Sunday, 28 April 2013


Anzac Day passed with its tears, and flag waving, prayers and pride and the heartening news that our troops will soon be called home from Afghanistan.

 I read of the new service to be instigated at the Australian War Memorial each evening when the last post has been played.  How they intend to read the story of a different servicemen each night. 102,000 of them.  The 102,000 names of men inscribed on their memorial role - enough for 279 years of nightly honour.

And yet war continues, our men and women are still lost, and I wondered did any of those who instigated wars ever take the time to perhaps look through ................


Beneath the pine a piper plays in puttees and khakis
atop the bluff a bugler blows The Last Post, setting free
the old lament that bids one rest, for it is end of day,
the tattoo known to all men here as one mate’s sent away.

The duty of the dead is done and they can rest in peace
in serried rows with other mates – for them at least wars ceased.
They fought the fight and gave their all, no more of them is asked
but those they left behind remember, every day that’s passed.

The notes hang in the evening still, a lingering refrain
of other places, other times, and others without name
who fell upon far foreign shores and never made it back.
Each man was surely loved by someone.  Each Tom, Bill and Jack.

Gallipoli and Ypres and the trenches on the Somme
the deserts of Afghanistan, where rifle shot and bomb
have taken life forever, the jungles of Vietnam.
The killing fields still lust for flesh, and we the fervour fan.

I find it quite ironic, that we gather and we pray
world wide to pay our homage to the dead.  Those gone away.
And yet as one war ceases and we bring our troops back home
another war is starting up as if it must atone.

So when pray ends this madness?  When will we be at peace?
Is war the God to whom we sacrifice both man and beast?
In Pagan times they did just that – we claim we’re civilized.
To me it doesn’t seem like that.  I look with Mothers eyes.

Maureen Clifford © 04/13
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