The Anzac Many
Many remember and
many are too young to remember.
Many left their country
to fight in another country.
Many never did return.
Many young men trudged on foreign lands
against winds that howled, rain that soaked and
winters that bit.
Many fought wild-eyed and weary,
against a mirror of young frightened faces.
Many heard the unforgettable.
Bang, bang, bang. Boom, boom, boom.
Flash, flash, flash. Rat-a-tat…
To this day,
will never leave again.
By Maria Parenti-Baldey
“We will remember them,” we say,
on each and every Anzac Day.
The brave, the scared, the young, the old;
the ones who’ve had their stories told.
Momentum gathers every year;
some bow to pray, some shed a tear.
The people in our vast free land,
know freedom’s price was blood on sand
when boys all landed on a beach,
to die with cover out of reach.
So April twenty-five is when,
we honour those who fought back then.
Some wear the medals on their chest,
of family members laid to rest
in fields where markers stand in rows,
receiving tears as sadness flows
from pilgrims who respect the waste
of young men all shipped off in haste.
Then other people read the tales
of bombs made up from tins and nails.
The bookshops give us all a chance
to understand the circumstance
of hell on earth that was the trench,
awash with maggots, mud and stench.
Our flag is waved by children who
don’t really know what war can do
to wives and mothers left alone,
to live with fear of what’s unknown.
But waving flags shows they are proud,
to stand in a revering crowd.
Australians all: we mustn’t dare
stop showing that we deeply care
about the soldiers, all of whom
were brave in war’s destructive doom.
Gallipoli and all its pain:
Remember it. Again. Again.
The Price of War.
I remember well,
Though I’d rather not.
I lived to tell,
But it’s hard to speak.
The price was paid;
There is no refund.
And though I try to not;
I remember well.
By Louise McCarthy.
Lost Generation by J.R.Poulter, image by Dandi Palmer
The men fought and died for Australia in World War I, are often referred to as the ‘lost generation.’
Australian was a young country and we needed our manpower to build our nation. However, when World War I broke out, everyone in Australia felt strongly it was their patriotic duty to do whatever they could to aid the war effort, including going to fight overseas in a strange country, in appalling conditions.
A great many men died, women too. The dimension of the loss of life was greatly out of proportion to the size of the Australian population at that time. SO many died that there was hardly a family in Australia who had not lost at least one family member to war.
Write a story or poem about someone in your family history who fought in a devastating war.
Illustrate it with a picture of them you have drawn or a copy of a photograph of them.
Do a rubbing of their medals and share with the class what the medals were for.
Think about the lines –
They fought and died – and who’s to blame?
The earth treats friend and foe the same.
And, at the end of the poem –
The scene has changed; the sky’s still blue…
Write them in your own words, explaining what you think they mean.
Why do you think the poet used the words ‘ghost grey’ in the line –
In ghost grey light, they went to war.
The War Memorial in each capital city, has a great many images depicting the various wars Australians were called on to fight in and photos of many who fought in those wars, old diaries the men wrote in the trenches, letters they wrote to loved ones and much, much more.
Try to visit the war memorial in your capital city or the war memorial statues and plaques in your own town or suburb. Write a short story or poem about anything that especially inspired you on your visit.