This was written yesterday after a long day. First my regular Wednesday shift. Then working on a member of Film Club’s short film script for 2 hours in the afternoon, then 2 hours mentoring a local poet on a dozen poems from a collection she’s trying to work up into submission quality for chapbook-style competitions.
After writing it, I said I’ll just lie on my bed for a second to rest before I come back to set it up/post it on my website. Bwahahahaa. FLW. Of course I was asleep. Before 9pm for goodness sake. When I woke again at 1am I made the executive decision that it could wait till I upload tomorrow’s poem.
how i spent my last day with you
spent all morning watching that door waiting for you to descend those stairs cavort over here & tell me that somehow despite all the odds you do, yes indeed, do in fact love me
For once, I don’t feel conflicted about writing an Anzac Day Poem. And as happened 2 days ago with Bill Shakey Day, (& last year for both days) having a superimposed theme (“love” this year, “climate change” last) made me look at the day in a whole new way — which in turn has generated not 1, not 2, but 3 poems of which I am exceedingly pleased.
Looking at love in war time is a wonderful way to get around the whole uncertainty I have about A25.
It’s also a lovely way (pun intended) to honour, commemorate, call what you will my grandparents in poetical form.
Anzac Triptych 1. Atherton Tablelands 2. Goodbye Will Moon 3. TIL
1. Atherton Tablelands
In April 1943 following three weeks leave after seeing action at Tobruk, Mersa Matruh and El AlameinGunner RL JONES of the 2/7th Field Regiment arrived at Kairi in the Atherton Tablelands.
It was love at first sight.
Even though he was from a notoriously lush part of the Adelaide hills the green in Far North Queensland is several degrees greater than most mortal eyes are used to — or able to endure.
Gunner RL Jones remained on the Tablelands with his unit for almost two years — training and playing upon the rich red loam born in ancient volcanoes. Before being sent to Tarrakan that began the Allies’ Borneo Campaign. He survived those jungles by thinking often of the equally lush Atherton tablelands — until the Americans blew up the world and the war ended.
Gunner RL Jones eventually made his way home & made Florence his fiancé.
Rueben told Florence. Of the green. Of the red soil. Of his desire to move there.
Florence said no.
He never saw the Tablelands again
2. Goodbye Will Moon
In late 1944 Corporal BI Burgan of RAAF 1 Squadron was likewise on leave when he visited his parents in Port Wakefield.
Quiet Sunday evening. Parents off praying. It’s been a long journey and I’ve only a few precious day’s leave. But I know dad will be disappointed if I don’t attend. So although I don’t feel like it reluctantly walk across town.
Only one seat remains in the very back pew. Slide into that space next to a beautiful young woman who smiles as I sit down. Can’t concentrate. On what the pastor is saying. Nor the service itself. Nothing but — that sublime smile.
Afterwards, I offer to walk her home and am bemused and delighted to discover she’s boarding with our next door neighbour.
We stand talking for ages til I brazenly lean in and kiss her over the garden gate. I’d best go in now, she says.
The best night of my life.
During my leave we spend as much time as possible together but it ends all too quickly. Before I deploy to New Guinea I must tell her. I confess undying love. The hammer blow. She’s engaged to another! I didn’t know I say and chivalrously offer to step aside.
Leave it with me. She says. I’ll deal with it.
And. She. Did.
today i learnt that unlike my gran and grandad nana and papa weren’t engaged or even dating while he was away during the war they only started seeing each other after he got home
her first love died flying bombers over germany she was s h a t t e r e d when Will was killed
suddenly saw my frail ninety nine year old nana with newer sadder eyes