Anthony W. Pahl

THE TRADE

Christmas nineteen sixty nine
is one I’ll not forget
‘cos the Jeparit was tied in Sydney
and a beer we couldn’t get.
All we had on hand to drink
was a pallet of rusty Blue.
We’d rather drink Budweiser
than that rusty Resches New.

But Aussies being what they are
(con men through and through)
convinced the Septic Tanks
that this was the worlds best brew.
So we traded with the Goddamn Yanks
(an equal trade at that)
five pallets of Budweiser
for a pallet of Blue and a hat.

Author’s Note: This poem was written on Anzac Day, 25th April 1988, immediately after and in the same circumstances that I wrote “The Stripper”.

Christmas 1969 saw the Australian resupply ship, the Jeparit, as the focus of industrial action at the wharfs of Sydney. The wharfies picketed the ship and it was only after being commissioned into the RAN, were the Army and Navy in a position to load the cargo and sail for Vietnam with supplies for the troops. This poem is dedicated to all the RAAF contingent who were at Vung Tau at that time who could only have a second rate Christmas celebration because of this industrial action which not only caused a scarcity of beer, but more importantly, the non delivery of Christmas parcels from loved ones.