Bill Meilen
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Akbar Songs
Introduction - 0
View from above upon arrival - 1
First Akbar door - 2
Gear - 3
Meeting the Division - 4
First Communion at Akbar - 5
Shepherd - 6
Lights out - 7
Vultures - 8
Get h’on Parade! - 9
Bandy - 10
Wakey–wakey! - 11
Smartening rig - 12
Economy Star - 13
Poetry Club - 14
The Writer - 15
The Skipper - 16
Boating - 17
Seamanship - 18
The Skipper's Kippers - 19
Moot Court - 20
Dirty Mary - 21
Cross–country - 22
Sailorboy - 23
Church Parade - 24
Fellini fragment on Jildy - 25
Deckscrap - 26
Cinderella Days - 27
Long Tom for 'Dead Men' - 28
Waiting for Podmore - 29
Akbar - 30
The Path - 31
Moot Court
The school held Moot Courts
as an exercise
To give the troops
some inkling of The Law
Taught them the word gemot (for 'assembly')
Gathered in the Moot Hall
(starboard classroom)
A witenagemoot of wartime boys
Made to stand up
on their hind legs and speak
Out of some hidden notes or extempore
Give spurs to ready tongues
and speak out truth.
During these evenings
they learned to listen
Assess, react, respond,
quip in debate.
Here were they taught
the parliamentary laws
By which democracy
is governed well.
It proved the English language as a gift
whereby good thoughts
could serve in interchange
Gave power of order
and reason, too.
The slideback doors—
the crowded old church–pews
The flat smell of chalk–dust in the narrow room
The look of concentration
on each growing face.