The Statistics of Good

Les Murray

Chaplain General (RC)
Archbishop Mannix of Melbourne,
he who had a bog-oak footstool
so his slipper might touch Irish soil
first, when alighting from his carriage

saved, while a titular Major-General
in the Australian Army, perhaps half
the fit men of a generation
from the shrapnelled sewer landscapes
of Flanders by twice winning close
referenda against their conscription.

How many men? Half a million? Who knows?
Goodness counts each and theirs.
Politics and Death chase the numbers.