Monday, 5 October 2015


A poem I wrote about the only Australian serviceman buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia USA.  It is an interesting story, part of our history that few people I suspect would know.

 GARDEN OF STONEMaureen Clifford © The #Scribbly Bark Poet

The ‘ flowers of stone’ in serried rows stand tall  - facing the sun
each day endless processions pass them by at Arlington,
and so the garden grows and grows, its beds tailored and neat
its peacefulness only disturbed by many marching feet.
Four hundred thousand share this place – interred with dignity
The Old Guard do the honours – veterans of the military.
Each day a ‘flower’ watered with tears is planted in the soil
and so each day the garden grows as more wars we embroil.

And in the garden buried deep one Aussie hero lies
Francis D Milne – a pilot who once flew our cobalt skies.
He shares with Sergeant Joseph Paul a casket and a plot.
They died together and were found – but separated – not.
New Guinea forests held them close, this harshest of frontiers
would not easily relinquish its prize of forty years .
‘twas 1989  saw them discovered and then named
from the tangled US aircraft wreckage jungles had reclaimed.

November 26th in 1942 they died,
their headstone in the garden tells us this.  This place of pride.
The resting place of heroes, a nation’s hallowed ground,
serene and green and beautiful where blossom trees abound .
This son of Queensland far from home – interred in foreign soil,
the only Aussie buried here, who left this mortal coil
fighting for king and country far away from kin and home.
He rests forever – one more ‘flower’ in the garden of stone.

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