Harold Holt Transmits A Message Home

By | 1 July 2006

To the people of Australia
especially those scientists and engineers
who keep things humming
at the big radio telescope near Parkes
I send you greetings
that I pray you will discern
from all the intergalactic advertising
that you wrongly read
as the random background
scratchings of the stars.
To all conspiracy theorists
I offer my apologies
for the disappointment you'll experience
when you learn no midget submarine
came to shore to snatch
your buff Prime Minister
away to join a secret think tank
of valued Australian expatriates
feasting in the dark on cockroaches
in a jungle pit outside Phnom Penh.

Nor (and I anticipate your chagrin)
was I simply taken by a shark
as I bathed that morning
panting out my last draft
of dawn fresh Portsea air
in an agonising gasp.
I was not crunched
between the jaws of death.
They'd only try this tough old flesh
if no one else would come to brunch.
To all alien abductionists
I say: Take heart!
You were none of you so wrong
except that when the strange craft came
and hovered low just out beyond
where the waves break
I swam relentlessly towards
the beam that welcomed my ascension
into that giant egg
I now call home.

But to the resurrectionists
I say: Give up!
I go ahead to make a place for you
said Jesus Christ. I shall return.
Doug MacArthur kept his word.
Christ is expected to deliver
but Holt sends this short message home:
The beer is clear. Wish you were here.
I dropped a line. Take up the slack.
The weather's fine. I'm never coming back!

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