but for that swinging hand of chance

But for the deaf'ning roar
of that thund'ring, clouded scream.
But for his circumstance,
he could have been a good man.

But for that swinging hand of chance.

Between a muddy field of blackened corn rows
that whistled long in the night,
and lean-to sheds all battered and torn,
dissonantly humming the maize's sorry tune;
did he ever stand a chance?

But for the surging rush
of his fathers angry hand.
But for his mother's tears,
his temper may have been placated.

But for those twisting, brutal years.

Out back, behind the dunny block
where Daz had lost his teeth,
and Jenny pressed her warm thigh hard
against his bulging jeans, where hands were hurried;
could he sense the serpents leer?

But for the rough green smoke
that slid 'cross his youthful tongue.
But for the beck'ning deep
he may have had a sane mind.

But for the peace that left him in his sleep.

Out front, above the red brick wall
that boasted his towns population,
he held his fist to the sky and screamed
aloud, his salt filled tears dropped metres to the dirt;
"Screw the helpless, I want my pound of meat!"

But for the knife blade, cold
and pressed against his back.
But for the women's cries
it would have been a calm night,
but they never stood a chance.

D J Berlach, 22.03.10

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