These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.
25 April 2010
Watching the Anzac Day March
They are old now, the Vietnam vets
marching slowly down the street,
some wheeled, behind their banners.
I remember them as boys, conscripted,
shuffling their feet and trying to joke,
lining up at Victoria Barracks.
I was lined up too, on the footpath,
with other women from Save Our Sons —
though my own sons were far too small.
One of the mums of the young conscripts
came up and said, ‘I’m on your side!’
after kissing her boy goodbye.
At that first demo, one of my boys
was still in my belly. By the time the war ended
he was seven, indignant at the television.
‘They’re lying!’ he cried. ‘Australian soldiers
wouldn’t do that!’ as sudden footage of atrocities
shocked us. I had to say, ‘I’m afraid they did.’
They are old now, those young men
who didn’t want to go but were taken.
So are those who hid, and went to prison.
And I am old, and no longer judge
the lads thrust into nightmare
fifty years ago / yesterday.
Then I see, alongside the barrier,
a small boy marching in perfect time,
his back very straight, his face intent.
The bagpipes are skirling
the drums keep the beat
and quietly I start to feel sick.
NaPoWriMo Day 25