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The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1943


page 20


Not by statesmen signing treaties,
pen in hand doubt at heart—
diplomatic undertow,
power politics, self interest, greed....

But an alliance is made in the minds of the people, read in the pulse of the mob,
formed in the barber shops over the ice-cream soda, in bars and commonrooms
of colleges, and shadowed in the Gall-up poll. It is written in the will of the people,
signed in a thousand separate friendships and sealed with mutual trust.

It is the children of stranger nations meeting: the untaught friendliness
of frank goodwill: the alien names—Hiram, Virgil, Elmer, Cary—
accepted at New Zealand hearths, Names learned and loved.

And it is deeper than that, deeper than comparing of speech and customs and superficial things.
When your men have loved our women and been loved in return,
When you have climbed our hills and sweated, and we in turn
have pondered over atlases and found strange-sounding names—
Sleepy eye and Baton Rouge, Indianhead and Albany, Shiloh and St. James—
then there is forged alliance that is stronger than treaty and pen,
An alliance that is graven deeply in the hearts of women and men.

You were your country's envoys here: and now that your task is done
we charge you with a mission: be our ambassadors at home.
Tell the people of America we live for the same ambitions as they
fight for the same ideals, illusions and hopes. Offer our friendship to them.
Two years in Greece and Crete and Libya our soldiers fought

page 21

and kept the war from you. And now we mourn with our own dead those of yours
who dying stood between us and invasion by the common foe—
men of Indianhead and Sleepy Eye, Albany nad Baton Rouge.

Go from here, proud that you have served your country well first on the field of honour and then as interpreters here.
For your sake
We hold to this alliance. Do you the same.

Then a peace may be established when all the killing is done that will outlast our generations, and save our grand-sons' sons
from growing up predestined fodder for newer, bigger, better guns;
and over the islands of the south security be set, and our two nations share
the burdens of progress and defence of the backward peoples there;
and over the freed and grateful populations, two wartorn flags displayed
witness continuance of an alliance that you, and I, and Others made.