memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

Archive for July 21, 2012

Sweeting’s island

Captain Sweeting RN

Long since dead

Discovered an island

Whose people had existed

In harmony with nature,

Living in rhythm with the seasons,

Innocent and undisturbed,

Unpolluted with new ideas,

Uninfected with disease,

For ten thousand years.

Until Captain Sweeting arrived

In his little wooden warship.

Paused long enough to water,

Load the ship with fruit

And fresh vegetables,

Plant the Union Jack on a hill,

Update the admiralty charts

Before sailing away again

Into the great blue yonder.

Time enough for his men

To plant other seeds

In fecund wombs

Syphilis, plague and

The common cold.

I guess they were all OK

Before Captain Sweeting RN

Took care of them with his

Voyage of discovery.

The population of that island

Which had lain undisturbed

Since time immemorial

Was wiped out in a generation

And the rest is silence.

PLAGUE VICTIMS

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