a book of poetry by jim sharp, a prolie who writes poetry, spoken thoughts or whatever

buds in waiting
soon they'll conquer all
crimson waratahs

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a tropical storm
balmy clouds
hang thunderously inclined

Artwork by
Sheryl Gwyther

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..from Ginninderra Press, Adelaide


The book was launched in July 2010

A review of Leftside by Ian Syson, reprinted with permission from the Queensland Journal of Labour History No 11, September 2010:
Who’d be a working-class poet: a label and a vocation dismissed by your enemies and underestimated by your allies?
Well Jim Sharp would. After a working life sharpening a boning knife, at the latter end of life of engagement in working-class politics, he has produced a remarkable collection of verse that traces and reflects that life.

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Jim Sharp ...:
Thru poetry, I have tried to express my thoughts on me roots in rotherham, my journey to australia, my involvement in the meat industry & the workers’ struggle, the peace, disarmament, indigenous rights, and women’s movement, and the general struggle for socialism.  They also help me to express my feelings and experiences about life and people – friends, lovers, comrades, & family.
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published by
Ginninderra Press
PO Box 3461
Port Adelaide 5015

Some photos:

poetry reading

Whetting his expressiveness on the everyday, as in “the waitress”, Jim recognises a significance in what appears to be little more than alienated labour. His own translation from illiteracy into art speaks to his trust that all of life might be transformed through the self-emancipation of his class.’ - Humphrey McQueen
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He’s made a pen of his boning knife and set about eviscerating cant and claptrap. All that accumulated experience, learning, reflecting, sizing up is the muscle behind that blade filleting the body politic, hauling its carcass up on his butcher’s hook; ‘upside down power! wi trickle down-sizin’/and a billion starving people”.’ - Ray Hearne

Three Poems from Leftside...

principles & particulars
there’s alus two sides to every question
and recognisin’ the principles be easy
whilst understandin’ particular particulars
and takin’ the appropriate steps
calls for much collective wisdom.


come! … uncle jim
   come here … come here!
   and i’ll show you how i dance.

and  wildly she spins
   in her girlish excitement
one uninhibited life force
   of dance & music within her soul.

handheld tools
.......[man makes the tool & the tool makes the man?]
i remember yesteryear when our hands were tools
where as a bairn earning pocket monies i’d be seen
striding across a farmers spring-prepared field
a seed basket slung over me shoulders
and ever mindful of the strength of the breeze
whilst sowing me hands full of new life
which fell in-waiting for a shower of rain
i remember yesterday’s meatworkers handheld steel tools
and the mechanical chain a monster timed to the second
and the boners’ 48-inches of elbow room work space
where only a well honed knife & our own learnt proficiency  
eased away those daily aches & pains, but not
the mind numbing "shit on the liver" complaint!

nevertheless we all aspired to be a gun-boner’sboner
with the ability to grind remake & hone a fine knife’s edge &
steel the steel like a maestro violinist making his stradivarius sing
coz only then can a gun boner make every cut a winner
as well as winning the generous smiles of everyday boners

nowadays in me fag end days my machine driven tool
be my handheld oxford electronic dictionary & thesaurus
on which me fingers dance ever so lightly across the keys
while calling upon what little rudiments one got from schooling 
i’m learning to read real deadly stuff & write poetry & all that
‘tis fun not wage labour living to work making words work
whilst rising as a social being studying kinder late
marx’s labour theory of value & all that!

coz after fifty years of wage slavery earning nought but
enuff bread for me & the family
it was our union’s daily democratic tradition which larded
 my autodidactic motor mouth with words for occasions
and yet! it’ll take more than my class instincts
for the social continuum to mature
and shud one spruik about that then without class unity
the sack & blacklisting wud be your lot for sure

meanwhile from conception to consumption 
farmers sow & reap the matured seeds
truckies truck to feed-lots & then to the abattoirs
where slaughtermen process the cattle &
boners bone & slicers cut the beef into piece meats
followed by the packers doing quality control
packing individual pieces into cryovac bags
thereafter supermarket chains sell to the multitudes
nature & the social means of production