Harry W. Hoger

During his tour of duty in Vietnam in 1970, Harry was a combat engineer with the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME), assigned to artillery mortar locating radar. The spraying of Agent Orange combined with the rainwater going into our drinking water. Four decades on, many cancers it has produced are affecting all veterans. Harry is in remission for prostate cancer linked to this toxin. His poetry helps balance out the psychiatric injury this has caused.

TOXINS IN THE BLOOD

Toxins soaked through the mud
Into the underground rivers, our drinking water.
Now embedded in our blood
As if there wasn’t slaughter enough.

This nation’s science was not good enough
We do run on air and water.
Did no one care?
Now, we are the lambs to the slaughter.

Toxins gave the jungle foliage no laughter
No leaves, no greenery: a sight so bleak.
Growth now anew, rivers flow free
Only our numbers, like those leaves, now are falling.