Name: Mike Subritzky
Location: Te Awamutu, New Zealand
Favourite Poet: Banjo Paterson
Favourite Poem: "Mulga Bill's Bicycle"
Background: Born in Kati Kati, New Zealand, from an old Polish noble family (enobled Poland 1495). Education Saint Joseph's Convent Waihi, Waihi College. Retired professional soldier. Captain. Served in the Royal New Zealand Navy, Royal New Zealand Artillery, Royal New Zealand Air Force, US Navy-Task Force 43 Antarctica, Polish (Independent) Reserve Brigade. 13 Tours of Duty. New Zealand writer, author, war poet. Numerous published papers, documents, articles and poems in a wide variety of media; a dozen books on a variety of subjects and, The Subritzky Legend (Heritage Press, 1990) - Official New Zealand Sesqui Centenial Project, The Vietnam Scrapbook "The Second ANZAC Adventure" (Three Feathers, 1995), History of the Polish Government (in exile) 1939-1990 (Three Feathers, 1996). Nominated for New Zealand Book of the Year Awards 1996; named Book of the Quarter by Texas State University April - June 1998; honoured by the NZ ex-Vietnam Services Association by having a copy of his book The Vietnam Scrapbook "The Second ANZAC Adventure" laid at the Vietnam War Memorial "Wall" in Washington D.C. during the 1997 pilgrimage; awarded the American Vietnam Veterans (honourary) Distinguished Service Medal 1997, citation "for his contribution to all veterans of the Asian conflict and immortalising the Vietnam Veterans of New Zealand for all time". Most recent project, assisted with the official New Zealand Millennium Television Series "Our People - Our Century" TVNZ, 2000.
bird of a single flight
we met only once,
(In Memory of all who died that day 11 September 2001)
it was that morning
but i will never forget you,
your life is part of mine now
and i will always remember.
you wore a white blouse,
so very bright in the morning
whilst i was unshaven
and in my dressing gown.
you had become the kotuku,
that beautiful bird
of a single flight
whilst i was earth bound
and became your epitaph.
it was early,
and i had woken
from that same old
dream of africa
the machine guns,
and the angry black faces.
i remember the way your hair,
billowed in the wind,
and as i watched you fall
i began to bless myself
in the old way
'In nomine Patri, et Filio'...
and pray that when your journey
God would hold your soul
in the palm of his hand.
Kotuku - A New Zealand native heron, which is pure white. It is regarded as the magical 'Bird of a Single Flight', and symbolises everything rare and beautiful. Ancient Maori believed that if a Kotuku was ever sighted it heralded the death of a Great Chief. It was said that Kotuku is an inhabitant of the other world, the spirit land of Reinga.
Copyright © 2001 by Mike Subritzky
I've saddled up, and dropped me hooch,
I'm going to take the gap,
my Tour of Duty's over mates,
and I won't be coming back.
I'm done with diggin' shell scrapes
and laying out barbed wire,
I'm sick of setting Claymore Mines,
and coming under fire.
So, no more Fire Support Base,
and no more foot patrols,
and no more eating ration packs,
and sleepin' in muddy holes.
I've fired my last machine gun,
and ambushed my last track,
I'm sick of all the Army brass,
and I sure ain't coming back.
I'll hand my bayonet to the clerk,
he ain't seen one before,
and clean my rifle one more time,
and return it to the store.
So, no more spit and polish,
and make sure I get paid,
and sign me from the Regiment,
today's my last parade.
Copyright © 2000 by
There's death all around me, there's death in the air,
I can smell it and feel it - and I know now the fear.
The road could be mined, or an ambush await,
it may be the end - our appointment with fate.
The escorts have left us, we're now on our own,
I'm as frightened as hell - and we're all so alone.
Our armour is moving, we're leaving the town,
Rhodesians are waving, yelling - "Keep your heads down!"
I look at the Gunner, his face is all drawn,
his machine gun is loaded - and the safety catch on.
We drive through the war zone, on dirt roads blood red,
past African kraals - with children unfed.
Expecting a tank mine, or bullet to tell,
or a Russian made rocket - to take us to hell.
At Assembly Place "Lima", the site of an old kraal,
we finally halt - and put our backs to the wall.
Raise the stars of our nation, raise the Brit's Union Jack,
put the dread right behind us - for there's no turning back.
Not there for the fighting, not there for the fall,
we are the friend of no one - and the enemy of all.
...We are the Peacekeepers.
Copyright © 1979 by Mike Subritzky
The Last Anzac
They buried Doug Dibley today,
a fine old gentleman who died in his sleep,
at Rotorua on a hot December afternoon.
No warriors death for him on Walker's Ridge,
where the poppies fed on the blood and frozen dreams;
of good young men from Wellington.
A days leave and a seven year old son at my side,
we bore witness as six tall infantrymen in service dress,
raised him high from the gun carriage,
and quietly marched his flag draped casket to eternal rest;
among the trees and hills of his beloved Ngongotaha.
Volleys fired and mournful bugles call,
we shall not see his like again,
no more grow old as yet no more remain,
with living memory of that time,
when machine gun and bayonet did their awful work,
and Anzac boys closed with desperate Turk,
among the gullies and crumbling ridges;
of a foreign coast that was Gallipoli.
Remember this day my son,
remember this hour and this place,
for here and now they bury this nation's last lament,
to a time of King and Empire.
And the poppies on the ridges grow,
and the scrub thorn in the valleys thrive,
and the memory of young mates who died;
we sod this day with Trooper Dibley.
Copyright © 1997 by Mike Subritzky
Jungle Track Song
Where's me fuckin' rifle?
Where's me fuckin' pack?
Where's me fuckin' webbing?
and - where's the fuckin' track?
I'm sick of fuckin' walking!
I'm sick of fuckin' rain!
I'm sick of fuckin' jungle bashin'!
and - I'm doin' it a-fuckin'-gain!
It's full of fuckin' noises!
It's full of fuckin' birds!
It's full of fuckin' snakes and shit!
and - it's full of fuckin' lurgs!
I hate the fuckin' Army!
I hate the fuckin' Camp!
I hate the fuckin' RSM!
and - I hate this fuckin' tramp!
Another fuckin' contact!
Another fuckin' war!
Another fuckin' body count!
and - another fuckin' score!
So - where's me fuckin' rifle?
me fuckin' webbing too!
I've found me fuckin' discharge docs!
and - I'M FUCKIN' SHOOTIN' THROUGH!
Copyright © 2000 by Mike Subritzky
Spirit of ANZAC
They clad us in the colours of the forest,
and armed us with the weapons made for war.
Then taught to us the ancient trade of killing,
and lead us to the sound of battles roar.
So give us comfort as we lay down bleeding,
and pray upon our cold and stiffened dead.
But mark our place that we might be accounted,
this foreign soil becomes our graven bed.
Now children place upon this stone a garland,
and learn of us each Anzac Day at dawn.
We are New Zealand's dead from distant conflict,
our sacrifice remembered ever more.
Copyright © 2000 by Mike Subritzky
Come with me friend, and sail away,
among time and tides of yesterday.
Remember when our fathers rode,
the sailing ships of long ago.
We steer among the stars this night,
across the memories floating wide.
And we will course of long ago,
tall greyhound ships and compass rose.
Come sail old shipmate, upon this dream,
our course we chart beyond the green.
With anchor raised and sails filled wide,
we sail this night on memories tide.
Copyright © 2000 by Mike Subritzky