War and History Poetry posted April 24, 2011

This work has reached the exceptional level
In memory of all who died in war for us.

Anzac Day

by rhymelord


The muscles ache, the joints complain, less confident their stride
But, the spirit of these grand old men can never be denied
And when the drums beat to a pace to which they've marched before
The heads snap up, the shoulders brace and they are young once more.

It's ANZAC Day and nationwide old Diggers dress their best,
The medals earned for wartime deeds lie proud on every chest.
The pride in arms, once carried to defend our way of life,
Returns as do the memories of mates that shared the strife.

The mates with whom they stared down death and fought their way through hell.
The mates who knew how scared they were and who will never tell.
The mates who stood beside them after everything seemed lost
And those that never made it back, who paid the final cost.

The Diggers march to honour all who died because of war,
Their sacrifices cherished now, their feats enshrined in lore.
These unassuming men performed extraordinary deeds
To hold us free from tyrants' threats and soul destroying creeds.

And as they march past cheering crowds that flank the big parade
They laugh and joke as once they did as young men unafraid.
The mutual deep affection which their sense of humour cloaks,
Still binds them all in brotherhood, these normal Aussie blokes.

Then, finished with parading, at the Cenotaph they stand.
The tumult all behind them now, a hush falls o'er the land
And, as the bugle sounds "Last Post" to farewell those who've died,
They stand in silent homage, some with tears they cannot hide.

"Reveille" sounds.  A silent sigh runs through the ranks of men.
Their minds return to here and now from dreams of there and then
And in their hearts they fold away their thoughts of mates held dear,
To lie there giving comfort, 'til this day comes round next year.

Their memory shall not perish, nor will they themselves grow old
For now, they live in history, in legends oft retold.
They did not seek out glory, though it came to them galore.
They pray it's all been worth it, so the young need die no more.

Poem of the Month contest entry


This poem was posted two years ago as "Lest we Forget." I have rewritten parts and consider it important enough to re-present it in its present form. I beg the indulgence of all those who have already read and commented.

ANZAC Day (25th April) is observed in Australia and New Zealand as a day of commemoration for those who died in the service of their country and to honour returned servicemen and women.
25th April is the anniversary of the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at Gallipoli in Turkey in 1915. On the first anniversary of that landing services were held throughout both countries in remembrance of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who died during the eight-month Gallipoli Campaign.
Since 1916 ANZAC Day has evolved to the observance we know today which
acknowledges the sacrifice and service of subsequent wars and encompasses new understandings of the full impact of armed conflict on those who have served their country.

Digger is Australian slang for soldiers from New Zealand and Australia, which originated during World War 1. It now, loosely, can be applied to military personnel of all armed services.

The bugle call "Last Post" is the equivalent of the American "Taps".
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