Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Sunday, 16 February 2014


My daughter captured this image on a visit to Vietnam in 2007. It's on the Perfume River (Sông Hương)

Viet 1

I remember an Ektachrome daylight

In the Binh Ba rubber.

She sat, ochred feet resting.

That old, old woman who showed me

How to wear a headband.

She was unafraid of our scout

And his outlandish burst of Armalite;

It was more important to be comfortable.

She ignored us, our useless armour

Mud-green high-tech camouflaged nonsense,

Smiled and smoked a grudged cigarette,

Turned away and thought on soldiers and children.

Her eyes were as wise as Lao Tzu

And she quietly waited for our departure.


I wrote this after an incident on a TAOR patrol when we came across a group of woodcutters in a free fire zone.
We had to round them up and take them across to Route 2 so they could be checked out by the local authorities.
One of them was a very old woman who obviously felt sorry for the hot and bothered digger who was standing over her with an SLR. I was that digger.

She reached up and mopped the sweat off my face with the cloth I was wearing around my neck.

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