

To bring the legion into line dispelling all despair

As rank on rank of armoured troops advanced across the ground

To crash into the enemy force their discipline so profound

That survivors joined in on the flanks to swell the defensive line

To halt the enemy in their tracks and give their comrades time

And unbelieving as it sounds the attacking force was halted

Then thrown back, then ran away as their impetus faulted

When morning came the cost was clear both sides had suffered hell

The bodies littered all around lying where they fell

The legionnaires veteran soldiers all had trained hard for such a fight

But all still thanked their respective gods for surviving another night

Such attacks were common now as Rome’s power began to fall

But duty and honour still prevailed for these soldiers on the wall

—-

The River of Time

No matter what we do we can’t stop it only move with the flow!

—-

Count the seconds one by one

Feel the minutes fly

Listen to the drips of time

Of the river flowing by

Sense your days are in full flood

As your race along its course

Watch the present sliding past

Forever gone for good

Sometimes it seems the racing current

Has slowed down to almost still

Whilst other days pass in a blur

The years flow by at will

You try all day to stay afloat

You fight each twist and bend

But once caught in the rivers grasp

There’s only certain end

There’s no swimming back upstream

The flow is far too fast

It only leads on to the future

No returning to the past

The river flows till end of time

All caught up in its flow

Some in front and some behind

Till each is sucked below

—-

Do I love you?

Don’t tell me you’ve never asked yourself the question!

—-

Do I love you?

Seems an awkward question this late in life

It’s a lifetime since you became my wife

We’ve faced the good times and the strife

Why do I love you?

It hurts me when you’re far away

I hate it when you’re not home to stay

I’ve never felt any other way

Then do I love you?

I look at others all around

See them seeking what I have found

You’d think I’d be standing on solid ground

But do I love you?

We’ve stood together side by side

Faced the dangers didn’t hide

Protected each other never lied

How do I love you?

You’ve been the only one for me

You fill my life with certainty

I’ve never wanted to be free

Now do I love you?

When you talk about me I stand tall

I’ve ignored the other sirens call

Never needed another not at all

So do I love you?

I guess I do

Now I wonder if you love me too

—-

Don’t Think

Its never our fault the things we do or that things go wrong for us, someone else always causes it don’t they?

—-

Don’t think too long just do it

Whispered the voice within my brain

I know that you can hear me

Don’t think you’re going insane

I’m always there to help you

To be your guiding light

To give direction through the day

And control your dreams at night

To take away your choices

And bring your will in line

To make you feel the decisions yours

When really it’s all mine

There’s no one else now is there

To lend a helping hand

To push you when you need it

To help you make a stand

The world is all against you

It’s time to fight them back

Bring the rebel to the front

Go on the attack

You’ll teach them to ignore you

They’ll take notice of you here

You’ll show them who’s in charge now

Quick look, the coast is clear

So just take out that paint can

It’ll bring you instant fame

You know you really want to

Go on, just spray your name

—-