Day 25 — make love not war (3 for the price of 1 today)

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 Alamein Gunner 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.


*

3.

TIL

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

Day 25 – poem about peace

cow-in-poppy-fieldCROP

Today is always a day of conflicting emotions for me. Been trying to resolve my attitude towards it for 25 years. This is one of the pomes that came out after percolating about it all day. I’m happy enough with it. Hope my googleTranslate French is accurate.

Voix parmi les vaches

All I’ve heard for a long time now
is French farmers calling their cows.
It’s a musical enough language
& everything sounds more beautiful;
but I do miss the Aussie drawl
And the sky over this western front
Is no where near as big as
the west where I was once from.

The sun has gone down.
All my comrades have grown
old, gone beyond. Joined me,
in their way. So let us sleep.
We are grateful for your thoughts
but our graves no longer want
or need your remembrances.
You offer us a minute of silence.

Let’s try it for a century,
see if we can let it all just, settle.

 

NB Very hitech technicalised tech issues meant I was unable to post yesterday’s NaPoWriMo post as intended. About quarter to twelve with the image chosen, the bulk of the text typed into this blog & most of the miscellaneous tags & faff taken care of, I was suddenly unable to type anymore: turns out the rechargeable batteries in my wireless keyboard had gone flat & being the organised soul I am, I had neglected to backup charge any for, oh some weeks…